Johnny B. Goode

You don’t have to be Chuck Berry to experience a good Johnny; simply roster the Reds ace! Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.


Carlos Correa, Astros, $7,600 – Sure it’s a limited sample size (48 ABs) but Carlos Correa is the current career leader in wOBA (.438) against LHP among active players with at least 30 AB. Houston will square off against Matt Moore who is only two previous major league starts removed from Tommy John surgery. The first pair did not go so well as he allowed exactly four ER in each game and did not make it out of the fifth inning in either. Correa’s ISO (.333) also leads all big league players and shows just how well he has hit against left-handers so far. Moore has nasty stuff when healthy but he is nowhere near 100 percent in terms of stuff or health. The advantage will still go to Correa in this one who, along with Jose Altuve, have great platoon advantages which should lead to production early and often.

Wilin Rosario, Rockies, $7,100 – In a game in Coors Field with an over/under of 10, there should be plenty of hitting production to go around. Most players are full priced due to the Coors inflation but one hitter who remains under-priced is Wilin Rosario. Although previously thought of as a catcher, Rosario has played 37 games at first base this year, 26 at designated hitter and zero behind the plate. In the FantasyDraft format, catchers are devalued (especially defensive liabilities who can be pinch hit for later in games), but no need to worry about that with Rosario as a first baseman. Oh yeah and he’s a pretty good hitter too; he’s the Rockies career leader in wOBA against LHP with a .415 clip and also sports a .323/.357/.618 slash line. Factoring in the Coors Field bump, his price point hovering around $7,000 suggests he is a must-play because of the much greater upside.


Lorenzo Cain, Royals, $9,600 – With Alex Gordon landing on the disabled list, Lorenzo Cain sticks out as above and beyond the Royals best hitter against LHP. Playing in hitter-friendly Kauffman Stadium, the Royals will face a starting pitcher with a career 4.73 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in Felix Doubront. This may be an instance where you do not want to play just Cain but rather a majority of the Royals offense. Either way, Cain is at the top of the list of Royals hitters to deploy considering he is hitting a whopping .352 against southpaws in 2015. Although Cain isn’t much of a HR hitter, Kauffman Stadium has ranked as a top five hit-friendly stadium over the past two seasons (meaning it ranks in the top five of allowing hits). Cain will be looking to split the gaps and could end up with multiple extra base hits against a well below average career major league pitcher.

Gregor Blanco/Hunter Pence, Giants – I would love to play Gregor Blanco if he ends up leading off the Giants but he did hit eighth on Saturday with Angel Pagan leading off. If that is the case yet again on Sunday, I would stray off Blanco in cash games and focus on using him in tournaments. My thinking here is I just really want some exposure to the Giants lineup against Chad Billingsley and his 6.67 ERA. Six players on the Giants offense own a wOBA of .360-plus so far this season: Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Gregor Blanco, Matt Duffy and Hunter Pence. All are in play despite the poor hitting ballpark because this matchup is all about the opposing pitcher likely serving up a healthy amount of meatballs (aka fat pitches that are easy to hit).


Johnny Cueto, Reds, $22,100 – Marlins Park, which overall favors hitters, is statistically the toughest park to hit the ball out of unless you are, say, Giancarlo Stanton. Fortunately for Johnny Cueto and company, Stanton remains sidelined, making the Marlins just about the best possible matchup for an opposing RHP. Cueto is no ordinary righty either. Only 19 pitchers have struck out more batters, only 12 have a lower ERA and only two sport a WHIP lower than Cueto’s this season. Overall the Marlins rank bottom ten in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit percentage and line drive percentage while striking out at the eighth highest percentage against RHP…and most of those numbers were with Stanton in the lineup. Stanton remains out of the picture so only Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich have posted a wOBA greater than .326 this season among the remaining healthy Marlins. Without much resistance, Cueto is my top pick at SP on Sunday by a decent margin (even over Max Scherzer).

Jake Arrieta, Cubs, $19,200 – Both games in the Cubs/White Sox series so far have turned out to be pitching duels. I expect the offense to continue lacking, at least on the White Sox side, on Sunday afternoon because Jake Arrieta will take the mound. When he’s on, Arrieta is virtually untouchable and possesses a pitching arsenal reminiscent to that of Corey Kluber. The White Sox flat out cannot hit and it doesn’t even really matter who they are facing. While they rank dead last in wOBA against LHP, they aren’t far behind against RHP either. In fact, the White Sox had scored the least amount of runs in baseball by 15 heading into Saturday. They are a bottom ten ranked team in wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage which shows Arrieta may not even need his best stuff to throw a quality start. Arrieta actually has struck out more batters than Cueto, and the White Sox strike out in the middle of the pack against RHP, so the upside is there in all the important categories. Arrieta makes for a nice mid-tier SP1 or excellent SP2 on the slate if you can find the value bats.

Lance McCullers, Astros, $15,300 – Need a little more salary relief than Arrieta offers? Look no further than 21 year old up-and-comer Lance McCullers. Through 58.1 IP, McCullers’ 2.16 ERA and 1.10 WHIP don’t even really do justice to how nasty his stuff actually is. With 61 K in 58.1 IP, you can see he truly possesses excellent swing-and-miss type stuff we love to see as fantasy owners. Heck, McCullers even struck out six Royals in seven IP two starts ago and numbers show they are by far the most difficult team to strike out (especially against RHP). If he can K six Royals, then the conversion rate to the amount of Rays he should strike out (sixth highest K rate against RHP) should amount to double digits. The Rays .297 wOBA against RHP is tied for fifth to last in the major leagues and they rank in the bottom third of just about every major offensive category. With an over/under of seven and Houston favored on the road, it’s clear Vegas is on board with McCullers’ prospects of a big game as well and therefore he should be confidently started.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners, $15,200 – If road pitchers aren’t your thing, or maybe you just want to go really expensive with the bats and want to pair McCullers with another mid-tier pitcher, then Taijuan Walker is your man. Walker will pitch at home in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field where he has absolutely killed it this season. Despite a 4.53 ERA overall, Walker has produced a 3.43 ERA at home and allowed opponents to hit just .196. He has allowed just nine walks in 44.2 IP while striking out 49. Walker’s last start was only the second non-quality start he has thrown at home and his first since May 8. Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, two of the Angels best/most productive hitters, have career platoon splits that favor hitting left-handed pitching. Although the Angels aren’t an offense I necessarily target opposing pitchers against, their 20.30 percent line drive rate ranks seventh worst in baseball against righties. If Walker can keep up the insane control he’s shown over his last 54.1 IP (only four BBs), then the favorable ballpark and lack of Angels liners should propel him to productivity especially at his reasonably affordable price.

*All statistics are accurate before the start of games on Saturday, July 11.

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, 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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