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MyFantasyFix 4/12/15 - Build Your Offense Around Rockies & Nationals

Michael Waldo

Welcome to the weekly rendition of MyFantasyFix's Daily Fantasy Baseball analysis. We'll go position-by-position identifying the top overall DFS value plays for each day's slate. Our analysis focuses heavily on historical splits for both the hitters but also the opposing starting pitchers using advanced statistical metrics.

Catcher - Featured site is FanDuel

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Victor Martinez

2. Jonathan Lucroy

3. Wilson Ramos

4. Buster Posey

5. Yadier Molina

Top Play:

Victor Martinez (DET) - Assuming he plays, V-Mart has a great matchup against the lefty TJ House on Sunday. Martinez left Saturday's game after experiencing some discomfort in his surgically repaired knee but his manager, Brad Ausmus, was optimistic he would play on Sunday. House has been solid against lefties but he allowed an OPS of .808 to RHB in his first season last year. Since V-Mart is a switch hitter, he'll have a nice platoon advantage on his side.

Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) - After scuffling out of the gate, Lucroy's price has dropped in the daily world. So why does he deserve a mention in the top plays? Because Casey Sadler is starting for the Pirates. Who is Casey Sadler, you ask? That, in and of itself, is my point exactly. With Francisco Liriano going on paternity leave, the Pirates will turn to the rookie Sadler. The 25th rounder in the 2010 draft got several small cups of coffee with the big club last year but struggled with his control and was hit pretty well in his limited time in the majors. Look for Lucroy to bust out of his slump in a big way and you can take the profit from his $3,500 salary on FanDuel straight to the bank.

Note: While Buster Posey will be playing in Petco Park (a place he has crushed at in his career in addition to his favorable road splits), I really don't like his righty vs righty matchup against Tyson Ross (.631 OPS allowed to RHB since 2013) so I can't justify paying the premium today.

Value Plays:

Wilson Ramos (WAS) - One of the biggest beneficiaries of Jayson Werth's absence has been Wilson Ramos. While the Nats outfielder is shelved it appears that Ramos will continue to bat out of the 5th hole, making him much more attractive in the daily game. Ramos knocked one out of the park on Saturday and on Sunday gets another nice matchup against Phillies' journeyman Sean O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan has struggled with his control at times in his career and has an almost nonexistent 10.6% strikeout rate over 5 seasons pitching for 3 different teams. Ramos has an excellent 16.3% HR/FB rate for his career with a super solid 104.3 batted ball speed on 30 homeruns that he has hit over his last 191 games (since 2012). When he's healthy, he has some serious pop and the favorable lineup spot only boosts his value.

Cheap Plays:

Francisco Cervelli (PIT) - While he's better known for his glove than his bat, Francisco Cervelli has actually been above average when facing right-handed pitching in his limited sample size playing in the major leagues. Catcher is usually a position where I like to save money and Cervelli fits nicely in most lineups thanks to a price that's extremely low across daily sites. Playing Milwaukee also gives him a slight ballpark boost over his home park at PNC Field.

Other cheap plays: Jason Castro and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are both around the same price point as Cervelli and each have nice matchups against league average or below starting pitchers while also possessing favorable split stats. Dioner Navarro is another nice name to keep in mind if Russell Martin gets a breather. Also look for backup catchers in high scoring environements like Michael McHenry or Wellington Castillo.

First Base- Featured site is DraftKings

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Miguel Cabrera

2. Edwin Encarnacion

3. Anthony Rizzo

4. Paul Goldschmidt

5. Adam Lind

Top Plays:

Miguel Cabrera (DET) - First base is top-heavy in today's action but no one ranks higher than Miguel Cabrera in our model. Miggy comes into Sunday's game red hot with hits in 7 of his last 10 at-bats and like team mate Victor Martinez, draws a great matchup against the lefty TJ House. Cabrera has an unbelieveable .440 wOBA and 1.046 OPS against left-handed pitching since 2013 with 19 homeruns in just 286 at-bats. He's averaging 2.1 fantasy points per plate appearance on DraftKings over that same time period vs southpaws.

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) - Coming in as a close second in our model was Encarnacion. EE gets to face the homer prone Chris Tillman, which would normally place him atop our rankings, but it's actually a bit harder for right-handers to hit homeruns in Camden Yards than league average (or left-handed batters or at the Rogers Center). The good news is that unlike most hitters, EE's reverse splits are actually better than that his normal platoon split. As a result, EE has averaged a wOBA of .392 since 2013 and has hit a homerun on average just under once every 14 at-bats.

Other Top Plays: Anthony Rizzo is in a great ballpark but Jordan Lyles is a high groundball pitcher and his price point is just too high to justify when EE and Miggy are both better options for less money. With that said, Rizzo is excellent against right-handed pitching and Jordan Lyles gets absolutely clobbered by lefty hitters, allowing an .839 OPS over the last 2 seasons. He's a solid tournament option since his ownership levels might be a bit lower due to the price.

Value Plays:

Adam Lind (MIL) - Adam Lind has been on an absolute tear and while his price has gone up, he's still criminally undervalued, especially going up against a right-handed rookie pitcher in Casey Sadler on Sunday. As we've seen with the last few games, Lind is great against right-handed pitchers and Milwaukee had 47% more homeruns from left-handed batters than the league average a season ago.

Adam LaRoche (CHI) - LaRoche finally broke out of his season-long slump on Saturday with a solo homerun. LaRoche and the White Sox face Phil Hughes, who was again burned by the long ball in is first start of the season. Hughes improved on his homerun problems in 2014 but he's traveling to the Windy City and The Cell is one of the most homerun friendly parks in the AL. LaRoche is very cheap on DraftKings ($3900) and he has been batting clean-up.

Cheap Play:

Kendrys Morales (KC) - The switch-hitting DH for the Royals has a 5 game hitting streak to begin the year and gets to face CJ Wilson on Sunday, a pitcher he has had decent success against in the past. Morales has been hitting 5th for Kansas City and is quite cheap across all daily sites. He's a fine punt play if you want to be contrarian and stay away from the big names at the top.

Second Base- Featured site is FanDuel

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Robinson Cano

2. Ian Kinsler

3. Neil Walker

4. Dustin Pedroia

5. Scooter Gennett

Top Plays:

Robinson Cano (SEA) - Hahn was good in 2014 but quite a few of his underlying statistics suggest regression is in line as his sample size gets larger. That's good news because Robbie Cano destroys right-handed pitching to the tune of an average of 0.6 fantasy points per plate appearance on FanDuel the last two years. He's expensive but he's the clear top projected performer of the day and his consistent performance against right-handed pitching warrants the cost.

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - If you don't want to spend as much money and are willing to gamble a bit, Pedroia might be a nice option for you on Sunday. Masahiro Tanaka has had two starts in his career where he lasted less than 5 innings and they are his last two starts. Trying to pitch through a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament has predictably affected his velocity and the results have been ugly. Pedroia already has 2 home runs on the year and hitting second in the Boston lineup always helps a player's value. He's a decent chunk cheaper than Cano around the industry and may have the same amount of upside.

Note: Ian Kinsler, like the other Detroit right-handers, has a nice matchup against TJ House but his price is high enough that I'd rather go Cano over him due to slightly better platoon splits.

Value Plays:

Neil Walker (PIT) - Kyle Lohse was obliterated in his first start of the year and Walker has always had favorable luck against Lohse throughout his career. While Walker is a switch-hitter, he has historically had better luck against right-handed pitching, posting a wOBA on .358 since 2013 and he gets a nice little boost thanks to a favorable ballpark shift from PNC to Miller Park.

Scooter Gennett (MIL) - Walker's opposing starting second baseman is also a great value play on FanDuel (although he's a bit higher on DK) at just $2,600. Gennett does hit in the bottom half of the order which negatively impacts his value but his splits right-handed pitching are hard to ignore (.366 wOBA) and a rookie pitcher throwing in Miller Park is a near recipe for disaster. If you want exposure to the Brewers, he's a nice cheap option.

Cheap Play:

Dan Uggla (WAS) - It's not sexy but Dan Uggla is at minimum price on FanDuel and the Phillies' starter Sean O'Sullivan is extremely homer prone. Uggla is all or nothing and does carry some risk since FanDuel penalizes for outs but he could pay off if he can get ahold of one. Washington is projected to score over 4 runs by Vegas, ranking in the top half of the MLB on the Sunday slate.

Shortstop - Featured site is DraftKings

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Ian Desmond

2. Troy Tulowitzki

3. Starlin Castro

4. Jose Reyes

5. Johnny Peralta

Top Plays:

Ian Desmond (WAS) - Homerun prone pitcher throwing in the ballpark that allowed the most homeruns to right handers a year ago? Yes please! That's exactly what's going down in Philadelphia on Sunday but he's not going to come cheap on DraftKings at $4,900, the most expensive player of the day. On FanDuel, he's a bit more reasonable at $3,900. I'd rather save the money on Desmond than spend an extra $1000+ just to try to fit Tulowitzki into the lineup.

Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - If you have the money to spend, being able to roster Troy Tulowitzki at home is a gift on a silver platter. Tulo averages 1.9 points per plate appearance on DraftKings with a .403 wOBA against right handed pitching since 2013. Kyle Hendricks has shown the ability to limit the long ball by keeping the ball on the ground but pitching in Coors is a whole different animal. I wouldn't weaken your lineup in other players specifically to fit him in but if you have the money, it's difficult passing him up.

Value Plays:

Johnny Peralta (STL) - While he's a great value on FanDuel for only $2,800, Peralta remains a solid value on DraftKings for $4,600. There's not a lot we know about Raisel Iglesias but we do know Peralta is a solid bat against right-handed pitching and he has a nice park upgrade playing in Great American Ballpark tomorrow. You could do worse at that price point for a batter that's hitting 5th in a lineup that's projected to score more than 4 points per game.

Jose Reyes (TOR) - Reyes is off to a great start this year, he's hitting leadoff, and he gets to tee off against Chris Tillman on Sunday. He's not cheap but he has a nice chance at having a good day hitting in a nice hitting environment in Baltimore. Toronto is currently the 6th highest projected scoring team and Reyes is in great position to be involved in that scoring. Reyes is averaging 1.40 points per plate appearance versus right-handed pitchers.

Cheap Play:

Jose Iglesias (DET) - Iglesias bats 9th in the Tigers lineup but he's been on absolute fire since the season began. Although he's more known for his defensive prowess, he has still managed to average 1.4 fantasy points per plate appearance on DraftKings and he's quite affordable at just $3,300. His .338 wOBA vs LHP is well above the league average.

Third Baseman - Featured site is FanDuel

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Adrian Beltre

2. Nolan Arenado

3. Josh Donaldson

4. Kyle Seager

5. David Wright

Top Plays:

Adrian Beltre (TEX) - Adrian Beltre feasts on left-handed pitching and he gets to face Houston's Dallas Keuchel in Arlington on Sunday. Over the last 2 seasons, Beltre has a great .412 wOBA and 0.965 OPS while averaging 0.6 points per plate appearance on FanDuel. Keuchel struggles to challenge right handed hitters, posting just a 6.6% K-BB rate. Beltre is a top 5 hitter in our model and looks like a bargain at just $3,900 on FanDuel compared to pricing at other positions (despite being one of the most expensive at his position)

Nolan Arenado (COL) - The Rockies game is the highest scoring game on the slate and Arenado is predictably the highest priced player on the slate. Hitting out of the 5 hole, Arenado blasted his second home run of the year on Saturday and will be in a good position to drive in more runs against the right-handed Hendricks on Sunday. Like most Rockies, Arenado is a significantly better hitter at home than on the road Much like Tulo above, if you happen to have the extra money, it's perfectly acceptable to spend big on him.

Value Play:

David Wright (NYM) - It pays to have a short memory in DFS and that's exactly what's going to pay off with David Wright early in this season. Up until 2014, Wright was absolutely elite against left-handed pitching. He battled injuries last year which dropped his performance and consequently lowered his price on the daily sites. This price adjustment is a wonderful buying opportunity for you. Alex Wood historically doesn't go late into games, which means they will be forced to turn it over to a shaky bullpen for a large portion of the game. I have a lot of Wright shares on Sunday.

Cheap Play:

Pablo Sandoval (BOS) - Does Pablo have better splits against righties than lefties? Of course. Is playing Sandoval a little risky when he faces Masahiro Tanaka? Sure. But the fact of the matter is that his performance has driven is price down to just $3,000 on Fanduel. Still, I'll take a .350 wOBA for a steep discount.

Cheap Play:

Ryan Rua

Outfield - Featured site is FanDuel

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Mike Trout

2. Corey Dickerson

3. Carlos Gonzalez

4. Bryce Harper

5. Giancarlo Stanton

6. Andrew McCutchen

7. Jason Heyward

8. Jorge Soler

9. Yasiel Puig

10. Charlie Blackmon

Top Play:

Carlos Gonzalez / Corey Dickerson (COL) - What better way to start off your outfield than the dynamic duo from Colorado - CarGo and Corey Dickerson? With the highest vegas total of the day, there's going to be a lot of exposure to these game around DFS today. Unfortunately, prices are absolutely outrageous so it's difficult to make any type of stack. Both CarGo and Dickerson hit well at home and against right-handed pitchers and they're facing righty Kyle Hendricks from the Cubs. CarGo's wOBA is .389 and Dickerson's in .398 vs RHP since 2013.

Bryce Harper (WAS) - As mentioned earlier with Ramos and Desmond, I really like the Nationals to have a good day in Philadelphia against Sean O'Sullivan. Quite frankly, in most of the lineups I have created, I have more exposure to Nationals than I do Rockies. Harper hits righties at an above average clip and should have no problem producing Sunday. He's averaging 0.54 pts/PA on FanDuel.

Other Top Options:

The rest of these players are just as expensive, if not more than the players above but they have the same point ceilings. However, I like the players above a little bit more when taking price into consideration. They included Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, and Mike Trout.

Value Play:

Khris Davis (MIL) - Khris Davis had a great spring for the Brewers that has now carried over into the regular season. Milwaukee gets to face Casey Sadler, a rookie from Pittsburgh, on Sunday and Davis figures to have a very nice matchup against the righity. Against RHP, Davis has a solid .342 wOBA

Seth Smith (SEA) - Whenever a right-hander is on the mound, you should expect to see Seth Smith in the lineup. Smith, a left-handed hitter, has a cheap price tag because of his extreme splits but that makes him quite valuable as a lineup filler when building your lineups. On the season, Smith has drawn two starts and he has gone a total of 5 for 6 with 2 doubles, a triple, and two RBI. He's especially valuable if they bat him above 6th tonight.

Jake Smolinski (TEX) - With Ryan Rua landing on the DL, Jake Smolinski started in left field and batted 5th for the Rangers on Saturday. This type of lineup placement gives Smolinski great value in DFS and he's very cheap at the moment. In a very small sample size last year, Smolinski hit left-handed pitching very well and he'll be facing a lefty in Dallas Keuchel today. Smolinski has decent pop and should provide nice salary relief to be able to give yourself some exposure to the Colorado-Cubs contest.

Other Value Plays: Other value plays include Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler and Charlie Blackmon. All three players rank in the top 10 at the position but due to price, they're not quite as valuable as the players above.

Steve Pearce (BAL) - Pearce started off the 2015 season exactly he ended 2014 - on a tear. Now the righty will get to see Drew Hutchison in Baltimore, a pitcher with a very. Pearce's price is rising but he's a solid bet to produce and $3,900 is still affordable in DraftKings at this point.

Cheap Play:

Chris Carter (HOU) - This doesn't come without risk but Chris Carter has a ton of power and he's facing Colby Lewis in Texas. On Fanduel, he's incredibly underpriced at $2,900 and provides nice salary relief to fit in some of the big Colorado guys or starting pitchers.

Dalton Pompey (TOR) - The switch-hitting Pompey has been hitting at the top of the Jay's lineup in what should be a high schoring contest for the Blue Jays with Chris Tillman on the mound for the Orioles. In a limited sample last year, Pompey hit righties much better than lefties but has struggled to get much going this year. He's a cheap option to provide salary relief without sacrificing good lineup position.

Starting Pitching - Featured site is DraftKings

Sunday Rank (regardless of salary):

1. Felix Hernandez

2. Max Scherzer

3. Tyson Ross

4. Chris Sale

5. Alex Wood

Top Plays:

Felix Hernandez - While he's on the road, Hernandez will still have the cozy Oakland Coliseum to pitch in on Sunday. Hernandez has always been successful while pitching in the Coliseum and his excellent control paired with huge strikeout upside gives him big time win potential.

Max Scherzer (WAS) - The main reason I'm ranking Scherzer below Fernandez today is because of the poor ballpark shift. I believe the ballpark can cause quite a bit of volatility. On the brightside, the Phillies are still struggling to find their bats and have an ISO of just 0.068 through the first week. The Phillies are loaded with impatient hitters and Scherzer posted a swinging strike rate of 14.4% in his first start this yea and a 37.3% chase rate.

Chris Sale (CWS) - Chris Sale is going to be limited it 90-95 pitches today, adversely impacting his value in what would otherwise be a phenomenal start. Regardless, Sale could easily get through 5 or 6 innings, be in line for the win, and strikeout a fair share. This still means he warrants consideration but he's not quite on the same level as Scherzer or Hernandez today.

Value Plays:

Tyson Ross (SD) - Speaking of limited power, the Giants rank near the bottom in ISO as a team but that's not the reason I like Ross as a value play. Instead, it's because how balanced Ross can be when attacking different hitters. Based on today's pitchers, Ross ranks 6th and 8th in wOBA vs L & R, respectively and then 7th and 5th in OPS vs L & R, respectively. Add that to the fact that Ross was nearly unhittable at home last year and you're left with an almost no-brainer play.

Alex Wood is another solid option but at that price range, I'd prefer to spend on Ross.

Cheap Options

Carlos Martinez (STL) - It's not the greatest environment for a starting pitcher but Carlos Martinez will be taking on a Reds team that ranks in the top-10 of the major leagues for the most team strikeouts. What I like about Martinez is the tremendous strikeout upside (he had a 12% swinging strike out that week) and the win potential with the Cardinals getting to tee off against rookie Rasiel Iglesias.

Dallas Keuchel (HOU) - Texas tends to win games by getting the ball up into the air but Keuchel is an extreme groundball pitcher that could prevent the Rangers from getting their offense going. He posted a 63.5% groundball rate last season and at just $6,700 on DraftKings, he's a nice low price filler that allows you to fill your lineup with Rockies.

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