This article is part of our DFS MLB series.
Monkey Knife Fight is a prop- and parlay-based daily fantasy sports site that offers participants a unique way of "sweating" their favorite sporting events. Unlike conventional DFS sites, there is no salary cap to be concerned with and no other participants to compete against. Monkey Knife Fight contestants do not select a lineup of players, as is typically the case in traditional DFS contests.
Rather, each Monkey Knife Fight contest is based on real-world athletes from a given slate of games exceeding certain, predetermined statistical benchmarks. In certain contests, the athlete's performance in a certain category must exceed that of another pre-selected athlete in that same game. In others, the athlete is simply competing against a predetermined figure in a certain category (i.e., a specific number of points in an NBA game, a specific number of touchdowns in an NFL game, etc.).
As such, the success of each Monkey Knife Fight contest participant is fully dependent on the accuracy of their predictions, as opposed to their performance against other fellow players. Monkey Knife Fight offers a wide variety of contests for each of the sports it covers (currently NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Soccer, and Golf). Among the most popular are Over/Under and Rapid Fire, which we will cover regularly in this column.
In Over/Under contests, participants win when they correctly predict if a certain number of pre-selected athletes will surpass a specified statistical milestone in that day's game. In Rapid Fire, participants attempt to predict the winner of site-determined head-to-head matchups between athletes in a certain statistical category for that day's game. In Rapid Fire contests, certain athletes that are considered the "underdog" in the statistical matchup may be afforded an extra built-in value boost. That is denoted by a "+" symbol and the specific additional amount -- both displayed in green -- that the athlete will be awarded above the total they actually accrue in that category during their game.
One additional aspect of contest logistics that's particular to Monkey Knife Fight is payout structure. For each contest, participants select from a wide variety of buy-in amounts, which are revealed once they make their athlete selections for that particular contest. If a participant wins their contest, their payout is based on that buy-in amount and the preset multiplier the contest featured. The latter figure varies depending on the contest difficulty. For example, a Rapid Fire contest requiring only two correct predictions carries a 2.36x multiplier on the buy-in, while one requiring five correct predictions features a 17x multiplier.
MLB Friday, July 12- Over/Under and Batting Champ Predictions
Over/Under (Goal: Pick two of two correctly to cash 2.69x your buy-in)
Diamondbacks at Cardinals
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Robbie Ray, ARI – Over/Under 7.5 pitching strikeouts
The Pick: Over
The Cardinals constantly struggled with generating consistent offense during the first half of the season, and they're further weakened at the moment due to the absences of both Marcell Ozuna (fingers) and Yadier Molina (thumb). St. Louis doesn't exactly draw the easiest matchup with which to kick off the second half, either. Ray is a high-strikeout lefty, and the Cardinals have been abysmal against that lefties overall. That was especially true over the last month preceding the All-Star break in their home stadium.
St. Louis was dead last in the majors during that span with a .249 wOBA against lefties in their home park. The Cardinals only struck out 16.7 percent of the time versus southpaws over that sample, but they have a 20.4 percent figure overall for the season against lefties. Moreover, Ray has a good history with respect to missing current Cardinals bats. He's recorded 19 strikeouts of St. Louis hitters over 70 career at-bats, good for a 27.1 percent rate.
Ray hasn't quite kept up the same pace in strikeouts on the road, but he's been no slouch, either. Even with a slight drop-off compared to his work at Chase Field, Ray owns a 10.9 K/9 over 60.1 away innings. Given the depleted state of the Cardinals, Ray's well-rested arm, and the fact he has at least eight Ks in four of his last six starts, I'm calling for the over on 7.5 strikeouts.
Adam Wainwright, STL- Over/Under 4.5 strikeouts
The Pick: Over
The wily veteran right-hander has had an inconsistent season, not necessarily a surprise at this advanced stage of his career. However, Wainwright still has more than enough guile to turn it up a notch every so often. He was pitching particularly well heading into the All-Star break, too. Wainwright recorded at least six strikeouts in five of his last six first-half starts, topping out at 10 against the Phillies on May 28. He also gave up no more than four earned runs in any of those outings, and that was in just one start. The strong performances enabled Wainwright to log at least five innings in five of those six turns.
Friday, he faces a group of hitters that have been average versus right-handed pitching this season. The D-Backs have just a .313 wOBA overall versus righties this season, along with a 21.9 percent strikeout rate. Arizona was better in the month prior to the All-Star break, but Wainwright has been very sharp at home all season. He owns a 2.68 ERA across 47.0 innings at Busch Stadium, and he boasts a 9.2 K/9 in his home park as well. His target of 4.5 strikeouts isn't unreasonable by any stretch, putting me in the direction of the Over.
Batting Champ (Pick 3 players that will get the most Runs + RBI)
White Sox at Athletics
Target: 4.5 total Runs + RBI to get 2x buy-in
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100
Matt Olson, OAK
Anyone who's ever targeted White Sox starter Ivan Nova in DFS has very likely done it with left-handed hitters. The veteran right-hander has allowed 33 runs and 28 extra-base hits (17 doubles, 11 home runs) to left-handed hitters this season, along with a .321 average. His other troubling numbers versus that hand includes a middling 5.40 K/9, a 1.56 WHIP, and a 4.97 Xfip. Meanwhile, Olson checks in with a .349 wOBA and massive .289 ISO against right-handed pitching, and he's slugged 12 of his 19 homers on the season against righties as well. Olson also headed into the All-Star break on a tear, hitting safely in seven straight games and blasting three homers over his last six.
Robbie Grossman, OAK
The switch-hitting Grossman enjoys his most success against right-handed pitching by far. He sports a .271/.362/.416 line versus right-handed pitching, against which he also sports an impressive 28.7 percent line-drive rate. Like his teammate Olson, Grossman also headed into the All-Star break swinging the bat well. He hit safely in six of his last seven games -- including a trio of multi-hit efforts to start July – and accumulated a combined six runs and RBI during his first five contests of the month.
Matt Chapman, OAK
The Athletics' All-Star Game position player representative is a fitting choice to round out the trio that could do damage Friday. Chapman already has 111 total runs and RBI on the season, with 78 of those coming against right-handed pitching. The slugging third baseman also boasts a .421 wOBA, .306 ISO and 44.1 percent hard-contact rate versus right-handed pitching at home, making him a particularly dangerous adversary for Nova. While the veteran righty's biggest issues have come against lefty bats as highlighted earlier, he's also given up a .343 average and .389 wOBA to right-handed hitters on the road while also generating a mediocre 68.4 percent strand rate against that handedness when traveling.