MLB DFS DraftKings.com & FanDuel.com Lineups & Picks for April 22, 2018
Baseball is back with a full slate of MLB DFS games scheduled for Saturday, 4/21/18. The main slate on DraftKings includes 11 games starting at 1:05 p.m. EST, while FanDuel’s main slate includes 9 games starting at 1:05 p.m. EST.
For today, we’re listing our top MLB DFS picks at pitcher, hitter, and stacks to target in Cash and GPP lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. The info below can also be used for crafting your daily fantasy baseball strategy at FantasyDraft.
Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster. Remember that more than in other sports, variance is a huge part of baseball. Even Mike Trout can go 0-for-4 on a given night, and Max Scherzer can get lit up by an unsuspecting team.
Weather can also play a huge role in MLB DFS on a nightly basis, and lineups are constantly shifting. So always, always check the starting lineups and weather reports when playing for an MLB slate.
4/22/18 MLB DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
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Best MLB DFS Pitchers for April 22, 2018
Junior Guerra vs. MIA ($6.7K DraftKings, $6.6k FanDuel)
We’re going to follow up with quite a few expensive guys, but this slate—at least from my perspective—doesn’t feature a ton of pitching value, unless you’re keen on putting your trust in guys like Francisco Liriano or Jaime Garcia when you have three strikeout studs to choose from. The one cheaper guy who makes a case is one who is also striking out guys at a solid rate this season, with 11 strikeouts in 11 innings thus far in 2018. The Marlins are middle-of-the-pack (17th) in terms of strikeouts per game, so Guerra should be able to rack up a respectable number of Ks. Further, the Milwaukee Brewers are -178 favorites, and the Marlins carry an implied run total of 3.9. I don’t think there’s a ton of upside here, but Guerra is interesting on DraftKings, where you can find some savings with him with a decent floor given recent performance and matchup. I do not like Guerra on FanDuel, however. There, I think he’s GPP only, and you’ll need to really hope for some high strikeout figures to stay competitive in larger fields.
Corey Kluber @ BAL ($12.8k DraftKings, $11.5k FanDuel)
There are three key reasons why I think Kluber is a great play on FanDuel, and a great GPP play on DraftKings (other than the fact that he’s Corey freaking Kluber):
- The Baltimore Orioles strike out more than any team in baseball, with strikeout rate of nearly 31%.
- Corey Kluber has a K/9 of 10 so far in 2018 across just shy of 30 innings, along with an ERA of 1.52.
- The Cleveland Indians are -220 favorites, while the Orioles currently carry an implied run total of just three, which is a good sign of some strong faith in Kluber.
Okay, so that was more than three reasons, maybe, but the point is that the Baltimore Orioles are a strikeout factory, and Kluber, who has had only one double-digit strikeout performance to date, has been an elite K-machine for years now. I think he’s due for a monster game, and Vegas seems to agree. With strikeout upside in the mid-teens, Kluber is appealing across the industry. You’ll feel less strapped playing him on FanDuel, though I’d recommend sticking to GPPs. But there’s also merit in considering him for GPPs on DraftKings, where he’s even more expensive. He’s an elite talent, and I think he’ll see low-ish ownership due to his lofty salary. Frankly, I think the matchup warrants it. Good luck, 6-15 Orioles.
Luis Severino vs. SF ($11.6k DraftKings, $10.3k FanDuel)
If you want to go elite, but take some not-so-trivial savings down from Kluber, the obvious pivot in cash games is New York Yankee Luis Severino. The hard-throwing righty doesn’t have the same strikeout upside as Kluber, but he’s arguably as good a pitcher at this stage. Thus far in 2018, he has 28 strikeouts in 24 innings, boasting a 2.63 ERA and .96 WHIP. But his K:BB ratio of 3.5:1 falls short of Kluber’s 5.5:1. What I’m saying is: if you can afford to move up, I like Kluber better. But with real savings to be made going with Severino, the Yankees expected to win by 1.8 runs according to Vegas, and his dominant first outing of the season against this same Blue Jays team, I can see why he’s so appealing. He’s a great cash game option on FanDuel. You can also play him in GPPs, but I think I’d still prefer Kluber. Over at DraftKings, I think he’s probably too expensive for me, but if I go with him, it’ll be in cash games.
Lance McCullers @ CWS ($11.2k DraftKings, $8.8k FanDuel)
I hate picking the most expensive guys, but this slate is not a very deep one. As such, I’d like to recognize McCullers, who may have the highest ceiling on this slate, given he’s facing the Chicago White Sox and has been striking out guys like crazy so far. However, I’m sticking strictly to GPPs with the Astros starter. Here’s why: over the past three seasons, McCullers is 6-12 on the road, while showing signs of dominance at home with a record of 13-4. He’s also 0-1 at U.S. Cellular Field. There’s definite blowup potential, given that McCullers has such insane home/road splits, but the Houston Astros are arguably the best team in baseball, while the Chicago White Sox are one of the worst. The South Siders got stomped last night by this Astros team, and there’s a good shot McCullers and his 14.5 K/9 in 2018 will absolutely tear through a demoralized Chicago squad. McCullers is a strong pivot off Kluber in GPPs over at DraftKings, while his $8.8k salary at FanDuel makes him GPP and cash game viable. In fact, McCullers is my favorite GPP pitcher on both sites.
Fade: Nick Pivetta vs. PIT ($8.7k DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
I never throw in fades, but in my research, I think I found a fairly obvious GPP trap. I believe, given the amount of expensive options at this position, that Pivetta will be viewed as a very solid salary relief option, at least in a way. He’ll be this slate’s poor man’s Lance McCullers (at least on DraftKings), and I think a lot of people will think they’re clever chasing that nine strikeout performance he put on a few weeks ago. While he’s shown legitimate strikeout ability this year, he’s done it with no consistency. Thus far, he’s racked up 3, 9, 7, and 3 strikeouts over his first four starts, respectively. Pittsburgh has the third fewest strikeouts per game thus far in 2018. You do the math.
Other pitchers to consider: Francisco Liriano, Mike Foltynewicz, Trevor Williams, Jaime Garcia, Miles Mikolas, Eric Skoglund
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Best MLB DFS Hitters for April 22, 2018
Jose Abreu vs. HOU ($3.9 DraftKings, $3.5 FanDuel)
We’ll lead off with a contrarian option, just a few paragraphs removed from my discussion of Lance McCuller’s blowup potential. Jose Abreu is 3-for-6 against McCullers, which obviously isn’t much of a sample size. However, the White Sox first basemen has hit safely in six of his last seven games, and he’s actually achieved a slightly better OPS against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers over the past three seasons. And this season, six of his 13 hits against righties have gone for extra bases, including three home runs. This play is more likely to blow up than the McCullers play, but there’s leverage on the field to be had by rostering Abreu. It should go without saying: this is a GPP only option. But his mid-range salary and potentially bad matchup will push everyone off Abreu.
Jesus Aguilar ($3.2k DraftKings, $2.7k FanDuel)
I wanted to roster him yesterday, but Aguilar once again didn’t get the start. You’ll have to monitor this closely, but he was, as of this writing, expected to see the field tonight. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want to take a look at him, especially if you’re rostering the expensive pitchers. Aguilar has a 1.327 OPS against lefties this season, though that is only across 11 at-bats. But in those 11 at-bats, he has five hits, including three doubles. Caleb Smith gets the start for Miami tonight on the road against the Brewers, and Smith’s 6.38 ERA won’t scare me away; not from Aguilar’s splits. Look to roster him in GPPs across the industry. But again, make sure he plays. We’ll update this piece as soon as we hear anything differently.
Update: He’s in, batting fifth. Fire away if you need the savings. Even if you don’t, Aguilar is a candidate, albeit a longshot candidate, for highest ROI on this slate.
Michael Brantley ($3.7k DraftKings, $3.5k FanDuel)
I like most of the Cleveland left-handed bats against Andrew Cashner tonight, but Michael Brantley stands out given his history against Cashner, his splits, and then also Cashner’s splits. Brantley has earned an OPS of .855 against right-handed pitchers over the past three seasons compared to an OPS of .765 against left-handed pitchers. That discrepancy is even more exaggerated this year where his OPS against righties is above .900. Meanwhile, Cashner is allowing an OPS of 1.028 to left-handed bats across 40 at-bats thus far in 2018. He’s also allowed Brantley to hit two doubles and walk once in three appearances against one another. Brantley is inexpensive across the industry, and he should be relatively low-owned, considering everyone seems to have given up on the guy. Remember, he’s still a very efficient offensive weapon when healthy. It just so happens he’s at least somewhat healthy and facing a soft right-handed pitcher today.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. TOR ($4.9k DraftKings, $4.8k FanDuel)
Stanton is 7-for-12 with three home runs against Jaime Garcia in his career. Now, I like looking at BVP, since I think it can reveal certain advantages, though I also believe you must take it with a grain of sand. But when someone is 7-for-12 with three home runs against a single pitcher, I tend to pay attention. Stanton has struggled thus far in his Yankees tenure, as he has just three home runs to his name. But he’s crushing lefties this year to the tune of a 1.271 OPS. I don’t see how Jaime Garcia is the left-handed pitcher to pull down that incredible figure. And if you’re worried about sample size: Stanton has a 1.120 OPS against lefties over the past three seasons. If he’s going to break his HR slump, I can’t think of a much more obvious matchup in which to do so. I’ll be rostering Stanton industry-wide, in both cash games and GPPs.
Kris Bryant @ COL ($5.5k DraftKings)
In 27 at-bats against righties this season, right-handed pitcher German Marquez has allowed three doubles and three triples, along with four singles. That all adds up to an OPS of 1.172 allowed to righties. And, fun fact: he’s been worse against right-handed bats his entire career. Still, he’s allowed just one home run this season across 18.2 innings, including 7.2 at Coors Field. That feels too good to be true, and, as such, I’m firing away on Chicago bats today, especially power righties like Kris Bryant. Bryant demands a ton of salary, but it’s often warranted. In the series finale at Coors Field against a bad right-handed pitcher seems like the right time to roll out the elite third basemen. Bryant has a career OPS above .900 against RHPs, which makes him GPP and cash viable today. I will say, it’s going to be difficult to fit him into cash lineups, but he’s a great option at DK if you’re looking for some potential late night fantasy points
Other hitters to consider: Nick Castellanos, Jason Kipnis, Yonder Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Teoscar Hernandez, Justin Smoak, Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, Logan Morrison, Max Kepler, Adam Frazier, Gregory Polanco, Nick Williams, Preston Tucker, Lorenzo Cain, Marwin Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Carpenter, Scooter Gennett, Jesse Winker
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MLB DFS Stacks to Consider for April 22, 2018
Cleveland vs. Andrew Cashner (Orioles)
Yankees vs. Jaime Garcia (Blue Jays)
Twins vs. Yonny Chirinos (Rays)
Brewers vs. Caleb Smith (Marlins)
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