Today's featured daily fantasy site is FanDuel. Click HERE for a first time deposit bonus.
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 favorable for a day of delay free baseball. The only area of concern is in Boston but there appears to be a window for the game although winds will be very strong out to RF.
Carlos Santana (CLE) - Santana earns top-play honors on Sunday as he gets to bat from his natural side against a LHP, Felix Doubront, who struggles against righties (.346 wOBA allowed). Santana has hit .281/.394/.471 in his career against LHP (.376 wOBA) with a stellar 1.21 EYE. He clearly sees the ball well against lefties and Felix Doubront walks 11% of the RHB's he faces. Fenway is a great hitting environment and the Indians are one of the best offenses against LHP in all of baseball.
Miguel Montero (ARZ) - If Miguel Montero can't hit Jason Marquis (.385 wOBA allowed to LHB's), it might be the final nail in his coffin for daily fantasy players. Marquis serves up a 20% LD rate and yields 1.69 HR/9 to LHB's and Chase Field is one of the best hitters' environments in baseball. Montero has struggled this year but in his career he's hit .275/.354/.452 (.348 wOBA) against RHP. He's the cheapest catcher in the FanDuel player pool at $2,200 and is in arguably the best matchup he'll find all season. The only concern with Montero is that he caught Saturday night's game and may be unavailable to catch on Sunday, so make sure to check your lineups before relying on him.
Jason Castro (HOU) - Castro's career .269/.347/.424 line against RHP has earned him a consistent spot in the Fix as a value play when facing below average RHP. Bartolo Colon would certainly qualify as he's yielded a .354 wOBA to LHB's, including 1.7 HR/9, over the last three years. If you can find Castro at a significantly reduced price compared to the average C, he's a very strong play on Sunday. On FanDuel Castro is just $2,600 making him one of the better value plays.
Alex Avila (DET) - Avila has been getting more days off of late but I think he'll be in the lineup on Sunday after Brayan Pena drew the start on Saturday. Avila has been above average against RHP in his career (.261/.358/.442, .349 wOBA) and Mike Pelfrey has served up a .346 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years. Pelfrey's performance has understandably dropped with the move to the AL (fewer K's, more BB's, fewer GB's) and the Tigers figure to be one of the higher scoring teams on Sunday. Avila's lineup positioning will likely be low in the order but at $2,600 on FanDuel and similarly cheap across the industry he's a fine play against below average RHP.
Prince Fielder (DET) - Fielder has been one of the most dominant LHB's against RHP in the game over the last few years. He's posted a .421 wOBA against RHP since 2011, including a .308/.430/.582 line. We've already covered just how awful Mike Pelfrey is against lefties, which makes a slumping Fielder our top play of the day at 1B.
Additional Top Plays: Chris Davis (BAL), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
Mike Napoli (BOS) - Mike has always noted how good Napoli has been against RHP (.282/.377/.558, .401 wOBA since 2011) and on Sunday he gets to face Corey Kluber who has allowed a .359 wOBA to RHB's along with 1.39 HR/9 over the last three years. Kluber was pretty good in his last outing against Detroit but still served up 2 HR's in the game. Pitching in Fenway Park with the tight dimensions I expect it to be a challenging day for Kluber. On FanDuel Napoli is fairly priced at $3,600.
Ike Davis (NYM) - Davis is going to be amongst the cheapest 1B you can find in daily fantasy and his power makes him a nice boom or bust GPP play as he gets to square off with Julio Teheran who has allowed LHB's to hit .317/.372/.513 (.381 wOBA) against him in his career. Davis has been a train-wreck this year (.147/.236/.245) but he's posted a .220 ISO and .352 wOBA in his career against RHP. At just $2,200 on FanDuel, Davis is the cheapest 1B available.
Carlos Pena (HOU) - Pena's biggest weakness is contact and Bartolo Colon struggles to put away LHB's (16% K%). He's allowed a .354 wOBA and 1.7 HR/9 to LHB's over the last three years and Pena's bat still has plenty of power in it against RHP. Pena has posted a .345 wOBA and .191 ISO against righties since 2011 and Minute Maid Park is a friendly hitting environment. Pena wouldn't be my first choice as a value play but he's a solid risk-reward option on many sites.
Nick Swisher (CLE) - Swisher has always been better against LHP (.374 wOBA) than RHP (.353 wOBA) and on Sunday he'll get to face Felix Doubront who has surrendered a .346 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years. Swisher typically hits clean-up and the Indians have been phenomenal against LHP this season. They figure to be one of the higher scoring options and on a number of sites Swisher can be had for a very average price.
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - I'm going a bit out on a limb and suggesting Pedroia is the top play on Sunday instead of Robinson Cano against a RHP. Pedroia has always been great at home (.323/.387/.501) and while much of the damage is against LHP, he's been solid against righties when in Fenway (.371 wOBA). We've touched a bit on Corey Kluber's struggles against both LHB and RHB's and I expect BOS-CLE to be one of the higher scoring affairs on Sunday.
Rickie Weeks (MIL) - Weeks has been at his best against LHP in his career (.262/.392/.442) and while Wandy Rodriguez is solid against RHB's (.315 wOBA), but Weeks has had some individual success against Wandy in his career hitting .295/.426/.500 in 44 AB's. I'd prefer Weeks hitting higher in the order, but for just $2,600 on FanDuel, Weeks is a nice salary relief option at the 2B position.
Omar Infante (DET) - Get used to seeing a lot of Tigers in here. Infante doesn't have a great track record against RHP (.310 wOBA) but he's gotten some time near the top of the Tigers order of late, typically against LHP. If Leyland gets enticed by Infante's solid career numbers against Pelfrey (15-32, 1 XBH, 2 BB, 1K), perhaps he finds his way to the top again and becomes a nice value option. On FanDuel he's priced at $3,300. I'd only consider him if batting in one of the top two spots.
Neil Walker (PIT) - Walker has hit .284/.349/.443 against RHP in his career and Yovani Gallardo has been susceptible to LHB's over the last three years, allowing a .329 wOBA, a 22.7% LD Rate and nearly a homer per 9 innings. Walker's really under-priced on a number of sites because of a slow start and some injury issues early on. Gallardo hasn't been nearly as dominate this year as he has in past years and the Pirates offense has been rolling of late. With Walker hitting in the middle of it, he's a nice value option going for just $2,700 on FanDuel.
Jed Gyorko (SD) - Gyorko has quietly turned it on in May hitting (.315/.375/.589) and much of his work this year has come against LHP (.286/.348/.595, .401 wOBA). Patrick Corbin has been phenomenal this year but his history against RHB's suggest there's an opportunity for Gyorko to have success on Sunday. Corbin has allowed a .312 wOBA to RHB's, which isn't bad, but it's come with 1.01 HR/9 and a 21.4% LD Rate. Plenty of hard contact allowed suggests Gyorko's power (.310 ISO vs. LHP) could really play up in a favorable environment. He's priced as an average 2B on most sites which still leaves some value to be had.
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) - I always prefer to take Asdrubal Cabrera against LHP (.342 wOBA) than RHP (.330 wOBA) and in Fenway against Felix Doubront is a nice spot for Cabrera. He's priced efficiently on most sites and that's the case on FanDuel ($3,800), but it's hard to find too many SS's that hit in the middle of a great lineup and can be had at affordable prices.
Didi Gregorious (ARZ) - if you're looking to save a little bit of money at the SS position, Gregorious is a fine option on Sunday against Jason Marquis. We've covered Marquis' issues against LHB's (.385 wOBA) and Gregorious has been tremendous against RHP (.435 wOBA) in his brief career. He also hits 2nd in the order in what figures to be one of the higher scoring offenses on Sunday. I'm not buying Gregorious' current level of production against RHP, but Marquis is so bad against lefties Gregorious might be able to be just that good against him. He's an excellent value play on FanDuel at just $3,200.
JJ Hardy (BAL) - Hardy has been swinging a hot bat of late and has even got some time in the #3 spot in the order. The Jays rotation is in shambles right now and Chad Jenkins (career 4.12 ERA, 1.34 WHIP in the minor leagues) and his career 5.28 FIP is getting the start on Sunday. Hardy hits LHP better than RHP but Jenkins and the Jays pen behind him allow plenty of runs for a stacked Orioles offense. At just $2,800 on FanDuel Hardy is perhaps the most attractive value play of the day if he's hitting 3rd again for the Orioles. If he's hitting back down in the order, Gregorious becomes the more attractive play.
Other Value Options: Jean Segura (MIL), Stephen Drew (BOS), Jed Lowrie (OAK)
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulowitzki remains the clear-cut top play at SS as long as Reyes and Hanley are both injured. He faces a tough RHP, Matt Cain, who he's had some success against on Sunday. The game takes place in a difficult hitting environment and as a result I probably won't pay up for Tulo on Sunday. He's not a bad play by any means, but I have enough other SS options I'm comfortable with on Sunday.
Miguel Cabrera (DET) - Cabrera is the top option at 3B on most days and nothing changes on Sunday against a below average RHP in Mike Pelfrey. Cabrera's price is extraordinarily high on most sites after the recent run, so I won't be taking him. Because his price is so exceptionally high, I'm going to list a few other top plays at the 3B position.
Evan Longoria (TB) - It's rare you'll see me cite pitcher vs. batter data but there are some exceptions (in my opinion) to our general rules that the data is meaningless. I believe Evan Longoria vs. CC Sabathia is one of those exceptions. Longoria has gone 15-41 with 8 XBH's and perhaps most impressively an 11:3 BB:K Ratio. Now Longoria has always hit LHP well (.390 wOBA) and especially at home (.419 wOBA) so it's not surprising to see good PvB against a LHP, but the dominance of that large sample suggests to me there is something more than just right on left. I think Longoria sees him exceptionally well. Now it's always dangerous to get good PvB plays against great SP because those good PvB plays might not get many scoring opportunities to collect points, but I think Longoria has a great chance to be productive per AB on Sunday.
Other Top Plays: Manny Machado (BAL), Pablo Sandoval (SF), Aramis Ramirez (MIL)
Eric Chavez (ARZ) - Add Chavez to the list of ARZ LHB's I'm excited about using on Sunday. His price has risen in recent weeks as his playing time has become a bit more consistent but at $3,500 on FanDuel I think he's priced appropriately. The matchup with Jason Marquis is an elite one and Chavez has hit .296/.361/.504 against RHP since 2011, good for a .369 wOBA. Any site that he's priced as an average 3B option, he's a nice value as the likely clean-up hitter against Jason Marquis.
Brett Lawrie (TOR) - Lawrie remains cheap on many sites due to his slow start this season and while I'd prefer him against LHP I don't mind him against Miguel Gonzalez and his reverse splits (.330 wOBA allowed to RHB's, .292 wOBA to LHB's). Lawrie is hitting 5th in the Blue Jays lineup primarily and it's provided him with plenty of RBI opportunities as the Jays offense generates plenty of run-scoring opportunities, especially at home. Lawrie is just $2,600 on FanDuel and across the industry he's priced as a below average 3B option. Coming into the season he was drafted as a Top 10 overall 3B, so there appears to be plenty of value here to be had.
Martin Prado (ARZ) - Prado should benefit from all the other LHB's getting on-base in front of him against Jason Marquis. For his career Prado's been pretty neutral as a splits guy (.344 wOBA vs. LHP, .332 wOBA vs. RHP) and Jason Marquis still allows a healthy .324 wOBA to RHB's. Prado is just $2,500 on FanDUel and is another excellent bargain.
Ryan Braun (MIL) - Braun is super-human against LHP. In his career he's hit .347/.419/.660 against LHP (.452 wOBA) and on Sunday he gets to face Wandy Rodriguez who he has a rather incredible track record against. Again you won't see PvB used often here but Braun has gone 17-44 with 11 XBH's and a 7:6 BB:K ratio. Braun's immense history against LHP and his individual history against Wandy earn him Top play status on Sunday.
Adam Jones (BAL) - Jones has always been better against RHP (.350 wOBA) than LHP (.307 wOBA) as one of those odd high-priced reverse splits players. On Sunday he gets to face Chad Jenkins who has allowed a .338 wOBA and 1.47 HR/9 to RHB's in his brief career. I expect the Orioles to once again be a high-scoring offense on Sunday and Jones is typically in the middle of it hitting clean-up.
Jose Bautista (TOR) - Bautista might be the player most likely to homer on Sunday. Mike mentioned his incredible splits at home the last few years (1.004 OPS, .289 ISO since beginning of 2011) earlier this week and the matchup on Sunday might be the best he's seen all week. Miguel Gonzalez has some serious reverse splits (.330 wOBA to RHB's) and his severe FB tendencies (43%) make him exceptionally HR prone (1.77 HR/9 to RHB's). Bautista obviously derives so much of his value from power and with Gonzalez's issues limiting RH power, Bautista's matchup would figure to be a perfect fit.
Yoenis Cespedes (OAK) - Cespedes has been slightly better in his career against LHP (.363 wOBA) than RHP (.351 wOBA) and on Sunday he'll get to face Dallas Keuchel who has allowed a .368 wOBA to RHB's in his brief career. Keuchel can't really put RHB's away (11.4% K%) and as a result it leads to a lot of BB's (10.4% BB%) and by falling behind he also invites a lot of power (1.59 HR/9). The A's figure to be one of the higher scoring offenses on Sunday and Cespedes should be heavily involved. Cespedes is just $3,600 on FanDuel which makes him not only a Top play but a Value play as well.
Other Top Plays: Mike Trout (LAA), Nate McLouth (BAL), Alex Gordon (KC), Justin Upton (ATL), CoCo Crisp (OAK)
Andy Dirks (DET) - Dirks has been hitting leadoff for the Tigers against RHP with Austin Jackson out and since 2011 Dirks has hit .289/.337/.449 against RHP (.340 wOBA). We've discussed Pelfrey's struggles against LHB's in his career and with Dirks hitting atop one of the highest projected scoring teams on Sunday, he's a terrific value at a fair $3,500 price on FanDuel.
Gerardo Parra/Jason Kubel (ARZ) - Both ARZ lefties are priced at $3,400 on FanDuel and if I was choosing between the two as of this writing I'd have to take Parra. Kubel oddly hit 8th against a RHP on Saturday night which is beyond ridiculous and Parra continues to hit leadoff. Parra is simply more secure in his positioning and as a result is a stronger play. Kubel is the better hitter against RHP (.358 wOBA vs. Parra's .338 wOBA) but Kirk Gibson doesn't seem to understand splits, as evidenced by Cody Ross (.312 wOBA vs RHP) hitting 5th and Kubel hitting 8th. You'll have to check the ARZ lineup for positioning on Sunday but both have the chance to be great value plays if positioned appropriately. Parra seems like a much safer bet and gets the nod simply because I don't trust Gibson to place Kubel appropriately.
Chris B. Young (OAK) - Young typically hits 2nd against LHP and we've covered some of Dallas Keuchel's weaknesses to RHB's. Young has hit .268/.369/.483 in his career against LHP (.370 wOBA) and many sites price him as a part-time player. On FanDuel he's just $3,300, which is a very nice value.
Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) - It's almost comical how cheap Ellsbury is on sites. On FanDuel he's just $3,000 because of a slow start this season that is largely attributed to bad luck and an unusually high percentage of AB's against LHP. Ellsbury is a career .293/.347/.448 hitter against RHP (.347 wOBA) and those numbers underweight his fantasy impact by not including the SB's. On Sunday he faces Corey Kluber who allows a .358 wOBA to LHB's in his career, including a 25% LD Rate. I think Sunday is a nice spot to take advantage of Ellsbury's depressed price.
Other Potential Value Plays: Nick Markakis (BAL), Alejandro de Aza (CHW), Lucas Duda (NYM), Chris Denorfia (SD), BJ Upton (ATL), Daniel Nava (BOS), Carlos Gomez (MIL), Carlos Quentin (SD), Robbie Grossman (HOU)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Josh Hamilton (LAA), Jason Heyward (ATL)
Cole Hamels (PHI) - Hamels gets a Nationals offense that is far and away the worst in baseball against LHP (.251 wOBA). The Marlins have a .271 wOBA so it's not even close. Hamels has had his struggles this year, but he appears to be rounding into form. He's held LHB's to a tidy .305 wOBA and so much of the Nationals offense is predicated on LH production (Harper, LaRoche, Span). It's hard to predict a W for Hamels in a game that should be amongst the lowest scoring of the day (vs. Strasburg), but I feel very confident Hamels pitches well. On sites where the W isn't as heavily factored into the scoring I'd happily deploy Hamels. On FanDuel, the $7,600 price tag is especially inviting.
Matt Cain (SF) - Cain, like Hamels, has seen his price come down due to a slow start to the season. Cain has also shown signs of life recently posting a 3.45 ERA in May and the lone on non-quality start came @COL. He gets that same COL offense on Sunday but this time he'll get it at home. Cain's been really good against COL over the last three years (7-1, 2.79 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in 10 starts) and he's usually much better at home. The Rockies offense is very good this year, even on the road where they rank 4th in wOBA, but I'll take my chances on Cain at a reduced price at home. At $7,500 on FanDuel he might be the best combination of value with a good chance at a Win.
Johnny Cueto (CIN) - Cueto gets to face a Cubs offense that ranks middle of the pack against RHP in wOBA, but it's a Cubs offense Cueto has had a ton of success against over the last three years (6-1, 1.75 ERA, 1.12 WHIP). Cueto got some of the rust off with his first start against the Mets and I expect him to pitch well at home where he's generally been better the last few years.
Shaun Marcum (NYM) - Marcum and the Braves are a perfect pairing for either a great start or a disastrous one. Marcum can still strike batters out but he struggles with the long-ball and the Braves offense is pretty much exactly the same. They strike out in 25% of their PA's against RHP but also possess an impressive .166 ISO. If you're on a multi-SP site and playing a big field tournament I think Marcum is an ideal play. I would not count on him in double-ups because he's just as likely to go negative as he is to have a big day, but if used in the right format I think he's an interesting value play.
Dylan Axelrod (CHW) - Axelrod really puts the "any SP against the Marlins" theory to the test on Sunday. Axelrod has a career 4.69 xFIP and is a very borderline major league starter. However, the Marlins have posted a league-worst .264 wOBA against RHP and have scored more than 3 runs just ONCE in their last 13 games. This is a battle of who is worse and in most cases this year than Marlins putrid offense has come out "on top" in these battles for futility.
There are a TON of them going on Sunday and frankly I think all of them pitch well. Clayton Kershaw and Shelby Miller should be an excellent pitcher's duel in St. Louis. CC Sabathia will have his challenges with Evan Longoria but I think he pitches well in Tampa. Stephen Strasburg should handle a Phillies offense without their best hitter. All of those SP's are great options on Sunday and I'm willing to pay for most of them. Below I'll rank my Top 10 for Sunday based on if price didn't matter and neither did W's.
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Max Scherzer
4. Cole Hamels
5. Shelby Miller
6. CC Sabathia
7. Matt Cain
8. Johnny Cueto
9. Patrick Corbin
10. Alex Cobb
Max Scherzer (DET) - While he comes in at just #3 on my list for tomorrow's games I think he's probably the safest bet on FanDuel where the win plays heavily into the scoring. Scherzer is the biggest favorite of all the top SP's going, the Twins are 21st in wOBA against RHP and possess a 22% K%, and Scherzer has the highest K% of any starter going tomorrow (2nd highest in the big leagues). With all those factors in play I think Scherzer is the pitcher I'd most be willing to pay for on FanDuel, even despite the hefty $8,900 price tag.