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 Thursday, June 20 - Home Run Derby and Over/Under Predictions
Home Run Derby (Players must combine for more than 1.5 home runs in order to cash 2x buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100
Santana has never faced Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, but he certainly has the pop in his bat to take advantage of the latter's propensity for letting the ball leave the yard. Bundy has allowed 10 home runs (out of 15) to right-handed hitters, along with a 21.3 percent HR/FB rate. Santana just slugged a pair of round-trippers Wednesday and has a .336 wOBA, nine home runs and a 46.2 percent hard-contact rate versus righties this season. After Bundy exits, Santana will also have the benefit of facing an Orioles bullpen that's allowed a majors-high .444 wOBA and eight home runs to right-handed hitters on the road over the last month.
Vogelbach is another Mariners slugger in play for a long ball or two Thursday, albeit from the opposite side of the plate. The burly infielder has squared up on right-handed pitching for 16 homers and a massive .437 wOBA, as well as a 27.6 percent HR/FB rate. In turn, Bundy has allowed an elevated 50.0 HR/FB rate to left-handed hitters on the road, which could certainly spell trouble against Vogelbach's potent bat. Like his teammate Santana, Vogelbach is also a hitter that Bundy has never faced before, which could certainly lead to a mistake pitch on the Orioles' starter's part. Finally, the pitch-split synergy in Vogelbach's favor when facing Bundy is also worth noting – while Bundy has allowed nine of his 15 homers this season while throwing his signature four-seam fastball, Vogelbach has crushed that pitch for nine of his 16 round trippers.
Mancini is a threat to leave the yard on the other side of the Orioles-Mariners matchup. The power hitter should be back in the lineup Thursday after X-rays on an elbow bruise stemming from being hit by a pitch Wednesday came back negative. Mancini walks into his matchup against Mariners southpaw Wade LeBlanc with a .429 average over seven career encounters against him, including one home run. Eight of the 10 home runs LeBlanc has allowed this season have come off righty bats, with six of those coming at T-Mobile Park, the site of Thursday's matchup. Mancini has a .315 average, including five homers, against southpaws over 101 plate appearances, and he boasts a 26.3 percent HR/FB rate and 48.6 percent hard-contact rate versus that handedness when traveling. Seattle relievers have also allowed six home runs (188-batter sample) to right-handed hitters at home over the last month of play.
Over/Under (Pick 2 of 2 correctly to get 2.42x your buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Charlie Morton- Pitching Strikeouts Over/Under 6.5
The Pick: Over
Morton is in the midst of a stellar season for the Rays, and he's missing more bats than ever. The right-hander boasts a career-high 11.0 K/9 and seems to only be ramping up as the season unfolds. Morton has now recorded at least seven strikeouts in four of his last five starts, and he's hit or exceeded that mark in eight of 15 trips to the mound overall. The Athletics' projected starting lineup Thursday includes seven of the nine players with a strikeout rate of 20.0 percent or higher against righties at home over the last month of play. Morton should particularly have an advantage against left-handed hitters Matt Olson, Robbie Grossman and the switch-hitting Jurickson Profar, considering he owns a massive 38.6 percent strikeout rate against lefty bats on the road.
Frankie Montas- Pitching Strikeouts Over/Under 5.5
The Pick: Over
There should be plenty of swings and misses Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum, as I see Montas also exceeding his modest projected 5.5 strikeout total. The emerging righty has been outstanding in his own right this season, and he comes into Thursday's matchup with 19 strikeouts combined over his last two starts. What's more, Montas has at least six strikeouts in eight of 14 starts this season, and he sports a 10.3 K/9 at home overall. He's been especially effective at mowing down left-handed hitters at the Coliseum, as evidenced by his 30.1 percent strikeout rate. That bodes particularly well for him exceeding the modest 5.5 figure, considering Tampa brings in a lineup with five left-handed hitters in Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle, Kevin Kiermaier and Austin Meadows. Additionally, all but Meadows have a strikeout rate of 25.8 percent or higher against right-handed pitching on the road over the last month.