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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. It is also important to double check starting lineups as news often breaks after this column is written. In the space below I will break down the best 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). Please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.
WEATHER NOTE: The Rays-Red Sox game is probably in the greatest jeopardy of being postponed tonight. Make sure to monitor that situation as I like a lot of cheap RHB against Felix Doubront-kind of like I did yesterday when his start got pushed back. Apparently the universe is telling me to stop picking on him.
Salvador Perez (KC) - Perez is the best catcher play today due to his matchup and being vastly underpriced on almost every daily fantasy site that I checked. It's not a huge sample size, but on his young career Perez has flat out owned LHP, posting a .427 wOBA in 136 plate appearances. This is good news as Perez takes on JA Happ today, a LHP who has allowed RHB to post a .343 wOBA off of him since 2010.
Good Top Plays
Matt Wieters (BAL) - Wieters' price varies from site to site, and on the ones where he is priced neck and neck with Perez, I understand giving him the nod, although I would personally lock in Perez. Wieters faces a tough pitcher in CC Sabathia, but he is still a recommended play due to his absolutely elite 1.033 OPS against LHP since 2011.
Carlos Santana (CLE) - Santana may be priced out of this conversation due to a recent hot streak, but he is hitting from the right side of the plate today where he has a .391 wOBA since 2011. He is also facing a pitcher in Jose Quintana who struggles against RHB allowing a .288/.353/.441 line and a huge 23.7% LD rate to them.
Solid Value Play
Alex Avila (DET) - If Perez wasn't so cheap everywhere, I would probably be mixing in some Avila, whose price is also down. He struggled all of last year but still managed to post a .796 OPS against RHP, hitting 8 of his 9 HR against them. He and the rest of the Tigers should get to Bartolo Colon tonight; Colon has allowed .357 wOBA to LHB the past few seasons and 1.69 HR/9 as well.
Prince Fielder (DET) - Fielder has a .425 wOBA against RHP the last two seasons which is just out of this world, and as I said in Avila's blurb, Colon really struggles against LHB. Fielder has to have one of the higher probabilities of hitting a HR on the day.
Best Value Plays
Brandon Moss (OAK) - This play depends on the site as Moss' salary varies wildly across the different DFS sites. This is a bit of a high risk/high reward play as Moss K's 30% of the time against RHP, and Max Scherzer is a high K pitcher. Thus, Moss is less riskier on sites that treat all outs the same. The reward part comes from the fact that Moss has a .351 ISO in his past 263 PA's against RHP, and Scherzer allows solid contact to LHB (22.5 LD rate, 11.6 HR/FB rate since 2010) and an overall .342 wOBA.
Travis Hafner (NYY) - I don't like Hafner quite as much as Moss overall, but depending on the site he could be a bit cheaper. I liked Hafner the past two days but unfortunately was not able to use him due to rainouts. He's hitting cleanup for the Yankees, playing at home in Yankee Stadium which is very favorable to LH power and facing Miguel Gonzalez who has been okay against LHB in a small sample size but not without his flaws (25.8 LD rate, 40.6 FB rate). Hafner should be able to elevate the ball against Gonzalez, and I like his chances to come away with one or two extra base hits today.
Ryan Howard (PHI) - I've got Howard ranked right with Hafner on the day, so the determining factor for who to play between the two is price. Howard (.255 ISO against RHP last 670 PA's) faces off against Ricky Nolasco who struggles against LHB, allowing a .347 wOBA to them since 2010.
Other top plays include Joey Votto and Billy Butler. A relatively safe (but low ceiling) cheap play at 1B is Todd Helton who faces off against Tyson Ross (.361 wOBA allowed to LHB).
Solid Value Play
Mark Ellis (LAD) - Ellis is really cheap on a lot of sites, hitting second for a strong Dodgers' lineup and is a very solid hitter against LHP (.342 wOBA past couple of years). On top of that he is hitting in a strong offensive environment in Arizona and facing a LHP in Patrick Corbin who allowed RHB to have a .332 wOBA against him last year.
Three other solid value plays that all have positive splits advantages are Neil Walker, Matt Carpenter and Daniel Murphy. All three should be good value plays today. I don't think there's a lot that separates them today so if I'm on a site where I'm not comfortable playing Ellis, I will likely take the cheapest of these three.
If you are going to spend, I think Robinson Cano is far and away the best 2B play of the day, but he is likely priced like that on most sites so you'd have to have a few salary saver plays elsewhere to get him in.
Sean Rodriguez (TB) - Rodriguez is listed at SS on most sites, although I did see him listed at 2B on one site. He doesn't play every day so you have to make sure he is in the lineup, but the last time the Rays faced a LHP (their last game actually) Rodriguez started and actually hit second. For his career he has a .332 wOBA against LHP and is facing Felix Doubront who is allowing RHB a .348 wOBA. The game is taking place in Fenway Park which is a strong hitting environemtn. If Rodriguez is indeed hitting second again, he is a very strong value play due to his price and opportunity.
Yunel Escobar (TB) - I like Escobar for the same reasons that I do S-Rod (is a solid hitter against LHP, facing a LHP who struggles against RHB, game being played in Fenway Park). Escobar should be hitting 6th tonight, and also like S-Rod is very cheap on many sites. If I had to pick between the two, I would side with Rodriguez because I believe he has more power upside.
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) - Asdrubal Cabrera is not as cheap as Rodriguez or Escobar, but he is a better overall player and like them has a solid matchup. He is hitting second for a Cleveland team that all of a sudden is built to handle LHP (I learned that the hard way with David Price on Sunday!). Cabrera has a .340 wOBA against LHP since 2011, and his opponent Jose Quintana has allowed RHB to post a .344 wOBA since 2010.
If you have the money to spend at SS, the top two plays of the day are rather obvious: Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes. I have them ranked in that order. I don't love their matchups enough to go out of my way to spend on them, though, so will likely end up with one of the three value plays I listed on most sites.
A cheap replacement who is a good value play today to use in case Escobar/Rodriguez get rained out is JJ Hardy (yes, it's CC Sabathia but Hardy hits LHP well).
Evan Longoria (TB) - Longoria has gotten off to a slow start in terms of fantasy counting stats as he is yet to hit a HR and only has 7 combined RS and RBI's through 9 games. As a result, he's priced a little bit lower than where he would normally be at on most sites. That's perfect timing for Longoria in a solid matchup in Fenway Park. Look for Longoria (.405 wOBA against LHP since 2010, career .265 ISO against LHP) to get his first homer of the year today or at least do some damage to Doubront who has allowed 1.33 HR/9 to RHB the last several years.
Trevor Plouffe (MIN) - Plouffe had a surprise year in 2012, blasting 24 homers, and he did most of his damage against LHP. Plouffe hit half of his homers off of southpaws despite 181 less opportunities to do so. His wOBA was an extremely impressive .387 mark against LHP with a whopping .331 ISO, and the plate discipline was much more solid with this split as well (.73 EYE). Niese is about average against RHB, but with the splits Plouffe displayed last year, he's a very good play on sites where he is priced among the cheaper 3B.
If you are in need of some cap relief and would rather spend your money at a different position, check out to see how cheap Ryan Roberts and Mike Aviles are on your site. Roberts may not play, but if he does he fits with our mold of picking RH Tampa Bay bats against Doubront. You also need to make sure Aviles is in the lineup, but he has been solid against LHP posting a .346 wOBA against it since 2011.
Underpriced Studs/Top Plays
It's nice when your two highest ranked outfielders on the day are actually a bit underpriced, but due to slow starts that's exactly the case today with Matt Kemp and Giancarlo Stanton. Kemp has absolutely murdered LHP the past couple of years (.457 wOBA), and today he gets Patrick Corbin in Arizona. Yes please! Meanwhile, Stanton is yet to hit a homer or even record an RBI. The Marlins are terrible and that will hurt him all season long, but he's still hitting 30 homers and cracking 90 RBI's with ease if healthy all season. Today Stanton (career .289 ISO against LHP) faces off against Jon Lannan who has the worst splits of any pitcher in action today against RHB with a .349 wOBA. He does keep the ball on the ground a bit, but Stanton should still have a nice day against a pitcher who walks more RHB than he does strike them out.
NOTE: I'm sure most of you have heard about the brawl in San Diego last night, and it's possible (perhaps even likely) that Kemp gets suspended as a result so make sure to monitor that situation before using him in your lineups.
Solid Value Plays
Justin Ruggiano (MIA) - Get used to seeing Ruggiano's name in this spot when he faces LHP as the nice dual power and speed threat slugs .505 against LHP for his career. It certainly helps that today he faces Jon Lannan who I just mentioned has the highest wOBA allowed to RHB of any starting pitcher in action today.
Nick Swisher (CLE) - Swisher is hitting from the right side of the plate where he has been most effective the last couple of seasons (.375 wOBA), which is a really high number for someone as cheap as him on a lot of these sites. It's not really a secret that I expect the Indians to score today off of Jose Quintana who struggles against right handed bats, and Swisher, hitting cleanup, has a nice opportunity for some success today.
Alejandro de Aza (CHW) - This is your weekly take a left handed batter against Justin Masterson pick. De Aza has a .352 wOBA against RHP the last couple of seasons, and we all know that Justin Masterson has difficulties getting lefties out as evidence by the .343 wOBA he has allowed to LHB since 2010. One thing Masterson does do well is get ground balls, but that actually fits the speedy de Aza's game. I would be surprised if de Aza is unable to reach base today against Masterson.
Sneaky Cheap Play
Drew Stubbs (CLE) - Stubbs has certainly had his problems recently, but he has kept hitting lefties despite his struggles - a .362 wOBA against them since 2010. Hitting 9th I'm not overly excited about him today, but he could be a good way to cut down on some salary.
I'm a little hesitant to use PVB too heavily, but fellow analyst Drew Dinkmeyer probably will never let me write another Daily Fix if I fail to mention the history between Carlos Beltran and Kyle Lohse. For his career Beltran is a whopping 22-39 against Lohse with an 11:5 K:BB ratio and 10 extra base hits. The kicker is Beltran is moderately priced on most sites.
Yu Darvish (TEX) - I think Yu Darvish is a better play than Kershaw today due to a better matchup and him being priced cheaper. As we've said before in this space, RHP against the Mariners are a good bet as the Mariners were far and away the worst offensive team against RHP last year with a .288 wOBA that was 15 points below the next worst team. Darvish's elite 27.8 K% also gives him an extremely high fantasy points floor.
Tommy Hanson (LAA) - Hanson is always a bit of a risk - as fellow analyst Drew Dinkmeyer tells me, "He's broken." However, the risk is worth taking today as Hanson has a dream matchup at home (very good pitcher's park) against an anemic Astros offense that has struck out in 29.5% of their plate appearances - leading the league by a decent sized margin.
Justin Masterson (CLE) - I'll admit that I'm never fully comfortable throwing Masterson out there, but this is one of the few matchups I'd consider using him. The White Sox hit RHP well last year, but the majority of their lineup is right handed, and Masterson has owned right handed batters for his career (.276 wOBA, 23.3 K%, 59.6 GB%). Those are some pretty sexy numbers, and I may use Masterson on sites where you need to start multiple pitchers.