Lind A Helping Hand

Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, $10,200 – Obviously one of the best handful of hitters in the majors is in consideration just about every night. Unsurprisingly, Miguel Cabrera is the Tigers career leader in wOBA, ISO, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage. He drew a tough matchup against Reds ace Johnny Cueto Wednesday and answered by taking him deep. Mike Leake is nowhere near as talented as Cueto and is a pitcher who pitches to contact. Whenever you pitch to Cabrera relying on his contact to get himself out, well, you’re asking for trouble. Considering Cabrera hits the ball hard almost 40 percent of the time against righties for his career, it’s just about as likely he finds a gap as it is that he hits into an out. The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati plays as a top eight home run park for right-handed hitters, so I like his odds to take another one out in this game. At the very least, he’s a cash game lock, but he also has the upside necessary for tournaments.

Adam Lind, Brewers, $8,100 – Batter versus pitcher data is not something I usually subscribe to but great success in large sample sizes can be an eye opener. Adam Lind has faced off against Jeremy Guthrie in 47 ABs over his career and has registered 17 hits (two of which were HRs). 17-47 equates to a .362 AVG and he also has a .400 OBP against Guthrie. Lind is a career .293 hitter against righties as it is, so he crushes most pitchers of the variety. Guthrie is a well-below average righty, so Lind would be start-worthy even without the BvP data. With the data handy, it’s an added bonus because it shows he clearly sees the ball well out of Guthrie’s hand. Fire him up with confidence.

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $10,800 – Former Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia is a shell of his former self. Over the year, his knees have simply deteriorated from having to support his 300-plus pound stature. Sabathia’s average fastball velocity has regressed from 94.1 mph in 2009 to 89.8, where it currently sits today. He’s essentially become a soft tosser/junk baller since he only throws his fastball 24.1 percent of the time now (versus 60.1 percent of the time in 2009). Giancarlo Stanton’s ISO ranks the highest of any player in baseball with at least 61 career ABs against lefties. Second place is Wilin Rosario who ranks 21 percentage points lower (.383 to .361). It’s just ridiculous how much power Stanton possesses, especially against lefties, so we could have blastoff once again on Thursday. If there is one outfielder to pay up for, Stanton is your man.

Ryan Braun, Brewers – $8,800 – Along with Lind, I’m going to pair him with his teammate Ryan Braun, who is the Brewers career leader in wOBA versus RHPJeremy Guthrie is allowing a .303 AVG to opposing hitters and Braun has hit .295 against RHP for his career. With a season ERA of 5.79, the splits almost don’t matter. Guthrie’s ERA is better at home and at night but none of them are any good (all over 4.00), so there’s no need to put any stock into those numbers. The bottom line is that an elite hitter is facing a below average pitcher with a pathetic 29 K in 65.1 IP. He isn’t fooling anyone around the league, so there’s no reason to believe he’ll be fooling Braun in this one. As a five tool player, Braun possesses all kinds of upside in this game, which is what we love to hear when drafting a team.

Pitcher:

Chris Archer, Rays, $20,400 – As far as matchups go, there certainly are far better than the Nationals. However, it is hard to overlooked just how dominant Chris Archer has been this season. Heading into Wednesday (a day in which Clayton Kershaw started), Archer was tied for first in strikeouts with Max Scherzer and one K ahead of Kershaw. Being mentioned in the same sentence with those guys is quite the honor, and he has earned it this season. His issue had been the walks in the past and his walk rate sits at 2.0 per nine innings, which is a career best by over half a walk per inning. Combine the additional strikeouts and subtracted walks and it’s no wonder he has a 2.00 ERA this season. Washington’s weakness offensively is their strike out rate, which ranks eighth in baseball versus RHP (20.50 percent). Bryce Harper will likely get his because he’s just on another planet right now, but the rest of the offense really isn’t all that scary. If Archer makes his pitches, he should be able to rack up nearly double digit strikeouts and throw a strong game.

Gerrit Cole, Pirates, $19,600 – The way the White Sox are hitting right now, Gerrit Cole may legitimately end up 100 percent owned in cash games on Thursday. After being shutout in back-to-back games, it took the White Sox until the sixth inning on Wednesday to score a run against Jeff Locke. Their ineptitude has led them to drop six straight games and fall to a season worst eight games below .500. The White Sox offense ranks poorly (bottom 10) in nearly every offensive category aside from LD percentage and K rate. It’s strange they would hit liners against righties and strike out among the bottom 12 offenses, yet produce next to zero offense. Regardless, this matchup certainly plays incredibly favorably for Cole, who is amidst his breakout season. 10.0 K/9 is a career high as is his 1.71 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9. Just about any pitcher against the American League Chicago team is a must-play at this point, so an ace like Cole is an absolute no-brainer.

Danny Salazar, Indians, $18,300 – It’s been quite a battle so far this year for baseball’s leading strikeout team against righties. Both the Cubs and Astros strike out nearly 26 percent of the time and have gone back and forth holding the title. Danny Salazar will be given the opportunity to face the strikeout-prone Cubs on Thursday at home. This season Salazar is allowing a .204 AVG at home versus .258 on the road. His ERA is also much better at home (3.16 versus 3.77). As we saw on Wednesday, the Cubs bats certainly can make serious noise on any given day. While the probability of strikeouts is high, and the over/under is only 7.5, Salazar is going to make for a better tournament option than cash. He’ll be viable in all formats, as the Cubs’ numbers suggest they are a lower mid-tier team against righties, but Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are no walks in the park.

Jeff Samardzija, White Sox, $15,200 – “Wait, Ricky didn’t you already recommend the opposing pitcher?” Yes, I did, but I like both starting pitchers in this one for a variety of reasons. Obviously I believe this is going to be a low-scoring game (7.5 over/under according to Vegas) and will be a pitchers’ duel. Until his last start, Jeff Samardzija’s road ERA ranked as literally the worst among qualified starters. After a 7.0 IP, three ER start at Tampa Bay, his road ERA now sits at an improved 5.71. Well, this game isn’t on the road, so it’s a whole different story. He sports a 3-1 record and 3.57 ERA at home. Starling Marte was injured in Wednesday’s game so my guess would be he sits out on Thursday, which takes away one of the Pirates’ best bats. Even with Marte, the Pirates rank as a bottom 12 wOBA team a minuscule amount of power. Samardzija can sometimes get a little wild, but only eight teams walk less than the Pirates 6.60 BB percentage against RHP. Cole will come into this game as a big favorite, but Samardzija could pay off in a big way, especially at the discounted price. He’s an excellent tournament option and risky cash option due to the low win potential.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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