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The MLB season is rolling, and there’s a great DFS slate on tap for Thursday, 4/18/19. 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. FanDuel offers a 6-game slate tonight that starts at 6:35 p.m. and DraftKings offers a 5-game slate beginning at 7:10 p.m.

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!

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Relay Throw: $15 entry, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $50,000 to 1st!
Power Alley: $44 entry, $75k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Bronx Squeeze: $9.99 entry, $100k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $20,000 to 1st!
Brew Town Squeeze: $4.44 entry, $40k guaranteed (FanDuel)

Three Up for April 18, 2019

Best Pitcher

Chris Paddack vs. CIN ($9.1k DraftKings, $8.5k FanDuel)

Few starting pitchers stand out on DraftKings in terms of upside tonight. The highest DFS score might come from relatively unknown rookie Chris Paddack. The 23-year-old RHP was dominant this spring with 24 Ks and 3 ER allowed over 24.1 innings of work. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016, he appears to have gained more life on his fastball. Paddack posted a 2.10 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 12.0 K/9 ratio last year in the Minors and handled the dangerous Diamondbacks on the road last Friday. Now, he’ll face a Reds team that ranks 28th in collective batting average (.205) with the eighth-highest K-Rate (25.1%) in the Majors so far this year. And he’ll be pitching at comfortable Petco Park. The Padres may give him a bit of a longer leash after restricting him to 88 pitches in his last outing.

Note: On FanDuel, we prefer young Yankees stud Domingo German and a Yankees stack against Royals RHP Homer Bailey.

Other pitchers to consider: Domingo German, Tanner Roark, Zach Davies

Best Hitters

Christian Yelich vs. LAD ($5.6k DraftKings, $5.2k FanDuel)

The Brewers hammered LHP Julio Urias for 5 ER on 6 hits last Friday with Christian Yelich leading the way. The reigning N.L. MVP homered thrice on Tuesday and has been just as dangerous in LvL matchups since the start of last year. Urias owns a .295 BAA, a 12.4% BB rate, and is allowing a 29.6% line drive rate in his career against lefties. This year, he’s been tagged by lefties for a 54.6% hard contact rate. The Brewers should be all over him once again at Miller Life Park, where Yelich is posting an absurd 1.869 OPS with 9 HR over 43 plate appearances on the young season.

Avisail Garcia vs. BAL ($4.3k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)

Avisail Garcia has been a productive hitter for years with the White Sox, and he’s taking off as a member of the red-hot Rays. He’s hitting .327 this season with a 45.5% hard contact in RvR matchups. Orioles RHP Andrew Cashner has been extremely vulnerable against righties with a .305 BAA and 5.42 FIP when facing RHBs since the start of 2018. Cashner has a 15.4% HR/FB ratio and a 0.82 K/BB ratio through four starts this year and has been tagged for 15 hits (.313 BAA) and 6 ER (4.50) over his last two trips to Tropicana Field. Garcia could be an economical stand-alone option to consider or a nice addition to a Rays stack.

Other hitters to consider: Rhys Hoskins, Domingo Santana, Wil Myers, Lorenzo Cain, Gleyber Torres, Scott Kingery, Mallex Smith, Clint Frazier, Garrett Hampson, Dee Gordon, Willy Adames, Omar Narvaez

Best Stack

Mariners vs. Chris Stratton (Angels)

The Mariners own the best offense in baseball by a number of metrics. Thus, they should be able to overmatch new Angels pitcher Chris Stratton. The former Giants RHP has really struggled with his command and owns a 2.00 WHIP with a 16.4% BB Rate through three starts this year. Stratton is giving up a 31.8% LD Rate and has been hurt by lefties throughout his four years in the Majors. Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon could give Stratton all sorts of trouble if he allows those speedsters to reach base. Stratton has also coughed up a 40.1% hard contact rate in RvR matchups throughout his career. Therefore, Domingo Santana, Tim Beckham, and Ryon Healy are certainly in play. Those hitters have favorable splits in a very limited sample of at-bats against Stratton, who is not taking the transition to the American League very well.

Other stacks to consider: Rays vs. Andrew Cashner (Orioles), Brewers vs. Julio Urias (Dodgers)


Three Down for April 18, 2019

Pitcher To Fade

Felix Hernandez @ LAA ($7.7k DraftKings, $7.0k FanDuel)

Fading Felix Hernandez doesn’t take a lot of courage in his age-33 season. But here’s a reminder that his solid debut against the Angels on April 1 was an outlier. Hernandez is posting a career-low 5.6% swinging strike rate and has an astonishingly high 95.6% Z-Contact Rate, the worst mark in the Majors thus far. He was able to silence the top of the Angels order in that start, but savvy manager Mike Scioscia should shake up his lineup with hitters who can tag Felix. Mike Trout has dominated Hernandez with 31 hits, including 6 XBH and 8 HR, over 85 career at-bats. Hernandez has given up 5 HR with a 6.04 ERA over his last four trips to Angels Stadium. He ultimately has very limited upside at this stage in his career.

Hitter To Fade

Bryce Harper @ COL ($5.8k DraftKings, $4.7k FanDuel)

After a hot start with his new team, Bryce Harper is cooling off and is now 3 for his last 25 at the dish. He’s understandably expensive on DK tonight but draws an unappealing matchup against LHP Kyle Freeland. Harper hit .247 in LvL matchups last season and is 2-for-8 with a pair of Ks in his career against Freeland. The Rockies southpaw held lefties to a .178 BAA and a measly 5.6% HR/FB ratio at home last year. That’s an impressive feat at Coors, where Freeland was able to post a 2.40 ERA in 2018. The results have not been there for Freeland through three starts. But he’s posting a higher swinging strike rate (9.9%) and GB/FB ratio (1.45), both of which indicate his ability to right the ship.

Stack To Fade

Dodgers @  MIL (RHP Zach Davies)

Zach Davies did a good job of limiting long balls at Miller Life Park last year and posted good splits against the platoon. Those are the crucial factors to consider as he prepares to face the hot-hitting and lefty-heavy Dodgers lineup tonight. Davies is off to a great start with a 1.53 ERA and an 18.9% LD Rate through his first three outings this year. Current Dodgers are 17-for-74 (.230) with 16 Ks in their careers against Davies, who held lefties to a 0.87 HR/9 ratio at home last season.

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