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 Tuesday, July 23- Over/Under and Hit Parade Predictions
Over/Under (Goal: Pick two of two correctly to cash 2.42x your buy-in)
Athletics at Astros
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Wade Miley, HOU– Over/Under 4.5 pitching strikeouts
The Pick: Over
Analyzing Miley's metrics specific to this prop becomes somewhat of a study in contradictions. On the one hand, the veteran left-hander has only recorded five strikeouts of Oakland hitters across 11.2 innings in two prior encounters this season. Yet, Miley has compiled a solid 25 whiffs of current Athletics bats over 111 career at-bats overall.
Then, the A's have a fairly stingy 19.9 percent strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers on the road over the last month. But, Miley has recorded between five and nine strikeouts in eight of his last 10 starts, and he's logged at least five innings in nine of those outings. Moreover, he boasts a solid 8.4 K/9 at home, along with an elite 1.86 ERA and .199 BAA over 48.1 frames overall at Minute Maid Park.
Only three of the players likely to be in Oakland's lineup Tuesday have strikeout rates of over 20.0 percent against left-handers this season. Yet, Miley's recent track record of missing bats, his overall body of work at home, and the fact the 4.5-strikeout threshold isn't overly daunting all lead me to lean in the direction of the Over.
Mike Fiers, OAK- Over/Under 3.5 strikeouts
The Pick: Under
On the other side of the matchup, Fiers faces a more challenging prop despite his strikeout goal actually being lower than Miley's. The veteran right-hander isn't a swing-and-miss guy to begin with, as evidenced this season by his career-low 5.8 K/9. Fiers has also been a much more effective pitcher in his spacious home park of Oakland Coliseum. In turn, he's yielded a 4.94 ERA and 5.18 xFIP across 54.2 road frames.
Fiers has managed to record four strikeouts apiece in each of his last four starts, and at least that figure in seven of his last eight overall. However, the Astros shape up as a tough nut to crack in that regard Tuesday. Houston sports an AL-low 18.4 percent strikeout rate against righties over the last month of play.
Finally, it's also worth noting that Fiers' most-often used pitch against either handedness of hitter – his four-seam fastball – is one he only logs a 14.9 percent strikeout rate on. Meanwhile, eight of the nine Houston bats projected to be in Tuesday's lineup have contact rates of 84.4 percent or better against the pitch, including six over 90.0 percent. Considering all the aforementioned factors, I'm leaning toward the Under despite the low benchmark.
Hit Parade (Pick 3 players that will combine for at least 5.5 hits to get 3x buy-in)
Orioles at Diamondbacks
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100
Christian Walker, ARI
The Orioles will roll out Dylan Bundy as a starter Tuesday, with the homer-prone righty coming off a stay on the injured list due to a knee issue. Bundy has allowed 47 hits and a .370 wOBA to right-handed hitters this season, a sample that includes 14 home runs. He's reaped the benefits of an unsustainable .216 BABIP when facing righty bats on the road, but that luck could start to turn a bit against some powerful right-handed Arizona hitters like Walker that have been putting good wood on the ball recently.
Walker boasts an impressive .410 wOBA and .348 ISO across 58 plate appearances in July, a stretch during which he also has a 50.0 percent hard-contact rate. Walker's on-base percentage during that sample is an elite .397, and his .261 average in July is his best figure since he hit a combined .307 in March and April. Finally, consider Walker's .359 wOBA, .258 ISO and 51.8 percent hard-contact rate against right-handed pitching overall, as well as the Orioles bullpen's .280 BAA and .339 wOBA surrendered to right-handed hitters over the last month.
Adam Jones, ARI
Jones got off on the right foot facing his old squad Monday, going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run. He'll be in an appealing spot again Tuesday versus Bundy. Jones sports a .293 average, .360 on-base percentage, .349 wOBA and 44.7 percent hard-contact rate against right-handed pitching at Chase Field this season. The veteran outfielder also comes into Tuesday's game in the midst of what is arguably his best stretch at the plate in 2019, slashing .320/.370/.400 across 54 plate appearances in July.
Ketel Marte, ARI
The switch-hitting All-Star is always worthy of consideration in this format. He comes into Tuesday's game with a .342 average, .397 on-base percentage and .397 wOBA against right-handed pitching at home this season. Marte also comes in swinging a blistering hot bat, hitting .397 (23-for-58) across 67 total plate appearances in July. He's generating a season-best 24.5 percent line-drive rate -- a metric typically predictive of offensive success when sustained over a multi-game period -- during the month as well.
Two other factors in Marte's favor Tuesday are pitch-splits and his bullpen matchup. Bundy most often deploys his low 90s fastball against left-handed hitters, and Marte boasts a .469 wOBA, .380 ISO and 93.8 percent contact rate against that pitch over the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Baltimore relievers are allowing a 6.93 ERA and .340 wOBA to lefty bats over the last month. If the Orioles deploy a southpaw out of the pen against Marte, he's still left with in an appealing matchup, as he owns a .322 average when facing lefties.