Seven early games and six late games separate the day into two sections for daily fantasy players on April 21. Thursdays are always tricky with getaway day games and the conclusion of series, so DFS players would be wise to take things pretty easy today. It just so happens that there are a lot of solid pitchers on today’s slate, including Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Max Scherzer, David Price, Jake Arrieta, and Gerrit Cole.
Today’s piece will feature players from both the early and late parts of the DFS day and those will be labeled as such. With 26 teams in action today, all day contests still feature a lot of intrigue, but pay close attention to those starting lineups.
Remember that our column here at BangTheBook is centered exclusively on finding value. You know who the good players are. So does everybody else. It’s those under-the-radar guys that you pair with those high-salary players that allow you to come out on top.
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The salaries listed are from DraftKings:
Here are the top teams to stack for April 21:
San Francisco (early) – The hype about Shelby Miller is dying pretty quickly. He was forced from his last start with a cut to his right index finger, so that may create some new problems for him as he takes the ball on Thursday afternoon. It is a small sample size, so take it with a grain of salt, but the Giants are the second-best offense against cutters per PITCHf/x data and we know that Miller relies heavily on that pitch. Command and control have both been issues for Miller at the outset and the Giants have a lot of dangerous hitters.
Kansas City (late) – Fading Mike Pelfrey seems too easy. He’s worth stacking against almost every time he takes the ball and that’s especially true against a Royals offense that has a lot of guys capable of doing damage. Pelfrey has added an increase in walks to his already-dangerous hard contact profile. He is very defense-dependent when it comes to getting out of jams because of his low strikeout rate. Lefties batted .308/.398/.436 against him last season with 40 BB and 41 K. This is a terrible matchup for him.
Chicago Cubs (late) – I like Brandon Finnegan a lot, but this is his second start in 10 days against the Cubs and that’s worrisome. Finnegan has good stuff, but he should have more success facing a team the first team, which he’ll do several times this season. The Cubs squandered some chances against him last time out. They worked five walks, but only scored two runs on one hit. The expectation should be for a different outcome here. After striking out nine in his debut, Finnegan has issues nine walks and has just seven strikeouts over his last 11.2 innings. That will catch up with him soon.
Here are the top value hitters for April 21:
Geovany Soto (early) ($2,900) – We’ll have to see how Mike Scioscia plays it with his catcher today, but if Soto is in the lineup, he is definitely worth a look. The Angels draw John Danks on Thursday and Soto has been a very productive bat against lefties in his career. The backstop owns a .283/.372/.484 slash against lefties and had a .474 SLG last season against them. He’s had some issues staying healthy, but this is a good, cheap, sneaky value play at catcher today if he gets the nod.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (late) ($3,200) – We’ll keep that catcher theme running here in the late games with Salty. Saltalamacchia has been on quite a tear from the left side of the plate this season. In 27 PA, he’s got two singles, three doubles, and four homers. The switch-hitting catcher owns a .253/.327/.454 slash against righties and has been getting consistent playing time in the absence of James McCann. DFS players might as well try to milk value from this hot streak before it goes away.
Alex Rodriguez (late) ($3,800) – Alex Rodriguez is still a very productive hitter against left-handed pitching. His slow start has raised a lot of concerns, but he owned a .263/.394/.532 slash against left-handed pitchers last season. A-Rod has only seen a lefty 12 times here to start the season over the first couple of weeks and not having a platoon advantage can really hurt a guy’s numbers. He was 48 percent above league average against southpaws last season, so there’s a lot of hope here in this one.
Here are the top value pitchers for April 21:
Nate Karns (early) ($6,900) – The only low-priced pitching option in the early contests with really good strikeout upside is Nate Karns. Jake Odorizzi is great, and is a good value at $7,400, but he’s taking on a tough Boston lineup. The Indians lineup hasn’t gotten going yet this season and has been striking out quite a bit. We saw the Indians roll over and play an awful day game on Sunday, which may or may not be predictive, but the idea here is that Karns has the most potential of anybody in the early games.
Marco Estrada (late) ($6,800) – This is a little bit of a dangerous play. Estrada takes on a very powerful Baltimore Orioles lineup, but the neutralizer for me is that changeup that he throws. Baltimore is very aggressive in the strike zone and Estrada can use that to his advantage here tonight. Estrada seems to have developed a little bit more cut movement with his fastball and he’s seen modest strikeout gains early in the season. We’ll have to monitor that moving forward, but it should add some value.
Luis Severino (late) ($7,400) – Luis Severino is a really good streaming option tonight. His velocity is already there this season and the only concerns are that balls haven’t been hit at people. His plate discipline stats are all the same or better than last season, when he struck out 56 in 62.1 innings. He’s working ahead in the count a lot more and his ground ball rate is up. Positive regression is coming his way and today is a good time for that to start.