Loading scores...
Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Tuesday 4/20

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: April 20, 2021, 11:14 am ET

This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

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.

A handful of teams are running a 6:30pm ET start time so our DFS contests are kicking off a half hour early. The Detroit game will be wet, although it seems as if they’ll be able to play through it.


Top Play: Luis Castillo – Reds (vs DBacks)

Castillo is both the top-projected pitcher and the best value in this slate. By a mile. He’s priced with the likes of Tyler Anderson, Jordan Lyles, and Rich Hill even though he’s more talented than Chris Paddack, Zack Wheeler, and Jameson Taillon. They’re second to fourth on the price sheet.

Castillo has pitched inconsistently through three starts, turning in a dud, a gem, and a middling outing. Historically, he’s struggled early in seasons. He should be ultra-chalky due to his errant affordability so it’s fair to skip this start at homer happy Great American Ballpark. The Diamondbacks have a mid-tier offense with above average power. They’re neither strikeout prone nor resistant.

Pivot: Zac Gallen – Diamondbacks (at Reds)

Across the aisle, Gallen should be cleared to throw over 90 pitches tonight. Arizona’s ace is in a similar boat as his opponent. The Reds have a mid-tier offense skewed towards power outcomes. The venue introduces additional risk. Gallen wasn’t quite sharp in his season debut last week. He was working deep counts and using his fastball too often. Because Castillo is so attractively priced, there should be downward pressure on Gallen’s rostership.

Also Consider: Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes, Charlie Morton, Shohei Ohtani

Editor’s Note: Drafting is only half the battle! Get an edge on your competition with our MLB Season Tools -- available in our EDGE+ Roto tier for $3.99/mo. (annually) or $9.99/mo. (monthly)-- that are packed with rankings, projections, a trade evaluator, start/sit tools and much more. And don't forget to use promo code WELCOME10 to get 10% off. Click here to learn more!


Top Play: Salvador Perez – Royals (vs Rich Hill)

Due to his aggression, Perez is a consistent source of balls in play. He’s also one of the few players to lower his average launch angle in recent seasons, leading to more regular hard and barreled contact. He’s one of the few catchers to combine regular multi-hit and home run potential. He’s expensive for an attractive matchup against Hill. The left-handed fly-ball pitcher is known for pitch-tunnelling high fastballs and curves. This season, he’s lacking crispness and tends to pitch only four innings. The Rays bullpen isn’t a strength at the moment.

Pivot: Alejandro Kirk – Jays (at Eduardo Rodriguez)

Kirk is a gifted pure hitter. His currently tepid batting line is obscured by a .150 BABIP. As someone who ends over three-quarters of his plate appearances with a ball in play, he’s especially susceptible to BABIP-related streaks and slumps. The 22-year-old has a knack for making barreled, line drive contact. Unfortunately, he’s not especially powerful. Or more specifically, his contact-oriented approach prevents him from regularly accessing his average raw power. Approach him as a punt who could whomp a couple balls off (but probably not over) the Green Monster.

Also Consider: Danny Jansen, Kyle Higashioka, Wilson Ramos, Sean Murphy


Top Play: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Blue Jays (at Rodriguez)

Vladito is the top breakout story of the season. Among other adjustments, he’s raised his launch angle, leading to a surge in home runs and line drives. Clearing the Green Monster might be a challenge for him, but a couple dents in the wall seem likely.

Pivot: Brandon Belt – Giants (at Wheeler)

Belt’s had the misfortune of playing half his games at Oracle Park. Were he the Phillies regular first baseman, he’d be an annual 30-home run threat. As it happens, his bringing his frequent pulled fly ball approach to Philly tonight. Wheeler is a challenging matchup.

Also Consider: Jared Walsh, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Rhys Hoskins, Josh Bell, Jesus Aguilar, Yuli Gurriel


Top Play: Garrett Hampson – Rockies (vs Luis Garcia)

Garcia isn’t stretched out for a long outing and probably won’t merit one anyway. His stuff isn’t well-suited to a Coors Field visit, especially since he has trouble controlling it at sea level. If the Rockies are patient with pitches near the edges of the zone, they should have little trouble clicking as a stack. Hampson is only of interest if he’s batting leadoff. His lack of power, high strikeout rate, and blazing speed mark him as an unusual combination of traits – one that typically doesn’t work out in the Majors.

Pivot: Nick Maton – Phillies (vs Logan Webb)

Maton is a utility man who has some interesting DFS traits – namely a penchant for pulled, fly ball contact. Despite this, he’s not a power hitter. A left-handed hitter, he matches up well against Webb’s ground ball tendencies. The profile is similar to a less extreme Cavan Biggio. He’s not as discerning at the plate and has struggled with infield flies in the minors.

Also Consider: Ryan McMahon, Brandon Lowe, Jazz Chisholm, Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar


Top Play: Alex Bregman – Astros (at Jon Gray)

Bregman returns from a brief stint on the COVID-list just in time to take part in a series at Coors Field. There’s nothing complicated about this recommendation. Gray doesn’t issue many walks so we can count on balls in play from Bregman.

Pivot: Brian Anderson – Marlins (vs Matt Harvey)

With Coors Field on the docket, this Orioles-Marlins game could go unnoticed. The Vegas line calls for a mere 8.5 runs, but I’d enthusiastically bet the over if that were my racket. With Harvey, Nick Neidert, and two bad bullpens in play, this game could easily get out of hand. Anderson doesn’t have any standout traits. Instead, he’s interesting because he’s a cleanup hitter with a cheap price tag set to face a terrible opponent.

Also Consider: Nolan Arenado, Josh Fuentes, McMahon, Escobar


Top Play: Trea Turner – Nationals (vs Wainwright)

The shortstop pool is jam-crammed with elite hitters in favorable situations. I happen to be partial to Turner as a guy who could slip through the cracks simply because the Nationals stack won’t be very popular tonight. As we know, Turner can fill up a boxscore with the best of them, and he has a neutral matchup.

Pivot: Jazz Chisholm – Marlins (vs Harvey)

Chisholm continues to punish every baseball within reach. His whifftastic minor league track record is no longer in evidence. Through 106 career plate appearances, he has below a 10 percent swinging strike rate. Surprising discipline has led to a still-elevated 28.3 percent strikeout rate. Harvey will be one of the worst pitchers to appear in the Majors this season – excluding appearances from the likes of Yermin Mercedes and Danny Mendick.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Eugenio Suarez, Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Paul DeJong


Top Plays: Juan Soto – Nationals (vs Wainwright)
Kyle Tucker – Astros (at Gray)
Yordan Alvarez – Astros (at Gray)
Michael Brantley – Astros (at Gray)

Here’s where the Astros stack really takes off. Personally, I’m partial to Brantley. I’m a sucker for Coors visitors who have some home run potential but generally work gap-to-gap. They tend to be undersubscribed as just as potent as more homer-centric plays like Alvarez. Tucker and Brantley are unreasonably cheap for this situation. Brantley or Alvarez are at risk of sitting. Soto, like Turner, might be underutilized due to shiny alternatives.

Pivots: Corey Dickerson – Marlins (vs Harvey)
Adam Duvall – Marlins (vs Harvey)
DJ Stewart – Orioles (at Nick Neidert)

Clearly, I’m vibing with a cheap Marlins stack tonight. Dickerson is a line drive machine who might be in his last season as a regular if he can’t recover some pop. He’s not especially likely to homer, but a multi-hit game could be in the offing. He fits best when used with other Marlins. Duvall, with his extreme all-or-nothing approach can be used independently or as part of the stack. Among affordable hitters, only Justin Upton is as likely to homer tonight. Stewart might not play tonight since the Orioles won’t have the designated hitter. His power potential also takes a small hit from leaving the friendly confines of Camden Yards. He has around a one-in-five chance to homer.

Also Consider: Mike Trout, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, Walsh, Justin Upton, Adolis Garcia, Myles Straw, Kole Calhoun, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.