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.
Buster Posey (SF) - Any time Posey is facing a LHP he'll qualify as one of our top plays for the day. On Sunday night baseball Posey will get his 2nd look at the Dodgers deceptive import Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu has been strong his first go-around the league (.289 wOBA allowed to RHB's), but he's very FB prone (40% FB Rate, 22% LD Rate) and I think the 2nd time around should benefit Posey against a pitcher that relies more on deception than stuff (avg 90.1 mph FB). Posey has hit .353/.411/.656 in his career against LHP which makes him my top play despite a tougher matchup on paper than Carlos Santana or Joe Mauer.
Joe Mauer (MIN) - Mauer's price has come down across sites and on Sunday he'll face tribe RHP Corey Kluber who has yielded a .367 wOBA to LHB's in his brief career. Kluber allows a 23% LD Rate to lefties which fit right in with Mauer's elite LD skills. For his career, Mauer has hit .337/.424/.510 against RHP with a spectacular 24.3% LD Rate. Mauer and Carlos Santana are pretty close to Posey for top play honors, but Mauer seems to have the best price across fantasy sites so he gets a mention in the values column.
Victor Martinez/Alex Avila (DET) - Both of the Detroit LHB's (Martinez a switch hitter) get the benefit of a favorable matchup against Phil Humber. Humber has allowed a .352 wOBA, 1.13 HR/9, and 22% LD rate to LHB's over the last three years. Martinez (.356 wOBA) and Avila (.354 wOBA) have been pretty even against RHP in their careers. Martinez gets the slight nod because he's more likely to play (DH) and hits in the middle of the lineup, but either guy makes a solid value.
Miguel Montero (against Edinson Volquez) and Jonathan Lucroy against a lefty (Jaime Garcia) are also solid value plays, but based on pricing and matchup I like the other two a bit more.
Best Value Play:
Salvador Perez (KC) - Whenever the Royals face a LHP you can count on Salvador Perez showing up in our value plays section. Perez has hit .360/.395/.610 in his career against LHP and he's done it with exceptional contact rates (7.5% K%) and great power (.250 ISO). Jose Quintana has allowed a .329 wOBA to RHB's and allows plenty of hard-hit balls (21.6% LD Rate). I'll take any chance I can get to utilize Perez against LHP and with his price way down on most fantasy sites, he's an ideal play on Sunday.
Prince Fielder (DET) - Phil Humber gives up a .352 wOBA, a 22.8% LD Rate, and 1.13 HR/9 to LHB's over the last three years. As we've mentioned all week Fielder has been a monster the last few years against RHP. Since 2011, Fielder has a .425 wOBA, 1.024 OPS, 1.27 EYE, .279 ISO and only struck out 12.4% of the time against RHP. Fielder is priced exceptionally high on most sites so he's going to be tough to fit in, but he looks like the clear-cut #1 at the 1B position today.
Other Top Options: Edwin Encarnacion (Saunders allows 1.3 HR/9 to RHB), Billy Butler (career .396 wOBA vs. LHP), Joey Votto
Travis Hafner (NYY) - Hafner has found a perfect home stadium to accentuate his pull tendencies. This year at Yankee Stadium Hafner has hit .344/.432/.688 against RHP and on Sunday he gets a matchup against homer-prone Dan Straily. In Straily's limited big league track record he's surrendered a rather ridiculous 3.26 HR/9 to LHB's and much of that is while pitching in the spacious confines of the Coliseum. Staily allows a 50% FB Rate to lefties which should be a recipe for disaster in Yankee Stadium. If you can find Hafner priced slightly above the average 1B, he's an absolute steal.
Paul Konerko (CHW) - Konerko hits LHP like a god (.396 wOBA) but he's pretty darn good against RHP as well (.361 wOBA) and his opponent on Sunday, Wade Davis, has some issues with right-handed power. Davis allows 1.26 HR/9 to RHB's thanks to a 44% FB Rate. Konerko's price is depressed on many sites to the point he's considered an average option at the 1B position. The .324 wOBA allowed by Davis to RHB's over the last three years is basically average and Konerko hits RHP at an above average clip, so his price across the daily spectrum provides some value.
Justin Morneau (MIN) - Given Corey Kluber's track record against LHP (.367 wOBA allowed), Justin Morneau should be a fine play on Sunday. We've tackled Morneau a few times this week and while he's not quite the elite player he was many years he ago, he's still hit RHP pretty well of late (.378 wOBA vs. RHP in 2012). Joe Mauer should get on base a few times in front of Morneau providing him with some opportunities as well. His price isn't quite the bargain it was a week ago, but he's still a nice value option on Sunday.
Robinson Cano (NYY) - Cano typically finds himself in this spot but Sunday might be one of those days to pay up for him. As noted before Dan Straily has really struggled to limit the HR ball against lefties and Yankee Stadium is the worst place for him to try to pitch around it. Cano has hit .305/.345/.520 in his career at home against RHP and last year hit an absurd .368/.423/.753 in those situations. He's the clear-cut #1 2B on Sunday.
Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler also have favorable matchups but if you're paying up at 2B it's got to be for Cano on Sunday.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) - Kipnis has finally gotten things going the last few days so his price is a bit scattered across sites. On some he's still priced as an average 2B option and that makes him a very nice value, while on others he's priced closer to the top of the 2B heap which is a more appropriate point. Kipnis has hit .273/.345/.443 in his career against RHP and the opponent on Sunday, Mike Pelfrey, has surrendered a .343 wOBA to LHB's including a 20.3% LD Rate and 1.02 HR/9. With Kipnis red-hot and getting a favorable matchup, he's one of the stronger plays at 2B on Sunday.
Ben Zobrist (TB) - Zobrist's price and position vary from site to site, but playing in Coors Field makes him a solid value. The opposing SP, Jhoulys Chacin, has allowed a .341 wOBA and 1.1 HR/9 to LHB in his career. Zobrist has a .351 wOBA and .196 ISO against RHP the last couple of years.
Kelly Johnson (TB) - The Rays aren't a high powered offense so many of their players have provided strong values this weekend with their trip to Coors Field. Johnson is one of those as he continues to be priced as a below average 2B option but partakes in a strong offensive environment. Johnson has hit .247/.340/.426 in his career against RHP (.337 wOBA). Jhoulys Chacin is being activated off the disabled list for the Rockies and he's allowed a career .341 wOBA to LHB's that includes 1.1 HR/9 and 12% BB%. Johnson shows particularly great plate patience against RHP with good power, so the matchup suits his skills well.
In addition to these value plays Dan Uggla is priced pretty low on a number of sites and will get a favorable matchup against Jonathan Niese. Danny Espinosa also gets a matchup with another lefty (Wandy Rodriguez) and Espinosa typically hits LHP very well. Also with Jim Leyland declaring Peralta will get the day off on Sunday look for Ramon Santiago to get a start against Phil Humber.
Ian Desmond (WSH) - Desmond has posted a .274/.319/.458 line in his career against LHP (.335 wOBA), but during his breakout year last season he posted a .381 wOBA against lefties. Wandy Rodriguez (.314 wOBA allowed to RHB's) has been pretty good against righties the last few years but does surrender 1.07 HR/9 to the right-handers. Desmond has been hitting 2nd and 5th in the lineup against left-handed pitching providing strong R/RBI potential. He's priced as an average SS and has a slightly above average matchup on Sunday.
Jimmy Rollins (PHI) - Rollins is priced pretty much as an average SS option across the different daily sites in the industry. His matchup with Kevin Slowey (.345 wOBA allowed to LHB's over the last three years) is one that can be considered above average. Rollins has been slightly better against RHP (.332 wOBA) than LHP (.322 wOBA) in his career and has been much better at home. Rollins isn't my favorite value play today but I think there's reason to be optimistic about the Phillies offense against Slowey who is due for a bit of regression in his ERA and HR/FB Rate.
I also like Asdrubal Cabrera quite a bit but most places his price has surged with his recent streak. If you can get him at the price of an average SS option he's a great play. Mike Pelfrey struggles against LHB's and the Indians offense should be able to hit him well after having success against a similar right-handed sinker-baller on Saturday. Jed Lowrie also crushes LHP and gets Andy Pettitte in Yankee Stadium. Like Asdrubal if you can find an "average" price-tag on him he makes for a very nice value play.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulo has been battling some nagging injuries and has gotten some time off in recent days. With the late lineup it will be hard to rely on him on Sunday and I don't love the matchup. Alex Cobb has allowed just a .281 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years and primarily keeps them on the ground (54.7% GB Rate). Sunday isn't one of those days I'm ready to pay up for Tulowitzki.
Miguel Cabrera (DET) - Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball and he put it on display on Saturday night with two bombs. Phil Humber is actually pretty good against RHB's (.285 wOBA), but Cabrera is so good against all pitching it doesn't really matter.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) - Beltre's performance has been down to start the season but the peripherals have shown little decline. Beltre has been great in his career against LHP (.292/.356/.506) and really great at home. The matchup against Jon Lester (.313 wOBA allowed to RHB's) isn't an elite one but Beltre's been so strong against LHP and he's still priced as a slightly above average 3B option on most sites. That discount makes him a worthy value play on Sunday.
Brett Lawrie (TOR) - Lawrie is probably my favorite value play at the 3B position on Sunday. He faces Joe Saunders who has allowed a .361 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years including a 20% LD Rate and 1.3 HR/9 allowed. Lawrie hasn't hit for as much power against LHP (.137 ISO) as he has against RHP (.182 ISO) but he's posted a higher wOBA (.344 vs. 332) and he's hit for a significantly higher average (.305 vs. .259). The Blue Jays offense has had a tough start to the weekend facing King Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma but I think they get on track on Sunday against the soft-tossing Saunders. Lawrie, at the top of the order, should set the table nicely for some of the other lefty mashers.
Ryan Zimmerman is also a name that appears a bit cheap across the sites I've seen.
David Freese (STL) - Freese has a neutral matchup against Marco Estrada (.323 wOBA allowed to RHB's) but he's simply way too cheap across the daily industry. Freese has posted a solid career .345 wOBA against RHB's and plays in one of the best offenses in baseball. He's about 50% lower than his typical price and if you're looking for some extreme savings at the 3B position Freese is a gamble I encourage.
Michael Young is priced similarly to Freese on a number of sites and also gets a favorable matchup with Kevin Slowey (.328 wOBA to RHB), but he's not as talented as Freese so I prefer the Cardinals 3B.
There are so many good OF plays that I'm going to highlight a few of the top cheap plays in more detail. After that I'll list off all the other strong values and inexpensive stars along with a list of high-priced OF to target. Use the entire list as a guide as the full write-ups are just focused on bottom of the barrel priced options.
Jose Bautista (TOR) - Based on a combination of price and matchup, it's hard for me to say any other OF but Jose Bautista is the strongest play of the day. Bautista has posted a .376 wOBA in his career against LHP and in 2011 (his last full season) he posted a .476 wOBA against lefties. Joe Saunders allows 1.3 HR/9 to RHB's and with all the RH power in the Blue Jays lineup on Sunday it's very likely there will be multiple HR's.
Melky Cabrera (TOR) - Melky complained of some leg soreness after Saturday's loss so you have to check his availability on Sunday but if he's in there he's a tremendous value. Cabrera has been neutral as a switch hitter for his entire career but last year he hit .395/.444/.667 against LHP good for a .467 wOBA. With Joe Saunders allowing a .367 wOBA to RHB's I'm willing to take the plunge on any cheap RHB's I can get my hands on from the Blue Jays and Cabrera qualifies across most sites. Just make sure he's in the lineup on Sunday.
Reed Johnson (ATL) - Reed Johnson is being priced even further down on sites that take into account splits because of the Mets rainout the previous night and the effects on their rotation. Instead of facing Matt Harvey, he gets Jonathan Niese who has allowed a .322 wOBA to RHB's. Johnson has always hit LHP in a big way in his career, posting a .310/.365/.459 line that's good for a .360 wOBA against lefties. With Jason Heyward out of the lineup Johnson should draw the start in the outfield and he'll be one of the stronger value plays on Sunday.
Andy Dirks (DET) - Jim Leyland already confirmed that Torii Hunter would get Sunday off which makes it a near guarantee that Andy Dirks will be in the lineup (probably alongside Don Kelly). Dirks posted a .379 wOBA against RHP last year and while he's gotten off to a slow start this year it appears fairly BABIP driven. He's posted a 27% LD Rate and a solid 0.73 EYE (12+% BB%), but earned just a .239 BABIP. Phil Humber has allowed a .352 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years and Dirks should be hitting near the middle of the order. He's priced near the minimum on many sites making him a strong value.
BJ Upton (ATL) - Upton is the beneficiary of the same pitching change I noted with Reed Johnson. He's priced near the minimum on a bunch of sites and he actually is pretty strong against LHP in his career (.346 wOBA). Jonathan Niese, the mound opponent, allows a .322 wOBA to RHB's and Upton shows better BB Rates (13.8% BB%) and power (.172 ISO). For his dirt cheap price it's hard not to take a chance on Upton on Sunday.
Other Potential Value Plays: Jeff Francouer (KC), Matt Joyce (TB), Domonic Brown (PHI), Brett Gardner (NYY), Ichiro Suzuki (NYY), Jon Jay (STL), Gerardo Parra (ARZ), Don Kelly (DET), Jeff Baker (TEX), Brennan Boesch (NYY)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Josh Hamilton (LAA), Nelson Cruz (TEX), Desmond Jennings (TB), Jay Bruce (CIN)
Expensive Star OF's to Target: Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Justin Upton (ATL), Carlos Beltran (STL)
Jay Bruce and Josh Hamilton in particular appear to be unusually cheap across sites.
Sunday is one of those weird days this year where it appears the schedule has caught some #5's going against #1's. We have a few truly elite aces taking the hill on Sunday but plenty of back-end rotation guys as well. As a result you're probably going to want to spend significantly on top tier SP and find value hitters against the weaker pitchers.
Matt Cain (SF) - Cain's early season struggles with the long-ball have suppressed his price and hopefully a home start against the Dodgers is just the thing to get him going. Cain has posted a 3.07 ERA at home and allowed just 0.69 HR/9 in his career at home. Over the last three years he's had 10 starts against the Dodgers and posted a 2.58 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 6.54 K/9. There are a couple guys in the Dodgers lineup who see Cain well (Ethier, AGonz) but if Gonzalez remains out it would be a significant boost to Cain's matchup. On sites where you use multiple SP's I think Cain's price is such that he warrants being used as a #2 SP.
Mat Latos (CIN) - Latos tossed 7 shutout innings in his first matchup against the Cubs and it's hard not to like him again on Sunday. The Cubs have improved to 18th in the league in wOBA against RHP (.308 wOBA) but with the wind forecasted to be blowing in from center, Latos should have a field day against a power-starved offense. Latos has had 4 starts over the last three years against the Cubs and he's allowed just 6 ER's while posting a 31:7 K:BB Ratio in 27 2/3 innings. His price is up because of his strong start, but it's a price I'm still comfortable with utilizing him at.
Roy Halladay (PHI) - I was hoping Halladay's price would come way down after the blowout earlier in the week but it doesn't appear to have come down much at all on the sites I checked. Still, the Marlins have struggled so mightily to score Runs and Halladay allowed just 1 ER over 8 innings in his first start against Miami. Halladay is still posting strong strikeout totals and with the Marlins lack of power, I think Halladay is a viable option on Sunday.
Other values I'd be compelled to take a chance on if filling out a multiple SP lineup include: Brandon Morrow (Mariners 22nd in wOBA against RHP), Wandy Rodriguez (Nationals are worst in the league in wOBA against LHP), and Ian Kennedy who should benefit from pitching in a bigger park in PETCO.
Justin Verlander (DET) - With all due respect to Yu Darvish, who has been phenomenal this year, Verlander is clearly the top dog on Sunday with a matchup against the lowly Astros. His price is absurdly high but this feels like a matchup worth paying the incredibly high price. The Astros are striking out in 27% of their PA's and we saw what Verlander's colleague Max Scherzer did to the Astros last night (8 IP, 5 base-runners, 1 ER, 8 K's). Verlander is the clear cut ace of the