X Gon’ Give it to Ya

Xander Bogaerts possesses top tier skills against LHP and is facing a middling lefty starter. Lock him in. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster.

Infield:

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, $10,800 – All it took for Paul Goldschmidt to snap out of his funk was a date with Aaron Harang. Goldschmidt’s platoon advantage comes against LHPs but he’s no slouch against RHP either (career .380 wOBA, .217 ISO). In fact, this may actually keep his ownership down which would be golden (pun intended) for those who roster him. David Buchanan has had issues (to say the least) getting hitters out at the major league level. Not righties, not lefties, but rather hitters in general. Although he has fared slightly worse against LHHs, Buchanan has still allowed a .304/.358/.475 SLG to RHHs. This all boils down to the fact that one of the game’s best hitters should be feeling confident again and will be facing one of the game’s worst pitchers. If that isn’t a viable start then I don’t know what is.

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, $7,500 – This price is an absolute gift considering Xander Bogaerts essentially serves as the team’s lefty specialist in the lineup. Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza all struggle mightily against lefties so Bogaerts has had to pick up the slack…and he has. He has registered a .407 wOBA and .390/.429/.505 slash line against lefties in 2015. Locked into the three hole, Bogaerts and the Red Sox will face spot starter Justin Nicolino. In 20 minor league starts this season, Nicolino has produced a 3.52 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with only 4.9 K/9. Marlins Park is incredibly unfavorable to home runs but the gaps are wide open. Bogaerts looks poised for one of those multi extra-base hit type of games. The price point is simply too good to pass on and should make you want to dance.

Outfield:

J.D. Martinez, Tigers, $9,000 – Frankly I do not believe Yordano Ventura has what it takes to shut down the Tigers over the course of a full start. At this point in his career, he’s a “thrower” and not a pitcher, which makes a big difference. Essentially he goes up there trying to blow hitters away when just about everyone in the big leagues throws in the mid-90s. The way to be successful is with command and Ventura often struggles in that department. In two games against the Tigers, Ventura has thrown a combined nine IP with 22 baserunners, 10 ER and four Ks. Enter J.D. Martinez into the conversation as he leads the healthy Tigers by far in both wOBA (.394) and ISO (.285) against RHP this season. Sometimes Ventura gets a little wild but Martinez hardly ever walks (5.40 percent BB rate). Therefore, you can expect some big swings up there at the plate. If Ventura misses his spot just once, look for Martinez to park one.

Randal Grichuk, Cardinals, $8,000 – In opposing starter Jeff Locke’s last three starts, he has thrown 15.2 innings and allowed a 6.32 ERA. Locke is a streaky pitcher as he has enjoyed both extended productive and unproductive stretches in the past. This appears to be one of those negative stretches which is all the more reason to roster Randal Grichuk. His .372 wOBA ranks second to only Matt Holliday (injured) on the team this season but his .258 ISO against LHP blows any other teammate out of the water. Simply put: he’s making meaningful contact just about every time up against lefties. Locke is not an intimidating matchup by any means so expect more significant contact to be made in this one and Grichuk to provide you with value in all formats.

Pitcher:

Zack Greinke, Dodgers, $23,200 – Thursday marked the end of Zack Greinke’s 10 game streak of allowing two ER or less when he allowed six ER to the Phillies. This should be chalked up as nothing more than a blip on the radar and the Phillies are literally the hottest team since the All-Star Break…yes those Phillies. Even in a “blow up,” Greinke still struck out eight and managed a respectable 16.10 fantasy points. He’ll square off against a Washington team that he dropped 41.60 fantasy points on just a few weeks ago (Jul. 19). In that outing, he struck out 10 Nationals which isn’t surprising considering their 21.10 percent K rate versus RHP. Once again I think Greinke is a safe play against this team although they clearly possess some big bats in the middle of the lineup. His upside is almost unlimited so he’s viable wherever you feel like using him.

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals, $18,000 – Sure Greinke feels like a sure thing but I think the best pitching value of the night may be Carlos Martinez. It’s been a mixed bag for Martinez in two starts against the Pirates this year: he allowed seven ER and 11 baserunners in 5.1 IP the first meeting but shut them out over 7.1 IP the second time. His season ERA sits at 2.57 and his 3.35 xFIP ranks 22nd among qualified SPs in baseball. The Pirates are essentially a neutral matchup to RHP but they do rank in the bottom 10 of both ISO and BB rate. Martinez does spot an excellent 9.12 K/9 and the Cardinals did open as a -155 favorite in a 7.5 run game at home. For that reason, I think this outing will come a lot closer to mimicking the 7.1 IP shutout than the previous dud.

Taijuan Walker, Mariners, $16,400 – All season long Taijuan Walker has preferred pitching in Safeco Field but now a couple recent blow ups have inflated his home ERA. Nevertheless, he has struck out 62 batters in 55.2 IP at home versus 64 batters in 73.1 IP on the road. He’s allowing a .220 AVG in Safeco and a .269 AVG away from Safeco. There’s something about the spacious ballpark that he prefers (maybe the space) and I think there is a fair amount of upside in this matchup. The Orioles strike out at the fourth highest rate against RHP. Walker has only struck out less than six batters in one home outing this season and it came against the tough Tigers offense. This leads me to believe Walker could approach double digit strikeouts as long as he can hold the Orioles number two ranked wOBA offense in check. It’s certainly a risk but I think he has elite tournament upside and there’s a decent chance the winners of the major tournaments on FantasyDraft.com may have him in their lineups.

Yovani Gallardo, Rangers, $11,600 – Heading into mid-July, Yovani Gallardo had been just as solid as they come. Until July 19, Gallardo had allowed more than three ER just once and that came in a start in Fenway Park where he allowed four ER. Tides have turned as of late because he suffered through a streak of three straight games with exactly five ER to end the month of July. He opened August with a five IP, three ER start against Houston at home. The matchup will finally get easier for him as he’ll pitch on the road against the lowly Twins offense versus RHP. They rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage. Gallardo’s price has come way down in the past few weeks and now feels like a value. At his price, you can roster almost any hitter you want, and therefore he makes sense as a cash option. I’m not overly excited about him but there is certainly profit potential against the Twins especially because he’s priced like he’s a bum.

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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