The MLB season is rolling, and there’s a great DFS slate on tap for Thursday, 4/25/19. Below is a list of our best pitchers, hitters, and stacks to target (Three Up) and fade (Three Down) in MLB DFS contests.
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 4/25/19
Relay Throw: $15 entry, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $50,000 to 1st!
Four Seamer: $4 entry, $40k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Squeeze (Grand Slam Jackpot): $7.77 entry, $70k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Rally: $9.99 entry: $100k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Three Up for April 25, 2019
Aaron Nola vs. MIA ($9.1k DraftKings, $8.7k FanDuel)
After earning deserved CY Young consideration last year, Aaron Nola has struggled through five starts in 2019. Yet the 25-year-old RHP has plenty of talent and should soon reward DFS owners willing to gamble on him in tournaments. Tonight could be the night he returns to form in a plus matchup at home against the light-hitting Marlins. Miami ranks 29th in collective wOBA (.267) with the third-highest K-Rate (26.6%) in the Majors and lead the MLB with a 30.5% K-Rate against right-handed pitching. Nola was 10-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 10.6 K/9 ratio at home last season. He is still getting the same type of strikeout numbers; he’s just been burned by the long ball so far. Nola has the best per-dollar rating on both FanDuel and DraftKings tonight with a ceiling of 37.4 DK points per FantasyLabs.
Luis Castillo vs. ATL ($9.1k DraftKings, $9.8k FanDuel)
If you’re building lineups on the All-Day slate, Luis Castillo is a fantastic option despite his tough matchup against the Braves. Castillo has the second-lowest ERA (1.47) with the fifth-highest K/9 ratio (12.03) in the Majors and has managed to go 2-1 despite the consistent struggles of the Reds offense. Cincy has started to flash some pop on offense while Atlanta is registering the fifth-highest K-Rate (28.4%) in the MLB over the past week. With a changeup that rates seven runs above average per Brooks Baseball to complement his live fastball, Castillo owns the fifth-highest swinging strike rate (15.1%) as well.
Other pitchers to consider: Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka
Domingo Santana vs. TEX ($4.9k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)
Rangers young RHP Adrian Sampson has good strikeout potential, but his approach has led to a ton of hard contact and homers over his two-plus seasons in the Majors. Righties have done the bulk of the damage with a 2.73 HR/9 ratio and 44.4% hard contact rate against Sampson, and he’s already coughed up 4 HR to RHB over 62 at-bats this season. Domingo Santana made his living as a platoon specialist with the Brewers. But he’s surprisingly been more effective with a .319/.382/.527 slash line against RHBs since joining Seattle. He owns an impressive 26.3% HR/FB ratio in RvR matchups and has been very clutch with a .422 average and 1.125 OPS when men are on base this season.
Niko Goodrum @ BOS ($4.3k DraftKings, $3.4k FanDuel)
You can find some value in the Tigers lineup tonight and hope that some of those struggling hitters pull through against RHP Rick Porcello, who has been nothing short of terrible with an 8.47 ERA through four starts. Lefties are 17-for-41 (.447) with 10 BB and 6 XBH to post a .535 wOBA against Porcello this season. Jeimer Candelario and Niko Goodrum are cheap switch hitters for Detroit with potential to do some damage against Porcello. Goodrum is our preferred option on DraftKings because of his speed. He’s swiped 15 bags since the start of 2018 and has already drawn 13 walks (16.3% BB Rate) to this season to give himself some opportunities. Goodrum has flashed pop with a 15.4% HR/FB ratio over two-plus years in the Majors and owns an impressive 43.8% LD Rate in road games this season.
Other hitters to consider: J.D. Martinez, Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith, Mitch Moreland, Gordon Beckham, Shin-Soo Choo, Tim Beckham, Cesar Hernandez, Rafael Devers, John Hicks
Red Sox vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)
It would appear Jordan Zimmermann‘s good start to 2019 was fool’s gold. The RHP will turn 33 in less than a month and no longer has swing-and-miss stuff with a 6.26 K/9 ratio and 91.6% Z-Contact Rate through five outings this season. Zimmermann has allowed RHBs to hit .297 with a .358 wOBA over the past three years and shown plenty of vulnerability to LHBs as well with a 1.48 HR/9 ratio overall since the start of 2016.
While Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi have plenty of appeal and are rated very highly in FantasyLabs models, we’d prefer to target Zim with powerful RHBs Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Betts is still a bit underpriced as he’s slowly returning to his MVP form and happens to be 3-for-4 with a HR and 2 BB in a limited sample against Zim. Martinez is one of the most consistent options out there with a .443 wOBA at Fenway Park since joining the Red Sox. Christian Vazquez has emerged as a useful value option at catcher. And Rafael Devers is a high-upside option to consider in tournaments. Michael Chavis has earned some playing time at 2B or 3B and could be a value play to add to this stack if he starts.
Other stacks to consider: Mariners vs. Adrian Sampson (Rangers)
Three Down for April 25, 2019
Pitcher To Fade
Trevor Bauer @ HOU ($9.8k DraftKings, $10.8k FanDuel)
Fading a SP as talented Trevor Bauer is never a comfortable proposition, but the hot-hitting Astros provide a daunting challenge for the young RHP. Houston leads the Majors by far with a collective .329 average at home and managed to tag Bauer for 4 ER over 7.1 IP in a meeting last year. Bauer was almost untouchable at home but posted a human 2.53 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP on the road last season. He produced a much lower swinging strike rate (9.4%) over his last two road starts this season. And his devastating slider did not have the same bite in disappointing outings at Detroit and Seattle. Additionally, the weak Indians offense may struggle to provide run support against Astros RHP Gerrit Cole. Finally, Cleveland’s bullpen blew a lead for Bauer last Saturday. Bauer is a volatile play with a -0.84 plus/minus rating on FanDuel tonight per FantasyLabs.
Hitter To Fade
Rhys Hoskins vs. MIA ($5.3k DraftKings, $4.0k FanDuel)
Rhys Hoskins has deservedly earned a reputation as a lefty-killer. Even so, he may not be able to produce much against tonight’s starter in Miami. Marlins third-year LHP Caleb Smith has been excellent with a 1.59 ERA and 11.65 K/9 ratio through two starts at home this year. While he can struggle with his command and yield too many walks, Smith has held RHBs to a .191 BAA and a measly 18.6% LD Rate in his career. He should be aggressive in attacking the struggling Phillies and Hoskins, who is just 3-for-14 (.231) with 1 XBH against LHPs on the road this year.
Stack To Fade
Rangers @ SEA (LHP Marco Gonzales)
While Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales has actually been more vulnerable in LvL matchups, he should be able to handle the Rangers’ lefty-heavy lineup tonight. Texas ranks 27th with a collective .213 average against LHPs after hitting .238 with the sixth-highest K-Rate (23.4%) against lefties last year. Adding veteran Hunter Pence has done little to shore up their deficiency in that regard. Gonzales is no slouch with a plus cutter that elicited an 11% swinging strike rate last year. So far this season, he’s posting a 61.5% GB Rate against LHB, which should help him keep Joey Gallo and company in the yard. Righties are hitting .264 off Gonzales since the start of 2018, and the 27-year-old southpaw is much healthier than in recent seasons.