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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. 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: Weather looks pretty good across the board tonight. I'm not expecting any delays. The one big weather issue is the wind is projected to be blowing out at Wrigley Field tonight and the early total for the game is 10.5.
Salvador Perez (KC) - Two guys walk onto a baseball field, one is a left-handed pitcher, the other is Salvador Perez, stop me if you've heard this one before.... Perez has hit .356/.392/.596 against LHP in his brief career and on Tuesday he gets to face Jason Vargas who has allowed a 46% FB Rate and 1.17 HR/9 against RHB's over the last three years. Vargas isn't horrible against lefties (.317 wOBA), he's just homer prone. Given Perez's strong track record against left-handed pitching and his price being depressed on many sites due to the slow start, he makes for a great value play.
Miguel Montero (ARZ) - I apologize in advance because I promise you it is NOT my intention to write about Salvador Perez and Miguel Montero every single Fix... it just keeps working out this way. Montero gets to face Julio Teheran who has allowed a .421 wOBA and 1.81 HR/9 to LHB's in his brief career. Montero has a strong history against RHP (.277/.357/.457, .351 wOBA) and plays in a home park that accentuates power. Teheran as a fly-ball, homer-prone starter who can't strike out lefties (10% K% vs. LHB's) is a gift for Montero and all of the Diamondback lefties. Take advantage if you see depressed prices and because of Montero's slow start he falls into that category.
Carlos Ruiz (PHI) - The man they call "Chooch" gets a favorable matchup against LH starter Scott Kazmir who has yielded a .379 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years. To be fair to Kazmir he might be a different guy this year, so let's just check... .409 wOBA allowed to RHB's in 2013. Ruiz has always been strong against lefties posting a career .275/.369/.432 line that includes a 1.27 BB:K Ratio (EYE). In Ruiz's breakout season last year he hit .320/.392/.515 against lefties and this year despite his slow start overall he's still hitting .364/.417/.455 whenever he gets to face a LHP. Tuesday is a nice day to fire up Chooch for a daily value play.
Welington Castillo - From "Chooch" to "Beef" we go on our catcher daily plays. Welington Castillo has hit .337/.406/.465 in his career against LHP and on Tuesday he'll get one of the most favorable matchups any RHB can have in the majors: Jeff Francis. Francis has allowed a .362 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years including 1.18 HR/9 allowed. The Cubs will stack a ton of RHB's at Francis and Castillo typically hits 6th in those lineups giving him a good shot at RBI's. Considering Castillo has big contact issues, Francis' modest 12.6% K% against RHB's should result in plenty of contact. Against LHP in the past when Castillo had made contact it's been hard. Look for a few hits out of Castillo on Tuesday night.
JP Arencibia is also a nice value play if you can find the right price. He doesn't have significant splits in his career but as you'll read repeatedly in today's Fix, Barry Zito struggles against RHB's on the road. Jonathan Lucroy against a weak LHP is also a staple of the Fix. He's quite a strong value play as well.
Billy Butler (KC) - Butler has a history of dominating LHP to the tune of .315/.394/.538 with a strong 0.95 EYE. As noted above, Jason Vargas isn't bad against RHB's but he does give up a lot of fly balls which lead to extra base hits and specifically home runs. Butler also has a nice history against Vargas going 6-13 with 2 2B's, 2 HR's, and 3 BB's with 0 K's. Butler's history against LHP is superb and with his price down because of some recent struggles, Tuesday night is an ideal matchup to take advantage of. He looks like the strongest value of the day.
Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) - Encarnacion's value varies pretty widely across sites but I haven't found a price that would deter me from using him on Tuesday. Encarnacion has crushed LHP in his career (.270/.373/.504) and in that triple slash line you'll notice two things: 1) Power (.234 ISO) and 2) Patience (13% BB%). The one weakness is strikeouts (17% K%) but on Tuesday he faces Barry Zito who strikes out just 14.5% of the RHB's he's faced over the last three years. Furthermore if you dig in on Zito's splits against RHB's on the road you'll find some extreme issues with HR's over the last few years. So far in 2013 he's allowed 3.0 HR/9 to RHB's and last year the number was 1.69 HR/9 and in 2011 that number was 1.99 HR/9. Over the last three years he's been serving up HR's on the road, which is an ideal fit for Toronto's RH heavy power offense.
Joey Votto (CIN) - Votto is a relative value as he's priced just below many of the other top tier 1B. On Tuesday he faces Ricky Nolasco who allows a .348 wOBA along with a 22.9% LD Rate to LHB's over the last three years. Votto is the best LD hitter in baseball and possesses a career 25% LD Rate and .422 wOBA against RHP. The matchup is a perfect mix for Votto's skill-set and the big gaps in Marlins Park should yield an extra base hit or two for Votto on Tuesday night.
Paul Konerko is also a really nice "value" option against Kevin Correia who has struggled against RHB's in his career (.338 wOBA), but Konerko's been slumping and there are enough other options that he probably won't be a main part of my teams. Matt Adams, if in the lineup, could also be a tremendous value on sites that price him as a reserve. Dillon Gee struggles mightily against LHB's (.337 wOBA) and while the DFS community thinks Matt Adams is WAY better than he really is, he would be an excellent play against Dillon Gee.
Other 1B Notes:
Lance Berkman gets a tasty matchup with Bartolo Colon (.352 wOBA allowed to LHB's last 3 years) but I prefer some of the other high-priced 1B bats over him tonight. Prince Fielder has perhaps the best combination of matchup and skill as he draws Lucas Harrell (.347 wOBA allowed to LHB's last 3 years), but on many sites he's priced so far above the other elite 1B that I'm opting to choose from the next group down. Fielder is probably the best play in terms of absolute production tonight.
Rickie Weeks (MIL) - The Brewers are Top 5 in MLB against LHP and on Tuesday they face Jeff Locke. Locke allows a .330 wOBA to RHB's and specifically struggles with power serving up 1.42 HR/9 and command (11.1% BB%). For his career Weeks has posted a .265/.395/.446 line that is heavy on plate patience (15.4% BB%) and not too light on power either (.181 ISO). On the surface Locke's 2013 season looks pretty compelling (2.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but he's walked 19 batters in 39 2/3 innings and struck out just 22. He's not this good and against a heavy RH hitting Brewers lineup, I think his ERA gets a bit of a correction on Tuesday night. Weeks is a strong value play as a result.
Matt Carpenter (STL) - Mike highlighted Carpenter's strengths against RHP yesterday and on Tuesday night he gets another favorable matchup against Dillon Gee. Gee allows a .337 wOBA buoyed by an 11% BB% against LHB's over the last three years. Carpenter has a 12% BB% in his career against RHP and has a .361 wOBA overall. Carpenter, in the leadoff spot, should be one of the stronger bets to get on-base on Tuesday night and with a great lineup behind him he should also be able to convert that trip on-base into a run.
If you're going to spend at 2B on Tuesday I think Jason Kipnis is probably your best bet. He's been swinging a hot bat and Jonathan Pettibone has allowed a .329 wOBA in his brief major league career. Robinson Cano has nice PvB against Felix Hernandez and is always a fine play at home, but I won't be spending on him with the rest of the Yankees offense likely to struggle generating opportunities for Cano. Ben Zobrist is also a solid play against John Lackey but in a pitchers park with Zobrist hitting left-handed (better as a righty), I'll probably stick with some value options.
Starlin Castro (CHC) - Castro has always been really solid against LHP. For his career he's hit .315/.367/.445 and on Tuesday he'll get a favorable matchup with Jeff Francis who can't get righties out. Castro has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games and the power production (2B's) is starting to pick up of late. He's a nice value play in the favorable matchup against a weak LHP.
Jean Segura (MIL) - I'm not really a believer in Segura's bat being quite THIS good but he's on fire and hitting #2 in a RH heavy Brewers lineup that should generate offense against Jeff Locke. Segura has hit .410/.452/.795 against LHP this year in what feels like it should be a typo. His price varies but there are a few spots you can find him as a value. If he's not priced like a value play, Castro is probably your next best bet. Segura is the #2 overall SS option on Tuesday.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulo gets a favorable matchup against homer-prone Carlos Villanueva in a good offensive environment. Villanueva has been tough on RHB's (.299 wOBA) but he does allow 1.06 HR/9 to righties over the last three years. Tulowitzki has been better in his career against LHP than RHP, but he's still elite against righties and he has a nice (albeit extremely limited) sample against Villanueva as he's gone 3-4 with a 2B, 2 HR's and a walk in 5 plate appearances.
Cody Ransom (CHC) - Ransom is becoming a popular play for us against LHP and Tuesday's matchup with Jeff Francis is another ideal spot to exploit his splits advantage. Ransom has hit .250/.317/.484 in his career against LHP which is good for a .346 wOBA. He has significant contact issues, striking out in 31% of his PA's overall, but Jeff Francis (12.6% K% vs. RHB's) doesn't strike out many RHB's and Ransom's power should play up nicely. An early forecast for the Cubs game has the wind blowing out to left-center field which could make for a fun night.
Brett Lawrie (TOR) - Lawrie has failed to deliver for fantasy owners since his incredible half season in 2011 but Tuesday night would appear to be a good spot to utilize the Blue Jays 3B for daily games. Lawrie's price is depressed and he's posted a solid .294/.335/.436 line against LHP in his career. Lawrie also has been hitting atop the Blue Jays lineup against lefties which means more AB's and more chances to score points. With some strong plays behind him in Bautista and Encarnacion, Lawrie should be in line for run-scoring opportunities if he can find his way to 1B. Barry Zito has allowed wOBA's to RHB's on the road of .451, .364, and .370 over the last three calendar years.
Eric Chavez (ARZ) - Chavez isn't quite at the bargain basement pricing we saw early in the season as he's been producing in his spot starts of late, but he remains a nice value option on Tuesday night. Julio Teheran has allowed an enormous .421 wOBA which includes 1.82 HR/9 allowed in his career to LHB's. Chavez has hit .300/.364/.557 against RHP this year and that comes after posting a .298/.365/.543 line last year against righties in a Yankees uniform. He can clearly hit RHP and has a supreme matchup on Tuesday night.
Other 3B Notes:
Chris Johnson (ATL) is exceptionally cheap across many sites and draws a decent matchup against Patrick Corbin in a hitters' haven at Chase Field. With Johnson putting up a big night last night he'll almost undoubtedly be in the lineup against another LHP but I suspect he won't deliver the same kind of results he had last night. Aramis Ramirez has been better in his career against LHP and Jeff Locke has some alarming peripherals against RHB's (.330 wOBA, 23% LD Rate, 1.42 HR/9). Adrian Beltre is red-hot and has some great PvB against Bartolo Colon but I'm not getting caught up in the PvB when Beltre's price is way up and Colon has yielded a .268 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years. Chase Headley is also a sneaky play for big tournaments as he's posted a .380 wOBA against RHP on the road and Chris Tillman can be a bit homer-prone at home against LHB (1.42 HR/9).
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) - CarGo is a career .306/.369/.543 hitter against RHP and Carlos Villanueva allows 1.43 HR/9 and a 22% LD Rate to lefties over the last three years. With the potential for the wind blowing out Carlos Gonzalez should be one of the heavier owned expensive OFs on Tuesday night's slate.
Jose Bautista (TOR) - Bautista gets the same favorable matchup I've noted for Edwin Encarnacion. Bautista struggled last year in a brief stint against LHP (.313 wOBA) but if you look back over the previous years (2011 - .476 wOBA, 2010 - .361 wOBA, 2009 - .394 wOBA) he's obviously had plenty of success against lefties. This year he's slugging .619 against LHP with a 1.00 EYE and .370 wOBA against LHP. We've covered much of Barry Zito's struggles against RHB's on the road, which means this should be a very good matchup to use Joey Bats.
Justin Upton (ATL) - Upton's revenge tour started last night with a big effort against the DBacks and on Tuesday he gets another shot at a LHP in Chase Field. Upton has hit .286/.393/.526 in his career against LHP and if you look just at his "home" splits against LHP the numbers jump to .308/.413/.605. Obviously much of the damage he's done in his career at "home" has been in Arizona. He gets a matchup with Patrick Corbin who has allowed just a .320 wOBA to RHB's in his career but has shown some vulnerability to power. He's yielded 1.11 HR/9 and the 21% LD Rate allowed suggests RHB's make plenty of hard contact against him.
Ryan Braun (MIL) - Braun has been out of this world against LHP in his career as he's posted a .346/.417/.661 line in over 950 PA's against LHP. We've touched on Jeff Locke's struggles against RHB's and with Milwaukee having 7 regular RHB's in their lineup this figures to be a nice spot to utilize parts of the Brewers offense. Braun should benefit from the supporting lineup getting a boost against a lefty and his performance against LHP in his career makes him a top play any-time a LHP takes the mound, especially a shaky one like Jeff Locke.
Scott Hairston (CHC) - LH masher (career .270/.318/.495) against a lefty struggling to get RHB's out (.362wOBA) in Wrigley Park with the wind blowing out? Yes, please. Hairston is one of the premier value plays across the daily gaming industry today.
Jason Kubel (ARZ) - You'll notice a couple themes in today's notes: CHC RHB's, TOR RHB's, and ARZ LHB's. Kubel fits into the last group and he fits in quite nicely. Kubel has posted a .279/.343/.497 career line against RHP and last year at Chase Field he hit .264/.366/.574 against RHP, good for a .392 wOBA. With Julio Teheran's HR problems against LHB's (1.82 HR/9) squeezing someone with Kubel's power into your lineups makes a lot of sense.
Jay Bruce (CIN) - Bruce is still under-priced on many sites due to his slow start this season. On Tuesday night he gets to face Ricky Nolasco (.348 wOBA to LHB's) who allows a lot of hard contact to LHB's (22.9% LD Rate, 1.1 HR/9). Bruce has posted .350+ wOBA's against RHP throughout his career and although he's playing in a low run-scoring environment in Miami, he has enough power to hit it out of any ballpark. He'll be a low-owned guy and with his power in a favorable matchup utilizing him in tournament play isn't a bad option at all.
Melky Cabrera (TOR) - Cabrera has been hot of late so his price has started to surge, but on most sites he's still a slight discount or fairly valued for his production against LHP. Last year Cabrera hit .395/.444/.667 against LHP and while it looks like a bit of an outlier with the rest of his career against lefties, it does represent the most recent large sample we have to work with. Zito's struggles have been well documented throughout today's Fix and Melky is just another RHB at the top of the order for Zito to worry about.
Other Potential Value Plays: Dexter Fowler (COL), BJ Upton (ATL), Reed Johnson (ATL), Jeff Francoeur (KC), Andre Ethier (LAD), Don Kelly (DET), Andy Dirks (DET), Delmon Young (PHI), John Mayberry Jr. (PHI), David Murphy (TEX), Gerardo Parra (ARZ), Jon Jay (STL), Alfonso Soriano (CHC)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Josh Hamilton (LAA), Matt Kemp (LAD)
Additional Expensive Star OF's to Target: Carlos Gomez (MIL), Carlos Beltran (STL), Shin Soo Choo (CIN)
Homer Bailey (CIN) - Bailey's improved strikeout rate so far this year hasn't translated into a significant bump in his fantasy points per game simply because Bailey possesses a 1-3 record. Don't get fooled by the record though as he's made meaningful steps forward as a pitcher. Last year he posted a 3.97 FIP and 3.94 xFIP and this year it's down to 3.25 and 3.22 respectively thanks to the boost in K's and his GB Rate (52%). On Tuesday he faces a Marlins offense that ranks dead last in wOBA against RHP and it's not even close. The Marlins .266 wOBA is 17 points below the next worst (White Sox .283 wOBA) which is equivalent to the drop between the 15th best team (Cubs) and the 27th best team (Mariners) against RHP. Bailey is by far the best SP value on the board on Tuesday.
Doug Fister (DET) - I know it's not particularly creative or exciting but streaming starting pitching against the Marlins and the Astros just makes mathematical sense, especially when you have two SP's who are a bit undervalued to begin with. Doug Fister is basically a lesser known Hiroki Kuroda and Kuroda might be the most under-appreciated SP in all of baseball. Fister is on his way to posting a sub-3.50 ERA for the third consecutive season in the AL and each year he seems to take steps forward in his K Rate or his GB Rate. This year he's generating a 58% GB Rate which limits extra base hits and overall scoring. The Astros are still striking out in 27% of their PA's against RHP and will be without their best hitter (Jose Altuve) who suffered an ugly jaw injury last night in a collision. If Bailey is the #1 SP value today, Fister is 1A.
Scott Kazmir (CLE) - It's hard to figure out if Kazmir's incredible performance last Wednesday is real or not. I dedicated a lengthy write-up for our season-long subscribers in Monday morning's AL Notes, but the gist of it is Kazmir saw a big velocity spike in his last outing and if that holds he could be very dangerous again. Most sites are pricing him based on the last three years in which he's been terrible, but this year even amidst struggles he's consistently racked up strikeouts. Kazmir has struck out a batter per inning or more in 3 of his 4 starts and now has 25 K's in 20 1/3 IP. On Tuesday he'll get to face a Phillies lineup that struggles against LHP, ranking 27th in wOBA (.283) and striking out in 23% of their PA's against lefties. The addition of Delmon Young should help the offense a bit, but this is as favorable of a matchup as Kazmir has seen this season. With the price affordable and the strikeouts in tact to start the year, I consider Kazmir a nice value option today and one of those high-risk/high-reward type SP plays that can help you win a big field tournament.
Kyle Lohse (MIL) - You'll notice from the hitting blurbs that I think Lohse should get ample run support tonight. I'm also fond of the matchup. The Pirates are 17th in MLB in wOBA against RHP's with a .313 mark, but much of that success is built off of power (.150 ISO). In recent years Lohse has done a really nice job of limiting power and while this year's 1.25 HR/9 mark is a bit concerning, I do think pitching in spacious PNC Park will help some of Lohse's FB tendencies. We had some success utilizing this strategy with Marco Estrada yesterday and while Lohse isn't the same extreme as Estrada, he is a similar (if just more muted) case. He doesn't possess the same upside Estrada displayed last night, but I do like Lohse as a value option tonight. I'd be surprised not to see a quality start out of him and I think he has a good shot at a win, a much better shot than the Vegas lines would suggest.
Chris Tillman (BAL) - Chris Tillman is also a strong value play against a Padres lineup that strikes out in 23% of their plate appearances against RHP. Just make sure you shop around on Tillman's price as a recent string of homer-less starts is propping up his price on a few sites and Baltimore can be a tough park to limit the long-ball, even against a punch-less Padres offense. He's a good value if you can find the right price.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) - It may come as a surprise but the offense that has been the worst against LHP this year? The Nationals. Their .263 wOBA against LHP is worst in the majors and it's 15 points worse than the 29th best team the Marlins. The Nationals also possess the 2nd highest team strikeout rate against LHP of anyone in the league (23.7%) and on Tuesday night they get to face Clayton Kershaw: the best LHP in all of baseball. On a day with a # of aces throwing, Kershaw stands out as the strongest.
Jake Peavy, CC Sabathia, and King Felix should all be good tonight. I'd rank them as Peavy, Felix, Sabathia in terms of value from what I saw across sites. I expect most daily gamers to focus their plays around Fister, Bailey and Kershaw so contrarian tournament players may want to look to Peavy, Felix, or even Sabathia as nice alternatives for big game performances from low ownership players.
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