Rely on Tyson for the Knockout Blow

Tyson Ross is the pitcher to own on Thursday night as he’ll square off against the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins in Petco Park. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster

Infield:

Jose Altuve, Astros, $8,400 – Both Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are hitting exactly .327 against LHP so far this season but Altuve’s sample size is much larger. Correa has only faced lefties in 55 ABs this season to Altuve’s 107. The funny part is .327 is actually below Altuve’s career AVG of .344 against LHP in 649 ABs. Correa’s minor league stats suggest his dominance so far against lefties is for real so he is in play too but we already can say without a doubt Altuve crushes them. Wade Miley will draw the start in Minute Maid Park in a game with an over/under of eight and Houston opening as a decent favorite (-137). Miley doesn’t have any extreme split differentials whether it be home/away or day/night. Just about at any point in the day or any ballpark, he allows an ERA over 4.00 and an opponents’ AVG around .250. Match him up against two of baseball’s best lefty killers at the top of a lineup and watch the laser show commence. Altuve is priced $800 cheaper than Correa so he’s the much better value and allows more easily for Clayton Kershaw to complement him in your lineup.

Adam Lind, Brewers, $8,400 – Despite playing on a team with talents such as Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and the red hot Gerardo Parra, Adam Lind is the Brewers’ leader in wOBA versus RHP this season. His .240 ISO signifies the power he has been displaying but he also has hit for a .297 AVG against righties. Arizona’s atmosphere can have a similar effect on fly balls as Coors Field meaning the thin atmosphere helps the ball fly (although Chase Field has played as a below average HR park over the past two seasons). The reason I like Lind isn’t as much about the ballpark as it is about opposing starter Zack Godley. Looking at his minor league numbers, Godley has only made three career starts above high-A ball level and those have all come at AA this season. In those starts he went 14.0 IP with a 5.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 5.1 K/9. At other levels he has shown strike out ability but those quite frankly were a lesser caliber of hitter he was facing. The AA level has been a rude awakening for Godley so why would we expect it to get better at the major league level? Lind is on fire after going 4-5 on Wednesday with a 2B, HR and four RBI. Don’t be surprised if Lind continues to stay hot and welcomes the youngster to the majors with a dinger.

Outfield:

Gerardo Parra, Brewers, $7,600 – Did I mention I want to use hitters against the Diamondbacks’ young right-hander? Although Lind leads the team in wOBA against RHP, Parra leads the team in AVG (.318). Parra started the 2015 campaign slow hitting just .222 in April but has been a staple of consistency ever since. He hit .312 in May, .308 in June and is currently hitting .426 in July. There’s plenty of reason to believe Vegas has this one right projecting the Brewers for the most runs of the night. The top of the Brewers lineup is en fuego and they have been rising on the wOBA ranks against RHP over the past few weeks. When the “Brew Crew” are going right, Parra is the one getting it started at the top. He has multiple hit and multiple run potential plus he possesses a fair amount of power for a little guy. Most of the Brewers’ usual suspects are in play but emphasize owning shares of both Lind and Parra.

Joc Pederson, Dodgers, $6,900 – Joc Pederson’s price and production have both been on the decline recently. After hitting a season high .298 AVG in the month of April, Pederson has yet to eclipse .236 in any month since. He is currently suffering through a 9-60 start to July (.150) but continues to leadoff against RHP. Strikeouts have been his Achilles heel as he’s struck out at least 35 times in each of the past two months and already has 19 in 16 July games (31.6 percent K rate). Well his weakness should be negated against Bartolo Colon who pounds the zone with the fourth highest strike percentage in baseball (69.2 percent). Pederson also has still managed a .350 OBP and 20 HR so it’s not like he has done nothing. He’s a bit of an all-or-nothing proposition but I like his odds to be able to take some comfortable, full-effort swings against Colon. Leadoff hitters are typically cash options but I’d still feel better about Pederson in tournaments until he finds his rhythm at the plate once again.

Pitcher:

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $28,000 – Holy hell this is a steep price for anyone. I don’t care if it is Clayton Kershaw, 28% of your budget on one player essentially assumes you’re either punting the other pitcher or two hitters. With that being said, I’d hate to put together a cash lineup that didn’t include Kershaw and watch him do Kershaw things against a lowly Mets offense. The awesome part about FantasyDraft is the roster flexibility not pinning you down on certain positions. Therefore, if you roster Kershaw, you will just have to find your two favorite value hitters at any positions and insert them into your lineup. Comparatively to other sites it is much easier to find two value hitters you’re comfortable with because they can both play the same position (ex. two first basemen). I’ve learned that you’d rather have the two best pitchers of the night in cash games and find productive hitters around them. Pitching is more consistent on a game-to-game basis, and since it is more predictive, it’s the safer play to pay up for pitching. The Dodgers offense kills righties so they should produce runs for him and he should stifle the Mets. Kershaw could easily score 10-15 more fantasy points than the next pitcher on Thursday so it’s no wonder his price is so high. I say go ahead and pay up for him in cash games.

David Price, Tigers, $23,600 (Day) – Didn’t want to make it through the content without at least mentioning someone from the early slate. It seems obvious that David Price, the highest priced pitcher of the slate, is a must-play but he really is. Through process of elimination, Masahiro Tanaka faces number four in wOBA against RHP (Orioles) and Scott Kazmir draws the Blue Jays and their historic efficiency against LHP.  When looking for a SP1, Price is the only one with a matchup against a below average team versus his handedness. Nelson Cruz is on fire as he just hit his third HR in his past two games as I’ve been writing this and Robinson Cano is starting to find himself once again. Still, the Mariners rank 20th overall in wOBA versus LHP and rank in the bottom half of wRC+, BB rate, OBP and line drive percentage. The Tigers, who sport the third highest wOBA (.332) against RHP, face off against Hisashi Iwakuma so they should produce some runs for Price as well. It’s a difficult slate but don’t get too cute; Price is the must-play ace of the daytime.

Francisco Liriano, Pirates, $20,000 – Assuming he doesn’t get scratched two minutes before lineup lock this time, I am once again recommending going back the Francisco Liriano well. One of the main lessons to learn about daily fantasy sports as a whole is there are no absolutes. Just because a guy gets scratched or hurt or puts up a zero, do not ever think the phrase “I’m never using him again.” Liriano sports a top nine K rate among qualified SPs, a sub-3.00 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP so please do not go fading him from consideration from one small ailment. He’ll face a Nationals team that ranks 18th in wOBA (and a very neutral matchup across the board) in a game with a low projected total and he’s heavily favored. Forget about last time and instead focus on just how productive he should be on Thursday evening.

Tyson Ross, Padres, $17,700 – Rostering a pitcher that doesn’t hold baserunners is often frustrating…except when he doesn’t allow many to reach. This should be the case with Tyson Ross Thursday as he faces a Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins offense in spacious Petco Park. Vegas projects this game as the lowest scoring of the night and the Padres opened as a -152 favorite. Ross has struck out more than a batter per inning this season and allowed only three HRs. His problem has been the walks but the Marlins walk at the fourth lowest rate against RHP pretty much cancelling out his weakness. In my opinion, he’s the best value of the night and belongs in all lineups, both cash games and tournaments. By the end of the night, they’ll have to make a parody of this parody song and call it “Like a Ross.”

P.S. because I’m a man of my word, I wanted to give a shout out to Trevis Waters who beat me in a head-to-head contest yesterday. We made a bet on Twitter so feel free to congratulate and/or follow @MrFantasyGuru!

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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