Everything you’ll need to stay above the payline in today’s DFS MLB Cash Games!
FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Whitesox/Red Sox game has been PPD as has the Blue Jays/Royals
The Core 4 is good to go still.
Players added to to the player pool now include:
Adolis Garcia, OF, Rangers
Ty France, 2B/3B, Mariners
Corey Dickerson, OF, Rays
FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The Mets/Rockies game has officially been POSTPONED!! Get all players out of lineups and out of consideration tonight!! Updated Core 4 at the bottom but likely will be updated again before lock so PLEASE check back here later (I’ll put in the top to speed things up).
So, we start the week with a couple super close calls getting edged out by a hit here or an earned run there. Then, we dodge a couple of massive landmines on Wednesday night (McCullers, Morton, Plesac) and Thursday (Corbin, R Hill) to even up the week. Now we head into a massive 14-game slate here on the best night of the week for DFS MLB (in my opinion) in Friday night. This is what we play for.
Personally, I am feeling pretty damn good about where I am as an analyst right now and where we as a collective are here at Elite. Let’s be real, the 2020 season was a two-month blip in which teams, players and all of us were really just going through the motions. I did one writeup all last year, so it has been a work in progress getting back on the horse this year. But after a week in which I was able to call out the absolute must-use player of the week (Acuna) and pluck out obscure value plays (Freddy Peralta, David Peralta, Jazz Chisholm, Nick Solak), I am officially back and full speed.
Our team is also hitting its stride now that we have gained a balance between our NBA, NHL and MLB content schedules. Bringing back Scott Bondar’s Early Bird writeup has really helped us this week in being able to double-dip in those juicy early/evening slates.
Hopefully by now you are all well aware of what our content plans are day in and day out here but in case you need a reminder, here you go:
Cash Game Breakdown – The article you are currently reading.
DFS MLB Lineup Coach – Daily coaching session assisting with all aspects of DFS MLB.
DFS MLB Cheat Sheet – A quick guide to the top plays at each position and salary level.
GPP Writeup – Using experience, game theory & advanced stats to uncover low-owned stars.
Core 4 Livestream – Daily Livestream that covers all DFS sports, featuring guests from throughout the Elite Sports Network.
Be Sure to Bookmark:
Along with our great tools at the bottom of this page!
Friday, April 16th
Tonight, there are two lanes for which we can go. The first is to plug in Jacob deGrom and fill out the rest of our lineup with the abundance of value plays around the league. The other lane is fading deGrom, using one (or two on DK) of these thick stack of mid-tier pitchers and stock up on bats. Which lane you choose will greatly alter what your lineup winds up being and ultimately whether we cash tonight or not.
The good news is that the cheat code, Ronald Acuna, is not on the evening slate as he is playing in Chicago against the Cubs in the only day game today. As much as I’ve liked riding Acuna this entire week, that salary is not something that makes lineup building comfortable.
The bad news is that the weather is sketchy in several ballparks here tonight and the fact that MLB has been complete cowards ever since the Mets/Citi Field debacle earlier this week, leaving each of these games in question.
But this is what we do. As others freak out about a massive 14-game slate and let Vegas and their optimizer tell them what to do, we have sorted through each and every potential matchup. You guys have trusted me to go through every possible lineup, all of the splits, the weather, starters, the bullpens, the ballparks, the weather, the defenses and DFS ownership in order to give you the tools you need to win.
So, let’s go out and get it done.
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees – Chilly and rainy in the Bronx tonight with the best chance of rain happening during the scheduled start time here. The rain is supposed to duck out of New York by 10pm ET so they SHOULD be able to get this game in with minimal delays.
Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox – This east coast rain will be worst in Boston tonight as temperatures will be dropping throughout the day as the rain moves in. It will almost certainly rain at Fenway in the late afternoon so the field will be soggy for sure. But will MLB let the players play in less-than-ideal conditions? We will find out. Keep checking our weather center for updates throughout the day on this one.
Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals – There is a 60% chance of rain in KC tonight temperatures in the mid to high 40’s. That is what I would call pitcher-friendly conditions. Kauffman Stadium is an older stadium with mediocre drainage, so we have to put this game on the MLB watch list tonight as well.
New York Mets at Colorado Rockies – There is a chance for snow in Denver today and the gametime wind chill at Coors Field will be below freezing. In the Rockies’ first homestand of the season, the temps were in the 70’s so be careful here assuming that we’ll get another 12 runs a game this time around.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
- New York Mets: -300
- Washington Nationals: -200
- Oakland A’s: -180
- Los Angeles Angels: -170
- New York Yankees: -160
- Milwaukee Brewers: -155
- Houston Astros: -155
Highest Run Expectancy
- New York Mets: 6.10
- Los Angeles Angels: 5.01
- Texas Rangers: 4.92
- Cleveland Indians: 4.89
- Oakland Athletics: 4.74
- New York Yankees: 4.72
Lowest Run Expectancy
- Colorado Rockies: 3.08
- Seattle Mariners: 3.63
- San Diego Padres: 3.68
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 3.73
- Kansas City Royals: 3.89
- St. Louis Cardinals: 3.90
Today's Pitchers Grid
Today’s Best Pitchers
1) Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets ($11,000/$11,000) – Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball right now and thus the best pitcher here tonight. deGrom has a ridiculous 39.4% strikeout rate and 21.7% swinging strike rate over the last two seasons, which is simply ridiculous. Everything about him is great, and I am sure you know this. But there are two major problems with using him in DFS tonight. First of all, he is pitching at Coors Field, where any contact is good contact. Secondly, he is expensive at $11K, easily the highest-priced pitcher on the board. The good news is that the Mets bats should be able to provide him with some support this time as they are averaging just 2.61 runs per deGrom start over the last THREE seasons. Crazy.
2) Yusei Kikuchi, LHP, Mariners ($8800/$7200) – I am as surprised as you are that Kikuchi is the second-best starter of the slate. This has to be due to the fact that after deGrom, the rest of the options tonight either don’t strike out anybody or are massive home run risks. Kikuchi has changed his pitch mix going into 2021 and this Spring decided to throw a cut fastball at the direct expense of his four-seam fastball. He also is barely throwing his slider which was a pitch that just didn’t have much effectiveness specifically to RHH. He’s had very positive results with this mix in his first two starts of the season. This Spring, he went 0-2 but with a 3.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and nine strikeouts in eight innings. Surprisingly, he owns the fifth-best strikeout rate (25.9%) of all the starting pitchers here tonight. Remember that the Astros lost their three best hitters in Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez to Covid and are now flying across the country together where who knows what gets transmitted.
3) Frankie Montas, RHP, A’s ($7500/$7300) – I may wind up pushing 50 years of age by the time Montas finally reaches his full potential as a front-line starter but I am here for it. The kid has an electric arm with a two-dimensional fastball that he can run up to 97 MPH before dropping the 89-MPH slider on them. He is also one of few pitchers in baseball who still throws a splitfinger pitch which isn’t a frequent offering but one that he generates a 53.8% Whiff rate with. The Tigers come into this game riding a bit of a hot streak but still with just a .320 wOBA over their last six games. The Tigers are a bad hitting team overall and with Nomar Mazara on the IL now, just don’t pack any LH punch whatsoever. Kikuchi is a bit safer but Montas has that big strikeout ability many of us are looking for and should be a terrific bet for a quality start and a win tonight.
4) Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers ($9200/$10,700) – With all due respect to Max Scherzer, Buehler is the second-best arm on this slate. The problem here is that the Padres are the opponent, and they are getting Fernando Tatis Jr back from his shoulder injury for this game. Still, Buehler has had a lot of success against this San Diego lineup limiting them to a .150 BAA and a .226 wOBA in his career. I like the price on FD but $10.7 on DK is a bit much when deGrom is just $300 more. The Dodgers bullpen has been taxed the last couple of days, which gives Buehler a bit longer of a leash, as well. We’ll get six plus from him here with a strikeout per inning and limited damage again.
5) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Angels ($7900/$6800) – Heaney is a great second arm on DK tonight as he is significantly underpriced for some reason. He’s changed his pitch mix up going into 2021 throwing his fastball more and his changeup less. The change has proven to be only useful against left-handed hitters. We saw him dominate the Blue Jays in his last start using that exact approach while using his looping curveball to get punchouts of aggressive RHH. The Twins are feisty and Nelson Cruz is a serious problem in this matchup. He has to use fastballs in against Cruz to keep the barrel off of the baseball, and if he can do that, he should be able to post us a quality start with a good chance for the win. I’ll take the risk and upside here at this price point.
Pitchers to Target Against
1) Steven Matz, Blue Jays – .282 BAA, 1.47 WHIP, 35.5% FB%, 34.1% HR/FB%, 3.14 HR/9, 67.4% LOB%, 36.0% hard contact rate against over last 2 seasons.
2) Chi Chi Gonzalez, Rockies – .272 BAA, 5.69 xFIP, 1.58 WHIP, 35.6% FB%, 36.8% hard contact rate against, 6.9% swinging strike rate over last 2 seasons.
3) Michael Wacha, Rays – .311 BAA, 4.14 xFIP, 1.60 WHIP, 2.09 HR/9, 37.9% FB%, 20.2% HR/FB%, 36.3% hard contact rate against over last 2 seasons.
4) Lewis Thorpe, Twins – .358 BAA, 6.52 xFIP, 2.08 WHIP, 41.1% FB%, 17.4% HR/FB%, 2.20 HR/9, 35.1% hard contact rate against, 8.8% swinging strike rate over last 2 seasons.
5) Anthony DeSclafani, Giants – .279 BAA, 5.10 xFIP, 1.59 WHIP, 1.41 HR/9, 14.6 HR/FB%, 34.9% hard contact rate against over last 2 seasons.
6) Jeff Hoffman, Reds – .320 BAA, 4.99 xFIP, 1.73 WHIP, 1.17 HR/9, 37.4% FB%, 40.0% hard contact rate against, 56.7% LOB%, 9.8% swinging strike rate % over last 2 seasons.
7) Nick Pivetta, Red Sox – .262 BAA, 5.15 xFIP, 1.50 WHIP, 1.69 HR/9, 48.6% FB%, 13.9% HR/FB%, 42.1% hard contact rate against over last 2 seasons.
We have a brand new stolen base target tool on the site. I strongly recommend looking it over in order to find a value play or to properly assess how likely a player is to steal tonight. (click on link above)
Hot Streaks (Hottest Hitters at Each Position)
|8||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||95||407||32||77||79||2||14.0||17.40||0.337||0.329||0.326||0.425||0.663||0.452||190|
|13||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SDP||84||353||30||77||67||23||12.2||28.30||0.353||0.322||0.288||0.371||0.641||0.416||165|
|17||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||82||360||24||72||52||17||13.6||23.60||0.313||0.311||0.283||0.394||0.596||0.414||159|
Batter vs. Pitcher
C – Yasmani Grandal, JT Realmuto
1B – Jesus Aguilar
2B – Jean Segura, DJ LeMahieu, Aledmys Diaz
3B – Maikel Franco, Colin Moran
SS – Luis Urias
OF – David Peralta, Bryce Harper, Austin Dean, Adam Eaton, Corey Dickerson, Bryan Reynolds, Nelson Cruz
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
Overall Hitter Rankings
- Salvador Perez, Royals ($3300/$4700)
James McCann, Mets ($3000/$4100)
- Gary Sanchez, Yankees ($2700/$4200)
- Sean Murphy, A’s ($2200/$3800)
- Jacob Stallings, Pirates ($2400/$2800)
Notes: Perez is hitting .450 with a .497 wOBA and .250 ISO over his last six games. McCann swung a hot stick in his last game (Wednesday) gathering three hits including a home run. He also has a 41.7% FB% over the last week which is perfect for this series at Coors Field this weekend. Murphy is getting hot as his pitches per plate appearance has risen by 3% over the last five games. He also has three hits, two doubles and a .385 OBP over his last four games. Stallings is a punt play that provides a solid contact rate (75%), a .559 wOBA and a 50% hard contact rate over his last five games.
- Vlad Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays ($3800/$4900)
- Jose Abreu, White Sox ($3300/$5500)
- Matt Olson, A’s ($3100/$4400)
- Yuli Gurriel, Astros ($2900/$3900)
- Carlos Santana, Royals ($2700/$4100)
Notes: Vlad is in the zone hitting a ridiculous .488 with a .575 wOBA and 2 HR over the last week. Jose Abreu is priced way down on FG for some reason and goes into GodMode at Fenway Park. Abreu hits .330/.404/.659 with 6 HR and 11 2B in 88 career AB’s. If you don’t believe that DFS sites pricing algorithms are wound very tightly to ownership, then explain how Yuli Gurriel is still so cheap on both sites despite hitting .450 with a 40% hard contact rate and a 0% strikeout rate over his last six games. Carlos Santana is always a great cash game play against LHP where he owns a career .277/.380/.454 triple slash against them.
- Whit Merrifield, Royals ($3800)/$5400)
- Jed Lowrie, A’s ($3500/$4100)
- David Fletcher, Angels ($2800/$4100)
- Jazz Chisholm, Marlins ($2900/$3900)
- Rougned Odor, Yankees ($2400/$2900)
Notes: Merrifield is the best pure 2B option tonight and really on most nights. He is hitting .350 with a HR and 3 SB over his last six games too. Uncle Jed is the quietest smoking hot hitter in baseball right now. Lowrie has five straight games with 2+ hits and his hitting .478/.555/.767 in that span. We can use Chisholm at either 2B or SS tonight. Jazz owns a .605 wOBA and 66.7% hard contact rate with 2 HR and a SB over his last five games. Odor is our sneaky value play tonight. He has faced Michael Wacha once and hit a solo HR against him. The Rays bullpen has surrendered the second-highest hard contact rate (40.6%) over the last seven games.
- Justin Turner, Dodgers ($4000/$5200)
- Kyle Seager, Mariners ($3400/$5000)
- Evan Longoria, Giants ($3000/$4700)
- Travis Shaw, Brewers ($3000/$4100)
- Matt Chapman, A’s ($3400/$4400)
Notes: Third base is a pay-up position yet again tonight as there are a shit ton of great options for us in cash games. Turner is locked in going five for his last seven with 2 HR, a double, five RBI and two runs scored. Kyle Seager is hitting .500 with a .608 wOBA, a 53.8% hard contact rate and just 11.8% strikeout rate over his last five games. We always love Longoria against LHP and tonight he draws Marlins lefty Daniel Castano and his 8.7% swinging strike rate.
Francisco Lindor, Mets ($4100/$5400)
- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox ($3200/$5200)
- Eugenio Suarez, Reds ($3100/$5100)
- Trea Turner, Nationals ($4000/$5800)
- Gleyber Torres, Yankees ($2600/$4300)
- Luis Urias, Brewers ($2200/$3300)
Notes: Lindor in Coors Field is a great fit, and somehow, he is underpriced for it tonight. Bogaerts is hitting .368 with a .430 wOBA and 40% hard contact rate over his last five games. Suarez is a crazy value on FD as he goes back to Great American Ballpark where he owns a career .867 OPS and against a LHP where he owns an .890 OPS. My model values pitches per plate appearance and thus walks more than others and that is why both Gleyber Torres and Luis Urias grade out so well. They also provide us some much-needed salary relief tonight.
- Mookie Betts, Dodgers ($4500/$5700)
- JD Martinez, Red Sox ($4100/$6100)
- Aaron Judge, Yankees ($4200/$5300)
- Nelson Cruz, Twins ($4000/$5400)
- Joey Gallo, Rangers ($3100/$4400)
Brandon Nimmo, Mets ($3900/$4100)
- Mike Trout, Angels ($4400/$5900)
- Byron Buxton, Twins ($4100/$5800)
- Austin Meadows, Rays ($3300/$4400)
- Alex Verdugo, Red Sox ($3300/$4000)
- Bryce Harper, Phillies ($4200/$5200)
- AJ Pollock, Dodgers ($2400/$3200)
Notes: We are going to have to wait for lineups to come out this evening to uncover a value play or two here in the outfield. Unfortunately, the stars such as Betts, Judge, Trout and JD Martinez all grade out extremely well tonight. Gallo is in a great spot so don’t overlook him and he could be combined with David Dahl in a mini-stack scenario. Virtually every Mets player is in play tonight at Coors Field so if you want to use Michael Conforto that is fine too but Brandon Nimmo, assuming he leads off is the better choice.
DFS MLB Core 4
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Frankie Montas ($7500)
1B – Matt Olson, A’s ($3100)
2B – Jed Lowrie, A’s ($3500)
OF – Mookie Betts, Dodgers ($4500)
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP1 – Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners ($7200)
1B – Matt Olson, A’s – ($4400)
2B – Jed Lowrie, A’s ($4100)
OF – Mookie Betts, Dodgers ($5700)