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: CIN-CHC looks like the only game that could have issues. Light rain is the forecast and the weather really opens up after some morning storms so I think they'll be ok.
Evan Gattis (ATL) - Gattis has been one of the best stories of the young season as his incredible raw power is allowing him to post .900+ OPS against both RHP and LHP. On Wednesday he'll likely draw the start against Tyler Chatwood who is taking the place of Jhoulys Chacin in the rotation. Chatwood has thrown over 200 innings at the big league level and he's posted an ERA approaching 5 and a WHIP of 1.66. Chatwood has especially struggled with LHB's (.382 wOBA) but he's not exactly golden against RHB's either (.342 wOBA) and the 1.23 HR/9 allowed to RHB's plays right into the hands of Gattis. His price ranges across the sites so make sure you're getting him at a "value" but those sites that are pricing him as an average option for tomorrow's game in Coors Field would appear to be mis-pricing him.
Alex Avila (DET) - Alex Avila has been above average against RHP in his career posting a .267/.363/.450 line that includes a solid 13% BB Rate. On Wednesday he'll get to face Wade Davis who has been average as a starting pitcher in his career (4.14 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) and in limited time this year has yielded a .389 wOBA to LHB's. For his career Davis is pretty neutral against lefties but as a starter this year he's allowed a 52.2% LD Rate to LHB's. Avila is a line drive hitter with good patience and given the attractive price on most sites, he's a solid (if unspectacular) value play on a tough day for catchers.
Victor Martinez (DET) - Everything I sad above about Wade Davis and Alex Avila's matchup applies to Victor Martinez for sites that list him as a catcher. Martinez has been strong in his career against all types of pitching (.825 OPS vs. RHP, .850 OPS vs. LHP), but amidst this year's struggles his peripherals have actually been stronger against RHP. He's posted a 1.14 EYE and his 48.7% FB Rate has come with 0 infield fly-balls. None of those fly-balls have left the yard just yet which is one of the reasons for Martinez's slow start. Hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder should provide some RBI opportunities for Martinez tomorrow and perhaps some value.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) - Freeman is just returning from injury but the Braves felt he was healthy enough to start both ends of the double-header yesterday and he responded by getting on-base in each end of the twin-bill. On Wednesday he'll get to face Tyler Chatwood who has served up a .382 wOBA to LHB's in his career. Chatwood has faced over 520 left-handed bats in his pro career and he's walked more than he's struck out (12.8% BB%) while serving up a 25% LD Rate when he's allowing contact. High LD Rates in Coors Field turns often turn into a merry go round for extra base hits. Look for Freddie Freeman to be involved in a high-scoring day for the Braves.
Todd Helton (COL) - I was a little surprised to see Helton not play in either of the two games on Tuesday so perhaps there's some injury concern I'm not aware of. You'll have to check his availability and make sure he's in the lineup for the afternoon tilt with the Braves. Helton posted a .894 OPS against RHP at home last year and he has a rather remarkable track record against Tim Hudson (12-18, 5 2B's, 1 HR, 1 BB, and 0 K's). If Helton is in the afternoon lineup there are a few sites he's priced below average and would make for a low risk/low reward option.
Dan Uggla (ATL) - If you can't tell I'm not a particularly big fan of Tyler Chatwood. Dan Uggla got the 2nd game of the DH off yesterday but I think he'll be back in there on Wednesday. He did his usual Dan Uggla thing in the first game which included a HR and 3 K's and the good thing about facing Tyler Chatwood is that he has a real hard time striking out batters. Chatwood has struck out just 12.2% of RHB's and he's allowed 1.23 HR/9 to RHB's over the last three years. Uggla is always a bit of high risk/high reward but in Coors against a RHP who struggles to finish hitters off I can't think of a better spot to use Uggla. Uggla's always been better against RHP in his career (.356 wOBA vs. 329 wOBA vs. LHP), making Chatwood the ideal matchup.
Danny Espinosa (WSH) - It feels like I've been waiting all season for the Nationals to face a LHP so I could reel off Danny Espinosa's extreme splits as a switch hitter. Espinosa has posted a putrid .304 wOBA from the left side in his career while posting a very strong .352 wOBA from his natural right side. The wide split difference allows daily players to exploit some value in Espinosa when he's facing left-handed pitching. On Wednesday he'll get Jaime Garcia who is a very tough LHP (.307 wOBA vs. RHB) but one that for whatever reason has been a completely different pitcher on the road in his career. Garcia's a monster at home (2.49 ERA, .278 wOBA) but on the road he's been vulnerable (4.49 ERA, .340 wOBA). If Espinosa is priced near the minimum and you're looking for salary relief he's an adequate value play.
Jose Altuve (HOU) - Joe Saunders struggles against RHB's allowing a .360 wOBA, 20.7% LD Rate, and 1.28 HR/9 over the last three years. Altuve is a line drive machine who has crushed LHP in his brief career to the tune of .345/.385/.477, good for a .376 wOBA. The Astros have struggled to generate runs against LHP and just lost one of their better sluggers against lefties (Justin Maxwell), but Altuve figures to do plenty of damage in his individual battles with Joe Saunders.
Ryan Raburn (CLE) - Raburn's posted a career .801 OPS against LHP and an impressive .347 wOBA. His opponent on the mound on Sunday, Jose Quintana, has allowed a .328 wOBA and a 22% LD Rate to RHB's over the last three years. Raburn is priced near the bare minimum on most sites and gets to face a LHP in US Cellular Field; a park that inflated HR's by 37% and runs by 13% over the last three years. Raburn is a bit more of a high risk/high reward play than Ackley but is another nice value at the bottom of the salary landscape at 2B.
Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) - SS has become a tough position for daily fantasy leagues as many have been left with the decision to spend for Tulowitzki or simply punt the position. If you're looking for a super-cheap, potential punt, SS who has a bit of upside to him Marwin Gonzalez might be your man. Gonzalez hasn't hit much during his career but he has hit against LHP (.277/.327/.410) and this year he's hit for more power against lefties, posting a .222 ISO. Joe Saunders struggles to get RHB's out and Gonzalez qualifies as a cheap RH SS with a favorable matchup.
UPDATE: Marwin Gonzalez is out of today's lineup.
Jed Lowrie (OAK) - Lowrie is priced all over the board on the sites I looked at, but I'm comfortable playing him at most prices on Wednesday. Lowrie is a switch-hitter who has been dominant against LHP in his career. He's hit .296/.367/.487 against lefties with a stellar 0.75 EYE and .191 ISO. He'll get a tough lefty on Wednesday in Jon Lester but with the Green Monster helping Lowrie's power and Lester allowing a 26% LD Rate to RHB's so far this year, I think Lowrie is a very strong play.
Ian Desmond (WSH) - Same premise as Danny Espinosa but Desmond isn't a switch hitter. Desmond hits lefties better (.274/.320/.454) than he hits righties and if Jaime Garcia's history of road issues continues Desmond figures to be in on the mix. Desmond has also had some success off Garcia in limited AB's (4-10, 1 BB, 1 K). I don't put much stock in the sample but I do believe in Jaime Garcia's road woes. I've been burned by him too many times on the road not to believe in it. Getting a few of the Nationals right-handed bats in your lineups makes sense.
Juan Francisco (ATL) - Going back to the well after a successful night for Francisco last night. Tyler Chatwood doesn't classify as a "finesse" pitcher (93-94 mph FB) so it's not as great of a matchup as Jon Garland was, but it's still a RHP for Francisco in Coors Field. We've covered Chatwood's awful splits against LHB's in his career so let's revisit Francisco's success against RHP. Francisco entered yesterday with a career .278/.324/.494 line against RHP and he added another HR to it last night.
Michael Young (PHI) - Young has been slightly better in his career against LHP than RHP (.362 wOBA vs. .341 wOBA) and on Wednesday he'll get to face Wandy Rodriguez who has allowed a 20% LD Rate and over a HR per 9 innings to RHB's over the last three years. Wandy isn't terrible against RHB's (.312 wOBA) so I strongly prefer Juan Francisco to Young, but if you're looking for another value option at the hot corner Young is a fine one based on his current pricing around the sites.
If you're going to pay:
Juan Francisco is going to be my guy again but if you're looking to spend at the 3B position, David Wright (vs. Ted Lilly) is always a strong play against LHP. Evan Longoria is usually a great play vs. LHP but he's struggled to see Andy Pettitte (striking out 10 times in 18 AB's), so I'd pass there. Adrian Beltre is facing a left-handed reliever making a spot start (Michael Roth). While Roth has looked good in limited appearances he's not going to last long and the Rangers lineup should feast on middle relievers.
Best Value Plays:
BJ Upton (ATL) - Yup. Tyler Chatwood again. BJ is slightly better against LHP than RHP in his career but a big part of the difference is his K Rate. He strikes out 23% of the time vs. LHP and 26% of the time vs. RHP. With Chatwood's struggles punching batters out, Upton becomes a stronger play. Frankly I'll take any part of the Braves lineup I can get my hands on at an affordable price on Wednesday and BJ looks to be in that category across sites.
Jose Bautista (TOR) - I'm skeptical of this Josh Stinson character. He has a career 1.46 WHIP at the minor league level and has struck out just 6 batters per 9 innings while walking over 3.5. Bautista has been slightly better against LHP than RHP in his career but not enough to avoid a same-side matchup against a minor league pitcher. Bautista is discounted from a lot of the other big bats in baseball across daily fantasy because of his slow start along with the rest of the Blue Jays. This discount makes him a value in a strong matchup.
Tyler Moore (WSH) - Tyler Moore is hitting clean-up for the Nationals on Wednesday in what is a heavily right-handed lineup designed to give Jaime Garcia some problems. Moore has actually hit RHP better than LHP in his brief career but he's been fine against lefties (.761 OPS, .329 wOBA) and the fact he's hitting clean-up makes him a steal on most sites where he's priced as a slightly below average OF option.
Emilio Bonifacio (TOR)/Rajai Davis (TOR) - The two TOR speedsters are hitting 1 and 2 in the lineup on Wednesday against Josh Stinson and as a result I think they're nice values on sites where they're priced as below average OF options. The Blue Jays should be able to put runs up on the board.
Other Potential Value Plays: Reed Johnson (ATL), Jonny Gomes (BOS), Andy Dirks (DET), Jordan Schafer (ATL), John Mayberry Jr. (PHI), Alejandro de Aza (CHW), Colby Rasmus (TOR), Eric Young Jr. (COL), Norichika Aoki (MIL), Chris Young (OAK)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Adam Jones (BAL), Jayson Werth (WSH), Melky Cabrera (TOR), Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
Expensive Star OF's to Target: Ryan Braun (MIL), Justin Upton (ARZ), Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
Best Value Plays:
Marco Estrada (MIL) - Estrada is an extreme fly-ball pitcher who has to make his living in Miller Park where HR's are inflated by 31% above the league average. It's not an easy job and as a result his career 4.34 ERA is about 80 points above his 3.65 xFIP. Now if we put in Estrada in a big spacious park like PETCO, we'd expect his results to play a bit better than he deserves because of all the fly ball outs. So that's what we're going to do today! Estrada gets the Padres in PETCO and it's a Padres' offense that ranks 28th in the league in wOBA against RHP with a .292 wOBA. Estrada's price ranges across the sites and be careful not to pay for him as if he's a stud, but if you can find value on him today is a perfect environment to deploy him as your 2nd SP.
Mat Latos (CIN) - You can't go wrong in taking a stud starter against the Cubs. Latos has had 4 starts against the Cubs over the last three years and he's posted a 1.95 ERA with 31 K's in 27 2/3 IP. The weather in Cincinnati is a mild concern so you'll want to stay on top of that as any rain delays could really mess with Latos' value, but as long as the game gets played without delay he should be fine (I think it will). The Cubs are 20th in the league in wOBA against RHP (.307) but they strike out 21.4% of the time against righties. Latos should be in for another quality outing at home.
Alex Cobb (TB) - The Yankees are the #1 team in baseball in wOBA against RHP so the matchup isn't an ideal one but I think Cobb pitches well today. For his career he's posted a 3.46 ERA at home and allowed just a .282 wOBA. He keeps the ball on the ground (56.8% GB Rate at home for his career) and the Yankees have done much of their damage against RHP with power. Cobb does a great job at limiting the long-ball at home and for his price on many sites I think he's a worthwhile gamble, especially in big tournament play because he'll be heavily unowned.
Which Studs to Pay for:
I really like Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg if you're paying up for today's premier SP's. Both SP's should be facing watered-down versions of their opponents lineups and both guys are at home in pitching parks where they've had a lot of success. I prefer Harvey slightly between the two because there appears to be better value on the sites' pricing that I checked, but overall he's actually pitched better than Strasburg to start the year (both results and peripherals). On most sites I'll be deploying most of my pitching funds towards two of Harvey, Latos, Strasburg, and Estrada.