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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for April 18

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays for Monday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings.

On Monday night, Major League Baseball starts another busy work week with a nine-game slate of fantasy baseball options on DraftKings. There are a couple of weather situations to keep a close eye on in Washington D.C. and New York if you are targeting players in those games. There are plenty of good options, though, in those and other contests to build a great lineup on this Monday night. All nine games scheduled for the main slate are the first game of new sets since the only wraparound series is the Red Sox and Twins, who face off in a Patriots Day morning matinee in Boston.

Let’s break down some of the best options on Monday’s slate. The players listed below are in the best positions to succeed based on current form and expected matchup. Throughout the day, stay locked into the DK Live app for updates, and you also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for the latest news and analysis leading up to the first pitch. You can also let me know what you think of these picks, ask any questions and find more bargain-specific content on my Twitter, @ZT_Sports.

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.



Sean Manaea, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds ($9,100) – After his awesome first start of the season, Clayton Kershaw ($10,300) is sure to be a popular option and has lots of upside, but Manaea is also a good play for one $1K cheaper, more of a recent track record and a better matchup. Manaea dominated the Diamondbacks for 33.2 DKFP in his first start with the Padres and was solid in a tough-luck loss, finishing with 17.9 DKFP against the Giants. Manaea has 13 strikeouts in his 13 innings this season and has only allowed a 31% hard-hit rate. The Reds have piled up 98 strikeouts in 10 games while hitting just .180 as a team and averaging 3.4 runs per game. In pitcher-friendly Petco, Manaea has limited risk and a high ceiling.

Other Options – Clayton Kershaw ($10,300), Tylor Megill ($9,300)


Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7,300) – Manaea’s former teammate Frankie Montas didn’t get traded by the A’s in their preseason firesale. He will also be making his third start of the season and brings high strikeout potential to this matchup with the Orioles. He had six strikeouts in each of his first two outings and had 25.3 DKFP in his most recent start, which was last week against the Rays. The 29-year-old righty had a 9.96 K/9 rate last year over 32 starts and was even better at home with a 10.20 K/9 rate and 3.34 home ERA. While the Orioles have been better than anticipated this year, their lineup doesn’t have much depth, and they’ll be traveling cross-country before taking on Montas in Oakland in one of the late games.

Other Options – Josiah Gray ($7,900), Michael Lorenzen ($7,100)



Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers ($4,900) – Hayes has typically been hitting leadoff against lefties like Eric Lauer ($8,900) and should be back in the lineup after getting a day off Sunday. The 25-year-old has started the season on a nice roll, going 12-for-30 (.400) with three doubles and two stolen bases. He has hit safely in all but one of his games with multiple plate appearances, averaging 10.0 DKFP in those seven contests. He has a .324 career average against lefties with a .155 ISO, .360 wOBA and 127 wRC+. While the entirety of the Pirates’ lineup isn’t very scary, Hayes is a strong play against lefties and a good buy under $5K since there are multiple ways he can put up big games.


Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros ($4,300) – Walsh is a relatively affordable play for the “Stud” category, but he has a nice midrange producer so far this season. He has gone 11-for-31 (.355) with a pair of home runs, six RBI and a 44% hard-hit rate helping him to average 8.11 DKFP per game. He collected multiple hits on Friday and Saturday before getting Sunday off against a lefty. The left-handed hitter should be back in the heart of the Angels’ lineup Monday, especially against Luis García ($9,600) of the Astros. In their previous meetings, Walsh has gone 6-for-9 (.667) with two home runs and three walks. While the small sample size of BvP makes it unreliable, in this case, it’s clear that Walsh has a good read on García’s approach.

Other Options – Trea Turner ($5,800), Manny Machado ($4,700)


Ji-Man Choi, Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago Cubs ($3,800) – After struggling this Spring Training, Choi has started the year on a roll, going 10-for-22 (.455) with a 66.7% hard-hit rate leading to three doubles and two home runs, which gives him a .409 ISO and .608 wOBA. The lefty gets the more favorable side of the splits against Kyle Hendricks ($6,600) and should remain a very solid play under $4K in the middle of one of the best lineups in baseball.


Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres ($2,900) – Farmer has been one of the few bright spots for the Reds this season and has moved into the leadoff spot for the team’s two most recent games. He is 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles and one stolen base this year and has been especially sharp against lefties. He is 5-for-12 against lefties this season and has a .285 career average against southpaws along with a .170 ISO and .337 wOBA. While I don’t love his matchup against Manaea, he deserves attention if he stays in the leadoff spot even for a thin Reds lineup.

Other Options – Austin Nola ($3,600), Alan Trejo ($2,500)



Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies ($6,200) – The Phillies dropped three of four games this past weekend to the Marlins, but Harper did his part posting 24 DKFP in each of the two games this weekend giving him double-digit DKFP in four of his past five contests. He had a thrilling steal of home on Saturday and hit his second homer of the season Sunday. He’ll look to keep rolling with the boost of going to Coors Field to start the week. Overall this season, he has a 51.9% hard-hit rate while going 8-for-37 (.216) but six of those eight hits have been for extra bases with four doubles and two homers. Chad Kuhl ($5,700) has allowed lefties to post a .369 wOBA against him in his career, so he’ll be a good matchup for Harper.


Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros ($5,700) – Ohtani has a seven-game hitting streak and is 10-for-44 (.227) with two doubles and three home runs giving him a .250 ISO and .316 wOBA. The Angels will likely be without Mike Trout (hand) to start this series, so Walsh and Ohtani will need to carry the load offensively and should be in a good matchup in which to do that against García.

Other Options – Seiya Suzuki ($5,100), Randy Arozarena ($4,900)


Adam Duvall, Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,600) – Duvall has had multiple hard-hit balls in five of his past six games and has an impressive 62.5% hard-hit rate on the season. He has only gone 10-for-38 (.263) with four doubles and no home runs, but he’s hitting the ball hard and gets a good matchup against a lefty as the Braves open their series against Kershaw and the Dodgers. Duvall might fly under the radar a little bit since he hasn’t homered yet, but he’s a nice play at just over $3.5K with plenty of power potential.


Wil Myers, San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds ($3,100) – Myers has been sidelined since Thursday with a thumb issue but was available off the bench on Sunday and looks to be ready to return on Monday in a great matchup highlighted below. Myers hasn’t lived up to expectations due to his contract but has typically hit lefties well. Last year, he hit .271 with a .178 ISO and .355 wOBA against southpaws. In his limited action this season, he has a 30% hard-hit rate with five hard-hit balls in his five most recent games.

Other Options – Tony Kemp ($3,600), Cristian Pache ($2,400)


San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Padres continue their homestand by facing Nick Lodolo ($6,100), a young lefty who allowed five runs on seven hits along with two home runs in his MLB debut against the Guardians. Both the home runs he allowed were to right-handed hitters, so targeting righties in the Padres’ lineup makes sense. Austin Nola ($3,600), Manny Machado ($4,700), Luke Voit ($3,300), Myers and Jurickson Profar ($2,700) have been successful against lefties in the past, and Trent Grisham ($3,900) has been leading off against both lefties and righties, so he can be part of a stack as well.

Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles already had a thin starting rotation and lost John Means (elbow) and Dean Kremer (oblique) to injury this season. Spenser Watkins ($5,000) will get another start as a result and will stick if he offers solid innings. In his first start of the year, he gave up four runs in three innings, and in his career, he has a 7.80 ERA and 6.27 FIP. Against right-handed hitters, he has allowed a .450 wOBA and a 2.83 HR/9 rate, so the Athletics should be able to put up some power. In their 10 games, the Athletics have hit the fourth-most home runs (12) in MLB and scored 53 runs. Sean Murphy ($4,800) is a great option behind the plate who usually hits high in the order while fellow righties Chad Pinder ($2,900) and Sheldon Neuse ($3,100) are also worth a look. There are even some good sub-$3K values near the bottom of the order in Kevin Smith ($2,900) and Cristian Pache ($2,400).

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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