Everything you’ll need to stay above the payline in today’s DFS MLB Cash Games!
One monster of a slate on this final Friday of April! We’ve got CJ “The Seige” Kaltenbach breaking down all the best tourney stacks in the GPP article and Scott Bondar on the Cheat Sheet and Lineup Coach for the final hour before lock. Kyle Elfrink hosts the Core 4 Livestream, and I’ll be hopping on with him around 5:15pm ET.
Here is the entire content plan for today:
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:
Friday, April 30th
We’ve got a big one today. Every team in MLB is playing today, but STL/PIT starts a bit earlier, so that game won’t be on our main slate. Fourteen games in all and yet another day where Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber line up on the same slate to make decisions even tougher for us. Throw in a little Yu Darvish in the mix against the Giants and a few other solid midrange options, and we’ve got ourselves one heck of a slate!
For cash builds on a big slate like today’s, do the best you can to avoid loading up on more than two players from any one offense. It can be tempting, but it’s better to piece these together based on individual matchups, salary and rostership considerations. Every position will be oozing with options for us today, and there will be different ways to build that pristine cash game lineup.
We are waiting on confirmation of two starter spots still, but it does look like Jon Lester is ready to make his Nationals’ debut tonight. Then there’s the Dodgers, who will probably give Alex Vesia the start against the Brewers, though it may just be an inning or two with fellow rookie RHP Mitch White likely set to pitch a couple innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Vesia was a prized prospect of the Marlins who came to L.A. in the Dylan Floro trade. He made five appearances in 2020 and got destroyed (nine runs, three homers, seven walks in 4.1 IP) but dazzled across three minor league levels in 2019 with a near 40% strikeout rate and 3% walk rate, mostly as a reliever and closer. He had gone through a stretch between July 2019 through February 2020 where he did not allow a single run through High-A, Double-A, Arizona Fall League and spring training.
Believe it or not, but there are no delays or postponements on the horizon today. Only light rain in a few places, if that. Most notably, some serious 20-25 mph winds are blowing out in Yankee Stadium today when they face the Tigers.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
1 – New York Yankees -355
2 – San Diego Padres -180
3 – Boston Red Sox -155
4 – New York Mets -145
5 – Los Angeles Angels -145
Highest Run Expectancy
1 – Toronto Blue Jays 5.6 (vs. Drew Smyly – L)
2 – New York Yankees 5.1 (vs. Tarik Skubal – L)
3 – Atlanta Braves 5.0 (vs. Robbie Ray – L)
4 – Cincinnati Reds 4.7 (vs. Jake Arrieta)
5 – Boston Red Sox 4.5 (vs. Kohei Arihara)
Lowest Run Expectancy
1 – Detroit Tigers 2.6 (vs. Gerrit Cole)
2 – Chicago White Sox 3.0 (vs. Shane Bieber)
3 – San Francisco Giants 3.2 (vs. Yu Darvish)
4 – Cleveland Indians 3.5 (vs. Dallas Keuchel – L)
t5 – Texas Rangers 3.6 (vs. Nathan Eovaldi)
t5 – Baltimore Orioles 3.6 (vs. Mike Fiers)
7 – Seattle Mariners 3.7 (vs. Andrew Heaney – L)
Today's Pitchers Grid
Today’s Best Pitchers
1 – Gerrit Cole, RH/Yankees ($10,500 DK, $12,200 FD)
Wind blowing out at epic proportions in Yankee Stadium today, but don’t think that’s a reason to keep Cole from being our number option today. Through his first five starts, Cole has a ridiculous 50:3 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and has whiffed at least double-digit batters in three of those. The Tigers strike out at a 27.5% clip against righties (third highest), and over the last week, no team has struck out more frequently (35.7%). Even if he allows a solo shot or two, Cole will mostly keep runners off base and dominate yet again.
2 – Yu Darvish, RH/Padres ($9,500 DK, $11,000 FD)
The Giants are a pesky bunch, but Darvish has the arsenal and pitch mix to cool them off in a jiffy. He did just that back on April 6 when he struck out seven in six innings with just three hits allowed. The projected starting lineup is hitting near the Mendoza line against him over time, and the Giants have the third-lowest implied run line (3.2) today.
3 – Shane Bieber, RH/Indians ($10,700 DK, $12,000 FD)
The 1C option is Bieber, as he has been outstanding yet again this season, leading the American League with 57 strikeouts. He has walked 13 batters and allowed five homers in 36.1 innings, but there wouldn’t be any reason to worry about this start today other than the other stellar options we have. This White Sox offense isn’t really humming offensively and just isn’t the same without Eloy Jimenez. Earlier this season, Bieber mowed them down with a complete game shutout on just three hits allowed and 11 strikeouts.
4 – Lance McCullers, RH/Astros ($8,500 DK, $7,400 FD)
5 – Pablo Lopez, RH/Marlins ($7,800 DK, $8,100 FD)
With the fantastic aces on our slate today, there isn’t much reason to give these guys too hard of a look, but price points dictate consideration as our SP2 on DK and possibly in GPP’s for FD. A good matchup for McCullers since the Rays have really struggled to consistently hit and several of their good hitters are at or around the Mendoza line (Lowe .167, Adames .139, Brosseau .185, Meadows .217, Kiermaier .220). Moreover, they’re striking out at a 25% clip against RHP, and McCullers could be a troubling matchup for them. As for Lopez, he’s been outstanding with 32 K and just 8 BB in five starts, with opposing batters hitting a mere .212 against him. Sure, the Nationals have Trea and some pesky guys, but without Juan Soto, this is not an offense to be afraid of.
DK SPECIAL: Andrew Heaney, LH/Angels ($6,800)
Ah, the ol’ Heaney special. We’ve seen this story play out poorly before, right? The fact is he offers immense strikeout upside and can go deep into the game against one of baseball’s least frightening lineups. The Mariners have yet to call up their rookie stud Kelenic, and their best hitter (Mitch Haniger) sat out the last couple games with an undisclosed issue. If he sits out again today, it really boosts Heaney’s viability as a building block for DK cash lineups. Heaney whiffed 10 Astros in his last start and racked up 19 strikeouts in three starts against a similar Mariners’ team last season.
Pitchers to Target Against
- Chase Anderson (RHP, Phillies) – Brutal in four starts this season: 16.2 IP – 12 ER, 3 HR, 8 BB and two hit batters. Last season in 34 IP, allowed 11 HR (3.00 HR/9) with a .431 wOBA to LHH and a .397 to RHH. Has a 41% hard hit rate against RHH this season.
- Mike Fiers (RHP, Athletics) – In for a spot start. Top five in homers allowed since 2017, allowed 19 HR in 95 IP (1.81 HR/9) in his last full season (2019). Career 4.71 FIP. Bad against both handedness but worse against RHH.
- Tarik Skubal (LHP, Tigers) – First career start in Yankee Stadium. In 38 career innings against RHH: .388 wOBA, 7.50 FIP, 6.10 xFIP, 10.3% BB and a whopping 3.32 HR/9.
- Kohei Arihara (RHP, Rangers) – First season in MLB, has a 50% hard hit rate and 12.9% barrel rate in five starts with a miniscule 14.3% strikeout rate. Lasted two innings in his last start (vs. White Sox) with 4 BB and 5 ER.
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)
Batter vs. Pitcher
C – J.T. Realmuto (PHI), Willson Contreras (CHC), Salvador Perez (KC)
1B – Joey Votto (CIN), Carlos Santana (KC), Jose Abreu (CHW)
2B – Whit Merrifield (KC)
3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE), Kris Bryant (CHC)
SS – n/a
OF – David Peralta (ARI), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Mitch Haniger (SEA), Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL), George Springer (TOR), Dominic Smith (NYM)
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
Overall Hitter Rankings
1 – Kyle Higashioka, RH/Yankees ($3,800 DK)
2 – Max Stassi, RH/Angels ($2,700 DK)
3 – Willson Contreras, RH/Cubs ($5,400 DK, $3,400 FD)
4 – Christian Vazquez, RH/Red Sox ($4,200 DK, $2,400 FD)
5 – James McCann, RH/Mets ($4,000 DK)
Notes: Yankees have the highest IRL (implied run line), and with the wind blowing out heavily, we’ll have a few targets here. One of them is their red-hot catcher Higashioka, who is still reasonably priced on DK. Stassi (LAA) is your sub-3k punt play, though he hits bottom of lineup, and we usually optimize his power by playing him against lefties. Contreras (CHC) is among the league leaders in homers but is the highest-priced backstop. Vazquez (BOS) and McCann (NYM) are a couple of decently priced, sneakier options for our builds. Plug this position in last today.
1 – Pete Alonso, RH/Mets ($5,600 DK, $3,800 FD)
2 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr, RH/Blue Jays ($5,700 DK, $4,000 FD)
3 – Eric Hosmer, LH/Padres ($4,400 DK, $3,500 FD)
4 – Yuli Gurriel, RH/Astros ($4,500 DK, $3,400 FD)
5 – Jesus Aguilar, RH/Marlins ($4,700 DK, $3,600 FD)
6 – Pavin Smith, LH/Diamondbacks ($3,700 DK, $3,000 FD)
Notes: Difficult decisions at first base, and it depends if you see any of these guys as building blocks today. At some point, we’d have to imagine this Mets’ lineup wakes the hell up and starts hitting. A matchup with Chase Anderson could help spark that, especially with the game in Philly – that’s why power-hitting Alonso (NYM) is the top choice. I do like Atlanta’s Drew Smyly more than most, but I don’t think there’s a southpaw out there who Guerrero Jr. (TOR) is scared of.
From the rest of the group, it will be Smith (ARI) who will see the highest number of DFS rosters based on his recent game logs, fact that he’s leading off, and because of price. Can’t beat the price aspect, but COL’s Jon Gray may have a decent outing here, and I’d rather lean on one of the other three. Aguilar (MIA) has homered in five of his last six games and will likely face lefty Lester. Gurriel (HOU) and Hosmer (SD) are good cash plays as well in their matchups and offer high floors with multi-hit upside.
1 – PUNT SPECIAL: Jon Berti, RH/Marlins ($3,100 DK, $2,300 FD)
2 – PUNT SPECIAL: Nico Hoerner (2B/SS), RH/Cubs ($3,200 DK, $2,600 FD)
3 – Jose Altuve, RH/Astros ($4,900 DK, $3,700 FD)
4 – Ozzie Albies, SW/Braves ($5,000 DK, $3,200 FD)
5 – Jake Cronenworth, LH/Padres ($3,800 DK, $2,900 FD)
Notes: Berti (MIA) and Hoerner (CHC) have prices that allow us to save some salary cap and not have to spend up at the position today. Berti should hit in the heart of the lineup today against the lefty Lester and has five runs in his last five games. Furthermore, Lester is an easy target to run on (Berti is a legit bag-stealer). If Hoerner is atop the lineup, he becomes a primary play, and you can use him on either site at shortstop if you prefer. Altuve (HOU) and Albies (ATL) are the two spend-ups, but their opposing pitchers (Yarbrough – TB, Ray – TOR) aren’t exactly easy matchups.
1 – Gio Urshela, RH/Yankees ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD)
2 – Rafael Devers, LH/Red Sox ($5,300 DK, $3,600 FD)
3 – PUNT SPECIAL: Matt Duffy, RH/Cubs ($2,600 DK, $2,100 FD)
4 – Jose Ramirez, SW/Cleveland ($5,400 DK, $3,800 FD)
5 – Mike Moustakas, LH/Reds ($4,400 DK, $3,000 FD)
6 – Kris Bryant, RH/Cubs ($4,800 DK, $3,800 FD)
Notes: Urshela (NYY) is once again the standout play as he has been hitting in the cleanup spot lately, and neither site has raised his price. Much too affordable, but I’ll never use the term ‘free square’ on anyone because this is the unpredictable game of baseball. Devers (BOS) and Ramirez (CLE) are our obvious big boppers, and the Red Sox have a nice matchup against Arihara today. Ramirez is the Combo Meal (HR/SB) King. Duffy (CHC) is a nice price, but the matchup isn’t as sweet. I’d rather roll with Urshela or spend up.
1 – DK PUNT: Dansby Swanson, RH/Braves ($3,700 DK, $2,700 FD)
2 – Fernando Tatis Jr., RH/Padres ($5,900 DK, $4,500 FD)
3 – Gleyber Torres, RH/Yankees ($4,200 DK, $2,400 FD)
4 – Francisco Lindor, SW/Mets ($5,100 DK, $3,000 FD)
5 – Bo Bichette, RH/Blue Jays ($5,700 DK, $3,700 FD)
6 – Trevor Story, RH/Rockies ($5,000 DK, $3,600 FD)
Notes: Swanson (ATL) has a fantastic price on both sites, but that’s partially because he’s hitting .198 this season. He’s a solid punt today in cash but specifically on DK, because on FD, there are more than enough affordable, more reliable shortstops to roster today. At some point, Torres (NYY) just has to start hitting. I understand if you want to see him get on a hot streak before rostering him, but it would make sense to see him heat up against a lefty with the wind blowing out and right after he did absolutely nothing in the Orioles’ series. The Lindor (NYM) price on FD is ultra-low and is in play today against Chase Anderson. In fact, I’d trust Lindor more than Swanson, so hopefully, you read this and aren’t just going off rankings.
1 – Ronald Acuña Jr., RH/Braves ($5,600 DK, $4,300 FD)
2 – FD SPECIAL: Alex Verdugo, LH/Red Sox ($3,200)
3 – Giancarlo Stanton, RH/Yankees ($5,200 DK, $3,700 FD)
4 – George Springer, RH/Blue Jays ($4,500 DK, $3,800 FD)
5 – Jesse Winker, LH/Reds ($5,100 DK, $3,700 FD)
6 – Byron Buxton, RH/Twins ($5,900 DK, $4,500 FD)
7 – Austin Meadows, LH/Rays ($3,400 DK, $3,000 FD)
8 – Michael Conforto, LH/Mets ($4,300 DK, $2,800 FD)
9 – Shohei Ohtani, LH/Angels ($4,900 DK, $4,000 FD)
10 – Trent Grisham, LH/Padres ($5,400 DK, $3,900 FD)
11 – FD SPECIAL: Marcell Ozuna, RH/Braves ($3,100)
- Aaron Hicks, SW/Yankees ($3,200)
- Kyle Tucker, LH/Astros ($3,100)
- Alex Kirilloff, LH/Twins ($2,500)
- Clint Frazier, RH/Yankees ($3,200)
- Jake Marisnick, RH/Cubs ($3,000)
- Kevin Kiermaier, LH/Rays ($2,000)
- Aaron Hicks, SW/Yankees ($2,300)
- Alex Kirilloff, LH/Twins ($2,000)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr., RH/Blue Jays ($2,500)
- Nick Senzel, RH/Reds ($2,300)
- Clint Frazier, RH/Yankees ($2,100)
- Jake Marisnick, RH/Cubs ($2,200)
Notes: Plenty of outfielders today to choose from, and a lot of them are going to come through on big scores. In terms of cash, Verdugo (BOS) on FD really does stick out as a great price for the matchup. Stanton (NYY) facing a lefty with the wind blowing out is a huge spot, as well. He has a .419 wOBA and a massive .331 ISO against southpaws in his career. Winker (CIN) has seen a price uptick, but he’s a man-on-fire hitting .377 and has a .424 ISO against RHP this season.
It’s odd seeing Buxton (MIN) with such a high price, and we don’t love targeting Brady Singer, but he’s coming off a 5-for-5 game with a homer and a swipe. Absolutely scorching at the plate and hitting everything in sight. Meadows (TB) has been struggling and hitting around .230, so I can feel your trepidation. The matchup with Lance McCullers isn’t ideal, but the price certainly is. Conforto (NYM) is another guy I’m expecting to turn the corner soon, and a matchup with Anderson in Philly is a perfect place to get going.
Way too many cheap, punt options, so we don’t have to worry too much about salary cap tonight. Hicks (NYY) really does stick out, but we want to be careful running out too many Yankees in cash just in case Tarik Skubal has his A-game. It was nice to see Gurriel Jr. smash a dinger the other day. He’s been ice cold but has been a notorious lefty-masher. He has a career .291 average against them, and his ISO against lefties (.257) is 70 points higher than against RHP.
DFS MLB Core 4
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Gerrit Cole
3B – Gio Urshela
OF – Alex Verdugo
OF – Michael Conforto
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP2 – Andrew Heaney (play one of Cole/Darvish/Bieber as SP1)
2B – Jon Berti
OF – Ronald Acuña Jr.
OF – Giancarlo Stanton