What if I told you that in the near future, you are going to be able to finally peak behind the curtain here at Elite Fantasy and see (almost) exactly what we use as a guideline for DFS MLB matchups? Well, you will have that option here soon.
I, in conjunction with our team here, have been developing a tool that will give you all an opportunity to see the grading system behind a lot of our content including the Cash Game Breakdown on a daily basis. I cannot remember being more excited about a tool in my 16-year fantasy career and I will make the promise to each of you that every single one of you will appreciate this tool. This isn’t an optimizer. This isn’t a simple calculation of what a player has done previously or recently. This is about identifying who these players are based on HUNDREDS of data points at our disposal and grading how they matchup with every other player in the league.
God, I wish that I can get more specific with you, but I cannot do that yet. Just like everything that takes copious amounts of tech work, this tool is taking longer than expected but we are getting very close to the launch. What’s even better is that we have two more critical tools to unveil here by the end of this week. Many of you have asked me why I wasn’t on the Cash Game Breakdown much last week and this is why. I just want each of you to know that not a day goes by without us working to provide you the BEST DFS experience possible.
Let’s all remember that it is barely Mid-May right now and that there is a long way to go in the 2021 MLB season. It’s been an up and down battle so far for me and I know for some of you as well. Ted and I have played 43 slates this MLB season and have some out 22-17-4 so far. The four “ties” are slates in which we won some and lost some and came out neutral monetarily. Do I blame Ted for playing a couple early only garbage slates? Absolutely. Am I testing whether he will ever ready this intro? Of course.
The bottom line is that I don’t like these results. They aren’t up to the standards we’ve set over the years and that any of us expect. If this was 2020 and we only had 60 MLB games there would be some big problems around here. But it isn’t. In fact, we’ve got over 140 more DFS MLB slates to play this season plus playoffs. This shit ain’t over by a long shot so whether you have been struggling or smashing, it is way too early to give 2021 a grade.
I am extremely confident that the lineup optimizers that have been pulling random plays like Eduardo Escobar out of their asses, will soon fall apart. I’ve seen it every single year since I’ve been playing DFS. While others will continue to hit “submit” on their horrible optimizers with their simpleton projections, we are building real tools for the future of DFS. We will not be out worked; we will not be defeated.
I know, I know. “Jeff, stop talking about this shit and actually show us.” You’re right. I shouldn’t even be talking about it but just couldn’t help myself today. My apologies.
**PLEASE NOTE: The DFS Core 4 Livestream will now be 60 minutes in length and begin at 5:30pm ET. It will also be solely focused on DFS MLB for the next few months with some exceptions for bigger events in other sports.**
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
We need to be thankful also that this Giants/Reds game isn’t on the main slate because we’ve got some real weather concerns in Cincinnati but nowhere else tonight.
It’s only an eight-game slate here tonight but we certainly have plenty of pitchers to choose from. There are three absolute studs on the hill this evening in Gerrit Cole, Yu Darvish and Walker Buehler. What’s even better is that our value options are actually a couple of pitchers I really believe in and wouldn’t have any problem using tonight if we can find the right bats to overcome the great starters.
We don’t have any Coors Field, Great American Ballpark, TD Ballpark or any other major offensive influencer to lean on tonight either. That will help us because we are going to have to use our skills to determine whether these Yankees and Nationals bats can stay as hot as they were over the weekend.
I am excited about a certain under the radar matchup to start this week as well. Any guess as to what team that might be? How well have you been paying attention?
Let’s find out.
Here is the DFS MLB Cash Game Breakdown for Monday:
San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds – This game is NOT on the main slate but there is a chance for it to be delayed or even postponed. It’ll be raining in Cincinnati all afternoon so a possible delay at the start seems likely.
For more info and updated forecast, please check out our MLB Weather Center
1) New York Yankees: -280
2) San Diego Padres: -220
3) Los Angeles Dodgers: -200
4) Seattle Mariners: -155
5) Chicago Cubs: -145
Highest Run Expectancy
1) Los Angeles Angels: 4.94
2) New York Yankees: 4.65
3) Chicago Whitesox: 4.52
4) Seattle Mariners: 4.47
5) Chicago Cubs: 4.30
Lowest Run Expectancy
1) Colorado Rockies: 3.01
2) Arizona Diamondbacks: 3.23
3) Detroit Tigers: 3.64
4) Texas Rangers: 3.78
5) New York Mets: 3.86
Today's Pitchers Grid
TODAY’S BEST PITCHERS
1) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Yankees ($12,300/$10,900) – Can we take a moment to remember that the Pittsburgh Pirates had no use for Gerrit Cole? What a miserable organization. Anyways, Cole is AVERAGING 53.3 FD point per game and has gone for 61+ in three of his last four starts. He owns an absolutely ridiculous 40.8% strikeout rate with a 15.8% swinging strike rate this season. Maybe even more absurd is his 1.6% BB% this year. You really just can’t get more dominant than what Cole has been so far this season and this matchup should be no problem for him at all. The Rangers strikeout the eighth most of all teams in MLB this season with a 26.1% strikeout rate this season. The only issue here is whether we should be paying a 20% premium for Cole over two other starters who also are in tremendous spots this week.
2) Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers ($9900/$10,000) – I like using Buehler because we always know what we are going to get. He doesn’t have the upside of Gerrit Cole or Yu Darvish for that matter, but he offers us world class consistency instead. Buehler has gone at least six innings in each of his first seven starts to the season and has recorded a quality start in all but two. The Dodgers righty has a 27.6% strikeout rate, 1.8% BB% and 43.6% groundball rate this season. He has had some issues with the longball but this Diamondbacks squad has just a .148 ISO against RHP this season. On DK, I don’t see any reason to pay down from Cole to Buehler but on FD where there is a $2400 difference it makes a lot more sense.
3) Yusei Kikuchi, LHP, Mariners ($9000/$7800) – Of course you can use Yu Darvish in cash games today if that is your preference but hopefully you know that already. I’ll make the case for Kikuchi here because he grades out as cash viable according to our model here tonight. The “Kooch” doesn’t offer Cole/Buehler/Darvish upside but don’t overlook his 25.6% strikeout rate on the season. He has five quality starts on seven total starts this season and a low 27.4% hard contact rate against this season. Even if we don’t get massive strikeouts, his 51.7% groundball rate is third best on the slate and helps to limit any potential damage against him. The Tigers are dead last in MLB with a .247 wOBA, 0.67 ISO and 33.8% strikeout rate against LHP.
PITCHERS TO TARGET AGAINST
1) Jordan Lyles, Rangers – .295 BAA, 4.94 xFIP, 4.64 SIERA, 1.61 WHIP, 46.2% FB%, 16.7% HR/FB%, 2.13 HR/9, 40.8% hard contact rate in 2021.
2) Sam Hentges, Indians – .316 BAA, 4.66 xFIP, 4.17 SIERA, 1.76 WHIP, 41.9% FB%, 22.2% HR/FB%, 2.63 HR/9, 37.2% hard contact rate, 8.0% swinging strike rate in 2021.
3) Patrick Sandoval, Angels – .246 BAA, 4.11 xFIP, 4.22 SIERA, 1.36 WHIP, 34.2% HR/FB%, 2.66 HR/9, 39.6% hard contact rate combined in 2020 and 2021.
4) Max Fried, Braves – .315 BAA, 4.22 xFIP, 4.19 SIERA, 1.73 WHIP, 31.8% FB%, 19.0% HR/FB%, 1.64 HR/9 in 2021.
5) Madison Bumgarner, Diamondbacks – .248 BAA, 4.90 xFIP, 4.41 SIERA, 44.3% FB%, 16.1% HR/FB%, 1.90 HR/9, 42.7% hard contact rate combined in 2020 & 2021.
(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)
|7||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||TOR||62||264||20||47||52||2||15.2||15.50||0.338||0.340||0.338||0.447||0.676||0.467||200|
|21||Ronald Acuna Jr.||ATL||58||256||18||51||39||12||14.1||21.50||0.319||0.294||0.282||0.391||0.601||0.416||164|
|25||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SDP||48||201||18||43||40||13||11.4||28.40||0.368||0.291||0.276||0.353||0.644||0.407||163|
BATTER VS. PITCHER
C – Mitch Garver
1B – Freddie Freeman, Jose Abreu, Josh Bell
2B – Jeff McNeil, Leury Garcia, Niko Goodrum
3B – Josh Donaldson, Justin Turner, Manny Machado
SS – Jorge Polanco, Tim Anderson
OF – Nelson Cruz, Billy Hamilton, Jason Heyward, Joey Gallo, Khris Davis, Giancarlo Stanton, Charlie Blackmon
For More BvP info check out our BvP Matchup Page
OVERALL HITTER RANKINGS
1) Wilson Contreras, Cubs ($3400/$5000)
2) James McCann, Mets ($2000/$3200)
3) Gary Sanchez, Yankees ($2300/$5100)
4) Victor Caratini, Padres ($2200/$2900)
Notes: Catchers absolutely stink today so we will have to get creative. I love using catchers against pitchers they have a long history of catching and the Contreras/Lester matchup is dripping with familiarity. McCann is a career .275/.340/.489 hitter against left handed pitching and Fried is giving up 19.8% HR/FB rate this season. Gary Sanchez is starting to make great contact (42.5%) over the last four games and has two homeruns to show for it. When he gets hot, he’s one of the few real difference makers at the catcher position.
1) Jose Abreu, Whitesox ($3800/$5400)
2) Freddie Freeman, Braves ($3900/$5600)
3) Luke Voit, Yankees ($2900/$5000)
4) Josh Bell, Nationals ($3300/$3200)
Notes: This is a real tricky position tonight as the hitters that grade out well against the starting pitchers all seem to have bad matchups with the bullpens and vice versa. All except Jose Abreu of course. Abreu thankfully survived a collision with Hunter Dozier early in the week to go on to carry this Whitesox offense while hitting .474 with a .589 wOBA over his last six games. Max Muncy and Jared Walsh are great plays at 1B if you can survive the lefty-on-lefty matchups with the starting pitchers. Voit has four hits in his last two games and makes for a real powerful mini-stack with Aaron Judge tonight. Josh Bell has been brutal for most of the season, but he swings it better from the left side and has been on base in five of his last 14 plate appearances including two extra base hits.
1) DJ LeMahieu, Yankees ($3000/$5300)
2) Jake Cronenworth, Padres ($2400/$4200)
3) Dylan Moore, Mariners ($2400/$2800)
4) Jorge Polanco, Twins ($2900/$5100)
5) Niko Goodrum, Tigers ($2600/$4000)
Notes: The top of the Yankees order is fire here tonight against Jordan Lyles. Cronenworth is hitting .375 with a .452 wOBA over his last six games. Even more impressive is that he has just a 3.6% strikeout rate over that span as well. The Mariners are expected to score the fourth most runs tonight likely off of the Tigers bullpen and Dylan Moore has been their second hottest hitter (.414 ISO) over the last week. Niko Goodrum is a fine contrarian play here but he’s only SS eligible on DK. He is sneaky good against LHP hitting .273/.351/.394 against southpaws this season.
1) Jose Ramirez, Indians ($4000/$5700)
2) Kris Bryant, Cubs ($4300/$5500)
3) Kyle Seager, Mariners ($3000/$4500)
4) Starlin Castro, Nationals ($2500/$3100)
Notes: We really want to pick on Angels starter Patrick Sandoval tonight and Jose Ramirez is a damn fine place to start. J-Ram has made hard contact on 52.9% of his contact over the last week and has 2 HR and five XBH to show for it. Kris Bryant is having his best season in years and is hitting .417 with a .579 wOBA and 46.4% hard contact rate over his last five games. Kyle Seager has a great matchup against Casey Mize and the Tigers bullpen specifically his fourseam fastball that has an xwOBA of .392 against lefties this season.
1) Trea Turner, Nationals ($4000/$5800)
2) Tim Anderson, Whitesox ($3800/$5300)
3) Dansby Swanson, Braves ($2300/$4100)
4) Amed Rosario, Indians ($2100/$3300)
Notes: A total stars and scrubs position for us tonight. Trea Turner and Tim Anderson both have diversified skill sets and have been super-hot of late. But they are expensive and if we are paying up for pitching, that poses a problem. It’s only a problem because the value SS’s are trash tonight. Swanson will move up in the order without Acuna in the lineup and into a run producing role behind Freeman, Ozuna and Albies. Amed Rosario hits lefties better than righties and gets the protection of Jose Ramirez behind him tonight.
1) Aaron Judge, Yankees ($3600/$5600)
2) Nelson Cruz, Twins ($3700/$4900)
3) Mitch Haniger, Mariners ($3600/$4200)
4) Mookie Betts, Dodgers ($4200/$5900)
5) Kyle Schwarber, Nationals ($2800/$3700)
6) Kyle Lewis, Mariners ($2600/$3400)
7) Andrew Vaughn, Whitesox ($2300/$2400)
8) Shohei Ohtani, Angels ($4000/$4700)
9) Jarred Kelenic, Mariners ($2900/$3000)
10) Trent Grisham, Padres ($3300/$4300)
FANDUEL CORE 4
P – Gerrit Cole, Yankees ($12,300)
1B – Luke Voit, Yankees ($2900)
OF – Aaron Judge, Yankees ($3600)
OF – Kyle Lewis, Mariners ($2600)
DRAFTKINGS CORE 4
SP1 – Gerrit Cole, Yankees ($10,900)
1B – Luke Voit, Yankees ($5000)
OF – Aaron Judge, Yankees ($5600)
OF – Kyle Lewis, Mariners ($3400)