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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.
Weather: Weather along the eastern seaboard appears to be a problem tonight. Baltimore and Washington D.C. both have periods with forecasts that include 60+% chances of rain and heavy thunderstorms. I'm avoiding all the SP's in those two games and frankly there are enough hitters to go around tonight that I'll probably just avoid both games.
Carlos Santana (CLE) - The best catcher in fantasy this year holds sits atop our catcher rankings for daily gamers on Tuesday. Santana gets a matchup against LHP Tommy Milone who has some mild reverse splits (.317 wOBA vs. RHB, .324 wOBA vs. LHP) but gives up lots of fly balls to both sides of the plate. Against RHB's, Milone has allowed a 24% LD Rate, a 36.5% FB Rate, and 1.01 HR/9. Carlos Santana has crushed LHP in his career to the tune of .291/.401/.487 with a 1.19 BB:K Ratio. He simply manhandles LHP and against a fly-ball pitcher, I expect Santana to get the ball up with plenty of chances for extra base hits.
Yadier Molina (STL) - Molina has hit LHP slightly better than RHP in his career (.761 OPS vs. LHP, .723 OPS vs. RHP) and the matchup on Tuesday against Travis Wood is one that could produce a lot of power from St. Louis RH heavy lineup. Wood allows a 47% FB Rate to RHB's and frankly his 1.1 HR/9 allowed to RHB's feels a bit fortunate given he's yielded just a 8.5% HR/FB Rate. Wood has also struggled with the long-ball against the Cardinals in his career. Over the last three years he's given up 10 HR's in 35 1/3 innings on his way to a 5.35 ERA. All of the Cardinals RHB's seem like strong plays on Tuesday but Molina's one of the relatively cheap ones.
Miguel Montero (ARZ) - Montero faces Josh Beckett who has allowed a .328 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years which includes 1.27 HR/9 allowed. The numbers have been trending in the wrong direction for Beckett as well (2011 - .255 wOBA, 2012 - .340 wOBA, 2013 - .378 wOBA) which suggests the matchup may be better than even history suggests. Montero has hit .278/.358/.457 in his career against RHP and the last two years he's posted a .374 wOBA and .386 wOBA against RHP. While he's off to a slow start this year against righties it's only a matter of time before he gets going again. At a discounted price because of the slow start, Montero makes a strong value.
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 .358/.396/.606 in his career against LHP and he's done it with exceptional contact rates (7.4% K%) and great power (.248 ISO). Wei Yin Chen has allowed a .322 wOBA to RHB's and allows plenty of hard-hit balls (22.4% LD Rate), including 1.3 HR/9. I'm still frustrated Ned Yost keeps hitting Perez 8th which limits his upside on sites that heavily weight Runs/RBI's in their scoring, but on many sites his price is so low that he's a value even hitting 8th.
The high priced 1B bucket is filled with some intriguing options but no one really separates themselves from the pack. Billy Butler (career .396 wOBA vs. LHP) is probably the best combination of upside and price, but weather could be challenging in Baltimore. Chris Davis (same weather concerns) gets homer-prone Ervin Santana but Ervin has been a bit of a different pitcher this year with the heavy reliance on his slider. Mike Napoli gets a lefty in Fenway which is typically golden, but Scott Diamond has some severe reverse splits. David Ortiz, if 1B eligible, has a career .351 wOBA against LHP and Scott Diamond allows a .353 wOBA to LHB's. It's a perfect matchup to exploit sites that price based off of splits and give a slight discount to Papi. The only problem is he's been so hot that his price is tough to accommodate on most sites. David Ortiz is probably the best overall matchup, while Napoli is probably the best value of the top plays given the lack of weather concerns.
Allen Craig (STL) - Craig has multi-hit games in three straight as he's starting to turn around the slow star to the season. On Tuesday he'll face a LHP who can struggle keeping the ball in the yard against righties. Craig has hit .318/.355/.580 against LHP in his career and is priced as an average 1B on many sites. He's the strongest of all the value plays on Tuesday night.
Additional Strong Values:
Brandon Moss (OAK) - Brandon Moss has become a staple of the Fix as he has posted a .312 ISO and .599 slugging % against RHP since the beginning of last year. On Tuesday he faces a RHP in Zach McAllister who is exceptionally FB prone against LHB's (41% FB, 20+% LD Rate allowed to LHB's) and as a result he serves up his fair share of HR's (1.27 HR/9 to LHB over the last three years). Moss is valued as a slightly above average 1B across most sites, but his history against RHP suggests he should be treated as an elite one.
Albert Pujols (LAA) - Pujols price varies wildly across sites but in a few places I saw him priced as something other than an elite 1B option. Jordan Lyles is horrific against lefties but he's not great against righties either, allowing a .326 wOBA and 1.07 HR/9. In Minute Maid Park with the short porch in LF, Pujols is a strong bet to connect for a long-ball on Tuesday night. As we saw with the Tigers offense this past weekend things can get explosive when the Astros bullpen is involved which makes the Angels all a bit more valuable.
Garrett Jones (PIT) - Garrett Jones has hit .280/.348/.502 in his career against RHP and on Tuesday he squares off with Aaron Harang who has allowed a .343 wOBA to LHB's over their last three years including a 10.7% BB Rate and 42% FB Rate. Harang hasn't been particularly homer prone but all those fly balls will catch up to him at some point. In a limited sample Jones has also seen Harang well going 6-10 with 2 2B's, 1 HR, 2 BB, and 0 K.
Adam Lind (TOR) - Lind has shown great plate discipline this year but the power has yet to shine. In his career he's hit .280/.336/.496 against RHP and his opponent on the mound, Roberto Hernandez, has allowed a .340 wOBA to LHB's. Hernandez keeps the ball on the ground which limits some of the power upside for Lind but Hernandez's inability to put LHB's away (12% K%) means Lind will be able to put balls in play. On sites that penalize Lind's strikeout issues, he's a better value on Tuesday against the K inept Hernandez.
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - It's tough to supplant Robinson Cano as the top play at 2B when the Yankees are in Coors Field but I think Pedroia has the better matchup. Scott Diamond has had some serious reverse splits in his career (.353 wOBA vs. LHP, .319 wOBA vs. RHP) but I'm going to lean on Pedroia's history against LHP in Fenway. In his career, Pedroia has hit .346/.425/.544 against lefties in Fenway with an incredible 1.52 BB:K Ratio. The history vs. lefties in a great home hitting environment makes me lean towards Pedroia as the top play at 2B on Tuesday.
Ryan Roberts (TB) - Roberts was in the 3rd spot in the Rays lineup on Monday night without Ben Zobrist and it's unclear if Zobrist will be back with the team on Tuesday. Roberts has hit .265/.343/.445 in his career against LHP while sporting a solid 0.62 EYE. His mound opponent, JA Happ, has allowed a .344 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years including 1.17 HR/9 and a 46% FB Rate. Roberts upper-cut swing generates a 47% FB Rate of his own against LHP which makes a nice recipe for extra base hit potential.
Jed Gyorko (SD) - Gyorko gets to face Alex Sanabia who has allowed a .350 wOBA to RHB's in his brief career. Gyorko has actually looked a bit more comfortable against RHP in the early going than LHP and he's been heating up of late, having homered in consecutive games. Priced near the minimum on a few sites, Gyorko is a really nice value.
Erick Aybar (LAA) - Jordan Lyles really struggles against LHB's allowing a career .360 wOBA against while surrendering a 21% LD Rate and 1.52 HR/9. Aybar doesn't have a ton of pop so we're not expecting him to capitalize on the power potential Lyles yields but the high LD Rate should play nicely into Aybar's game. Aybar has been a neutral spltis guy in his career as a switch-hitter but he posts a nice 19% LD Rate against RHP. If he can be had for an average SS price he should reward owners with a run or two and a few times on base against a weak Astros pitching staff.
Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) - Cabrera has always hit LHP better than RHP (.339 wOBA vs. .331 wOBA) and Cabrera has been red-hot of late with 8 XBH's in his last 9 games. Tommy Milone's high FB tendencies encourage extra base hits and Cabrera has the power from the right side to capitalize. The Indians team as a whole has a .357 wOBA against LHP this year (2nd in the majors) so there should be plenty of run-scoring opportunities for Cabrera as he typically hits 3rd in the loaded lineup. You'll have to price shop because of his recent success but anything close to the average price tag makes him a nice value.
Elvis Andrus and Jimmy Rollins are both cheap on many sites and present nice values. Wily Peralta can be explosive and while it's usually against LHB's as opposed to RHB's, Andrus does have some nice run-scoring potential. Rollins gets Lincecum who has been very hit and miss this season. I'm not particularly excited about the swings I've seen from Rollins the last few games but his price is very low across the board and the Phillies should have a better chance at scoring runs against RHP even in a tough park.
Jayson Nix (NYY) - Nix has been primarily hitting 2nd against LHP and in Colorado his price makes him attractive against a LHP with control issues. Jorge de la Rosa walks nearly 10% of the RHB's he's faced over the last three years and in total allows a .335 wOBA. Nix isn't a great hitter but he does have a nice 14.7% BB% against LHP this year and for his career has an acceptable .242/.315/.418 line against lefties. This is very much a play on pricing and fit as Nix has a good chance at getting on-base via the walk on Tuesday night. In a high-scoring run environment in Colorado a walk and a run might be all it takes for Nix to be worth the cheap tag.
Sean Rodriguez (TB) - Rodriguez didn't deliver for us last night against a finesse pitcher in Mark Buehrle but perhaps he can deliver against a harder-throwing lefty in JA Happ. Rodriguez has hit .252/.361/.394 in his career against LHP and as you can tell from that line much of the damage he does against lefties comes from walks. Happ walks almost 12% of the RHB's he faces and allows a .344 wOBA overall to RHB's over the last three years. Rodriguez, like Nix, has a decent chance to cash in on his plate appearances because of Happ's high BB Rate, which should help him deliver value for his cheap price tag.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Tulo, as always, is the stud to debate paying up for. I said on Sunday I wasn't going to do it because he was facing a tough RHP, Alex Cobb, who generates a ton of GB's against RHB's and sure enough Tulo homered. He gets the same type of matchup tonight against Hiroki Kuroda who has allowed just a .281 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years and primarily keeps them on the ground (51% GB Rate). While Tulo defied the odds on Sunday, his price is even higher now and I'm less inclined he can do it again. He's never a bad play, but again I probably won't be utilizing him across most sites that he's priced WAY above the rest of the field.
Evan Longoria (TB) - It's hard to supplant Miguel Cabrera as the top play but weather concerns in Washington D.C. tonight and a tough matchup with Jordan Zimmermann have me opting for Evan Longoria as the top bat at 3B. Longoria has hit .290/.376/.552 in his career against LHP good for a .389 wOBA. He's actually been better at home (.415 wOBA) against LHP in his career which is surprising given the tough home environment. JA Happ is very homer prone to RHB's (1.17 HR/9) and overall his .344 wOBA allowed against RHB's is the 2nd worst of any starter going today.
David Freese (STL) -Freese is a career .318/.380/.455 hitter against LHP, good for a .365 wOBA. The strong splits advantage is just a part of the reason I love Freese so much on Tuesday night. The other part is the fact that he's priced as a below average 3B due to a slow start that he appears to be coming out of. Freese is 6-16 in May after going 8-49 in Aprl. Given Freese missed time late in the preseason it's reasonable to assume "timing" was an issue through the first month of the season. He faces Travis Wood on Tuesday night and Wood allows 69% of the batted balls against RHB's to go in the air (22% LD's, 47% FB's). That is a recipe for extra base hits, especially against a Cards offense that was third in baseball against LHP last year with a .340 wOBA. They're 26th this year in part to the slow starts from Craig and Freese, but I think that changes tonight against Travis Wood.
Other Value Plays:
Will Middlebrooks (BOS) - Middlebrooks has been a mess of late and the reverse splits matchup against Scott Diamond makes him a bit of a "boom-or-bust" play so act accordingly. Still his price is way down and in his career he's posted a .366 wOBA against LHP. Since Diamond does a good job keeping the ball down to lefties I'll probably opt for some better value plays at the 3B position.
Chris Nelson (NYY) - Nelson was designated for assignment just last week by the Rockies and conveniently for him he'll get to show them what they're missing out on this week in Colorado (spoiler alert: Not much compared to Nolan Arenado). Nelson has hit well against LHP in his career (.290/.319/.404) albeit with limited plate patience and power, but when at Coors Field the power and the patience have played up (career: .309/.356/.450 hitter in Coors). He's priced near the bare minimum on many sites and with 3B a bit of a challenge to find value on Tuesday, I think he's an acceptable play in a great run scoring environment. Add in the "revenge factor" (I honestly don't know how to calculate it and add it in) and you've got a sneaky cheap value play at 3B.
Nolan Arenado is also still criminally cheap on a few sites. I don't love the matchup tonight but he has obvious bat skills and the league is trying to figure out how to pitch him. If he's the bare minimum on a site he's worth the flier in a game with one of the highest totals on the board, even if Hiroki Kuroda (.281 wOBA to RHB's) typically eats up right-handed hitting.
Josh Hamilton (LAA) - Hamilton has been a frustrating "value trap" for daily gamers as his price keeps dropping and those with faith keep playing. Tuesday's matchup with Jordan Lyles however provides an opportunity that everyone should look to take advantage of. Lyles has allowed a .360 wOBA and served up 1.52 HR/9 to LHB's in his brief career. He walks nearly 9% of LHB's faced and only strikes out 15% while giving up a 21% LD Rate. It's hard not to take Hamilton on a day when he's facing a AAA level RHP in a strong hitting environment. I consider him a must play with his current pricing on most sites.
Other Value Plays:
David Murphy (TEX) - Murphy, like Miguel Montero, has been one of our more consistently frustrating recommendations against RHP. For his career he's hit .286/.353/.476 against RHP (.357 wOBA) and he's done particularly well against ground-ball pitchers (as classified by Baseball-reference) posting a .328/.385/.500 line against them in his career. His opponent, Wily Peralta, generates a 55% GB Rate against LHB's while also yielding a .347 wOBA thanks to a 22% LD Rate and walking 8% of the LHB's he faces. With Murphy's price way down and the type of pitcher he's facing a perfect complement to his skill-set, now is a nice time to get him in your lineups.
Seth Smith (OAK) - Smith really struggled in a plus matchup yesterday against Ubaldo Jimenez but he gets another one on Tuesday night against Zach McAllister. McAllister is a fly-ball pitcher who allows a 41% FB Rate and 20.4% LD Rate to LHB's. Over the last three years he's allowed 1.26 HR/9 and a .329 wOBA to lefties. Smith has always hit RHP well in his career (.282/.361/.498 - .368 wOBA) but he's been at his best against fly-ball pitchers (as classified by Baseball-reference). Against FB pitchers in his career Smith has hit .266/.352/.509 posting an OPS of 70-80 points better than against neutral or ground-ball pitchers. McAllister would be appear to be the best potential type of matchup for Smith on paper and as a result I think he's a strong value play on any site that he's priced as an average OF option or below.
Vernon Wells (NYY) - Wells is hitting .333/.383/.595 against LHP this year and before you credit it to Yankee Stadium you should not he's hitting .417/.417/.882 against LHP on the road this year. Wells wasn't great against LHP last year but he did post a .366 wOBA against them in 2011 and for his career he's posted a .360 wOBA vs. lefties. On Tuesday night he faces Jorge de la Rosa who has allowed a .335 wOBA and 1.27 HR/9 to RHB's over the last three years. If measuring by wOBA, de la Rosa is the third worst pitcher going today against righties and Coors Field is always the #1 run-scoring environments. If Wells can be found at a nice price, and there are many sites he can, he's one of the stronger plays today.
Other Potential Value Plays: Desmond Jennings (TB), Jason Kubel (ARZ), Josh Reddick (OAK), Jonny Gomes (BOS), Ichiro Suzuki (NYY), Marcell Ozuna (MIA), Justin Ruggiano (MIA), Robbie Grossman (HOU), BJ Upton (ATL), Norichika Aoki (MIL), Domonic Brown (PHI), Melky Cabrera (TOR), Jeff Francoeur (KC), Nick Markakis (BAL)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Bryce Harper (WSH), Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Matt Kemp (LAD), Jay Bruce (CIN), Shane Victorino (BOS)
Expensive Star OF's to Target: Mike Trout (LAA), Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Ryan Braun (MIL), Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), Dexter Fowler (COL), Matt Holliday (STL)
Homer Bailey (CIN) - The Braves are a top 10 offense against RHP (.321 wOBA) but they strike out in almost 26% of their plate appearances. Homer Bailey has really turned the corner against RHB's the last few years (.260 wOBA in 2013, .320 in 2012, .303 in 2011) and the Braves lineup is mostly dangerous from the right side. In fact with Gattis starting in LF, the Braves have just 3 LHB's in the entire lineup on Tuesday. Bailey's seen his velocity surge early in the year and along with it his K Rate and his GB Rates have risen dramatically. He's quietly posted a 3.15 xFIP which is currently 13th in all of baseball (right behind Clayton Kershaw). There are many other starters priced well above him going tonight, but just TWO have a lower xFIP this year (Anibal Sanchez and Matt Harvey). On most sites those two are the highest priced SP options along with Jordan Zimmermann while Bailey falls somewhere down near the 10th best option. Seems like a value to me.
Brandon McCarthy (ARZ) - McCarthy has had a frustrating start to the season as his 7.22 ERA is more than 3 full runs higher than his FIP (4.05) and xFIP (3.85). A .387 BABIP is part of the problem as he's surrendered a scary 26% LD Rate, but the bigger issue is the atrocious 57.7% LOB% that is 13 percentage points below his career average, which hovers right around the league average. To put it simply a much higher % of McCarthy's base-runners are crossing home plate than you would expect, which explains the awful ERA. On Tuesday night he gets to pitch in a spacious west-coast park (Dodger Stadium) where his fly-ball tendencies will play better than they have in Chase Field. He also gets a Dodgers lineup that ranks 29th in MLB in wOBA against RHP (.288) and derives much of their value against righties from BB's (10.9% BB%). McCarthy has walked just 4% of the opposing batters he's faced over the last three years, making this a matchup the Dodgers offense is going to need to expose with power and their .099 ISO is the only sub-.120 ISO in the league against RHP that doesn't belong to the Marlins. In short, the matchup is ideal for McCarthy and with his price way down he makes a compelling value on sites that require multiple SP's.
Hector Santiago (CHW) - Hector Santiago is moving into the rotation where he's posted a 1.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 11.7 K/9 in his career in 5 starts. Santiago has flashed strong peripherals in his career but they've come with shaky command that in those five starts he's somehow been able to manage. Santiago is pitching against Matt Harvey in the lowest total of the day (6.5) and against a Mets lineup that strikes out 21% of the plate appearances they've had against LHP while posting a .305 wOBA. David Wright is really the only threatening bat from the right side and Santiago has allowed just a .286 wOBA against LHP. Santiago has thrown 85+ pitches the last two starts so pitch count shouldn't be an issue, the only concern with Santiago is that the W might be tough to come by against Matt Harvey.
Matt Harvey (NYM) - Harvey allows just a .249 wOBA to RHB's and the White Sox lineup boasts 6 RHBs tonight with the 3 LHB's involved being Adam Dunn, Dewayne Wise, and Conor Gillaspie. The game has the lowest total on the board and Harvey's been arguably the best pitcher in baseball to start the season. Lock him in as your 1 SP stud tonight and pay the price for it.
Other high-priced SPs:
I'm concerned about the weather in WAS which makes Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez risky starts. Both guys would be going up against high powered offenses vs. RHP and don't figure to be worth their value anyway but the weather is a strong tie-breaker. Lance Lynn has a very favorable matchup with the Cubs but he's so volatile that I'd prefer to pass on him when he's this costly. CJ Wilson gets the Astros, but I think he's very over-rated. I'll be fading him tonight.