Everything you’ll need to stay above the payline in today’s DFS MLB Cash Games!
We’ve got five games for the main slate today with Scott Bondar on the Cheat Sheet, Ricky Sanders with the GPP piece, and I’ll be in the VIP Chat for the hour leading up to lock. I’ll also be hopping on as a guest with Kyle Elfrink on the Core 4 Livestream around 5:15pm ET.
Cash Game Breakdown – The article you are currently reading.
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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.
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Thursday, April 22nd
Not a particularly enthralling slate by any means on this cold weather April transition day Thursday. Dodgers’ Walker Buehler is the only true ace on the slate and will likely be very heavily rostered in all formats, specifically cash games. The rest of the bunch isn’t very appealing which makes for some difficult decisions, especially on DK where we must roster two starting pitchers. In fact, three of 10 SP have less than 25 games of starting experience (Justin Dunn – SEA, Daniel Castano – MIA, Ryan Weathers – SD). In fact, this is only Weathers’ second pro start as he jumped from High-A straight to the majors this year as an upside reliever now asked to temporarily jump into the rotation.
No precipitation for us to worry about tonight but it will still be cold (between 45 and 60 degrees) at four of the home parks. Mariners-Red Sox in Boston will be the coldest (around 44) and Padres-Dodgers the warmest (around 60). The final game would technically be the warmest and that’s in the dome of the Houston Astros who host the Angels. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the wind in Wrigley Field is blowing out at a moderate 10 to 12 mph, which is a slight boon for all Mets and Cubs hitters.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
1 – Los Angeles Dodgers (-175) vs. San Diego Padres (Ryan Weathers)
2 – Boston Red Sox (-165) vs. Seattle Mariners (Justin Dunn)
3 – San Francisco Giants (-140) vs. Miami Marlins (Daniel Castano)
Highest Run Expectancy
1 – Boston Red Sox: 5.4
2 – Houston Astros: 4.7
3 – San Francisco Giants: 4.6
Mets/Cubs line not out as of late Wednesday night but Mets road favorites (-140) and Mets will likely have a projected run expectancy > 4.8
Lowest Run Expectancy
1 – San Diego Padres: 3.2
2 – Miami Marlins: 3.9
3 – Seattle Mariners: 4.15
Today's Pitchers Grid
Today’s Best Pitchers
1 – Walker Buehler, RH/Dodgers ($10,000 DK, $9,800 FD)
You’d have to really be a crazy person to scratch Buehler’s name off your list entirely, especially with the lack of talent on tonight’s slate. Though we haven’t seen Classic Walker in action yet this season, we know it’s coming. This is one stud hurler who has an impressive 3.10 ERA over 384 career innings with opposing hitters averaging .210 against him since 2017. None of his starts have been bad this season though. He’s pitched six innings in each of them (@ COL, v WAS, @ SD), allowing four runs total with 12 strikeouts to just one walk. The Padres are typically no walk in the park from a pitcher’s perspective but their offense has really been struggling offensively and their primary weapon (Fernando Tatis Jr.) is hitting .115 (3-for-26) since back from all the tests following his injury scare. The Dodgers are at home and are the biggest favorites of the evening. There’s just no one in his stratosphere so the decision is an easy one tonight. Build around him on FD and make him one of your two SP’s on DK.
2 – Alex Cobb, RH/Angels ($7,700 DK)
Only on a slate like tonight’s could I recommend a guy like Cobb. But I’ll only do it as an SP2 on DK because his FD salary ($8,700) isn’t substantially below Buehler’s for the savings to be of help. Through two starts, Cobb has a splendiferous 17:2 K:BB and has seen a slight uptick in velocity from the previous few seasons. The 19.1% swinging-strike rate is certainly unsustainable (career mark: 8.5%) but it’s still nice to see early on. The matchup isn’t necessarily all that difficult. Jose Altuve is still out on COVID-IL, Alex Bregman just returned from it, Yordan Alvarez hasn’t played in almost a week and one of their best, young hitters (Kyle Tucker) has been struggling mightily with a .180/.212/.426 slash line. The savings from his opponent, Christian Javier ($9,600 DK) is substantial enough and Javier isn’t making his first start in two weeks and isn’t guaranteed to even pitch five innings. Cobb as the SP2 on DK makes plenty of sense this evening.
Ryan Weathers, LH/Padres ($5,600 FD)
Here’s an intriguing one. Weathers has been downright dominant through his first 9.2 big league innings including his first career start last week. Weathers has a 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 10 strikeouts thus far. In that start (against these same Dodgers), Weathers nearly pitched through the fourth inning but allowed just one hit and did not allow a run. He threw 79 pitches in that one and could potentially have the green light to go a little further into the game if he’s efficient. The Dodgers are without Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux and could allow Mookie Betts one more day of rest after getting smashed on his inner elbow in a game with the Mariners on Monday. It would be nice for Weathers if Betts is out. For just 5.6k on FD as a pivot off Buehler, you can create magical all-world builds with your offense.
The last guy I’ll mention is Aaron Sanchez, RH/Giants ($7,100 DK, $7,200 FD) who could be your pivot off Cobb as DK SP2 but I’m a bit wary of him even if it is the Marlins and may prefer to just deploy him in GPPs.
Pitchers to Target Against
- Justin Dunn (RHP, Mariners) – In 30 career IP vs LHH: 25% BB, 2.05 HR/9; has 10 walks in 9.2 innings so far this season; big-time flyball pitcher, was a power closer in college converted to starter.
- Nick Pivetta (RHP, Red Sox) – Career 1.43 WHIP, has walked 3, 4, and 4 batters in his three starts this season; career 1.8 HR/9 to RHH’s, career 10.5% BB to LHH’s.
- Trevor Williams (RHP, Cubs) – Doesn’t give up a ton of hard contact (career 30%), doesn’t give up many homers (career 1.23 HR/9) and even career walk rate is decent (7.8%) yet gives up a ton of hits and runs (career 4.44 ERA, 4.54 xFIP). In 55.1 IP last season (11 starts), served up 15 HR (2.44 HR/9) with a 6.18 ERA and was a reverse-splits guy (.454 wOBA and 10 of his 15 HR allowed vs RHH’s).
TARGETING STOLEN BASES
(click on link above)
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.
Hot Streaks (Hottest Hitters at Each Position)
|13||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||33||145||11||32||23||6||12.4||14.50||0.344||0.293||0.311||0.407||0.656||0.443||180|
|15||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||34||146||8||25||26||1||17.1||17.10||0.254||0.353||0.322||0.452||0.576||0.438||185|
Batter vs. Pitcher
C – n/a
1B – n/a
2B – David Bote, Cubs
3B – J.D. Davis, Mets, Alex Bregman, Astros, Brian Anderson, Marlins
SS – Javier Baez, Cubs, Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
OF – n/a
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
Overall Hitter Rankings
1 – Willson Contreras, RH/Cubs ($4,600 DK)
2 – Buster Posey, RH/Giants ($3,900 DK)
3 – Sandy Leon, LH/Marlins ($2,400 DK)
4 – Will Smith, RH/Dodgers ($4,800 DK)
Notes: Contreras (CHC) has been hot fire hitting second in the Cubbies lineup and has reached base in 10 straight with 4 of his 5 homers over the last week. His DK price is very reasonable to boot. Meanwhile, 34-year-old Posey (SF) is a new man after taking the shortened COVID season off. He’s hitting .316 with a .381 OBP and has four homers on the young season including a pair of them just the other day. Leon (MIA) is an old vet currently getting work behind the plate and in the Marlins lineup because of an injury to Alfaro. He’s a lefty bat facing a RHP and is on our list today simply as a salary saver if you need it.
1 – Pete Alonso, RH/Mets ($5,000 DK, $3,400 FD)
2 – Darin Ruf, RH/Giants ($3,200 DK, $2,000 FD)
3 – Jared Walsh, LH/Angels ($4,700 DK, $3,900 FD)
4 – Jose Marmolejos, LH/Mariners ($3,300 DK, $2,400 FD)
Notes: Alonso (NYM) just crushed his third bomb of the season yesterday and is one of the better bets to do so yet again with the wind blowing out in Wrigley. Ruf (SF) is a southpaw-smashing specialist who’s hitting .304 and has 3 HR in just 20 at-bats. He’s very affordable and usually hits fourth against opposing southpaws, in which case we have an inexperienced one in Daniel Castano. Walsh (LAA) hasn’t skipped a beat after mashing down the stretch last season. He is averaging nearly 10 DK points per game and is among the league leaders in RBI (13). Marmolejos (SEA) is an affordable contrarian with big-time power – power we witnessed when he launched a missile off Dodgers’ Dustin May earlier in the week.
1 – Jazz Chisholm, LH/Marlins ($3,900 DK, $3,800 FD)
2 – Chris Taylor, RH/Dodgers ($4,900 DK, $3,000 FD)
3 – Jeff McNeil, LH/Mets ($4,200 DK, $2,500 FD)
4 – Wilmer Flores, RH/Giants ($4,100 DK, $2,100 FD)
Notes: Chisholm (MIA) is one of the new, exciting, young budding stars in the league. He’s hitting .326 with 3 HR, 4 SB, and might leadoff for the second game in a row. Taylor (LAD) is always in play against a left-handed pitcher and perhaps Weathers won’t have as easy of a time as he had last weekend against the NL’s scariest offense. McNeil (NYM) and Flores (SF) are salary savers who could work well for us today in their matchups. McNeil’s in that game in Wrigley and Flores just launched a bomb the other day and has an infamous quote about him: Death, Taxes and Wilmer against lefties.
1 – Rafael Devers, LH/Red Sox ($5,800 DK, $3,400 FD)
2 – Kris Bryant, RH/Cubs ($4,500 DK, $3,800 FD)
3 – Justin Turner, RH/Dodgers ($5,500 DK, $3,400 FD)
4 – Kyle Seager, LH/Mariners ($4,700 DK, $3,100 FD)
Notes: You’re going to not want to mess around and just spend up at the position today. Well, technically, spending mid $3,000’s for any of Devers, Bryant or Turner isn’t too expensive of a price to pay. Devers is a power lefty bat who gets the righty Justin Dunn where the Sox have the highest IRL (implied run line) of the evening. Bryant gets the RvL matchup against lefty Joey Lucchesi and just launched a bomb yesterday. And Turner is among the league leaders of everything this year – hot as all hell with a .381 average, 5 HR and 16 RBI. Not to mention, he makes a living crushing left-handed pitchers. Seager rounds out the top-4 at the position as another hot lefty bat facing a sometimes sloppy Nick Pivetta.
1 – Javier Baez, RH/Cubs ($4,600 DK, $3,900 FD)
2 – Francisco Lindor, SW/Mets ($4,700 DK, $3,100 FD)
3 – Xander Bogaerts, RH/Red Sox ($5,700 DK, $3,000 FD)
4 – Mauricio Dubon, RH/Giants ($2,900 DK, $2,000 FD)
Notes: So let’s see here, Baez (CHC) is a homer behind the league leader, blasted a grand slam last night, and has some insane BvP against Lucchesi (5-for-6 with 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI). He even attempted a steal on him but it wasn’t successful. Anywho, I think we know who is going to be one of our most popular hitters on today’s slate. Lindor (NYM) finally got on the board with his first homer in a Mets uniform last night and is much too cheap on FD so he’ll be in our core today in Wrigley against Trevor Williams. Bogaerts (BOS) is one of the hottest hitters on the planet so he’s another one to consider – perhaps as a FD pivot off Lindor if you feel comfier with him. Dubon (SF) has been ice cold to start the year but will likely be in the lineup today against a lefty with Brandon Crawford day-to-day.
1 – J.D. Martinez, RH/Red Sox ($6,000 DK, $4,500 FD)
2 – Mike Trout, RH/Angels ($5,800 DK, $4,600 FD)
3 – Austin Slater, RH/Giants ($3,900 DK, $2,700 FD)
4 – Alex Verdugo, LH/Red Sox ($4,400 DK, $3,400 FD)
5 – Yordan Alvarez, LH/Astros ($4,500 DK, $3,400 FD)
6 – Mitch Haniger, RH/Mariners ($4,100 DK, $3,500 FD)
7 – Adam Duvall, RH/Marlins ($4,000 DK, $3,600 FD)
8 – Kyle Lewis, RH/Mariners ($3,100 DK, $2,200 FD)
9 – Michael Conforto, LH/Mets ($3,500 DK, $2,700 FD)
10 – Trent Grisham, LH/Padres ($5,400 DK, $3,600 FD)
Notes: Martinez (BOS) or Trout (LAA) will be the two big bats folks will be deciding between in their cash lineups today. You can actually squeeze them both in with Buehler if you feel comfortable with some of the punts. I do think we’ll see more Martinez in lineups though it should be noted there’s no pitcher that Trout fears, certainly not the sophomore Cristian Javier. Slater (SF) is in play if leading off against the lefty in this Giants lineup, which will probably be the case. Like Devers, Verdugo (BOS) may become a priority lefty bat we may want for our lineups but if we also like the others we should be mindful and selective since we’d then be going all-in on the Red Sox lineup which isn’t recommended for cash. From the remaining list, note that Alvarez (HOU) never had COVID, he was just close to someone with it. Nevertheless, he hasn’t played in a week but the LvR matchup against Cobb and mid-priced salaries on both sites make him appealing today. Duvall (MIA) could be a little off the grid today but he’s the Marlins’ best power hitter and if someone is capable of a multi-homer outing, it’s him. Lewis (SEA) is back for just his second game after spending the first three weeks on IL and might still be rusty but he’s affordable enough that it might be worth finding out directly. Conforto (NYM) is ice cold to start the season but at prices like those, it’s almost insane to not at least consider him for a Wrigley wind game breakout.
DFS MLB Core 4
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Walker Buehler, Dodgers (9.8k)
SS – Francisco Lindor, Mets (3.1k)
3B – Rafael Devers, Red Sox (3.4k)
SS – Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (3k) – play at UT since both he and Lindor are SS
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP1 – Walker Buehler, Dodgers (10k)
SS – Javier Baez, Cubs (4.6k)
3B – Kris Bryant, Cubs (4.5k)
OF – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (6k)