The Milwaukee Brewers are the sort of team Dallas Keuchel should dominate so do not miss out on the chance to roster him on Sunday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB contests.
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays, $9,900 – Heading into Friday night’s game against the Red Sox, the only question was whether or not he was healthy after straining his hamstring the game before. All it took was a HR to convince me he was fine. On Sunday, most people will be focusing on Coors Field which presents an interesting buying opportunity for the reigning AL MVP. Of course, Donaldson is a monster against lefties but he also crushed righties to the tune of a .390 wOBA last season. Furthermore, in the only case I like to use batter versus pitcher (BvP) statistics, Donaldson sports a nice history versus knuckleballers. Although it is admittedly a small sample size, Donaldson is 3-7 off of now teammate R.A. Dickey (.429) and is a career 1-3 (.333) off Steven Wright. The guy is an all-worldly hitter so he is viable against anyone and I think he will go criminally under-owned on this slate.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies, $9,600 – As eluded to in the last tidbit, Coors Field is going to be incredibly popular as per usual…and for good reason. No pitcher allowed more HRs last season than James Shields (33) despite playing half his games in extremely pitcher favorable Petco Park (tied with Kyle Kendrick). Imagine if he were to have played half his games at Coors. Although he is a RHH, Nolan Arenado actually possesses a higher career wOBA against RHP than LHP. In fact, 37 of his 42 bombs last season came off of righties! He only has taken one out of the park so far this season but this is an excellent opportunity for him to make it number in the friendly confines of home.
Jon Jay, Padres, $6,800 – Typically players see a 20-percent or so boost in pricing when they head to Coors Field because of the essentially unfair advantage. Rarely do players get the opportunity to play in Colorado’s thin air without the drastic price spike. Jon Jay is one of these cases, and he even dropped 20 fantasy points yesterday, so this is extra surprising. Probable starter Chad Bettis allowed a 4.99 ERA and .302 opponents’ average (AVG) at home last season so he doesn’t exactly project as a formidable foe. Furthermore, Jay will likely lead off as he has been recently so he could draw five opportunities at the plate in the absolute ideal situation. He is a stone cold lead pipe lock in cash games and can be considered in tournaments as well.
Rajai Davis, Indians, $6,800 – With upper-echelon pitchers worth of rostering and Coors Field in action, mid-priced players are going to be essential to fill out your roster on this slate. Probably my favorite on the slate outside of Coors is Rajai Davis who is reasonably priced despite a .296/.351/.448 career slash line against LHPs. He has been leading off against the handedness this year and will at least continue to do so until Michael Brantley returns. The best part is Davis isn’t even afraid to run against lefties as he has accumulated 113 career stolen bases (SBs) against the handedness. Sure Jose Quintana is a solid major league pitcher but Davis has rocked him in his career: 13-41 (.317) with five extra base hits including a HR. At a sub-$7,000 cost, Davis is a no-brainer.
Matt Harvey, Mets, $23,100 – Considering Bartolo Colon stymied the Phillies for six innings on Saturday, Matt Harvey should project pretty well against them, right? Unfortunately that’s not how it works but this is a case of a dominant starting pitcher awarded the opportunity to square off against one of the game’s worst offenses against his handedness. Only two teams last season produced lower wOBA tallies against RHP than the Phillies and they also ranked in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage. Maybe most importantly, they struck out at the ninth highest percentage, so Harvey should be able to do what he does best in this matchup…strike batters out. With that sort of upside, you better bet Harvey is viable in every single format possible.
Dallas Keuchel, Astros, $20,100 – Rostering Harvey is certainly a recommended strategy but there is no better play at the starting pitcher spot than the reigning AL Cy Young Award Winner: Dallas Keuchel. His opponent, the Milwaukee Brewers, ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate against lefties last season and they struck out at a higher percentage than any other team. The Brewers did produce respectable numbers against the handedness in two categories last season: BB rate and hard hit percentage. Fortunately for Keuchel, he hardly ever walks anyone (1.98 BB/9 last season) and induces weak contact (mostly ground balls). Therefore, Milwaukee’s strengths are also his strengths which makes him virtually indestructible in this matchup. I’m all in on Keuchel in this slate as I would probably even use 100-percent of him if I were multi-entering…his matchup is that enticing.
Scott Kazmir, Dodgers, $16,800 – If you read this article yesterday, I touched on the reasons why the Giants are actually a favorable team to target LHPs against. Last season, they ranked in the bottom 10 of wOBA, ISO and BB rate against the handedness, with the only downside being their ability to avoid the strikeout. Over the past two seasons, probably Kazmir’s two most successful as a pro, have been some of his least effective seasons at missing bats. Essentially he is a better pitcher when he is inducing ground balls as opposed to simply attempting to blow hitters away. While the strikeout potential probably isn’t in the double-digits, the propensity to induce consistent weak contact is in play, meaning he could pitch deep into the game. The lack of strikeouts makes him a safer bet for cash games, possibly to fit Padres/Rockies bats, than it does for tournaments. Kazmir has a higher floor than most in his price range so lock him in if looking for stability.
*Stats are accurate as of Saturday, Apr. 9