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 Wednesday, July 17- Over/Under and Fantasy Challenge Predictions
Over/Under (Goal: Pick two of two correctly to cash 2.63x your buy-in)
Dodgers at Phillies
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Kenta Maeda – Over/Under 5.5 pitching strikeouts
The Pick: Over
Maeda has not been a good pitcher on the road this season, but that doesn't mean he can't miss his fair share of bats. The right-hander just recorded seven whiffs against the Red Sox in Fenway Park last week and he has at least six strikeouts in three of his last four trips to the mound. Overall, Maeda has garnered at least six strikeouts in eight of his last 12 turns.
Maeda also has a good strikeout history against current Phillies bats. He's recorded 22 punchouts over 91 at-bats against Philadelphia batters, good for a 24.2 percent rate. The 5.5 strikeouts is not an unreasonably threshold – especially considering he has a better K/9 on the road (9.1) than at home (8.9) and the Phillies have a 23.6 percent K rate against righties in the last month. Go with the Over for Maeda.
Nick Pivetta, PHI- Over/Under 5.5 strikeouts
The Pick: Under
Pivetta sports a middling 6.9 K/9 at Citizens Bank Park and has gotten touched up for a 5.86 ERA, .313 average and .376 wOBA there. He's worked more than 5.2 innings just once in eight home starts while recording a modest 33 strikeouts in 43 innings. Additionally, Pivetta checks into Wednesday's matchup with four strikeouts or less in four consecutive outings.
The Dodgers sport the fourth-lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers (19.9 percent) for the season, and even though Pivetta actually recorded a season-high nine whiffs in his one prior meeting with Los Angeles, that seems to have very much been an outlier – the right-hander hasn't topped six strikeouts otherwise this season. Moreover, his aforementioned home K/9 combined with the Dodgers' .300 average and MLB-high .390 wOBA against righties on the road in the last month are a recipe for a potential quick hook Wednesday.
Fantasy Challenge (Pick 3 players that will combine for at least 12.5 fantasy points to get 2.5x buy-in)
Diamondbacks at Rangers
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100
Adam Jones, ARI
Jones has a .429 average against Rangers starter Jesse Chavez over 14 plate appearances, a sample that includes a double, home run and four RBI. Chavez has had his biggest troubles against righty bats, allowing a .353 wOBA overall, .306 average and .383 wOBA at home. In turn, Jones has nine of his 13 homers and 19 extra-base hits on the season off right-handed pitching. Rangers relievers also have a 5.00 ERA and .364 wOBA versus right-handed hitters at home over the last month, furthering Jones' appeal.
Jarrod Dyson, ARI
Dyson's leadoff spot and ability to steal bases both help him supplement his fantasy production significantly. The veteran speedster also has an impressive body of work against Chavez, hitting .500 against the Rangers' starter over eight career plate appearances. Dyson has all 14 of his extra-base hits and owns a .335 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season. Finally, Dyson's impressive .371/.521/.629 line over 48 plate appearances with men in scoring position and the 5.81 ERA Rangers relievers sport versus left-handed hitters at Globe Life Park over the last month both help cement Dyson's case.
Ketel Marte, ARI
The switch-hitting Marte was fully deserving of his first All-Star game nomination this season, as he has posted career-best figures across the board. He's hit equally well from either side of the plate, and he's touched up right-handed pitchers for a .311 average, 32 extra-base hits (16 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs) and a .380 wOBA that bumps up to .386 when facing them on the road. Marte also boasts a 46.2 percent hard-contact rate against righties when traveling, along with a 22.0 percent HR/FB rate. In turn, Chavez is surrendering a 21.4 percent HR/FB rate to lefty bats at home, and Marte also owns a .363 wOBA versus the fastball sinker that's Chavez's most frequently thrown pitch against left-handed hitters.