Everything you’ll need to stay above the payline in today’s DFS MLB Cash Games!
A six-game slate tonight starting at 7:10pm ET. We have Scott Bondar with his patented DFS MLB Early Bird, CJ Kaltenbach with the Cheat Sheet and Brian Healy doing the GPP article. I’ll be in the VIP Chat for the hour before lock and I’ll also be hopping on the Core 4 Livestream with Kyle Elfrink around 5:50pm ET. See you there!
Here is the entire content plan for today:
Early Bird – A complete writeup of all the early slate MLB games by the man, Scott Bondar.
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:
Thursday, May 13th
You know what today is? It’s Jarred Kelenic Day but also it’s Logan Gilbert Day. The much-anticipated debut of the Mariners’ highly regarded top hitting and pitching prospects. Gilbert
isn’t listed on FD was just listed on FD for $6,500 and he’s minimum salary on DK, surely to get attention in GPPs there as well as in some cash game lineups. Kelenic is available on DK only (at min salary) and I believe even his mother will play DFS today to lock in the 2k chalk. The other big storyline is struggling Reds’ ace Luis Castillo who is cheaper than he’s ever been in DFS but gets the tough task of pitching in the elevation of Coors Field. Not a recommended cash play with some good pitchers on the slate but a decent outing wouldn’t be shocking. Six games in all with the Astros leading the pack in popularity with their left-handed sluggers against homer-prone Mike Foltynewicz. Second-year stud Cristian Javier is having a fine season and comes in as the priciest SP on DK and the second most expensive behind Marlins’ rookie Trevor Rogers on FD.
Nothing to worry about on the weather front. One of our games is in a dome (Yankees-Rays) and three others are stadiums with retractable roofs, but either way, no rain to worry about. The two other games (A’s-Red Sox and Reds-Rockies) aren’t expecting any adverse weather either. No true wind factors in any of those games either but it’s supposed to be in the mid-70’s and partly cloudy in Coors Field. Better than what we’ve seen over the past few weeks.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center.
** Vegas lines not yet listed for OAK/BOS, KC/DET, NYY/TB
- Houston Astros: -190
- Cincinnati Reds: -140
- Cleveland Indians: -135
- New York Yankees: -130
Highest Run Expectancy
- Cincinnati Reds: 5.7
- Houston Astros: 5.0
- Colorado Rockies: 4.9
- Boston Red Sox: 4.6
Lowest Run Expectancy
- Texas Rangers: 3.6
- Seattle Mariners: 3.8
- Tampa Bay Rays: 3.8
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 4.0
Today's Pitchers Grid
Today’s Best Pitchers
Trevor Rogers, LH/Marlins ($9,300 DK, $9,900 FD)
Really did some digging, gave this some thought, and came to the conclusion that Rogers is the pitcher I trust most on this slate. It really is impressive that he came into his first full season with just 28 innings of pro experience and has been cruising through each of his starts. Through seven this season, dude has a 1.89 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP as opposing bats are hitting a mere .194 against him. Add to that one of the best strikeout rates of any pitcher (33.1%), a mere 4.8% barrel rate and – get this – a 16.5% swinging-strike rate. The Marlins are rare road favorites (-115) because he’s on the mound and these Dbacks don’t strike much fear in us especially without three of their best hitters (K.Marte, Walker, Calhoun). The one issue in Rogers’ game this season has been issuing free passes (9.9% walk rate) and that would be my only slight trepidation but that’s just picking nits.
Zach Plesac, RH/Cleveland ($8,300 DK, $8,400 FD)
I really don’t like this dude and have zero shares of 30 seasonal fantasy baseball teams but that had to do more with his ADP because I’ll be the first to admit that he’s a pretty damn good pitcher. His season did start off rough and his k-rate is down considerably (19.3%) from last season (27.7%) but he really does have some damn good control (4.3% BB this year, 2.9% last year) and induces mostly avoids seriously hard contact (23.1% this year). His latest start was an 8-inning gem with just three hits allowed and 7:0 K:BB against a red-hot Reds team. But my concern here goes beyond the numbers. It’s the fact that a Mariners’ team off to their best start to a season in a decade is adding a double dose of rookie studs into their proverbial arms with top-hitting prospect Jarred Kelenic and rookie RHP starter Logan Gilbert. The Mariners will be fired up for this one and perhaps this won’t end up being one of Plesac’s gems.
Now, this is how I feel about the rest of the arms on this slate:
Not even considering: Chi Chi Gonzalez (COL), Mike Foltynewicz (TEX), Merrill Kelly (ARI)
Don’t love the matchups: Rich Hill (TB), Garrett Richards (BOS)
Won’t be tempted by low price and only consider in GPP: Luis Castillo (CIN)
That leaves us with four guys who I’d also consider:
- Cristian Javier, RH/Astros ($10,000 DK, $9,200 FD)
No major issues with him. He’s a terrific young talent on a team with a good offense, good pitching coach and a pitcher-friendly home park. He’s flat-out dominant against RHH’s (.213 wOBA, .103 BAA) but he has struggled with lefty bats leading back to his rookie season and the Rangers are loaded with them (Gallo, Calhoun, Lowe, Dahl). Javier has also run into some hiccups in his latest two starts where he served up his first homers of the season (three in total) while walking six and giving up eight earned runs in 10.1 innings. He’s the biggest favorite on the board and the masses will lean his way because of the higher chance at the win and QS but I just don’t feel as good about him in this matchup as I do with Rogers. Famous last words.
- Jameson Taillon, RH/Yankees ($7,700 DK, $7,700 FD)
- Sean Manaea, LH/Athletics ($8,800 DK, $8,800 FD)
Prefer Taillon’s price tag but think Manaea is the better pitcher right now with the higher upside. It’s been ages but I still can’t forget his 10-K CGSO against the Red Sox back in April of 2018 and how he always seems to step up in big games. He’s been dominant this year with an ERA around 3.00 and allowing two runs or less in five of his last six starts. Manaea also whiffed 10 in his outing and I see a bunch of strikeouts both at the top and the bottom of the lineup. Probably still better for GPPs because who in their right minds plays anyone but top aces in Fenway. But I like him tonight. Taillon has been rather unpredictable from start to start, but overall, good results in his first year in the American League. The Rays have been one of the easiest targets for pitchers this year as their offense has struggled tremendously. Collectively, they’ve been just as bad against RHP (.302 wOBA, .147 ISO) as they have against LHP (.284 wOBA, .143 ISO). If you don’t trust the next rookie Mariner SP and believe the Kelenic vibe punctures Plesac, then Taillon is the next safest play to pair with Rogers on DK.
- Logan Gilbert, RH/Mariners ($4,000)
The kid is a bona fide stud and I’m expecting him to come out firing and pitch five nice innings with at least five strikeouts against Cleveland in front of his new home crowd. He’s stretched out and on schedule, last pitching five days ago in Triple-A, so I don’t believe there’s risk of an outing less than 5 IP unless he struggles. A good pairing with Rogers to allow you the flexibility to fit in all the Coors Field and Astros you want. Added on FD in the morning for $6,500 but I’d reserve him for GPPs there today and not in cash.
To sum it up:
- Rogers + Taillon or Plesac
- Rogers + Gilbert
- Two of Rogers, Javier, Plesac, Taillon
FanDuel (where there’s no Gilbert)
- Play Rogers
- Consider Taillon or Plesac
- Play Manaea on at least one GPP if making three lineups
Pitchers to Target Against
- Chi Chi Gonzalez (RH/Rockies) – Not many SP for us to pick on today but Chi Chi definitely tops the list as the Reds have the highest implied run line (5.7) on the slate. Gonzalez has a strikeout rate this season of just 11.8% and opposing batters are hitting .304 against him. Through five starts and two relief appearances, he has a 5.97 ERA and a 7.09 xERA. LHH’s have a .399 wOBA against him this season and he has a career WHIP of 1.75 against them. His career walk rate is 11.2% and career ERA in Coors Field is 5.00.
- Mike Foltynewicz (RH/Rangers) – He doesn’t throw 95-96 like he used to (closer to 93-94 these days) and he does have a decent K rate (21.8%) and walk rate (5.5%) this season. But Folty is tied for the MLB lead in homers allowed (11) and gives up excessively hard contact (statcast hard hit rate of 49.2% and a barrel rate of 11.9%). His Achilles Heel is left-handed power hitters and the Astros have quite a few of them. Foltynewicz’s wOBA against LHH’s is a whopping .442, xFIP is 6.16 and HR/9 is 3.45.
Those are our two primary pitchers to target against and the next two in line would be Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (facing the Marlins) and Luis Castillo in Coors Field though it wouldn’t be shocking to see him have a good outing. Some might target Cleveland bats against Mariners’ rookie Logan Gilbert making his MLB debut but that won’t be me tonight. Athletics’ left-handed hitters against Garrett Richards might make some fine targets in GPPs and possibly Yankees’ RHH bats against Rich Hill but I’m less enamored by this with the game at Tropicana Field.
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)
|6||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||65||278||22||50||56||2||14.7||15.80||0.345||0.347||0.345||0.450||0.690||0.473||204|
|18||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||60||264||18||53||41||13||13.6||22.70||0.312||0.308||0.285||0.390||0.597||0.415||164|
|22||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SDP||51||214||20||45||46||13||10.7||28.00||0.374||0.279||0.273||0.346||0.647||0.405||162|
Batter vs. Pitcher
C – Elias Diaz (COL)
1B – Matt Olson (OAK)
2B – DJ LeMahieu (NYY), Aledmys Diaz (HOU), Nick Senzel (CIN)
3B – n/a
SS – Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL), Raimel Tapia (COL)
For more, visit our BvP Matchup Page!
Overall Hitter Rankings
1 – Tucker Barnhart, LH/Reds ($4,100 DK)
2 – Dom Nuñez, LH/Rockies ($4,600 DK) or Elias Diaz, RH/Rockies ($2,300)
3 – Jason Castro, LH/Astros ($3,200 DK)
4 – Christian Vazquez, RH/Red Sox ($4,400 DK)
Notes: Not particularly stoked about the backstops today but the guys playing in Coors will get the first look. Barnhart (CIN) has cooled off after a red-hot April and his average has dipped from .375 to .275 over the past 2.5 weeks. Diaz (COL) usually only plays against lefty pitchers but might get the nod today with a bit of decent history against Castillo. He’d be the guy I’d lock in on DK for the dirt-cheap price if he plays. Castro (HOU) is the other sneaky one as he still has a bit of power left in the tank and could be in the lineup against the righty, Folty.
1 – Matt Olson, LH/Athletics ($4,200 DK, $3,000 FD)
2 – Jesus Aguilar, RH/Marlins ($4,500 DK, $3,400 FD)
3 – Michael Chavis, RH/Red Sox ($2,600 DK, $2,200 FD) – punt if leadoff
4 – FD PUNT: Seth Brown, LH/Athletics ($2,500)
5 – *Yuli Gurriel, RH/Astros ($5,100 DK, $3,500 FD) – left sick last night; if active
Notes: Olson (OAK) gets the nod for top option among first basemen since he’s a terrific hitter with top-3% power in the league and is a lefty bat hitting in Fenway. SP Richards has been very hit and miss from start to start and in his most recent one, gave up 8 H, 4 ER to the Orioles. In Richards’ lone start at home this season he walked six batters and gave up four runs. Aguilar (MIA) is on a heater and has now crushed dingers in three straight games. Chavis (BOS) is in play at that price on both sites if leading off, regardless of the matchup. Same with Brown (OAK) if he happens to hit second tonight. Brown is 1B only on FD and 1B/OF on DK.
1 – Nick Senzel, RH/Reds ($3,700 DK, $3,000 FD)
2 – Ryan McMahon, LH/Rockies ($5,000 DK, $3,300 FD)
3 – Jose Altuve, RH/Astros ($5,600 DK, $4,000 FD)
4 – Brandon Lowe, LH/Rays ($4,600 DK, $2,800 FD)
Notes: Senzel (CIN) has been leading off for the Reds lately and getting the opportunity for five at-bats in Coors Field at those prices is worth the investment. He’s got great speed but has been caught five-of-seven times trying to steal a base this season. McMahon (COL) is enjoying a nice season with 8 HR so far but he hasn’t hit one in almost two weeks. Altuve (HOU) is pricey and usually a solid cash play but the lefty Astros are the ones who get priority. Lowe (TB) in the mix for his power and because despite the fact Jameson Taillon is a good pitcher, he’s not invincible.
1 – Mike Moustakas, LH/Reds ($4,700 DK, $3,500 FD)
2 – Alex Bregman, RH/Astros ($5,500 DK, $3,800 FD)
3 – Kyle Seager, LH/Mariners ($4,500 DK, $3,000 FD)
4 – Jose Ramirez, SW/Cleveland ($5,300 DK, $4,000 FD)
Notes: Moustakas (CIN) isn’t usually cash game material but as a power lefty bat against sour righty Chi Chi, he’s my favorite hot corner man on the slate. He crushed a solo shot last night and has driven in at least one run in six of his last nine. Bregman does most of his damage against LHP (.433 wOBA this season) but he may still face one in this game and sure could crush one off Folty tonight. Seager (SEA) and JoRam (CLE) round out the top four though I seem to prefer the pitching in that game so will likely lean on one of the top two options.
1 – Trevor Story, RH/Rockies ($5,300 DK, $3,600 FD)
2 – Eugenio Suarez, RH/Reds ($3,900 DK, $3,700 FD)
3 – Xander Bogaerts, RH/Red Sox ($5,500 DK, $3,500 FD)
4 – DK PUNT: Andres Gimenez, LH/Cleveland ($2,500)
5 – FD PUNT: Amed Rosario, RH/Cleveland ($2,100)
Notes: Story (COL) hasn’t truly gotten hot yet but in Coors against Castillo and a broken bullpen, he’s the top option on the slate. He has three swipes in his last 10 games as well and you know the homers are coming. Suarez (CIN) is always a worthy power play and technically has a better matchup against Chi Chi but we shouldn’t be stacking one team on this slate. Bogaerts (BOS) has just one hit in his last four games yet still is hitting .333 over his last 10 which is all we really need to know. Listed because the position isn’t very deep tonight. Gimenez (CLE) has been brutal this season and hits near the bottom of his lineup but his DK tag is ultra-cheap and he’s a good bet to try to swipe a bag or two if he can get on base. Same with teammate Rosario who could be in play if he hits second today.
1 – Kyle Tucker, LH/Astros ($3,500 DK, $3,300 FD)
2 – Yordan Alvarez, LH/Astros ($5,200 DK, $4,200 FD)
3 – DK ONLY: Jarred Kelenic, LH/Mariners ($2,000)
4 – Tyler Naquin, LH/Reds ($4,300 DK, $3,400 FD)
5 – Jesse Winker, LH/Reds ($5,100 DK, $4,500 FD)
6 – Michael Brantley, LH/Astros ($4,600 DK, $3,200 FD)
7 – Charlie Blackmon, LH/Rockies ($4,500 DK, $3,500 FD)
8 – Giancarlo Stanton, RH/Yankees ($5,400 DK, $3,600 FD)
9 – Nick Castellanos, RH/Reds ($6,000 DK, $4,400 FD)
10 – Austin Meadows, LH/Rays ($4,000 DK, $2,700 FD)
11 – J.D. Martinez, RH/Red Sox ($5,300 DK, $4,100 FD)
12 – Eddie Rosario, LH/Cleveland ($3,300 DK, $3,100 FD)
13 – Mitch Haniger, RH/Mariners ($4,000 DK, $3,200 FD)
Notes: Off the top, I’ll point out Hunter Renfroe is just $2,900 and facing a lefty but he’s still probably best used as a GPP play since Manaea is a strong pitcher and there are plenty of options in the outfield today.
Ok, so what the hell is wrong with FanDuel that neither Kelenic nor Gilbert are listed in their player pool. Either way, go ahead and join the party locking Kelenic in on DK where he comes in at minimum salary.
Expect Tucker (HOU) to be the super duper chalk, especially on DK where he’s miserably mispriced at just 3.5k. He’s chalk you simply don’t want to fight against on either site and he’ll be in the core today. The tough part will be choosing between the other Astros’ lefty bats (Alvarez, Brantley) with most leaning Alvarez because of the power upside. But Brantley is in play as well since he’s been one of the most reliable cash game plays of the last half-decade.
All of the Reds’ outfielders are in play too but it is wild to see Winker priced at the top on FD and ahead of Castellanos. The sharp play might be Naquin who is considerably cheaper than both and has been on a heater of late after slugging homers on Saturday and again on Monday. Blackmon is my favorite play on the Rockies but worth noting he hasn’t been hitting well – just .226 with 2 HR this season. Stanton (NYY) disappointed us the last couple days and to be honest, the Yankees just struggle in Tropicana Field. Rich Hill is dangerous when he’s on his game but could certainly make a mistake against Stanton who is a true lefty-killer. It’s also odd to see Judge priced at just 3.2k on FD which will be tempting, but hey, it could also be a trap. Again, I’m just cautious with Yankees in Tropicana based on their history there.
Martinez (BOS) is one of baseball’s best power hitters against lefties over the last five seasons but he’s lower on our list because of deserved respect for Manaea. But worth noting that Fenway is no easy place to pitch. Rosario (CLE) and Haniger (SEA) are the two one-offs you can consider to differentiate but probably better utilized in tournaments today.
DFS MLB Core 4
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Trevor Rogers (Marlins, $9,900)
OF – Kyle Tucker (Astros, $3,300)
OF – Yordan Alvarez (Astros, $4,200)
3B – Mike Moustakas (Reds, $3,500)
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP1 – Trevor Rogers (Marlins, $9,300)
OF – Kyle Tucker (Astros, $3,500) – I’d also play 1 of Yordan or Brantley
OF – Jarred Kelenic (Mariners, $2,000)
3B – Mike Moustakas (Reds, $4,700)