MLB DFS Bargains: Thursday 4/25

Brad Johnson
Nate Grimm takes a look at some of the notable strikeout gains made by starting pitchers to date in this week's Digging In. (Getty Images)

Digging In: Assessing Strikeout Gains

Nate Grimm takes a look at some of the notable strikeout gains made by starting pitchers to date in this week's Digging In. (Getty Images)

When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. For DraftKings, the threshold is around $3,800. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

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It’s a Thin Thursday. The main evening slate includes only five games. Let’s hunt for bargains.


1 – Caleb Smith – SP – Miami Marlins (FanDuel $8,200 / DraftKings $7,300)

The best value pitchers are split depending on which site you use. Smith isn’t a great target on FanDuel (see Also Consider for a couple choices there), but he is a useful arm on DraftKings. The Phillies lineup is currently diminished by injury. The top half remains scary potent, but the bottom of the order is liable to roll over for Smith. The Marlins “ace” has recorded 11.35 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, and a 2.35 ERA through four starts. One of those came against a better version of this Phillies offense, and Smith held them to one hit, three walks, and no runs.

2 – Mike Ford – 1B – New York Yankees (FanDuel $2,500 / DraftKings $3,500)

We’re going to keep riding this Ford train until the price climbs. He’s once again among the very best values on both sites. As I mention below, Trevor Cahill is battling home run dragons. Ford will have the platoon advantage. Toss in above average power, a 40 percent fly ball rate, and quality plate discipline, and we have ourselves an easy pick.

3 – Rafael Devers – 3B – Boston Red Sox (FanDuel $2,800 / DraftKings $3,800)

After sustaining a 30 home run pace last season, Devers has yet to hit his first long ball this season. Part of this may be a change of approach. He’s hit few fly balls this season, and he’s also improved his plate discipline. He may require a tinker or two before he returns to a more productive approach. In the meantime, tonight is a solid time to bet on his first home run. Devers costs little, usually bats sixth against right-handed pitchers, and he’ll face Jordan Zimmermann. The Tigers righty has allowed 15 runs over his last 13.2 innings.

4 – Andrelton Simmons – SS – Los Angeles Angels (FanDuel $2,900 / DraftKings $3,300)

You’ve seen this exact recommendation before, and you’ll see it again. While Masahiro Tanaka is a difficult matchup, he’s not immune to the occasional clunker. Or he might just hang a splitter at the wrong time. Simmons’ lineup role alone is worth every penny of his price tag. Adding to his value, Simmons has a high contact rate, nontrivial power, and some speed (Tanaka can be stolen base prone). Speaking of the power, he popped two home runs yesterday.

5 – Curtis Granderson – OF – Miami Marlins (FanDuel $2,400 / DraftKings $3,100)

Assuming Granderson is batting leadoff (or elsewhere within the top four lineup slots), he’s worth a peek at Citizen’s Bank Park. Although I’d usually avoid a matchup against Aaron Nola, he’s struggling with his command. Granderson appears to be selling out for power, and it’s showing in his 37.2 percent strikeout rate. Consider him a volatile play. He something like the fifth most likely to hit a home run tonight, but there’s also a large chance he’ll zero out entirely.


On FanDuel only, Rick Porcello (SP – BOS) and Trevor Cahill (SP – LAA) are deeply discounted. They cost $6,700 and $6,200 respectively. Porcello is cheap because he’s allowed 21 runs (16 earned) in 17 innings. Nothing is going his way. A .414 BABIP, 2.12 HR/9, and 6.88 BB/9 hints at a systemic issue. Sometimes in daily fantasy, it pays to ignore the cacophony of small sample noise. Porcello has a long career as a successful mid-tier performer. His stuff appears to be entirely intact. Perhaps most importantly, the Tigers offense is among the worst in the league.

Cahill’s also battling a few demons. A plague of home runs (2.73 HR/9) has dampened otherwise decent results. Tonight, he’ll face the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (the Yankees). Even though injuries have gutted the best players from New York’s lineup, their replacement crew makes for an above average offense. Cahill isn’t a safe play – he’s just a cheap play.

Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu (2B – NYY) is an excellent target on DraftKings this evening. Although he’s not much of a home run threat, he’ll likely bat second. That’s alone is more than enough to justify using him for $3,300. That he also has a neutral matchup against Cahill is a nice bonus.

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