DFS Plays of the Day – April 30

Dave Swan previews the DFS slate for Friday's action.

Today features a 14-game slate, with no weather playing a major role. 7:05 p.m. EST starts today’s DFS fun. The pitching is a little top-heavy, so deciding from a plethora of bats will be key. The difficult part will be finding the appropriate matchups to exploit and values to stash away. Good luck and have a happy weekend!


Top SP: Gerrit Cole, NYY ($10,500 DK, 12,200 FD) vs DET


There are really only three SPs fighting for the top arm on the slate. Gerrit Cole slides right past Darvish and Bieber, but it would not hurt my feelings if someone chose either of them over Cole. They are really that close. The slight edge, however, is in the matchup department. Against RHP, the Tigers have the third-highest strikeout rate(27.5%) on the slate. Even when they do make contact, a .655 OPS and 85 wRC+ suggest they aren’t going to do much harm.

Cole stats are fun, so this is the area I am going to spout them off. First, his 14.21 K/9 showcases that his bread and butter is sending batters back to the dugout with three strikes. Elite stat, and we can expect the longer he stays in the game, the more Ks Cole will pile up. Next, his 1.65 xERA determines he doesn’t get hit hard at all. The difference between ER and xERA is that xERA gets factored entirely by Statcast data and not outcomes. So if someone hits the ball very hard and is a lucky out, the xERA would be higher. Enough stats, START COLE!

Honorable Mentions: Shane Bieber, ($10,700 DK, $12,000 FD) at CWS, Yu Darvish, ($9.500 DK, $11,000 FD) vs SFG.


Value SP: Michael Pineda, MIN ($7,600 DK, $8,300 FD) vs KC


Generally speaking, I don’t love SPs like Pineda. This is because he relies so heavily on one pitch to make it through innings. When a batter faces Pineda, there is over an 80% chance he will see a four-seam fastball(55%) or a slider(31%). In fact, most of the time, I try to pick on SPs like Pineda. Today, however, will be different because we are looking at a huge slate, and his salary is so reasonable.

In 2021, Pineda is dealing-22 IP with a 21.5 K-BB% and 2.42 ERA. I can’t forget to toss in his 40% ground ball rate as well. Those are nearly ace stats for any SP on a slate. Given the size of today, his salary gets bumped down significantly, making him a value.

Honorable Mention: Logan Webb, ($8000 DK, $6600 FD) at SDP; Andrew Heaney, ($6,800 DK, $8,700 FD) at SEA. 


1B/2B DJ LeMahieu, NYY ($5,400 DK, $3,000 FD) vs DET


FanDuel, what are you doing? $3K for DJ LeMahieu? That’s pure insanity or a Mets fan making up salaries because it is crazy low! In fact, a lot of Yankee bats have been under-priced on FanDuel lately. Ok, rant over. Breathe.

The Statcast metrics never tell the entire tale for LeMahieu. His 33rd percentile hard-hit% and 12th percentile barrel rate make him look like an overpriced New York option.  A better place to pay attention is the incredible contact skills: 86% zone contact and only a 17% chase rate. DJ makes every bit of his batted balls work for him by going opposite fields for power because of the stadium’s short porches to RF. Very few hitters have the skillset like him, especially at 2B.

Honorable Mentions: Rhys Hoskins, 1B ($5,100 DK, 3,900 FD) vs NYM; Freddie Freeman, 1B ($5,500 DK, $4,100 FD) at TOR.


3B/OF Kris Bryant, CHC ($4,800 DK, $3,800 FD) at CIN


Bounceback season for KB? As a Chicago Cubs fan, I pray nightly that it is happening. It’s early on the year, but some metrics suggest Bryant might have fixed some problems. His xwOBAcon is .424, which is the highest mark since 2016. Also, maybe he sees the ball a bit better, as indicated by his 22.7 K-rate, again, an area he struggled with over the past few seasons.

Season aside, for today’s festivities, Bryant hits many fly balls (33% FB-rate). Let’s pair that with his 12.7% barrel rate and put him in one of the best hitters parks not named Coors Field. Today’s is a massive slate; KB is reasonably priced as the seventh-highest 3B. Easy start here, and probably rostered less than you expect.

Honorable Mentions: Gio Urshela, 3B ($3,600 DK, $2,800 FD) vs DET; Austin Riley, 3B ($4,000 DK, $2,500 FD) at TOR.


Value Batter: 1B/OF Austin Meadows, TB ($3,400 DK, $3,000 FD) vs HOU 


It’s hard not to love a player like Austin Meadows for today’s slate. You can slot him into 1B or move him into the outfield to fit your build-and the salary is so reasonably low. I wonder if the sportsbook projections are weighing his 2020 too much?

Either way, looking at just his 2021. His strikeout rate is back to a palatable 24%, with nearly a 14% walk rate. That is the Austin Meadows we know. On top of the spectacular plate discipline, the .460 wxOBAcon is at a career-high level. For those new to Statcast metrics, a higher xwOBAcon is good. In short, it’s a descriptive stat to measure how great a batter is on contacted batted balls only.

Needy stats aside, the main reason we want to roster Meadows is the value. Look at our roster already, Cole is pricey, and studs like LeMahieu and Bryant aren’t cheap. We need Meadows here!

Honorable Mentions: Taylor Trammell, OF ($2,500 DK, $2,500 FD) vs LAA; Tyrone Taylor OF ($2,000 DK, $2,200 FD) vs LAD.


Top Stack: Toronto Blue Jays vs ATL (LHP Drew Smyly)


I will keep saying it over and over. Dunedin is the place to stack batters. It is a minor league baseball park with elite MLB talent playing there often. The sportsbooks are getting smarter; when the Blue Jay’s play at home, the salaries go up and up. Luckily, they are not too crazy for us to build into our stack.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Grichuk should be locked in all your Blue Jays stacks. From there, it gets very dicey because of salary constraints. If Santiago Espinal is starting today, that is a very cheap punt(FanDuel only) play at SS. On the flip side, you have to decide: do I start Vladito at 1B, which will limit options at C or SS. Or, do I start Bo Bichette and try to find some salary relief elsewhere. Either way, great options with loads of upside potential!

Doing my best, Lieutenant Columbo, “Oh, there is one last thing before I go.” For anyone playing on FanDuel only, keep an eye out on the New York Yankees bats. They are under-priced daily. With that happening, however, they become over-owned at times. So play them where you see fit.

Honorable Mentions: ATL at TOR (Ray), SEA vs LAA (Heaney).


Featured image by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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