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Fantistics Daily Fantasy Fix - May 1st, 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: The weather in Kansas City could be an issue as the forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms in the early evening and scattered thunderstorms throughout the night. We're looking at a 30-50% chance of rain in that one.


Best Values:
Jason Castro (HOU) - David Phelps has had his issues with LHB's over the last few years. He's allowed 1.52 HR/9 along with a 22% LD Rate and 12% BB Rate. He strikes out plenty of them (24%) but the total package is a .337 wOBA allowed. Castro has hit .272/.352/.417 in his career against RHP with a very strong 11.7% BB Rate. With the short porch in Yankee Stadium boosting Castro's power and Phelps command issues playing to Castro's plate patience, he makes for one of the stronger values at the catcher position on Wednesday.

David Ross (BOS) - Ross has been drawing the starts against LHP for the Red Sox and with good reason. Ross has hit .244/.323/.447 in his career against LHP and he's already launched 3 HR's in 17 PA's against LHP this year. Mark Buehrle has surrendered a .327 wOBA to RHB's over the last three years and in a small sample this year in the AL that number has jumped to a .384 wOBA. The Red Sox have a number of lefty-mashers in their lineup (Gomes, Pedroia, Napoli) which should allow Ross some quality AB's with runners on. He's a nice value on sites where his price is near the minimum.

Kelly Shoppach/Jesus Montero (SEA) - The Mariners catching situation is a bit jumbled as both options are showing they're more geared for a platoon than full-time work. The challenge is both hitters are significantly better against LHP and as a result it's hard to predict who starts on a given night. Whoever does draw the start will get Wei Yen Chen who allows 1.26 HR/9 and a 22% LD Rate to RHB's. Shoppach has murdered LHP in his career to the tune of .267/.360/.509 for a remarkable .375 wOBA. If Shoppach is in the line-up he's one of the stronger plays against LHP. Montero hasn't been too bad himself (.323/.372/.453, .355 wOBA) but is considerably more expensive on most sites making Shoppach the preferred play if in the lineup.

It's a weird day for the Catcher position as some of the top options have tough matchups and very few of the top catchers are facing positive split matchups. Some of the names that appear under-valued include Miguel Montero (who has never seen Tim Lincecum well), Matt Wieters (who is always much better against LHP than RHP), and Salvador Perez (who is much better against LHP and faces Jeremy Hellickson who is tough on righties). There are some good values, but not many great matchups to exploit so it may be a day to get some salary relief at the catcher position.

First Base:

Cheap Plays:
Adam Lind (TOR) - In our season-long blurbs I've recently touched on some of the amazing plate patience Adam Lind has demonstrated this year (20.7% BB%, 10.3% K%) and on Wednesday he gets a matchup with Clay Buchholz who historically has walked nearly 10% of the LHB's he faces. Buchholz does do a good job keeping the ball on the ground which helps limit the impact of his high BB Rate (just a .308 wOBA allowed vs. LHB) but Lind has seen Buchholz well in his career going 11-35 with 2 HR's and 2 2B's. Lind is priced way down because of his slow power start to the season but he's hitting a ton of fly-balls and his excellent plate patience suggests he's seeing the ball well.

Carlos Pena (HOU) - Same notes as above with Jason Castro as Pena gets David Phelps HR issues in a park that inflates LH power dramatically. Pena has hit .245/.365/.492 in his career against RHP and while those numbers have trailed off in recent years he's still a power threat. This selection is likely boom or bust given Phelps strong K rates against all bats so it's best used in large field play.

Ike Davis (NYM) - This is your weekly reminder about Wade LeBlanc's reverse splits. Over the last three years LeBlanc has allowed a ridiculous .393 wOBA to LHB's while giving up 1.66 HR/9. Ike Davis has always struggled against LHP (.626 OPS) and his 28% K% career against lefties might make you nervous but LeBlanc strikes out just 14% of the LHB's he faces. A week ago Anthony Rizzo had similarly awful splits against LHP and took LeBlanc deep twice. Davis, at a depressed price because of his slow start, is another high risk/high reward value play.

Under-priced Studs - Best Values:

I actually think this is the better place to find your value at the position.

Albert Pujols (LAA) - Pujols price has rebounded modestly after the 2 HR performance earlier in the week but he's certainly not "over-priced" on sites especially for a matchup against a LHP. Pujols has been ridiculous in his career against LHP but even last year in a "down year" he posted a .382 wOBA against LHP. On Wednesday he gets Tom Milone who has some reverse splits (.315 wOBA vs. RHB, .325 wOBA vs. LHB), but is very fly-ball prone (just a 39% GB Rate vs. RHB) and allows a 23% LD Rate to righties as well. Pujols got 11 AB's last year against Milone and racked up 6 2B's, while going 7-11. He sees the LH well and historically has hit LHP very well. It's a nice matchup to utilize Pujols.

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) - Juan Nicasio has allowed a .363 wOBA, 23% LD Rate, and 1.72 HR/9 to LHB's over the last three years. Gonzalez has hit .301/.382/.535 in his career against RHP with an 11.6% BB% and a .235 ISO. It's a gigantic mismatch and one that Gonzalez should be able to handily exploit.

Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) - You rarely see us bring up Goldschmidt against a RHP, but his career history with Tim Lincecum suggests there is room for an exception to the rule. In 14 career AB's against Lincecum, Goldschmidt has launched 5 HR's and a 2B while going 8-14. He has struck out 4 times making this perhaps a bit hit or miss, but Goldschmidt's immense power history against Lincecum warrants mentioning. It may seem strange but Lincecum is actually posting severe reverse splits this year allowing a .348 wOBA to RHB's and just a .241 wOBA to RHB's and this was the same case last year (.350 wOBA vs. RHB, .319 wOBA vs. RHB). This coincides with the loss of fastball velocity for Lincecum which has relegated his change-up ineffective.

Joey Votto (CIN) - Lance Lynn allows a .356 wOBA to LHB's with an incredible 14% BB Rate, 22% LD Rate and 1.27 HR/9. Simply put, Lynn doesn't have a putout pitch against lefties and leads to high BB Rates and "louder" contact against him. Joey Votto has hit .321/.426/.570 for his career against RHP with a 15.2% BB Rate and a 0.90 EYE, good for a .421 wOBA. This is one of the bigger mismatches of the day in terms of wOBA allowed for the pitcher vs. wOBA earned by the hitter, making Votto most likely the top play at 1B today.

Second Base:

Best Values:
Danny Espinosa (WSH) - Espinosa has been a force in his career against LHP as he's posted a .349 wOBA thanks to a .270/.341/.459 line. Paul Maholm, the opposing pitcher on Wednesday, has demonstrated continued improvements in recent years but he remains vulnerable to RHB's. He's allowed a .333 wOBA thanks to a 20.6% LD Rate and an inability to strike out RHB's (13.4% K%). Espinosa's history against LHP coupled with a depressed price because of his slow start make him a nice value on Wednesday.

Kelly Johnson (TB) - Luis Mendoza allows a .339 wOBA to LHB's and walks (10.2%) almost as many as he strikes out (12%). Kelly Johnson has pretty neutral splits in his career but he's demonstrated good power (.177 ISO) and good plate patience (11.9% BB%) which fit perfectly for the matchup with Luis Mendoza. The only challenge to Johnson's value is the fact that he hits low in the Rays order, as a result make sure you're getting a really nice price on Johnson if deploying. If he hits 2nd, as he has on occasion this year, he's a far better value.

The Studs:

Much like yesterday there isn't a ton of value at the 2B position so look towards the high-end producers.

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - Pedroia has hit .310/.397/.461 with a 1.54 BB:K Ratio in his career against LHP. We've covered some of the recent struggles Mark Buehrle has had with righties which makes Pedroia an excellent play.

Chase Utley (PHI) - Trevor Bauer is supposed to be an electrifying pitching prospect but what we've seen at the big league level is a player afraid to attack the strike zone. Bauer has walked 16.7% of the LHB's he's faced and because he's working consistently from behind hitters have been able to square him up well (24% LD Rate, 1.74 HR/9 to LHB's). Chase Utley is the epitome of plate patience with good power and has hit .297/.375/.513 in his career against RHP's. Utley appears to be priced a bit below Pedroia, making him perhaps the best value of the day at the 2B position.

Ben Zobrist (TB) - All the same notes above for Kelly Johnson apply to Zobrist. Zobrist is actually a similar hitter against RHP to Kelly Johnson (.248/.347/.428, .340 wOBA), but he has the added benefit of hitting in the middle of the order and not seeing any drop-off against relief pitching as the game goes on because Zobrist is actually much stronger against LHP.

As always Robinson Cano is a fine selection as well whenever in Yankee Stadium, I just prefer some of the other options priced similarly while he has to face a LHP.


Best Values:
Jimmy Rollins (PHI) - Jimmy Rollins has a solid 0.67 EYE against RHP with a 8.2% BB%, those skills matchup favorably with Trevor Bauer's command issues. Bauer has especially struggled early in starts so Rollins (leadoff hitter) should benefit to start the game. After being blown out on Tuesday night I expect the Phillies to be prepared to make Trevor Bauer show a willingness to attack the strike zone. Look for Rollins to challenge him early in the game.

Jed Lowrie (OAK) - Lowrie gets to face CJ Wilson who has allowed a 10.4% BB Rate to RHB's over the last three years. Wilson has actually been solid overall against righties (.305 wOBA) but his performance has shown some vulnerability in recent years. Meanwhile Jed Lowrie has always crushed LHP (.298/.368/.485, .371 wOBA) in his career making him an excellent value play whenever you can get him priced as a slightly above average option against LHP.

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 Erik Bedard and the Astros. He's only a salary relief flier but his .733 career OPS against LHP isn't horrible.

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 while opposing SP Chris Sale has been strong against RHB's (.299 wOBA) allowed, Beltre is still too cheap on many sites.

Will Middlebrooks (BOS) - Middlebrooks like a number of the other BOS RHB's is very strong against LHP. He's hit .289/.331/.526 in his career against lefties (.364 wOBA) and should benefit from the rest of the lineup hitting lefties well. Middlebrooks is very cheap on a number of sites because of his slow start so finding a spot against a LHP to use him is a smart strategy.

Mike Moustakas (KC) - Jeremy Hellickson allows 1.68 HR/9 to LHB's when pitching outside of Tropicana Field. His numbers away from home against LHB's are really alarming as they hit .256/.347/.484. Some of the homer issues result from playing in small parks in the AL East when on the road but overall Hellickson's .322 wOBA allowed to LHB's makes him vulnerable to left-handed power. It's questionable if Moustakas fits the "left-handed power" profile as my colleague Mike Leone would argue but he is cheap and he does hit a ton of fly balls. Perhaps one FINALLY leaves the yard today.

If you're going to pay:
Miguel Cabrera is the premier 3B play of the day as he gets to face a LHP Scott Diamond who has reverse splits, but Miggy has owned him in his career and in general Diamond isn't a threatening SP. David Wright gets the same type of matchup against Wade LeBlanc who allows a .329 wOBA to RHB's, but Wright has a nice history of crushing LHP.


Best Values:
Jonny Gomes (BOS) - Gomes has spent his entire career as left-handed mashing mercenary floating around the league and inflicting damage on all the left-handed pitchers that get in his way. For his career he's hit .282/.382/.510 against LHP good for a .384 wOBA. We've touched on Mark Buehrle's struggles against RHB's in a few blurbs today so I won't dig much deeper, but Gomes is a must play on most sites.

Andre Ethier (LAD) - Ethier has always hit RHP well (.309/.387/.522, .388 wOBA) and today he's matched up with Juan Nicasio who just can't get lefties out. Nicasio yields a .363 wOBA to LHB's that comes in the form of many LD's (23%) and lots of pop (1.72 HR/9). The first instinct would be to assume much of that data from Nicasio is inflated by pitching in Coors Field but if you dive in on his splits he's actually allowed a .383 wOBA on the road to LHB's compared to a .347 wOBA at home. The 2.12 HR/9 allowed to LHB's on the road is astonishing and one of the reasons Ethier is such a strong play today.

Jay Bruce (CIN) - Check the Joey Votto blurb for some scary notes on Lance Lynn's inability against LHB's and then look to Votto's teammate Jay Bruce as a potential OF solution. Bruce has hit .263/.337/.493 against RHP in his career for a .353 wOBA that includes a strong .229 ISO. The numbers have been improving in recent years as well (.366 wOBA in 2012 vs. RHP) and while he's struggled out of the gates this year, it's tough to ignore the matchup against Lynn given Bruce's price is way down and he historically has crushed RHP. PvB-er's will focus on the 0-4 with 3 K's, but don't get too wrapped up in a tiny sample and use the longer track record of success vs. RHP to your advantage.

Matt Joyce (TB) - The FIX is recommending Matt Joyce vs. a RHP and all is suddenly right in the world again! Joyce has gotten hot of late against RHP so his price may have pushed up on sites that are quick to adjust so pay attention to price points, but if you can get him at the below average OF level he hovered around for the last three weeks, do it. Joyce has hit .264/.354/.497 in his career against RHP, good for a .365 wOBA. His opponent on the mound on Wednesday night, Luis Mendoza, has surrendered a .339 wOBA to LHB's thanks to a 10+% BB Rate and a LD Rate well above 20%. Mendoza's GB capabilities help limit the HR's but LHB's get on at a very consistent clip against him. Look for Joyce to get on base a few times and that alone should pay off the salary on sites he's priced near the bottom of the barrel.

Other Potential Value Plays: Vernon Wells (NYY), Cody Ross (ARZ), Lucas Duda (NYM), Domonic Brown (PHI), Norichika Aoki (MIL), Carlos Quentin (SD), Nick Markakis (BAL)
Under-priced Star OF's to Target: Matt Kemp (LAD), Josh Hamilton (LAA), Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Austin Jackson (DET)

Expensive Star OF's to Target: Matt Holliday (STL), Alex Gordon (KC), Shin Soo Choo (CIN), Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Dexter Fowler (COL), Carl Crawford (LAD), Ryan Braun (MIL)

Starting Pitchers:

Best Values:
Dillon Gee (NYM) - Everyone see what Jeremy "Hugh" Hefner did to the Marlins last night? Hefner is just a worse version of Dillon Gee. Both pitchers struggle to get LHB's out, but the Marlins don't have many they can put in the lineup. Juan Pierre, Greg Dobbs, and Rob Brantly are about as LH as they can get as they've shown no willingness to put Chris Coghlan in there consistently against righties either. As a result Gee's career .333 wOBA allowed to LHB's is hidden allowing his career .307 wOBA against RHB's to shine through. The Marlins are averaging under 3 runs per game this season and Marlins Park is a friendly place to pitch. Gee might not be able to replicate the success Hefner had last night but he should be in line for a strong start.

David Phelps (NYY) - Phelps is the 2nd highest favorite on the board and on many sites he's priced as a RP option, affording daily gamers plenty of opportunity to extract value. Phelps is a bit boom or bust because of his high FB tendencies that play poorly in the small home park of Yankees Stadium. However, he does miss a whole lot of bats (career 24.1% K%) and in daily fantasy baseball strikeouts and wins can heal a lot of wounds. Against an Astros lineup that strikes out in 27% of their PA's against RHP, Phelps is an interesting high risk/high reward play today.

Paul Maholm (ATL) - Surprisingly the Nationals are 28th in MLB in wOBA against LHP this year. They've posted just a .272 wOBA against lefties and they've struck out in 26% of their PA's against them. Without Ryan Zimmerman they don't pose the same threat against LHP as we've become accustomed to as they rely heavily on Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche both of whom hit RHP far better than LHP. Maholm is killer on lefties allowing just a .290 wOBA and he tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Nats a few weeks ago allowing just 4 singles and a walk, while striking out 7.

Andrew Cashner (SD) - Cashner will have some of that "revenge factor" working in his favor on Wednesday as he takes on his former team the Cubs. The Cubs struggle against RHP posting just a .304 wOBA and walking in just 6% of their PA's against righties. As a starter Cashner has been significantly more effective in his career. He's posted a 3.89 ERA but just a 0.98 WHIP and the big difference is his command of the strike zone. As a starter he walks just 1.56 batters per 9 innings compare to 5.16 BB/9 as a reliever. Hitters have a hard time elevating his stuff and his 9.1 K/9 as a starter provides strong upside. In a favorable matchup against his former club, Cashner is a nice value play as well.

The Studs:
Anibal Sanchez is the heaviest favorite going today and has been pitching very well of late. The Twins are 26th in baseball in wOBA against RHP's so he's a fine start. Cliff Lee is always a good start but the Indians have shown some impressive power against LHP this year and Cliff is priced sky high on most sites. Chris Sale is a really interesting value pitching in Texas. Lefties in Texas are usually a no-no but the Rangers are just 11th in wOBA against LHP this year and Sale's price is noticeably down from where it should be. He's a nice high risk/high reward play. Jordan Zimmermann has struggled against the Braves in his career but they're awfully RH without Jason Heyward and Zimmermann typically dominates RHB's (.299 wOBA allowed), so I think he's a fine play as well in what should be a low scoring game in Atlanta.

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