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Welcome to the Source for Daily Fantasy Champs

Fantistics Daily Fantasy Fix - April 30th, 2013

Drew Dinkmeyer


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 ddinkmeyer@fantistics.com if you have any further questions regarding daily fantasy baseball.

Weather: Weather shouldn't be an issue tonight.

Catchers:

Best Values:
Ramon Hernandez/AJ Ellis (LAD) - I'm not sure which Dodgers RH catcher will draw the start on Tuesday night but either one is an acceptable play against Jorge de la Rosa. De la Rosa walks 9.3% of the RHB's he faces and serves up 1.24 HR/9 over the last three years. Ellis in particular is well suited to face de la Rosa as he walks in 15% of his PA's against LHP. Neither player has much power which limits the ceiling for the two Dodgers catcher but in formats that penalize for outs made, I think whoever draws the start is likely to get on base at least once. My ideal scenario would see Ellis in the #2 slot in the order which is where he was on Monday night.

Rob Brantly (MIA) - Brantly has been pretty good in his career against RHP, posting a .296/.386/.464 line that is good for a .367 wOBA. The opponent on Tuesday night, Jeremy Hefner, has had significant struggles against LHB's (.380 wOBA allowed, 1.75 HR/9). On a number of sites Brantly is priced near the minimum and while the Marlins struggle to generate run-scoring opportunities, the individual matchup for Brantly should be a good one to take advantage of.

UPDATE: Rob Brantly is out of the lineup tonight. Miguel Olivo is starting. I'm speechless.

John Jaso (OAK) - Jaso has a career .346 wOBA against RHP and Garrett Richards has always struggled against lefties (.371 wOBA, 25.9% LD Rate, 1.01 HR/9). The A's team this year has the ability to put lineups out that post gigantic splits advantages thanks to a deep bench. I'd expect to see at least 7 LHB's on Tuesday which could mean lots of difficult matchups for Richards and RBI/R opportunities for A's bats. Jaso like Ellis/Hernandez isn't much of a power threat, but he possesses great on-base skills against RHP which should help in daily scoring formats that punish you for outs.

If you're paying for Catcher:
Wilin Rosario (COL) - Rosario continues to manhandle LHP as he tacked on another HR on Monday night off of Ted Lilly. He entered Monday night's game with a .338/.373/.704 line. We don't have much of a sample to evaluate Hyun-Jin Ryu but he has demonstrated some vulnerability to RHB's, specifically RH power. He's surrendered a 43% FB Rate and 1.13 HR/9 while also allowing a 22% LD Rate. That represents an awful lot of balls in the air which is a good recipe for Rosario's power.

Joe Mauer (MIN) - This is literally the only player in MLB you will see me recommend against Justin Verlander all season long. Verlander's .260 wOBA allowed to LHB's is the lowest of any starter with more than 50 innings over the last three years that's pitching today. He's insanely good against all batters, except Joe Mauer; for whatever reason Mauer sees Verlander exceptionally well. Mauer is 22-59 with 4 2B's, 3 HR's and 12 BB's against Mauer in his career. He has struck out 9 times but the .373/.479/.593 mark is incredibly impressive against a pitcher of Verlander's caliber. This is the type of PvB that I think actually matters and I'd be comfortable using Mauer if priced modestly above average on Tuesday. The downside to using Mauer is you're exceptionally dependent on his AB's as his team is unlikely to put many runners on for him or drive him in when he does get on base.

First Base:

Best Values:
Brandon Moss (OAK) - Moss faces off against Garrett Richards who has allowed a .371 wOBA and 1.01 HR/9 to LHB since 2010. Moss was dominant in 2012 against RHP (.419 wOBA) and he's followed it up so far this year with a .302/.422/.453 line that is good for a .390 wOBA. Richards walks 12% of LHB's and has given up a 25.9% LD Rate over the last three years. Look for the A's to make Richards face a ton of LHB's on Tuesday night and look for him to struggle.

Travis Hafner (NYY) - Phil Humber has allowed 1.16 HR/9, a 23% LD Rate, and an ugly .354 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years. The short porch in Yankee Stadium figures to be pelted with shots from the Yankees on Tuesday night and Pronk has enjoyed his new surroundings this year in a big way (.348/.423/.826 at home vs. RHP). You'll want to find a way to get as many of the Yankees LHB's as you can into the lineup and Hafner is one of the few that is attractively priced on a number of sites.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) - Rizzo has posted a .333 wOBA in his career against RHP and his opponent on Tuesday, Edinson Volquez, has allowed a .340 wOBA to LHB's over the last three years. Rizzo particularly shows great plate discipline against RHP, posting a strong 10.2% BB Rate and that plays right into Volquez's struggles with command against lefties (15+% BB Rate). With a patient hitter in David DeJesus in front of Rizzo and likely on base a few times, the RBI opportunities should be there for the Cubs slugging 1B. His price varies on sites but if you can find him priced as a slightly above average 1B he's a fine play as well today. Most sites he's priced above Moss and Hafner, so I probably won't own him as much as I'd like.

Adam LaRoche (WSH) - He's simply way too cheap on a number of sites. Tim Hudson is strong against LHB's as he allows just a .302 wOBA over the last three years, but he's been vulnerable early on in 2013 (.283/.338/.500 with 3 HR's allowed in 15 IP) and LaRoche has a strong history against RHP (.355 wOBA career). It's probably not the direction I plan on heading on Tuesday but if you're in need of salary relief LaRoche is about 20-30% cheaper than he should be on most sites.

The 1B to pay for:
Chris Davis (BAL) - We don't have much experience to evaluate Brandon Maurer but what we have seen so far suggests he struggles against LHB's. He's allowed a ridiculous .457 wOBA to LHB's thanks to a puny 2.9% K% and an 8.7% BB%. He's also allowed 2.7 HR/9 to lefties in his brief major league career. Chris Davis is obliterating RHP to the tune of .392/.500/.863 this year making this perhaps the biggest mis-match on paper of the day.

Prince Fielder (DET) - Vance Worley has actually displayed some reverse splits in his career but he allows a 24.8% LD Rate to lefties and much of his career success against LHB's can be attributed to low HR/FB Rates that I'm skeptical of. Prince Fielder has hit .297/.414/.575 against RHP with a stellar 0.97 EYE in his career. The rest of the Tigers RHB's should get on base against Worley's reverse splits allowing Fielder some strong RBI opportunities. He's one of the premier 1B options on Tuesday night.

Paul Goldschmidt against a LHP at home always deserves a mention as well. David Ortiz also has a strong history against Brandon Morrow and has been red-hot since his return from the DL, unfortunately the strong start probably has him over-priced, but the Red Sox look like one of the higher scoring projected teams on Tuesday night.

Second Base:

Best Values:
Jason Kipnis (CLE) - Kipnis homered last night and appears to be rounding into form after some early season struggles that were exaggerated by an injury. He's simply too cheap on most sites not to be considered given he's hit .272/.344/.440 in his career against RHP. Roy Halladay isn't the easiest RH in the world to face but he did allow a .321 wOBA to LHB's last year while allowing a 23% LD Rate and 1.10 HR/9. With Kipnis priced well below average he's a fine risk-reward gamble on Tuesday.

The Studs:
There isn't much value at the 2B position so I recommend using Kipnis or spending on studs.

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - Morrow has been a reverse splits guy in his career allowing a .327 wOBA to RHB's and he's particularly struggled against the Red Sox as he's allowed 36 ER's in 30 2/3 IP against the Red Sox over the last three years. This isn't a small sample issue, this is own-age and Dustin Pedroia has been right at the heart of it. Pedroia has gone 10-20 with 4 2B's, 2 HR's and a 3:2 BB:K Ratio. That's a .500/.542/1.000 line for Pedroia against Morrow in his career. If there is a wildly different price point between Cano and Pedroia, Dustin is a really nice backup plan.

Robinson Cano (NYY) - Any site that has Cano in the same vicinity as the other elite 2B options is going to be a site you'll want to consider Cano on. Cano hit .368/.423/.753 at home against RHP last year and Phil Humber's .354 wOBA, 23% LD Rate and 1.16 HR/9 allowed to LHB's over the last three years should not fare well in Yankee Stadium.

Ian Kinsler against a lefty in Texas is never a bad idea either, but I prefer these two studs over him. Same goes for Chase Utley against homer-prone Zach McAllister.

Shortstop:

Best Values:
Starlin Castro (CHC) - Castro continues to be priced below his talent level. The matchup isn't ideal as Edinson Volquez has control issues and Castro isn't the most disciplined hitter but Volquez has allowed a .331 wOBA and 1.21 HR/9 to RHB's over the last three years. Priced as a below average option at the SS position Castro remains a daily value.

Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) - Asdrubal, like Starlin Castro, is better against LHP and like Castro he's also way under-priced for his talent level. The career .744 OPS against RHP is competent and Roy Halladay struggled against lefties last year. Cabrera has been swinging a better bat of late with multi-hit games in three straight. He's working himself back into his usual form and likely won't be a strong value much longer.

If you're really hunting deep Jayson Nix can't hit but he is a part of the Yankees lineup that should post a ton of runs against Phil Humber and the Astros. He's only a salary relief flier but you can do worse than taking a shot on a guy in potentially the highest scoring projected team on Tuesday night.

The Stud:
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Oddly it seems like some of the sites that price via splits are offering a discount on Tulowitzki vs. LHP. I can't really figure out why since Tulo has been better in his career against left (.917 OPS) than right (.854 OPS). It's unclear if Tulo will be available to go on Tuesday night, but if he is he remains the top SS option against Hyun-Jin Ryu who has shown some vulnerability to RHB's.

Third Base:

Best Values:
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 the opposing SP Jose Quintana has allowed a .325 wOBA to RHB's in his career. Quintana has surrendered a 22.7% LD Rate and he struggles to punch out RHB's (13.8% K%) while walking his fair share (8.7% BB%). In Texas the Rangers are typically very tough against LHP and Beltre should be in the middle of it. He's the clear cut best value at the 3B position on Tuesday.

Will Middlebrooks (BOS) - Given Brandon Morrow's horrific history against the Red Sox, Middlebrooks figures to see some RBI opportunities in the matchup on Tuesday night. Middlebrooks is priced way down and as a result he's a decent value even in a matchup against RHP which he's been just OK against (.755 OPS) in his career. Brandon Morrow is worse against RHB's (.327 wOBA) than he is against LHB's (.300 wOBA) which is beneficial to Middlebrooks matchup.

Brett Lawrie (TOR) - Lawrie appears to be coming on of late as he picked up a couple HR's over the weekend. On Tuesday he gets matched up with LHP Jon Lester who has been human against RHB's (.313 wOBA) over the last three years. Lawrie, meanwhile, has hit .304/.348/.443 against LHP in his career and has posted an OPS 100 points higher in his career at the Rogers Center (.829 OPS). It's not an ideal matchup against a pretty good SP, but Lawrie is way underpriced on most sites.

If you're going to pay:
Miguel Cabrera is the premier 3B play of the day as he gets to face a RHP Vance Worley who has reverse splits and allows a .338 wOBA to RHB's. David Wright, if healthy, gets the same type of matchup against Kevin Slowey who allows a .337 wOBA to RHB's and surrenders a disturbing 1.58 HR/9 to RHB's.

Outfield:

Best Values:
Brennan Boesch (NYY) - Any cheap exposure you can get to the Yankees offense tonight will qualify as a recommended play. Boesch, typically, wouldn't fit the mold of a LHB you'd use to attack Phil Humber as he's actually been quite stronger in his career against LHP (.337 wOBA) than RHP (.312 wOBA), but he's been hitting 5th in the Yankees lineup against RHP the last few days and as I've noted multiple times it's hard not to see the Yankees piling up runs against Humber. Boesch is dirt cheap on a bunch of sites and it's hard to find a better salary relief flier than a LH pull hitter hitting 5th in Yankee Stadium against a weak RH starter.

Jon Jay (STL) - Bronson Arroyo's .366 wOBA allowed to LHB's over the last three years ranks him as the 4th worst starting option against LHB's in Tuesday's slate. He allows 1.86 HR/9 to lefties which is the 2nd worst of any starter going today and makes it fairly likely that one of the Cardinals left-handed bats is going to get one out of the yard. With Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay as the only three regulars that hit from the left side and Jay the cheaper option we'll include him as a strong value play today. Jay has a career .345 wOBA against RHP thanks to a .300/.355/.431 line that includes a really strong 22% LD Rate. He also has good history against Arroyo going 11-28 with 2 2B's, 1 3B, and 1 HR. Jay's price varies across sites but if you can find him priced below the average OF and he gets a shot near the top of the lineup, I think he's a really strong play on Tuesday night.

Norichika Aoki (MIL) - Aoki's been slumping of late so his price has come way down. He did homer last night and tonight gets to face James McDonald who has allowed a .327 wOBA to LHB's and can be homer-prone with a 45% FB Rate to lefties over the last three years. Aoki has posted a stellar .351 wOBA in his career against RHP along with a 1.00 EYE. McDonald has been horrible on the road over the last three years allowing a 5.39 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. The Brewers are traditionally way better against LHP but McDonald has struggled with Milwaukee. In 23 2/3 IP over the last three years he's allowed 23 ER's on 31 hits and 12 BB's. He has struck out 30 so it's a bit boom or bust, but taking the lone LHB in the Brewers lineup makes some sense given McDonald's career struggles on the road.

Nate Schierholtz (CHC) - Schierholtz has been a pretty solid hitter in his career against RHP (.321 wOBA) and this year he's gotten off to an incredible start hitting .303/.352/.576 against RHP with a .273 ISO. Edinson Volquez owns a 15% BB Rate against lefties and a 20% LD Rate that pushes his wOBA allowed towards .340 against LHB's over the last three years. Volquez isn't significantly better against RHB's (.331 wOBA) which should allow the Cubs lineup to stack up run-scoring opportunities. You'll have to shop around on sites but some places Schierholtz is not only priced below average but priced as almost a minimum OF option. Given his history against RHP and Edinson Volquez's struggles, that shouldn't be the case.

Other Potential Value Plays: AJ Pollock (ARZ), Cody Ross (ARZ), Brett Gardner (NYY), Ichiro Suzuki (NYY), Seth Smith (OAK), Daniel Nava (BOS), Matt Joyce (TB), Josh Reddick (OAK), Michael Morse (SEA), Nick Markakis (BAL), Chris Coghlan (MIA), Domonic Brown (PHI), Alfonso Soriano (CHC)

Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Matt Kemp (LAD), Carlos Beltran (STL), Josh Hamilton (LAA), Jose Bautista (TOR)

Expensive Star OF's to Target: Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS), Ryan Braun (MIL), Nelson Cruz (TEX), Austin Jackson (DET), Torii Hunter (DET)

Starting Pitchers:

Best Values:
Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) - Kuroda is my favorite value SP option going today and it's more than "just" picking on the Astros. Sure the Astros strike out in 27% of their PA's vs. RHP, but the 6% BB rate is just as important for why I like Kuroda tonight. Kuroda is a pitcher with exceptional command that can make hitters chase pitches outside the strike zone and induce weak contact. He keeps the ball on the ground (52% GB Rate) and limits HR's. The Astros are a decent offense against RHP largely because of their power and I think Kuroda is the perfect type of pitcher to exploit their over-aggressive approach and heavy reliance on power. Since becoming a Yankee, Kuroda has a sub-2.75 ERA at home. I think tonight is another strong start for Hiroki and on sites that heavily value the W, he's far and away the biggest favorite on the board.

Jaime Garcia (STL) - The Reds are typically very strong against LHP and again this year they rank #2 in wOBA against lefties. This makes Garcia a risky start, but I still like him for where he's priced. For his career Garcia has posted a 2.45 ERA at home that is supported by a 2.96 FIP. On the road he's allowed a 4.43 ERA that is supported by a 3.76 FIP. Perhaps he's been a bit luckier at home than on the road, but his HR Rate and BB Rate both drop significantly at home. He's also had an awful lot of success against the Reds. Over the last three years he's gone 8-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with 54 K's in 67 2/3 innings against the Reds. If you focus on just the home starts the ERA drops to 2.44, the WHIP stays elevated at 1.30, but he's never (7 starts) allowed more than 3 ER's to the Reds in St. Louis. It's sort of an incredible track record of consistency for Garcia when pitching against the Reds at home. Given none of the current Reds have a particularly strong track record against Garcia and his long track record of success pitching at home; I think he's a fine 2nd or 3rd SP option as a value play on sites.

Marco Estrada (MIL) - Estrada gets a Pirates lineup that has historically been weak against RHP. Last year they finished 26th in MLB in wOBA (.304) against RHP and they led the league in strikeouts with a 23% K% against righties. This year they're up to 14th (.314 wOBA) thanks to a 10 point boost in BABIP provided by a higher LD Rate. They're still striking out in over 22% of their plate appearances against RHP and their .145 ISO is actually below last year's .155 mark. Estrada doesn't particularly struggle with line drives (career 18.2%, this year 14.4%) or walks (6.5% BB%) so the increased wOBA is less concerning for him than the ISO. Estrada's big issue is he surrenders an awful lot of HR's. For his career he's served up 1.35 HR/9 and this year the mark is at 2.08 HR/9. Given Estrada's one weakness isn't a strength of the Pirates I think this matchup suits him extremely well; and when you look at the history you get some confirmation of it. Estrada has appeared in 8 games against the Pirates over the last three years (5 as a starter) and in 37 2/3 innings of work he's struck out 40 and walked 3 while posting a 1.43 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. His propensity for the long-ball makes him a solid "boom or bust" SP option which is exactly the type of SP daily gamers in the big prize pool tournaments across the industry tonight are going to want to rely on.

Additional Values:
Jason Hammel gets a Mariners team that has just a .302 wOBA against RHP and he gets to face them in a favorable pitching environment in SAFECO. He's a low-upside/high-floor type starter tonight that should be good as your 2nd or 3rd SP in 50/50 type games. Edwin Jackson and Edinson Volquez are both boom-or-bust type pitchers facing opposing offenses that matchup well with their skills. Volquez big issue is walks and the Cubs don't do much walking. The Padres rank 25th against RHP in wOBA and while they walk a bit more than the Cubs they don't have much punch. Jarrod Parker's price is depressed because of an awful start to the season but he'll face a watered down Angels lineup that just lost Peter Bourjos and could rest some starters after the 18-inning affair last night. Look for a lineup card as Parker could get a boost when it comes out. The depleted pen for Oakland also means Parker is likely to have a longer leash to work deep into the game. Brandon Maurer has 3 straight quality starts (TEX, @TEX, LAA) and is still priced off his disastrous performance to start the season. Jeremy Hefner stinks against LHB's but is pretty good against RHB's so check to see what the Marlins watered down (no Stanton) lineup looks like tonight as perhaps he could be a Hail-Mary as your 3rd SP option.

The Studs:
Yu Darvish is priced at an astronomical level but the matchup is good against a RH heavy White Sox team that is 27th in MLB in wOBA vs. RHP and striking out in almost 23% of their plate appearances. He's the top SP option for absolute performance today but comes at a significant cost. Justin Verlander is next and he's priced so similarly to Darvish that I'd just rather use Yu against a White Sox team that strikes out more than the Twins. James Shields gets a crack at his old team and they've had their struggles with RHP all year long. He's priced at a friendlier price point than the other two elite studs (for a good reason) but offers a more realistic base to build a team around, I'd just be cautious doing it on sites that are heavily Win dependent.

If you're stuck:
I think the best bets for runs tonight are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers. Specifically I'm targeting Yankees LHB's and RHB's for the Tigers and Red Sox to take advantage of the reverse splits of the starters they're facing. I also see value in the A's LHB's against Garrett Richards who could be asked to "eat innings" for a depleted pen. If the A's hitters are awake that could get ugly.


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