We have an eight-game MLB DFS slate on Sunday, 4/14/19 beginning at 1:05 p.m. EDT. Below is a list of our best pitchers, hitters, and stacks to target (Three Up) and fade (Three Down) in MLB DFS contests. Note that some of these plays are recommended for Cash and some are best reserved for GPP lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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 a weak 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. If a game gets rained out, your player gets zero points!
BEST MLB DFS TOURNAMENTS FOR 4/14
Seven Kingdoms of the Realm Special: $7 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $20K to 1st!
Dragonglass Spectacular: $55 entry, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $50K to 1st!
Sun. Squeeze: $4.44 entry, $75k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $10K to 1st!
Sun. Grand Slam: $55 entry, $125K guaranteed (FanDuel)- $25K to 1st!
Three Up for April 14, 2019
Jose Berrios vs. DET ($9.9k DraftKings, $10k FanDuel)
Berrios makes for a strong cash or GPP play Sunday, based both on his body of work thus far and the matchup. Berrios has started the season with three straight quality starts, a 2.18 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and 21:4 K:BB across 20.2 innings. His one Target Field start thus far was a rousing success: a 7.2-inning, two-hit, scoreless effort versus the Indians. He also racked up 10 strikeouts. That hasn’t been the only time he’s missed plenty of bats. Berrios has a 27.6 percent strikeout rate and an 11.1 percent swinging-strike rate this year.
Then, the Tigers checked into Saturday’s play with a .254 wOBA, .188 average, and 27.2 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitching over 437 plate appearances. They also check in with an MLB-worst -23.6 wRAA versus that handedness. Finally, the Tigers were flummoxed by Berrios last season on a couple of occasions. He generated a 1-0 record, 1.93 ERA. 196 BAA and 16:3 K:BB over 14 innings at their expense.
Other pitchers to consider: Max Scherzer (vs. Pirates), Masahiro Tanaka (vs. White Sox), Charlie Morton (at Blue Jays), Corey Kluber (at Royals)
Nelson Cruz vs. DET ($4.6k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)
Cruz boasts a perfect record against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann over a small sample. The slugger has gone 4-for-4 with two singles, a double, a home run, and two walks in six career plate appearances. Cruz has also started the season off well in his new Minnesota digs. He’s slashing .316/.480/.579 across his first 25 plate appearances, although he’s only launched one homer thus far.
That last figure is bound to change sooner rather than later. That’s especially true against righty arms, as Cruz has generated a massive 30.8 percent line-drive rate and 61.5 percent hard-contact rate against that handedness. Then, Zimmermann has started off the season well against righty hitters over a small sample, but he’s coming off a 2018 campaign in which he allowed .334 wOBA to that handedness, including .357 on the road, along with a 40.7 percent hard-contact rate.
Other hitters to consider: Justin Bour, Brian Goodwin, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, C.J. Cron, Avisail Garcia, Kevin Kiermaier, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez
Red Sox vs. BAL (LHP John Means)
Orioles starter John Means has pitched well this season, but he’s yet to exceed 3.1 innings in an outing. That doesn’t bode well for the O’s, given the fact their bullpen has been the worst in baseball through the early going. However, it shapes up beautifully for the Red Sox, who have to be getting increasingly desperate with a 5-10 record through their first 15 games.
The Baltimore bullpen came into Saturday’s action with league worsts in wOBA (.421), batting average (.322) and home runs (20) allowed. Then, as far as Means is concerned, Boston has also done well versus southpaws in the early going. The Red Sox own a .282 average, .338 wOBA, and a miserly 16.8 percent strikeout rate against left-handers through 137 plate appearances thus far this season. The usual suspects of J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts have all performed extremely well against lefties and have the ability to make Means for any mistakes with one swing.
Other stacks to consider: Angels at Cubs (RHP Tyler Chatwood), Twins vs. Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann), Indians at Royals (RHP Jake Junis), Rays at Blue Jays (RHP Marcus Stroman)
Three Down for April 14, 2019
Pitcher To Fade
(UPDATE: With Angels-Cubs now rained out, recommending the Marlins’ Jose Urena as an alternate fade)
Tyler Chatwood vs. Angels ($5.5k DraftKings, $5.7k FanDuel)
Chatwood will draw the spot start Sunday, but he inspires little confidence, even against a Mike Trout-less Angels squad. Chatwood is particularly vulnerable to left-handed hitters, which have tagged him for a .425 wOBA in the early going and a .402 wOBA over a much larger sample (265 batters) in 2018. Los Angeles checks in with a trio of left-handed hitters that have underachieved thus far this year — Justin Bour, Tommy La Stella, and Kole Calhoun — but who certainly carry enough upside to make a difference with one swing of the bat. Then, a fourth lefty bat, Brian Goodwin, owns a .323/.382/.516 line through his first 34 plate appearances. Chatwood actually also allowed a 5.70 xFIP to right-handed hitters last season, but he was bailed out by an unsustainable .182 BABIP.
Chatwood hasn’t truly stretched out yet this season, as he’s topped out at 36 pitches in his relief appearances. That means he doesn’t figure to be long for Sunday’s game, possibly even failing to log five full frames if things derail early. Given all of the circumstances at play, I see the right-hander as having too low an upside for tournaments and far too little reliability for cash games.
Hitter To Fade
Alex Gordon vs. CLE ($3.7k DraftKings, $3.6k FanDuel)
Gordon has had a miserable time over the years facing Indians starter Corey Kluber. The veteran outfielder owns a .143/.238/.286 line against Kluber over a sizable sample of 63 plate appearances. And as if those numbers weren’t bad enough, how he’s generated them that makes things even worse. Of the 48 outs Gordon has made against Kluber during their prior encounters, nearly half (22) have come on strikeouts.
Kluber has held the first 36 left-handed hitters he’s faced this season to a .226 average and .287 wOBA. His track record was just as solid over a much larger sample last season, as he yielded just a .227 average and .290 wOBA to lefty bats in 2018. While Gordon has gotten off to a scorching start, he’s struggled against the cutter, Kluber’s second-most thrown pitch. Gordon owns a .173 wOBA and 25.0 percent strikeout rate versus the pitch so far this season, his one weak spot.
Stack To Fade
Pirates at Nationals (RHP Max Scherzer)
The mere presence of Scherzer is typically enough to inspire a fade. His track record versus the Pirates makes it an even easier call. The dominant right-hander owns a 1.62 ERA, .169 BAA and 20:4 K:BB across 16.2 innings over three starts against Pittsburgh in the last three seasons. Scherzer is also 24-10 with a .192 BAA over 331.2 innings at Nationals Park during that same span.
Current Pittsburgh hitters own just a collective .236 average and .271 OBP versus Scherzer lifetime. Pittsburgh also comes in with a 23.2 percent strikeout rate against right-handers on the road over 138 plate appearances. Although Scherzer struggled to an extent his last time out versus the Mets, he was bothered by a sore ankle after taking a liner off it. He appeared to be in fine form in his first two appearances, however, posting a 21:4 K:BB across 12.2 innings versus the Mets and Phillies at Nationals Park.