I am just going to come right out and ask it. Are you guys starting to feel…”normal” again? I know, I know we’re nowhere near where we were fourteen months ago in terms of our regular daily lives, but for me, things are beginning to resemble real life.
As I am writing this, I am in a house full of people, celebrating the Easter holiday. That is something that hasn’t happened (for me) in a long long time. What’s more is that I am watching 12 MLB games all at one time, sweating out the final results of my DFS MLB lineups on this holiday evening. Truth be told, I don’t even mind if we hang on to our standing of 38th place of a 100-person single entry 50/50.
The last four days have been surreal. Grinding out lineups, tracking pitch f/x data, spying on the lazy optimizers, arguing with Ted over who we are using (he has an early season crush on the Orioles) and watching our lineup position swing wildly from pitch to pitch. It’s absolutely magical and I am here for every last second of it.
Today we begin a new era here on Elite Fantasy. We are going to be combining our DFS Livestreams into one brand new show appropriately named The Core 4 DFS Livestream. For 90 minutes every weekday, our team will be bringing you up to the moment news, injury updates, weather, lineup information and expert analysis for MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA, MMA and more. This is a new thing. For years we have been doing single sport livestreams but our team is so incredibly diverse now that it is time to start utilizing this talent. This is also the best way to make sure we are never, ever letting down any of our users by spending more attention on one sport than the other. I have been producing fantasy sports content for 16 years now and I know that as every season winds down and another starts up, many of us gravitate to the new sport. That is true for both content providers and for users.
But now we are opening it up to every single one of YOU. If you want to talk NBA, ask NBA questions. If you want to talk MLB, ask us MLB questions. We’ve never done NHL livestreams despite having the most talented collection of NHL analysts south of the Canadian border. Alright, Todd Cordell is north of the border, but you get what I am saying. How can you be sure that your sport will get adequate coverage on the Core 4 DFS Livestream? We’ve brought in a couple professional hosts that will be able to blend our incredible talent of Elite Sports analysts with a time efficient, segmented routine that will deliver all of the important details.
So, for 90 minutes every day (except Sunday) we will be live on this very site for you. No matter what sport you are playing, no matter what questions you may have. If at any moment you need live in person attention for your sport, jump into our chat rooms and talk to our lineup coach who will guide you in the right direction immediately. It might take a little getting used to but I promise you, to your face, that you are going to love this new format.
A quick reminder about the content we are providing here today and every day for DFS MLB:
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 Cheatsheet – 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
Also Be Sure To Bookmark:
The Opening Line – Hosted by Frank Brank & Fried Egg Paulie
Lunch Money – Hosted by Claudia Bellofatto
Baseball Elite Podcast – Hosted by Kyle Elfrink & Ray Flowers
Remember that the Braves/Nationals game has been postponed. I know that there are six additional early games today but as always, for the purposes of this writeup I am only focusing on the main seven game slate. This slate begins at 7pm ET and will give us the proper time to digest all of the information before settling on a lineup. I understand that some of you like playing the early slates and I promise you that we are going to be bringing back our Early Bird article to focus on those early slate games. But for today, there are only really three games at the same time and two of them (Detroit & Cleveland) have serious weather issues. Hard pass.
We’ve got a lot to sort through for these seven games. The Mets are finally opening the season which means we get a true ace in Jacob deGrom on the mound as well as one of my favorite preseason sleepers in Frankie Montas going against the always tough Dodgers. Meanwhile we get the red hot Astros and Dodgers bats while getting to pick on the lowly Boston Red Sox.
It’s a brand-new season, a brand new week and we’ve got a brand new look here at Elite Fantasy. Let’s start out on the right foot and get that dub tonight!
MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE
Adding to Player Pool:
Evan Longoria: Longo is 4 for his first 11 with 2 HR to start the season and has always displayed great power vs LHP. We need value tonight and he and Darin Run might be the perfect salary relief to keep deGrom in our lineups.
Darin Ruf: Hitting 5th for the Giants tonight and is a notorious lefty crusher. Can use him with Longo or independently as he is minimum price across the industry tonight.
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox – Chilly with temperatures in the mid-to-high 40’s at gametime. There will be a significant cross wind here too which we saw on Friday help John Means and Nathan Eovaldi duel to a three total run, 15 strikeout game.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center
1) New York Mets: -210
2) San Diego Padres: -175
3) Los Angeles Dodgers: -150
4) Chicago Whitesox: -125
5) Tampa Bay Rays: -120
Highest Run Expectancy
1) Los Angeles Dodgers: 4.99
2) Tampa Bay Rays: 4.93
3) San Diego Padres: 4.90
4) Chicago Cubs: 4.75
5) Los Angeles Angels: 4.64
Lowest Run Expectancy
1) Philadelphia Phillies: 2.75
2) San Francisco Giants: 3.60
3) Oakland A’s: 4.01
4) Seattle Mariners: 4.12
5) New York Mets: 4.25
Today's Pitchers Grid
TODAY’S BEST PITCHERS
1) Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets ($11,000/$10,700) – The bad news is that the Mets have yet to play a game this season after having their first series against Washington postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak on the Nationals. The good news, at least for us is that now we get the best pitcher in baseball over the last three years on the mound against a team he has absolutely dominated throughout his career. The Phillies have hit just .222/.289/.335 with a .278 wOBA and a 30.9% strikeout rate against deGrom. The key to using him on FD is whether or not we love our value hitting options or not. On DK we can easily balance his salary by using one of the value options as our other starter.
2) Michael Wacha, Rays ($6500/$7200) – Believe it or not, Wacha is just 29 years old and is indeed positioned for a bounce back season here in Tampa Bay this year. There is no getting around how awful Wacha was in New York last year. But there is a track record of very solid seasons here and the Rays are very excited about his performance this Spring where he went 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 12 K’s in 15 IP. He’s had success against the Red Sox in his career only allowing a .194 BAA & .276 wOBA though in very limited exposure. The Red Sox have scored just five runs in three games while hitting just .133 with a .168 wOBA. Oh and that was against Orioles pitching so this Rays staff should have little problem shutting them down another day.
3) Dustin May, Dodgers ($6800/$8800) – May is really the second best option next to deGrom but he is facing a dangerous Oakland lineup and is priced up quite a bit on DK specifically. I also really like Frankie Montas repertoire and do not think the Vegas odds are quite right here. May is a groundball master who doesn’t miss a ton of bats. He did show improved velocity this Spring which helped him go 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 21 K’s in 19 innings. I prefer to pair Wacha with deGrom on DK but if you want to be slightly more contrarian, May is the guy to go to.
4) Carlos Rodon, LHP, Whitesox ($6300/$6700) – Listeners of the Elite Sports show on SiriusXM radio know that I had Rodon as one of my potential breakout pitchers for 2021. So, to get on him early especially in a terrific matchup would be ideal. Rodon was at one point one of the top pitching prospects in baseball before shoulder and a torn UCL derailed his career. But he was non-tendered this offseason after a terrible 2020 season and had to earn his spot in the rotation this Spring. He committed himself to working out, getting in great shape, eating right and changing his mechanics. This has resulted in improved velocity and a significant change in the way his curveball splices the zone. The turnaround was real as he struck out 16 hitters in 13.2 innings this Spring and allowed just two runs in the process. The Mariners were dead last in BA vs LHP in 2020 at .190 and last in wOBA at .271. If he can make it through a game healthy, which is always a concern, Rodon should give us a nice return on this minimal investment tonight.
PITCHERS TO TARGET AGAINST
1) Matt Moore, Phillies – Has started 2 games since 2018, in 2018 had a .301 BAA, 40.9 FB%, 13.8% HR/FB% & 47.5% hard contact rate. In Spring Training, gave up 8 ER in 15.2 innings, a .241 BAA and a .339 wOBA.
2) Anthony DeSclafani, Giants – 5.63 xFIP, 1.69 WHIP, .295 BAA, 17.9% HR/FB%, 36.2% hard contact rate in 2020.
3) Luis Garcia, Astros – 38.2% FB%, 41.2% hard contact rate & 10.6% swinging strike rate in 2020. Threw just five innings in Spring Training giving up 11 baserunners and five earned runs in those 5.2 IP.
4) Nick Pivetta, Red Sox – 5.19 xFIP, .281 BAA, 48.9% FB%, 17.4% HR/FB%, 2.30 HR/9 & 44.7% hard contact rate in 2020. Went 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .275 BAA, .358 wOBA in 13 innings during Spring Training.
(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 – Jason Castro
1B – Rhys Hoskins, Jared Walsh
2B – Keston Hiura, Kolten Wong, Jonathan Villar, Enrique Hernandez
3B – Kris Bryant
SS – Francisco Lindor, Orlando Arcia, Corey Seager
OF – Bryce Harper, Jake Marisnick, Michael Brantley, Mookie Betts, Mike Yastrzemski
For More BvP info check out our BvP Matchup Page
OVERALL HITTER RANKINGS
1) Willson Contreras, Cubs ($3000/$4900)
2) James McCann, Mets ($2500/$3700)
3) Buster Posey, Giants ($2700/$3800)
4) Victor Caratini, Padres ($2300/$3300)
Notes: It’s really not a good idea to spend up for catcher unless you are getting extreme upside, but Contreras was raking this Spring with eight extra base hits and a .440 OBP in 50 PA. McCann is a lefty killer who owns a career .276/.342/.492 triple slash against LHP. Posey has started the season hot smacking 2 HR already and there is reason to believe he could continue now that he’s fully healthy for the first time in three seasons.
1) Eric Hosmer, Padres ($3700/$5200)
2) Jared Walsh, Angels ($2200/$3900)
3) Pete Alonso, Mets ($3700/$4800)
4) Matt Olson, A’s ($3200/$4700)
Notes: Hosmer is on absolute fire to start the season posting a .857 BA, 1.093 wOBA and 550 wRC+ to go along with his 2 HR and 6 RBI this season. Then there is Jared Walsh who single handedly carried the Angels to victory on Sunday night with a 2 HR & 4 RBI. He is hitting .500/.600/2.000 to start the season and has an .819 OPS Vs RHP. We’re projecting a lower ownership on Alonso tonight and there isn’t a first baseman with as much power potential especially against a gas can like Matt Moore.
1) Keston Hiura, Brewers ($2900/$4400)
2) Brandon Lowe, Rays ($3300/$4800)
3) Ty France, Mariners ($2800/$3800)
4) Jose Altuve, Astros ($3800/$5200)
5) Jake Cronenworth, Padres ($2900/$3400)
Notes: All five of these guys are way above our cash game line for this evening. I’ll be taking this opportunity to use the combination of lowest owned and lowest priced second baseman. That will likely be Brandon Lowe on FD as he just smashes at Fenway Park hitting a ridiculous .438/.514/.938 with 4 HR and 11 RBI in Boston during his career. On DK, I’d love to use Hiura if I have the salary leftover but will likely pay down to Cronenworth who has a 57.1% hard contact rate to start the 2021 season.
1) Alex Bregman, Astros ($4500/$5500)
2) Travis Shaw, Brewers ($2900/$4300)
3) Jeff McNeil, Mets ($2600/$3600)
4) Manny Machado, Padres ($4000/$5600)
Notes: Bregman is dialed in right now after finishing Spring Training with a flurry, he has put up a .772 wOBA, 2 HR and an .875 ISO over the first week of the season. Shaw will likely go under owned tonight as few will uncover that Trevor Williams’ changeup just can’t keep lefties off balance. I’m moving McNeil over to 3B even though he is 2B eligible because he offers us great value here and we have other value at the 2B position.
1) Francisco Lindor, Mets ($3700/$4800)
2) Corey Seager, Dodgers ($4000/$5600)
3) Donovan Solano, Giants ($3000/$3200)
Notes: It’s a pay up day at SS as Fernando Tatis Jr will likely again be among the highest owned at the position. Our model prefers both Francisco Lindor or Corey Seager if you are paying up. Lindor has absolutely killed Matt More going 8-13 (.615) with a HR and a 2B against him. Seager is the hottest hitting shortstop in the league right now owning a .667 BA and .672 wOBA to start the season. Unfortunately, Solano isn’t eligible at SS on DK which really limits our value there tonight. You can add him to the 2B eligible players on DK but that doesn’t help us much.
1) Austin Meadows, Rays ($3500/$4400)
2) Tommy Pham, Padres ($3200/$3700)
3) Mike Trout, Angels ($4500/$5700)
4) Christian Yelich, Brewers ($4300/$5500)
5) Justin Upton, Angels ($2600/$3400)
6) Yoshi Tsutsugo, Rays ($2500/$2900)
7) Luis Robert, Whitesox ($3700/$5300)
8) Shohei Ohtani, Angels ($2900/$4500)
Notes: Austin Meadows (71.4%) and Tommy Pham (62.5%) are two of the top six in MLB in hard contact rates so far this season. Meadows has two homeruns to show for it while Pham has had a lot of bad luck so far. Justin Upton is another guy who has looked so much better in the early going then his stat line gives him credit for. In fact, the entire Angels outfield appears to be in a great spot tonight but please check on Shohei Ohtani’s status before plugging him in your lineup. He left last night’s game with a knee injury and may get a day off or two as a result.
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Jacob deGrom, Mets ($11,000)
1B – Jared Walsh, Angels ($2200)
2B – Brandon Lowe, Rays ($3300)
OF – Justin Upton, Angels ($2600)
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP1 – Jacob deGrom, Mets ($10,700)
1B – Jared Walsh, Angels ($3900)
SS – Francisco Lindor, Mets ($4800)
OF – Justin Upton, Angels ($3400)