Today's Featured DFS site is Star Fantasy Leagues. Click HERE to receive a 40% deposit bonus exclusive to Fantistics, just use the code: FANTISTICS when you deposit
Before we get into today's recommendations, it is important to remind everyone to understand your scoring format and the pricing of the individual players on the site you're playing. These vary from site to site and all daily sites price their players differently, which could make someone a must start on one site but not another. In the space below I will break down the best and worst plays by position and make notes as to which type of formats to utilize players. If you are new to the daily fantasy baseball scene, there are daily fantasy websites which offer one day contests. These contests are mostly salary cap games where you can take any players you want as long as you stay under the cap and meet the positional requirements and all are points-based (not roto). As a result these recommendations often focus on value. By reading the notes below you'll be able to identify not only value options but potential weak pitchers to exploit. If a player is not touched on, it doesn't mean they're not a good play. We have limited space and assessing value across all the sites is a bit subjective. Please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.
Weather: We have a number of weather situations that are worth keeping an eye on.
Danger Zone (60+% chance of rain): DET-CLE (Scattered Thunderstorms)
Keep an Eye on (30+% chance of rain): CHC-PIT (Scattered), CIN-NYM (Isolated), OAK-TEX (Scattered Strong), BOS-CHW (Isolated)
Brian McCann (ATL) - It's not a great day at the Catcher position, so we'll mix in a new face as the top play of the day. McCann is going to be recommended by a bunch of outlets today because he's gone 18-39 with 10 XBH's and a 5:3 BB:K ratio in his career against Mike Pelfrey. I'm going to recommend Brian McCann because he has a career .286/.363/.493 line against RHP (.364 wOBA) and he has looked phenomenal since returning from the DL. McCann has a 1.17 EYE and .257 ISO since returning and he's only chased 12% of pitches outside the strike zone while making contact on 93% of his swings. These are all small samples we're working with but McCann looks like the player of old. Mike Pelfrey also really struggles with lefties, allowing a .343 wOBA over the last three years and this year lefties have hit .341/.371/.600 off of Pelfrey. The splits advantage is there and it comes with a player who appears to be seeing the ball very well right now, throw in the cherry on top of a strong individual history against the pitcher and you've got our top play of the day.
Miguel Montero (ARZ) - Jhoulys Chacin allows a .345 wOBA at home against LHB's in his career and it comes with a 1.56 WHIP, 1.23 HR/9, and 21.1% LD Rate. I have no idea when Miguel Montero is going to start hitting but he remains a strong value with his price depressed on most sites. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced as an average catching option ($5,776) and isn't as great of an appeal as some other sites. Still useful, but not screaming bargain. With how many times I've been burned by Montero this year, I'm looking for screaming bargain.
Alex Avila (DET) - Avila remains exceptionally cheap and his track record against RHP (career .263/.360/.445) warrants attention against Corey Kluber who has yielded a .357 wOBA so far against LHB's. With Austin Jackson out, Avila has been hitting 6th in the order which is a nice boost to his value as he gets closer to Fielder and Cabrera, which provides more RBI opportunities.
AJ Pierzynski (TEX) - The Rangers activated Pierzynski off of the DL this morning so I expect him to be back in the lineup tonight. He'll get to face Dan Straily who has allowed a .398 wOBA to LHB's in his brief major league career. Straily really struggles to command the zone against lefties, 17% BB%, and his 47% FB Rate allowed has turned into 2.77 HR/9 when facing LHB's. You'll see plenty of Texas left-handers mixed into the FIX recommendations today. Pierzynski has always been pretty good against RHP (.289/.332/.439) and in a favorable hitting environment like Arlington, he qualifies as one of the top values of the day. On Star Fantasy Leagues Pierzysnki is just ($5,035). I believe he's the top value play over on Star at the catcher position.
Jason Castro (HOU) - Castro is a staple of the FIX against RHP and sure enough the Astros get another RHP on the mound on Tuesday night. Wade Davis has yielded a .335 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years and Castro has hit a solid .267/.343/.422 against RHP in his career. He's actually been just as good as Pierzynski against RHP and is cheaper on Star, but I like the opposing pitcher matchup and scoring environment for Pierzynski slightly more, which makes him my preferred pick.
Wellington Castillo (CHC) - Beef is the cheapest catcher of the group on Star Fantasy Leagues with a measly $3,345 price tag but he has perhaps the toughest matchup in the lowest run-scoring environment. Wandy Rodriguez has allowed a .315 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years and his biggest problem with righties is power, which PNC's huge LCF gap really helps contain. Castillo has hit .326/.394/.449 in 89 AB's against LHP at the big league level. He's a nice value play based on his success against LHP but I like the others a bit more because of the strength of the opposing pitcher.
Prince Fielder (DET) - Fielder gets Corey Kluber (.357 wOBA allowed to LHB's, 25% LD Rate, 1.0 HR/9) who has really struggled against left-handed bats and has really scuffled against the Tigers in his big league career. In 2 starts (3 appearances), Kluber has allowed 10 ER's in 13 IP against the Tigers. Fielder has hit .297/.413/.575 in his career against RHP with a 0.97 EYE. He's arguably the premier bat against RHP in all of baseball and gets a favorable matchup on Tuesday night that earns him top play status. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's actually the 4th most expensive 1B which makes him a decent bargain.
Other Top Plays: Lance Berkman (TEX), Mitch Moreland (TEX)
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) - I debated listing Adrian Gonzalez in the "other top plays" section above as he's not exactly "cheap" on any site, but he does represent a strong value on Tuesday; especially on Star Fantasy Leagues where he's just $7,688. Gonzalez gets to face Hiram Burgos who has given up a .462 wOBA to LHB's in his rookie season, including a nasty 3.6 HR/9 mark. Gonzalez doesn't hit for the same power he did in his heyday but over the last three years he's compiled a .379 wOBA against RHP with a .304/.379/.524 triple slash. Miller Park is also one of the more favorable hitting environments as it inflates HR's by 31% and overall run-scoring by 7%. On many sites Gonzalez is priced outside the Top 10 1B, making him a nice value play.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) - Freeman gets the same beneficial matchup Brian McCann gets against Mike Pelfrey only Freeman has been a bit better against RHP in his career than McCann. Freeman has hit .284/.356/.465 in his career against RHP (.355 wOBA) and gets a more favorable lineup spot than McCann, typically hitting clean-up. On Star Fantasy Leagues Freeman is a bargain priced at just $6,885.
Mike Napoli (TEX) - Napoli's price relative to the other top 1B continues to confound me. On most sites Napoli's PPG is commensurate with players priced 15-20% above him, but his pricing hasn't seemed to adjust. He gets to face Jose Quintana who has surrendered a .328 wOBA against RHB's in his career but a .358 wOBA when he faces them in the friendly hitting confines of US Cellular Field. At home, Quintana struggles limiting HR's to RHB's (1.18 HR/9) which makes sense because the Cell inflates HR's 37% above the league average. Napoli, to his credit, has always handled LHP well. He's hit .272/.378/.522 in his career against LHP (.385 wOBA) and gets to play in an offense that appears designed to mash LHP (Gomes, Pedroia, Victorino, Middlebrooks all way better against LHP). On Star Fantasy Leagues Napoli is priced at $7,455 making him a nice value, but across the industry I feel like he's the most mis-priced 1B.
Other 1B Notes:
Paul Konerko remains a nice value play and gets a LHP with command issues. Ike Davis is also a decent flier against a RHP that allows 1.28 HR/9 to LHB's. Both players have been disappointing this season and as a result their prices are way down. Todd Helton is also a very nice value on Star Fantasy Leagues ($4,770) as he's posted wOBA's of .386 and .402 in 2012 and 2011 when facing RHP at home.
Robinson Cano (NYY)/Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - I'm really torn between the two on Tuesday. You know the drill by now, Cano is a tremendous play against RHP (career .378 wOBA) and Dustin Pedroia (career .377 wOBA) is a tremendous play against LHP. They're both better at home than they are on the road but on Tuesday they get the benefit of playing in nice hitters' parks on the road. Pedroia gets the better matchup as Quintana has been more susceptible to RHB's than Miguel Gonzalez has to LHB's (oddly Gonzalez has some big reverse splits - .297 wOBA allowed to LHB) and as a result that has me leaning slightly towards Pedroia. On most sites the price is close enough that the decision is a tough one, thankfully on our featured site (Star Fantasy Leagues) Pedroia ($8,665) is priced well below Cano ($10,345), making him an easier selection.
Ben Zobrist (TB) - Zobrist isn't quite in the same class of hitter as Cano or Pedroia but he's not far behind and on Tuesday he holds the best matchup of the three. Zobrist gets Ramon Ortiz who we've, rather unsuccessfully, attempted to pick on with LHB's whenever we can. Ortiz has allowed lefties to post a .415 wOBA and 1.87 HR/9 the last three years. Even in his first two starts this year where he's had some success it appears pretty fluky. He's walked 6% of lefties he's faced and struck out just 3.5%. His 44% FB Rate allowed hasn't resulted in a HR yet, but that would figure to only be a matter of time. Zobrist has been better against LHP than RHP in his career, but the .340 wOBA plays well enough that I'll use him as a value option in the favorable matchup.
Kelly Johnson (TB) - Johnson's had some big performances of late so on most sites his price has risen beyond what I'd consider a value. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced at $6,401 which is around the average 2B threshold and at that level I'd still consider him a value. Johnson gets all the same benefits of the matchup with Ramon Ortiz that teammate Ben Zobrist will get and he's posted a similarly solid, but unspectacular, .337 wOBA in his career against RHP.
Dan Uggla (ATL) - Uggla is a bit of a streak hitter and as he's aged the streaks have been more exaggerated. He homered last night and on Tuesday faces a pitcher who he's had some success against (13-32, 4 2B's, 2 BB, 5 K). Pelfrey isn't significantly better against RHB's (.329 wOBA allowed) and Uggla has always been better against same-handed pitching (.355 wOBA against RHP, .338 wOBA against LHP) in his career. Uggla's a very boom-or-bust type play but for those in large field tournaments are often looking for those types of plays. With 2B providing few ideal values, I'll include Uggla who figures to be part of a high scoring ATL offense on Tuesday.
Didi Gregorious (ARZ) - I'm perplexed by the start Gregorious has had at the big league level as very little in his minor league track record suggested this was coming (especially the power), but he's crushing RHP (.405/.443/.622, .457 wOBA) and at this point you might as well ride the hot streak while his price still hasn't adjusted. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced at just $6,289 and pricing him as an average SS option seems to be consistent across the industry. He's hitting 2nd in the most favorable offensive environment in baseball (Coors Field) and gets to face Jhoulys Chacin who has allowed a .345 wOBA at home to LHB's in his career.
Starlin Castro (CHC) - Castro is priced as a below average SS option across the industry due to a slow start this year and I'm picking my spots in trying to find bargains on him against LHP. For his career Castro has hit .316/.367/.446 against lefties (.352 wOBA) and the big gaps in LCF at PNC Park actually fit Castro's gap/LD power a bit better than a traditional big power threat who relies on the HR-ball. Wandy Rodriguez has been pretty good against RHB's the last three years (.315 wOBA) and the environment doesn't figure to be one heavy on run-scoring, but Castro is just too cheap. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced at $5,741 and would be my next-in-line value after Gregorious.
Erick Aybar (LAA) - Aybar has surprisingly posted his best results against FB pitchers (.751 OPS) and on Tuesday he'll face Aaron Harang who is a FB heavy pitcher who also struggles getting left-handed bats out. Over the last three years Harang has allowed a .341 wOBA to LHB's that includes a 10.5% BB%. Aybar hitting atop the Angels lineup is priced as an average option across the industry and I'd consider him a slight value at those price-points.
There are a few sites where Jurickson Profar is priced near the minimum. In those cases he'd be an obvious play as a switch-hitter that will get to hit left-handed against Dan Straily.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulo's price is actually pretty affordable on Star Fantasy Leagues ($8,895) and if you can get him at a reasonable price, he's a strong play (as always) at home. Ian Kennedy is solid against RHB's (.309 wOBA) but he is very fly-ball prone and as such very homer-prone. Tulo has posted a .397 wOBA in his career at home.
Miguel Cabrera (DET) - On 90% of days Miggy is going to qualify as a top play at 3B and it just depends on if you want to spend on him. With his recent 3 HR performance he's pushing new levels on pricing systems and in most cases he's probably too expensive to utilize, as a result I'm going to write-up one other top play for today.
Evan Longoria (TB) - Ramon Ortiz has actually been pretty damn good against RHB's over the last three years (.266 wOBA) but I think the Rays are going to get to him today and I think Evan Longoria will be involved. Longoria has hit .282/.363/.517 on the road against RHP in his career, good for a .377 wOBA. If I'm spending at 3B and can't afford Cabrera, Longoria would be the next best bet in my opinion.
Eric Chavez (ARZ) - Chavez price varies wildly across the industry so you'll have to shop around. He's been hitting clean-up for the DBacks against RHP and with good reason. Over the last three years Chavez has posted a .288/.350/.478 line against RHP, good for a .355 wOBA. He doesn't play every day so on a number of sites he's priced as a reserve. In those situations, of which Star Fantasy Leagues qualifies ($5,785), Chavez is a tremendous value play against Jhoulys Chacin who we've discussed has issues against LHB's in Coors Field.
Nolan Arenado (COL) - It's very unusual to be able to get Rockies regulars at a below average price at home but that has been the case of late with Nolan Arenado. He's hitting just .244/.272/.462 so far and showing poor plate discipline (43% chase rate) but against a pitcher who struggles with power and is typically around the strike zone, I think Arenado is a fine value play.
Juan Francisco (ATL) - Francisco has lost a lot of playing time since Freddie Freeman returned from the DL but I expect him to be in there on Tuesday against Mike Pelfrey. We've touched on Pelfrey's issues against LHB's so let's focus on Francisco vs. RHP. For his career he's hit .276/.324/.488 showing tons of power against RHP. Pelfrey is allowing a .600 slugging % against LHB's early on in 2013 and for his career has given up a .443 slugging mark to LHB's. Francisco's power-heavy approach from the left side would appear to be a nice matchup.
Other 3B Values: Martin Prado (ARZ), Todd Frazier (CIN), David Freese (STL), Will Middlebrooks (BOS)
With so many value plays today in the OF I'm going to dedicate more of the write-ups to the values and simply list some of the more expensive hitters who have favorable matchups based on their career splits. I think today is a really good day to find value in the OF though.
Andre Ethier (LAD) - Ethier has always crushed RHP (career .309/.386/.521) and in a favorable hitting environment against a RHP who has allowed a .462 wOBA to LHB's in his brief career, Ethier is one of the stronger value options in daily fantasy today. He homered and tripled yesterday against a much better RHP (Gallardo) than Hiram Burgos and I expect the strong production to continue on Tuesday. Sites that have him priced near the bottom of the barrel, he's a must play in my opinion, and on sites where he's priced as an average OF option he deserves strong consideration. On Star Fantasy Leagues his $5,505 price tag is very affordable.
Jason Kubel (ARZ) - Now that Kubel is healthy again expect to see his name in this space any time the DBacks are facing mediocre RHP. For his career Kubel has hit .279/.343/.497 against RHP (.359 wOBA) and when he's in strong offensive environments (last yr in ARZ - .392 wOBA home vs RHP) he's special. Coors Field would qualify and Jhoulys Chacin would qualify as a RHP that struggles with power. Kubel is priced at just $5,188 on Star Fantasy Leagues and is another terrific value.
Josh Hamilton (LAA) - Hamilton has only struck out 4 times in his last 26 AB's and over that span he's hit an encouraging .269/.345/.423. Granted it's not the Josh Hamilton we all expected but baby steps here. Hamilton's making a lot more contact of late and with more contact eventually the power will be unlocked. He faces a RHP in Aaron Harang who has allowed a .341 wOBA to LHB's and gives up a 43% FB Rate. I think it's a great matchup for Hamilton who has always done most of his damage against RHP and on most sites he's still priced as an average OF option.
David Murphy (TEX) - I promised you Texas LHB's in the catchers section when talking about AJ Pierzynski so you had to know David Murphy would make an appearance. Murphy has been hot of late and no surprise it's largely come in Arlington. For his career he's hit .298/.363/.520 at home against RHP. Dan Straily's struggles against lefties (.398 wOBA, 2.77 HR/9) have been well documented in today's Fix and on a number of sites Murphy can still be had as an average OF option, while a few out there have him priced near the bottom. Take advantage in a strong matchup at home.
Matt Joyce (TB) - Joyce's price across the industry has been on the rise as he's hit .265/.390/.531 here in May. Joyce has always been strong against RHP (career .266/.357/.501) and he's been especially good on the road (.271/.363/.530) where his power plays up a bit. On Tuesday he gets a road matchup against one of the worst RHP's in the league in Ramon Ortiz. If you can still find him at a reasonable price he's one of my favorite OF plays today. The $7,498 price tag on Star Fantasy Leagues is a "fair" price for Joyce but on a few other sites you can find tremendous values.
Jonny Gomes (BOS) - Hopefully you know the drill by now. Gomes against LHP = value play. Gomes has hit LHP to the tune of .280/.381/.507 (.383 wOBA) in his career. The Red Sox know this and have either hit Gomes 2nd (in Victorino's absence) or 6th against LHP this year. Either spot provides prime opportunities for R/RBI totals and with Quintana allowing a .358 wOBA at home to LHB's in his career, I think Gomes is another terrific value. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced just over $5,000 and on a number of sites he's priced near the minimum.
Other Potential Value Plays: Scott Hairston (CHC), Gerardo Parra (ARZ), BJ Upton (ATL), Dayan Viciedo (CHW), Andy Dirks (DET), Jon Jay (STL), Torii Hunter (DET), Lucas Duda (NYM)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Matt Kemp (LAD), Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), Nate McLouth (BAL), Dexter Fowler (COL), Matt Holliday (STL), Carlos Beltran (STL), Shane Victorino (BOS), Carl Crawford (LAD)
Additional Expensive Star OF's to Target: Jason Heyward (ATL), Justin Upton (ATL), Mike Trout (LAA), Alex Gordon (KC), Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
Matt Cain (SF)/Stephen Strasburg (WSH) - The SF-WAS game figures to be where most go for their SP fix this evening. Vegas has posted the total at just 6.5 and there are only 2 other "7's" posted on Tuesday. Of the two SP I prefer Cain over Strasburg for a few reasons. The first is price. On most sites Cain is considerably cheaper than Strasburg and on Star Fantasy Leagues it's no different as Cain is priced at $14,285, approximately 1.5k cheaper than Strasburg. The next reason is matchups driven. The Nationals rank 23rd in wOBA against RHP this year with a .301 mark and the offense is a bit watered down without Jayson Werth and with Bryce Harper banged up; meanwhile the Giants rank 7th in wOBA against RHP (.333). The final reason is Vegas has instilled the Giants as slight favorites. With matchup and Vegas slightly favoring Cain, I'm leaning on price as the big differentiator between the two. Both are excellent plays on Tuesday, but I lean towards Cain as the better value.
Jose Fernandez (MIA) - In the past, Mike has touched on how slow the industry has come around to pricing Jose Fernandez and as I look around sites on Tuesday it's still the same. Fernandez has had 5 strong outings, 2 shaky ones, and 1 poor one in his 8 big league starts. Two of those strong outings have come against a Phillies offense that he's now held off the board for 13 innings while allowing just 6 base-runners and striking out 14. The Phillies are without one of their better bats against RHP, Ryan Howard, and as an offense they have scored just 32 runs in their last 11 games (2.9 runs/game). Fernandez boasts a 3.44 FIP which is in the Top 5 of SP options throwing today. As you look around the industry you won't find Fernandez priced anywhere near the Top 5 SP's. On Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced at just $10,067, which is a tremendous value.
Tyler Cloyd (PHI) - I'm not a big fan of Tyler Cloyd today so this is a very site specific reference but on Star Fantasy Leagues he's priced at just $4,015. For 4% of your budget to get a starter against the Marlins who are the worst team in wOBA against RHP, it's really hard to pass up. Cloyd's biggest issue in his pro career has been HR's allowed and the Marlins simply don't have much power to offer. Cloyd's 4.25 career xFIP is nothing to write home about but in a spacious park against the worst offense in baseball, he's a must play at 4k.
Wade Davis (KC) - Davis continues to struggle as a SP (career 4.38 ERA, 1.40 WHIP), but the Astros offense provides the type of matchup that Davis might be able to exploit. Davis has good stuff but he struggles to consistently command the strike zone. The Astros only walk in 7% of their plate appearances against RHP and strike out in 26.2% of those PA's. Davis has seen his price come way down on multi-SP sites after having 4 bad starts in his last 5 outings. Those starts came against CLE, NYY, DET, and LAA, all offenses that would "on-paper" be a bit more challenging than the Astros. Davis is only recommended on multi-SP sites and is best used in big tournament fields as opposed to double-ups and H2H's because of the volatility he's presented start-to-start, but I think this is a nice spot for him.
Tim Hudson (ATL) - Huddy never seems to get the respect he deserves in fantasy circles. A big part of it is his below average K Rate for a high-end starter, but this is a guy who has posted a 3.34 ERA and 1.17 WHIP since 2010. He's struggled a bit this year with a 5.12 ERA but his 3.63 xFIP suggests much of that has been due to some bad luck. The Twins offense loses one of Morneau/Doumit/Mauer on the road in NL parks and becomes much less scary as a result. They rank just 20th in wOBA against RHP with a .308 mark and their .136 ISO against RHP ranks 25th in MLB. Hudson is a nice salary relief option on 2 and 3-SP sites.
Additional SP Notes:
I've seen a few spots where Wandy Rodriguez is exceptionally cheap and in a favorable pitching environment against a Cubs offense that is 20th in wOBA against LHP, I think he's a solid play if you can find the right price. Phil Hughes is a great large-field tournament play because of how up and down he is. I gave this stat a few times last year, but Hughes is making it happen again this year, so I'll re-use it. Over the last two years Hughes has started 40 games and in 31 of those games he's given up 2 ER's or less OR 5 ER's or more. Over 75% of the time he's either GREAT or HORRIBLE. He's very rarely in the middle (allowing 3 or 4 ER's). This makes him an ideal tournament play. Jerome Williams is also an interesting 3rd SP option for sites like Star Fantasy Leagues that have 3 SP. The Mariners are 22nd in wOBA against RHP and Anaheim is a favorable pitching environment, while Williams is also a pretty strong favorite (-154).
The Expensive SP:
Adam Wainwright (STL) - If I had one expensive SP to play tonight, Adam Wainwright would be my choice. His price has come down just a tiny bit after his middling start against the Mets last week, but his peripherals are still incredible. He's posting a 1.81 FIP and 2.35 xFIP which ranks him #2 and #1 respectively in all of baseball in those two metrics. Yu Darvish is the sexier fantasy pick because of all the strikeouts but he's priced higher than Wainwright everywhere and pitching in a much more difficult environment. Wainwright gets the Padres in PETCO and while the Padres offense is vastly improved over last year they're still a bottom half offense in a great pitching environment. The total on the game is just 7 and that's with Edinson Volquez involved on the other side. Wainwright looks like the safest and strongest elite SP option on Tuesday.
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Sign up on DraftStreet and enter tonight's $215 Qualifier for their Baseball Championship which has a $400,000 prize pool.
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Enter tonight's StarStreet $200 PFBC Qualifier to win a trip to the Playboy Mansion and a shot at a $75,000 grand prize.
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Enter tonight's DraftDay $44 Qualifier to win a seat in their Big League Blast which is a 32-team bracket challenge with $200,000 in prizes