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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.
Important Note: Please be sure to check on the site you are playing at if you are signing up for early only, late only or all day games!
Weather Note: Currently the only game that it looks like it might be in jeopardy for today is the Pirates-Cardinals game.
Twitter: If you can, it is a good idea to follow both me (https://twitter.com/leonem4444) and Drew (https://twitter.com/DrewDinkmeyer) on Twitter. We often post updated thoughts as lineup and weather information becomes known.
Buster Posey (SF) - Posey will be listed here almost any time he faces a LHP. His numbers against southpaws are just disgusting. Since 2011, Posey has a 1.117 OPS and .314 ISO against LHP which is one of the best hitter splits in the entire league. Today he faces LHP Eric Stults who has a 4.92 xFIP against RHB.
Best Value Play
Salvador Perez (KC) - Perez hits LHP really well with a .409 wOBA and 92.4% contact rate. He has a very strong matchup today against Scott Kazmir who has allowed a .382 wOBA and 1.75 HR/9 to RHB in his last 123.1 IP.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (BOS) - Salty hits much better from the left side of the plate (.243 ISO), and that's where he will be today. He's at home against Brad Peacock who in a limited sample size has allowed a ton of fly balls (59%) and consequently a ton of HR (1.56/9) to LHB.
Wilin Rosario in Arizona against a LHP (career 1.088 OPS against LHP) is also a very strong play depending on price.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) - I know this is far from a creative play, but Goldschmidt at home versus any LHP will get him top billing most days. He has a .988 OPS and .289 ISO against southpaws. On top of that today he faces Jeff Francis who is just not good. Francis, since 2010, has allowed a .361 wOBA to RHB.
Billy Butler (KC) - This is another Royal who crushed LHP, to the tune of a .310/.403/.554 line since 2011. He faces Scott Kazmir whose troubles against RHB I documented in Salvador Perez's blurb.
Brandon Moss (OAK) - I like Moss when he's middle of the pack priced going up against RHP as he has an incredible .312 ISO against righties since the beginning of last year. Today he gets Chris Tillman who has allowed a .332 wOBA to LHB and is susceptible to the long ball.
Adrian Gonzalez is also a very good play. Since 2011 he has a .389 wOBA against RHP, and he is facing Wily Peralta who has struggled against LHB in a limited sample (.356 wOBA allowed). If you have the room, Mike Napoli has a .408 wOBA and .287 ISO against RHP since 2011 and faces the very hittable Brad Peacock.
Ian Kinsler (TEX) - Kinsler is much better against LHP with a .388 wOBA since 2011. Today he faces Pedro Hernandez who the Rangers have a shot at just beating up. It's a VERY limited sample size, but in 8.1 IP Hernandez has given up 4 HR to RHB and walked twice as many as he has struck out. The ZIPS projected rest of season ERA for Hernandez is over 6.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) - This is what Drew Dinkmeyer wrote about Kipnis yesterday. Since the matchup is the same and he did such a good job, I didn't see any point in rewriting it: "Kipnis slow start has his price way down and the matchup with homer-prone Ervin Santana is one that provides nice upside. Santana has allowed 1.38 HR/9 to LHB's over the last three years along with a 20.5% LD Rate and .339 wOBA. Kipnis hits near the top of the order and has been running when he does get on. It's a plus matchup for a player with a career .272/.345/.443 line against RHP and given his current price he's one of the more attractive values at the position."
Dustin Ackley (SEA) - Ackley has gone through a mini hot streak, but his price is still very low on most sites. He has been hitting a bit higher in the order lately and has another good matchup today against Joe Blanton who has allowed a .352 wOBA to LHB and 1.37 HR/9 since 2010.
Matt Carpenter (STL) - The last time out against AJ Burnett, the Cardinals were dominated. I don't expect that to happen again and believe Carpenter, who should be hitting towards the top of the lineup, is a strong value play. Burnett has yielded a .338 wOBA to LHB the last few seasons, and since 2011 Carpenter has hit .296 with a .359 wOBA against RHP.
Jedd Gyorko (SD) - I'm still waiting for rookie Jedd Gyorko who homered 24 times in 92 games at AAA last year to get his first MLB homerun. He's very cheap on most sites, and if you need the cap room, today is a good day to take that chance. He faces Barry Zito who has allowed a .335 wOBA and 1.12 HR/9 since 2010.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulo is hitting in Chase Field which boosts offensive numbers, and he is going up against a southpaw. Since 2011, Tulo has a .376 wOBA and .251 ISO against LHP.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) - As I stated in Kinsler's blurb, I expect Texas to score today and Andrus, who is the 2-hole hitter and has seen his price drop on a few sites, should be a part of that scoring. Andrus doesn't have much pop, but he does have a .337 OBP against LHP with a solid .83 EYE.
Starlin Castro (CHC) - Yesterday Anthony Rizzo came through for me by taking advantage of the opposing pitcher's reverse splits, and I'm hoping Castro can be the Cubbie to do that today. Despite being right handed, opposing pitcher Alex Sanabia has allowed a large .365 wOBA to RHB. I think this is a good matchup for Castro as Sanabia's low K and BB rate hopefully meshes with Castro's inclination to put the ball in play.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) - I'll take Beltre and his .240 ISO against LHP since 2011 going up against Pedro Hernandez, who in a limited sample has been very HR prone. Texas should put up a lot of runs today, and Beltre is not even that highly priced on a few of the sites that I checked.
Trevor Plouffe (MIN) - In 237 PA's, Plouffe has a .371 wOBA and .259 ISO against LHP. He hit an amazing 12 HR in just 124 AB's against LHP last season. That makes today's matchup against Derek Holland, who has allowed 1.42 HR/9 to RHB since 2010, pretty sweet.
Will Middlebrooks (BOS) - It's a R/R matchup, but Middlebrooks is underpriced on most sites and still hits for power against RHP (.218 ISO). Today's opponent, Brad Peacock, looks to be an extreme fly ball pitcher who has struggled with the long ball. In Fenway Park, look for Middlebrooks to take advantage.
Nelson Cruz (TEX) - By now you already know I'm picking on Pedro Hernandez, and it continues by me making Nelson Cruz my top OF play. Cruz is a guy with big splits differences, and he's actually quite elite against southpaws. Since 2011, Cruz has a 1.020 OPS, .287 ISO and .431 wOBA against LHP - all far and away the best marks on the Rangers.
Best Value Play
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) - Call me stubborn, but Stanton's price has dropped to the point where I would consider him a solid value play almost any day until it corrects itself. However, the positive matchup today makes him the best value play on the day. He has an incredible .327 ISO and .419 wOBA against southpaws, and his opponent (Travis Wood) allows RHB to elevate the ball quite easily (22.4 LD rate, 47.1 FB rate).
Other Value Plays
Cody Ross (ARZ) - Ross has disappointed us in his last couple of matchups against LHP, but his career numbers against southpaws are too good to ignore (.925 OPS, .287 ISO). On top of that he is home in Arizona and facing the very hittable Jeff Francis.
Justin Ruggiano (MIA) - Since 2011 (185 plate appearances) Ruggiano has a .400 wOBA and .299 ISO against LHP. Those numbers are inflated due to a small sample size but still show he handles LHP really well, so I like him as a strong value play today against southpaw Travis Wood.
Andre Ethier (LAD) - Ethier has struggled so far this season resulting in him being pretty cheap on a lot of daily fantasy sites. He's got a good chance of achieving value today bringing a .386 wOBA against RHP since 2011 into a matchup against Wily Peralta who in a limited sample has not handled LHB very well (.356 wOBA allowed).
Michael Morse (SEA) - This value play is a little bit riskier as Morse has struggled with a finger injury. However, his price is pretty low on a lot of sites and he has a .224 ISO and .370 wOBA against RHP since 2011. Today he faces Joe Blanton who has allowed a whopping 1.44 HR/9 to RHB since 2010.
Jose Bautista (TOR) - Sabathia is obviously a really good pitcher, but Bautista has to at least be considered today with his price down hitting in Yankee Stadium. The last few years Bautista has a .415 wOBA and .295 ISO against LHP.
Jacoby Ellsbury , Ryan Braun and Bryce Harper are also very viable expensive options today. Matt Joyce is a cheap splits specialist hitting in a favorable ballpark. On sites where he is still underpriced, Vernon Wells has another good matchup against a LHP (JA Happ) in Yankee Stadium.
Additional Note: Depending upon price, I like LHB for the Mets going up against Jonathan Pettibone, although none of them individually at their prices really stuck out to me.
Despite going up against a strong offense in the Angels, Felix Hernandez is the top SP play today, salary aside. He's at home where he had a 2.78 ERA last year and enters today's game with a 2.12 FIP, 2.69 xFIP and 27 K%. The other top play is CC Sabathia. At first glance I didn't like him in Yankee Stadium against a solid Blue Jays offense, but so far this season the Jays have the second worst wOBA against LHP (.255) and have struck out 24% of the time.
Joe Blanton (LAA) - I've listed Blanton here before only to get burned, but he's real cheap and may be worth the gamble on multi-SP sites. He has always had solid K/BB rates and hopefully the big park mitigates some of the HR risk he always carries. Plus, Blanton is facing a Mariners team that has struggled mightily against RHP since the beginning of last season.
Felix Doubront (BOS) - I'm not the biggest fan of Doubront's all-around game, but strikeouts are huge in daily fantasy. With Doubront striking out well more than a batter an inning last year and so far this year, you are looking at a lot of base points today as he faces an Astros team whose 24.8 K% against LHP is the fourth highest in MLB.
Gavin Floyd (CWS) - This might not be a huge upside play, but I think it's a pretty safe play. The Rays have been struggling to hit RHP so far this season (.299 wOBA, 22nd in MLB), and with Floyd's consistently strong K/BB ratios and GB rates I think this ends up being a quality start.
Two other pitchers that are moderately priced and pitching in favorable ballparks that I could envision playing are AJ Griffin and Barry Zito (pains me so much to even slightly recommend him).