Live Freeman or Die Hard

All Braves hitters are in play against David Buchanan and none are more potent than left-handed power hitter Freddie Freeman. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals, $8,900 – Thursday was an interesting time for Matt Carpenter to heat up. He hit two HR off left-handed starter Chris Rusin, but Carpenter sports a career wOBA 0.099 points higher against RHP. Rusin certainly is not great shakes, but he seems like Cy Young compared to gas can Kyle Kendrick (aka Friday’s probable starter). Naturally, Kendrick has pitched worse at home in Coors Field, but he’s been no great shakes on the road either: 5.52 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Pitching to contact is not a winning proposition against the top of the Cardinals lineup, because Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta have all hit line-drives at a rate greater than 25 percent this season versus RHP. Carpenter’s 29.60-percent line-drive rate against RHP ranks four percent higher than any other regular. This is why I prefer him to the other hitters, and coming off a big game is just icing on the cake.

Freddie Freeman, Braves, $8,100 – Major league hitters have not been kind to poor David Buchanan. In 36.0 IP this season, he has produced a 7.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 4.50 BB/9 and 4.75 K/9. He’s probably the worst starting pitcher on the slate (yes, even ahead of Kendrick), so naturally you’ll want to get hitters in against him. Not that there isn’t anyone who hasn’t fared well against him, but lefties especially have crushed him. LHHs are slashing .303/.421/.500 against Buchanan, and Freddie Freeman is an awfully good one. He’s by far the best hitter on the Braves and drastically favors facing RHP. Nick Markakis ranks second on the team with a .336 wOBA against RHP this year, while Freeman blows him away with a .385 tally. He’s the only regular with an ISO over .159, so he possesses both the most upside and stability. The very reasonable $8,100 price tag establishes him as one of the top-five overall hitting values on the slate.

Outfield:

Nelson Cruz, Mariners, $9,900 – No other player aside from Paul Goldschmidt owns a greater career wOBA against LHP than Nelson Cruz. The Mariners have ventured away from Safeco Field to visit Minnesota’s RHH-friendly ballpark for this series against the Twins. Most importantly, Cruz will be presented the golden opportunity of facing soft-tossing Tommy Milone in this welcoming park. Cruz hasn’t enjoyed incredible success against Milone in 16 previous meetings, but he has sent one into orbit against him. The .483 wOBA he currently owns against LHP this season actually is identical to his career mark. Both are just pure insanity and I think he continues to the tear. There is no better choice for an HR on Friday than “Boomstick” Cruz.

Ender Inciarte, Diamondbacks, $7,800 – Mark Trumbo who? Ender Inciarte is helping the Diamondbacks forget Trumbo ever existed, because he is absolutely raking at the plate this season. In 75 games, Incirate has hit .298 with 43 runs, 3 HR, 26 RBI and 10 SB. Recently, his hot season has reached “en fuego” levels; he’s 18-51 (.353) over the last 15 days and 12-32 (.375) in the last seven days. Similar to Freeman (and most lefties), most of his success derives from facing RHP. 103 points is the difference between his AVG against righties (.327) and lefties (.224). Against Scott Feldman and his 4.54 ERA, Inciarte should be able to set the table once again for a potent Diamondbacks lineup behind him (A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas). With the multiple hit and run potential, Inciarte is straight cash, homey.

Pitcher:

Matt Harvey, Mets, $20,200 – I’m just going to start with Matt Harvey because I think we all know Clayton Kershaw is worthy of consideration every single time out. Harvey will face a middle-of-the-road Nationals offense that comes equipped with one incredible weapon: Bryce Harper. However, Harvey has actually shut down Harper completely in their previous meetings, as Harper is a career 0-14 against him with seven Ks. Sure, that funk could end at any time, but it won’t be without resistance from one of the game’s more dominant starters. The Nationals strike out at the seventh-highest percentage against RHP, to go along with their middle-of-the-road wOBA, ISO and wRC+. All in all, it looks like a pretty excellent matchup on paper for Harvey, who ranks as my number one SP, even above Kershaw.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants, $20,000 – It appears Cole Hamels will not officially be traded in time to make this start, so Madison Bumgarner will in fact square off against Nick Martinez. Thankfully this is the case, because obviously now his win probability will remain much higher than if he had to duel another ace. Despite playing on the road in an American League ballpark, the Giants opened as -160 favorites, and that makes perfect sense to me. San Francisco’s .331 wOBA versus RHP ranks third in baseball and Martinez has pitched horribly as of late (0-6 with a 7.01 ERA in his last six starts), while the Rangers struggle against LHP. Since a blow up start on Jul. 4, Bumgarner has thrown three straight starts allowing one ER or less. The incredibly left-handed Rangers rank bottom-10 in wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line-drive percentage, plus they strike out at a 23.10 percent rate versus LHP. Bumgarner makes for an excellent cash option and would be a solid pairing with Harvey in tournaments, if you can find the cheap bats.

Taylor Jungmann, Brewers, $15,000 – See Nelson, Jimmy from yesterday’s today’s plays article. Unlike Nelson, Taylor Jungmann has enjoyed consistency this season, as he’s only allowed more than two ER in one of his nine starts… and he only allowed four in six innings in that “dud.” Jungmann’s 7.02 K/9 is nothing to write home about, and Nelson’s swing-and-miss stuff matched up better against the Cubs’ strikeout-prone offense. Still the Cubs’ offense has simply gone cold, scoring just the 25th-most runs (88) in the past month. They’ve especially struggled against RHP and were dominated yesterday by Nelson before waking up against the Brewers’ bullpen. This almost seems too perfect, and like the late surge last night, is a sign of things to come for the Cubs. For that reason, I think I feel more comfortable with him in tournaments, even though his skill set is better fit for cash games typically.

Ian Kennedy, Padres, $13,600 – Marlins Park is the single most difficult park in baseball to hit the ball out of, which is a breath of fresh air for Ian Kennedy. Even pitching in Petco Park, he has struggled mightily to keep the ball in the ballpark (22 HR allowed ranks fifth in baseball). Sans Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins possess almost no power and are fading down the wOBA ranks against RHP. Two teams sit slightly behind them in the ranks (Phillies, Rays), but as long as Stanton remains out, they should continue to slip until they reach rock bottom. Without any power in a ballpark that won’t allow balls to accidentally get out, Kennedy’s kryptonite is essentially eliminated. For a pitcher with a 4.68 ERA, the 1.32 WHIP is still reasonable. He strikes out almost a batter per inning, and the Marlins K at the 13th-highest rate. If you need to save salary to fit in some elite bats, Kennedy makes all the sense in the world.

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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