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 2- Over/Under and Rapid Fire Predictions
Over/Under (Goal: Pick two of two correctly to cash 2.53x your buy-in)
Rockies vs. Astros
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Charlie Blackmon – Over/Under 1.5 Hits + Walks
The Pick: Over
Blackmon has been absolutely lethal against right-handed pitching all season, particularly at Coors Field. A matchup against an inexperienced righty Jose Urquidy makes the Rockies superstar even more appealing than usual. Blackmon sports a .479 average (including 20 extra-base hits), .638 wOBA and 11.1 percent walk rate versus righties at Coors Field, helping lead to an absurd .543 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Urquidy draws the proverbial short straw for his first major-league start by having to face Blackmon and company at Coors. The rookie has proven capable of missing plenty of bats in the minors and has been tough on left-handed hitters over the last two seasons, but needless to say, he's never faced a hitter that approaches the caliber of Blackmon.
Given the matchup and Blackmon's track record at home, I give him an excellent chance of vaulting over the modest threshold of 1.5.
Jose Altuve, HOU- Over/Under 1.5 total bases
The Pick: Over
Altuve is an elite hitter on the opposite side of the matchup Tuesday and also faces a very manageable statistical goal against Rockies starter German Marquez. The right-hander is yielding a .352 wOBA at Coors Field, including a .311 average and .339 wOBA to right-handed hitters there. What's more, after a strong start to the season, Marquez has been trending in the wrong direction. He finished June with a 6.60 ERA, .291 BAA and .366 wOBA allowed across 30 innings. Those figures were partly comprised of 15 extra-base hits (eight doubles, one triple, nine home runs) surrendered.
Altuve has uncharacteristically struggled versus right-handed pitching this season, especially on the road. However, it's worth noting he got off to a slow start overall and has slowly been looking more like himself. Altuve finished June with a .292 average, including a .265 figure versus righties. That came over a modest sample of 34 plate appearances due to injury, but both figures represent marked improvement over his numbers earlier in the campaign.
Finally, consider the Rockies' bullpen's struggles against right-handed hitters at Coors. Colorado relievers generated an MLB-high 8.78 ERA, .347 BAA and .431 wOBA against righty bats at home during June.
Rapid Fire (Pick 2 of 2 correctly to get 2.16x your buy-in)
Mariners vs. Cardinals
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$100
The Pick: Santana (+0.5)
The Mariners draw a relatively neutral matchup overall against Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, who's been up and down on his way to a 4-5 record, 4.75 ERA and 1.23 WHIP across 16 starts. Flaherty has also had his share of troubles against righty bats on the road. They've touched him up for a .306 average and .366 wOBA across a 71-batter sample. As those numbers imply, he's had plenty of issues keeping right-handed hitters from making their way around the bases. Flaherty owns an elevated 4.2 BB/9 and middling 60.3 percent strand rate against right-handed hitters outside of Busch Stadium.
That naturally leaves both Santana and Beckham, a pair of right-handed power bats, in an attractive statistical matchup on paper. However, it's Santana, who's on his way to a potential career year, that shapes up as much more equipped to take advantage of it. The former Brewers slugger owns a .283 average, .348 on-base percentage and .347 wOBA overall against right-handed pitching. He also boasts an elevated 27.1 percent line-drive rate against righties at home, typically a reliable predictor of a higher BABIP and OBP. In contrast. Beckham has limped to a .214 average against right-handed pitching, including just .182 on his home field of T-Mobile Park. He also sports a massive 38.6 percent strikeout rate versus righties at home, a figure that even dwarfs the similarly contact-challenged Santana's 31.5 percent figure.
Factoring in that Santana also has a built-in 0.5-point advantage, I give him the call in this head-to-head total bases battle.
Runs + RBI
The Pick: Goldschmidt
The Cardinals will start the game taking hacks against opener Matt Carasiti, but that won't last long. Veteran southpaw Wade LeBlanc is slated to work the bulk of innings Tuesday. Given their respective extensive major-league careers, LeBlanc and Goldschmidt have a history. The Cardinals slugger owns a solid .267/.313/.400 line versus LeBlanc over 16 career encounters. For the season, Goldschmidt has nine runs and six RBI across plate appearances versus left-handed pitching.
O'Neill was just recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday, and although he brings prodigious power upside, he's still saddled with an enormous strikeout rate at this early stage of his big-league career. The young outfielder has also proven incapable of solving major-league southpaws for the most part thus far. He owns an .083 average against lefties in a very small sample of 12 plate appearances this season, and a .214 average and jaw-dropping 44.4 percent strikeout rate against that handedness over 45 PAs.
LeBlanc has allowed a .359 Woba against right-handed hitters at home, and the Mariners bullpen has a somewhat elevated 4.34 ERA versus that handedness at T-Mobile Park over the last month as well. However, given O'Neill's considerable contact issues, I still give Goldschmidt, who has a just a 13.9 percent strikeout rate on the road against lefties, the nod.