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 looks like it could be an issue again on Wednesday in Baltimore and Washington D.C. where forecasts call for scattered thunderstorms throughout the evening. Colorado also has a 60+% chance of rain with scattered thunderstorms. Boston has a 70+% chance of rain throughout the evening. Even Cleveland has a few showers in the forecast. It could be an ugly day for daily fantasy baseball and with weather up in the air it's probably best to either play day only or night only games today.
Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit (MIN) - Both MIN catchers are way too low on sites and I'm expecting both to be in the lineup tomorrow against Allen Webster. Webster was pitching well in AAA but showed some vulnerability to LHB's (5 BB's in 10 IP) and in his first spot start he served up a HR to a LHB. Mauer is the superior hitter against RHP (career .399 wOBA), but Doumit isn't bad either (.341 wOBA). If price is reasonably close Mauer is your best bet, but Doumit remains a strong value as well.
John Jaso (OAK) - Justin Masterson has allowed a .344 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years and Jaso makes his living off of RHP. For his career Jaso has posted a .269/.367/.415 line against RHP that includes a 1.10 EYE and gaudy 13% BB Rate. Masterson walks about 9% of LHB's and struggles to put them away with a sub-14% K%. Jaso typically hits leadoff against RHP and with the A's ability to stack lefties against Masterson I think they'll be able to generate some run-scoring opportunities. Jaso is an especially effective play in daily formats that give negatives for outs given his strong OBP against RHP.
Rob Brantly (MIA) - Jason Marquis is the worst SP going on Wednesday against LHB's. Over the last three years he's allowed a .386 wOBA to lefties including a 10.7% BB% and 1.7 HR/9 allowed. Brantly has been a competent hitter against RHP in his career (.293/.375/.443, .355 wOBA) and he's priced around the minimum on most sites. This figures to be one of the few days the Marlins offense can generate some runs, making Brantly a decent value play.
Other catching notes: Jonathan Lucroy faces a LHP in Derek Holland who can be homer prone. Loyal readers of the fix will know my affinity for Lucroy against lefties. I like him more than Doumit, but less than Jaso and Mauer if priced similarly. Salvador Perez is way too cheap on some sites and Chris Tillman is home-prone to RHB's (1.42 HR/9). Perez isn't near the hitter he is against LHP when facing righties, but he's not a bad play either. Matt Wieters, like Perez, is typically better against lefties but Luis Mendoza is terrible and Wieters plays in a great hitters' park. He's one of the better "higher-priced" catching options on a day that is devoid of an obvious standout at the position. Jason Castro has also been a nice cheap play against weak RHP.
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 Wednesday he gets Justin Masterson and his .344 wOBA against LHB's. 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. With an extremely favorable matchup against Masterson, Moss is a strong value play.
Mike Napoli (BOS) - We don't have much to evaluate Pedro Hernandez on but what we've seen is pretty alarming. Hernandez has allowed a .474 wOBA to RHB's in the 75 RHB's he's faced in his career which includes a 2.93 HR/9 allowed and a 12% BB% compared to just a 6% K%. You'll want to get as many of Boston's elite RHB's in your lineups tomorrow and Napoli fits the bill as a RHB that has posted a .390 wOBA against LHP in his career.
Lyle Overbay (NYY) - Juan Nicasio yields a .366 wOBA to LHB's and much of it is fueled by a 23% LD Rate allowed. Lyle Overbay doesn't have a ton of power but he can be an effective LD hitter (career 22.5% LD Rate vs. RHP, .825 OPS) against righties. He's priced near the minimum on a few sites and while there's some opportunity cost in not owning some of the higher upside bats listed above, he does provide some tremendous salary relief.
Chris Davis is also a really nice "high-priced" play against Luis Mendoza who can't get LHB's out (.352 wOBA allowed). If Adam Dunn is in the lineup he's worth a flier today against Jeremy Hefner who allows 1.7 HR/9 to LHB's and only strikes out 12% of them. Carlos Pena is also worth a flier against HR-prone Joe Blanton, who he's had some success against.
Robinson Cano (NYY) - Cano gets to face a below-average RHP in Coors Field on Wednesday which should be a field day for him. Juan Nicasio has allowed 1.8 HR/9 and a 23% LD rate in his career against LHB's. He just can't get them out. Meanwhile Cano has a career .378 wOBA against RHP and the last 15 months he's been rather absurd posting a .460+ wOBA.
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - Pedroia is 1B to Cano's 1A on Wednesday. Pedro Hernandez's struggles noted above against RHB's fits right into Pedroia's sweet spot. Pedroia has posted a career .417 wOBA against LHP in Fenway Park (.346/.425/.544).
Honestly 2B is a position on Wednesday I think you must have one of these two players. As a result we're not going to spend much time on the "value plays" at 2B.
Rickie Weeks (MIL) - The Brewers are Top 5 in MLB against LHP and on Wednesday they face Derek Holland. Holland allows a .327 wOBA to RHB's and specifically struggles with power serving up 1.4 HR/9. Weeks has an .811 OPS against LHP this year and a sub-.600 OPS against RHP which continues a trend in his career. For his career Weeks has posted a .266/.396/.448 line that is good for a .374 wOBA against lefties. Weeks triple slash line is more built on plate patience but the .182 ISO isn't too bad either. With Holland's homer issues against RHB's, Weeks is the one value play at 2B I'd consider against on Wednesday.
Erik Aybar (LAA) - I'm going to go back to the well on Aybar as he gets a favorable matchup with Bud Norris of the Astros in a projected high total game (9.5). Aybar hits leadoff and against RHP this year he's hitting .318/.348/.386. A .350 BABIP is probably inflating those numbers a bit as he typically gets on-base at a .320 clip in his career against RHP. It's nothing special but the bar is low at the SS position and Bud Norris has allowed a .351 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years. Bud gives up a 22% LD Rate to LHB's and that's especially important for Aybar as a slap hitter.
Jimmy Rollins (PHI) - Rollins is incredibly cheap across the industry. His matchup with Barry Zito (.335 wOBA allowed to RHB'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, but the .322 wOBA against lefties would still rank as one of the stronger splits advantages at a weak SS position. Rollins is the only SS with a history of fantasy success at his current price level, which makes him a reasonable value play.
I also like Jean Segura 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. Sean Rodriguez is usually on our list as a value play against LHP but Ricky Romero has those big time reverse splits and Joe Maddon knows it. I'm not sure he's in the lineup tonight.
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 for those in afternoon games. If he does go I think this could be a good matchup against David Phelps who can be tough on RHB's but can also be really homer-prone. Phelps also relies pretty heavily on his curve-ball and Coors Field with the altitude is where curve-balls go to die because they don't break as sharply in the thin air.
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. Ricky Romero has been tough on RHB's in his career but last year when Romero fell apart he posted a .348 wOBA against RHB's.
Luis Valbuena (CHC) - Jake Westbrook currently has a 1.07 ERA and a 4.48 xFIP at some point those two numbers are going to converge and call me crazy but I think today is one of those weird days where the Cubs offense gives Westbrook some problems. Westbrook walks 10% of the LHB's he faces and Valbuena has a strong 8.5% BB Rate against righties in his career (12.1% this year). He's also been hitting 3rd against RHP of late thanks to a stellar .278/.384/.519 line this year against righties. On most sites he's priced as the career reserve player he's been and in a matchup against a contact heavy RHP, I'm willing to take a chance on Valbuena if looking for salary relief.
Alberto Callaspo (LAA) - Callaspo doesn't hit for a ton of power against RHP but he does make a lot of contact and draw an awful lot of BB's. For his career Callaspo has hit .263/.330/.369 against RHP but a .277 BABIP is probably holding down that line by about 20 points across the board. On Wednesday he faces Bud Norris who allows a career .259/.354/.434 line to LHB's (.346 wOBA). Callaspo homered last night and has gone 4-14 with 2 BB's and 0 K's since his return from the DL. In a projected high total game, Callaspo is a nice value today.
Conor Gillaspie (CHW) - Quite the trio of 3B values today huh? Gillaspie gets a matchup with Jeremy "Hugh" Hefner who has allowed a .376 wOBA to LHB's in his career including 1.7 HR/9. Gillaspie has been impressive against RHP this year (.300/.367/.500) and for his career has posted a .341 wOBA against righties. The White Sox lineup is so RH oriented that his RBI opportunities might be limited but the individual matchup with Hefner is a good one; making him a nice value on Wednesday.
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) - David Phelps allows 1.45 HR/9 and a 23% LD Rate to LHB's and Carlos Gonzalez murders RHP at home (.344/.405/.637, .438 wOBA). Weather is the only concern here, along with a high price tag, but if the weather looks good this evening and you can squeeze Carlos Gonzalez into your lineups I think he's the top OF option today.
Jonny Gomes (BOS) - LH masher (career .282/.383/.509) against a lefty struggling to get RHB's out (.474 wOBA) in Fenway Park? Yes, please. Gomes is probably the best value play of the day on most sites that price him as a reserve player.
Seth Smith (OAK) - I don't know how many days in a row I can write about Seth Smith in plus matchups against bad RHP and him not deliver, so we're just going to keep going back to the well. Smith has always hit RHP well in his career (.282/.361/.498 - .368 wOBA) and on Wednesday he gets to face Justin Masterson who has yielded a .344 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years. If you read yesterday's notes carefully you'll recall Smith has been better against Fly-ball pitchers than ground-ball ones so perhaps this isn't as great of a fit as McAllister yesterday but I'm going to keep taking my chances with Smith against RHP that struggle getting lefties out.
Ichiro Suzuki (NYY) - Juan Nicasio serves up a 23% LD Rate to LHB's over the last three years and gives up a .366 wOBA. Ichiro has been hitting in the middle of the lineup against RHP and with Robinson Cano in front of him there should be some RBI opportunities to go around. Couple Nicasio's high LD Rate allowed with Ichiro's great LD skills and I think you have a nice value play on your hands. If COL-NYY is good to go weather wise tonight I think both teams match up very well against the opposing starters.
John Mayberry Jr. (PHI) - This matchup would be much better if it weren't in San Francisco's spacious home park. Mayberry has hit .279/.324/.541 in his career against LHP, good for a .367 wOBA. As evidenced by the triple slash line much of his value against lefties is derived from his power, which is mitigated a bit by SF's spacious OF. The matchup is a great one as he gets to face Barry Zito, who has allowed a .335 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years including 1.1 HR/9 allowed. Mayberry also has had tremendous success in small samples against Zito, launching 3 HR's and a 2B in 6 AB's, I'd feel better about this in PHI, but the matchup warrants exploring on sites where Mayberry is priced as a below average OF option.
Other Potential Value Plays: Alejandro de Aza (CHW), Nick Markakis (BAL), Brett Gardner (NYY), David Murphy (TEX), Jon Jay (STL)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Josh Hamilton (LAA), Bryce Harper (WSH), Jose Bautista (TOR), Carlos Beltran (STL)
Expensive Star OF's to Target: Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Dexter Fowler (COL), Ryan Braun (MIL), Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), Shane Victorino (BOS), Nate McLouth (BAL)
SP is a train-wreck today. On sites that require 1 SP I think it's important to use either King Felix or Clayton Kershaw. I'll give my take on which one I prefer below. I like Matt Moore's matchup but he's priced like the other big boys on most sites which makes it a challenge to fit him in. On sites that require multiple SP's you're faced with evaluating the value on one of those elite SP's or trying to skate by with a bunch of middling talent SPs in favorable matchups. Weather will dictate how many good bats you can fit in your lineup and ultimately should dictate how you approach the pitching. In my opinion if BOS-MIN and NYY-COL look good weather wise I'll probably try to mix and match cheap SP in order to get some of the expensive bats from those games in my lineups.
AJ Burnett (PIT) - Sites that quickly adjust pricing have Burnett as pretty expensive, so make sure to shop around. Burnett does the one thing we love most in daily fantasy baseball which is strikeouts! He's striking out an incredible 33% of the batters faced this year and gets to face a Mariners offense that ranks 25th in wOBA against RHP with a .298 wOBA and a 21.8% K%. If Burnett is priced even modestly above average he's a strong SP option today in a game with a low 6.5 total on the board.
Joe Blanton (LAA) - He's incredibly cheap across all the daily sites and we're just a year removed from a 3.39 xFIP for Blanton. He certainly hasn't pitched well in the early going but the Astros might be the cure. They strike out in 27% of their PA's against RHP and they don't take walks. I also wasn't a big fan of the lineup they ran out there against CJ Wilson last night. If you can get Blanton as one of the cheapest SP's going today on a multiple SP site, I think he's worth the risk.
Bud Norris (HOU) - Shop around on price but if you can find Norris really cheap on sites that heavily reward K's, I think tonight could be a good outing. Norris has always been good at home (career 3.51 ERA) and he's been particularly great against RHB's at home (.288 wOBA). Almost all of the Angels power is from the right side (Trout, Trumbo, and Pujols - who Norris kind of owns in his career) and as a result I think Norris is in line for a nice start tonight. The Angels lefties (who we noted) could give Norris some challenges, but I think there's more good than bad and the K's will help cushion the performance if you can find the right price.
Barry Zito (SF) - It's a really ugly day for value SP options when I'm listing Barry Zito, but here we are. Zito has a 0.35 ERA at home this year and the last three years before this year his ERAs at home were: 4.00, 3.14, and 3.35. It's not often pretty but he gets the job done with his extreme fly-ball tendencies in a big park. Against a left-handed heavy Phillies lineup, Zito will find himself in one of the more favorable matchups he has all year. He's limited LHB's to just a .303 wOBA over the last three years and as you'd imagine those numbers improve considerably at home. I'm very comfortable using Zito as a 2nd or 3rd SP option today given the matchup and the lack of great options out there.
I also like Kyle Lohse if you can get him at a cheap price. The Rangers lineup doesn't scare me much and with AJ Pierzynski likely out again it's another LHB Lohse doesn't have to worry about. His strong start this season might have him priced out of range in a few places but this isn't a matchup I fear.
Felix Hernandez (SEA) - Nothing against my man Clayton Kershaw who is always a strong play at home, but his matchup against ARZ is a much more difficult one than Hernandez has on his plate today with the Pirates. The Pirates have moved all the way up to 11th in wOBA against RHP but much of that is due to a .161 ISO and I just don't see them hitting for power against the King. They still strike out in almost 23% of their PA's against RHP and odds-makers see this PIT-SEA tilt as the biggest pitching duel on the board as it has the lowest total of the day (6.5). In 1 SP leagues I think King Felix is the stud you pay for today.