Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Dexter Fowler, who will hit left-handed against the RHP, draws a matchup against a pitcher allowing a .400-plus wOBA to the handedness…and he’s cheap! Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Brian McCann, Yankees, $8,000 – As is the case every time Mike Pelfrey toes the mound, finding a way to roster bats against him is an intelligent strategy. On Friday, this is especially true considering the Yankees will head into the game having scored at least six runs in three consecutive games and at least five runs in seven of their last eight. All of a sudden their offense is clicking on all cylinders so you won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to deploy them against one of the worst pitchers in the game. For his career, Pelfrey has allowed LHHs to hit for a higher wOBA than RHHs, and the trend has continued this season; lefties have managed a .384 wOBA off him this season compared to .376 for righties. In fact, lefties are slashing .339/.390/512 in 30.0 IP so far this season. While the Yankees lineup possesses a handful of left-handers, Brian McCann’s combination of skills and price deems him the preferred option. While he has struggled against RHP in 2016, his career .329 wOBA against the handedness suggests better days are ahead. All of the Yankee hitters (especially lefties) are in play so fitting more than just McCann into your cash lineup isn’t a bad idea.

Yangervis Solarte, Padres, $7,200 – A Padres hitter on a full slate? Really? Typically the answer would be no but the Padres will head to Coors Field so, by default, their bats are impossible to ignore. Sure Jon Gray is the Rockies’ best pitcher but, like many mortals, Gray has fared much worse in the hitters’ haven. On the road, Gray has held opponents to a .209 AVG, .267 wOBA and 4.40 ERA but at home those numbers balloon to a .296 AVG, .374 wOBA and 6.65 ERA. Furthermore, Gray has allowed a wOBA 30 percentage points higher to LHHs this season including five of the six HRs he has allowed. Meanwhile, the switch-hitting Yangervis Solarte matches up incredibly well against Gray in this scenario because his .352 wOBA against RHP ranks second among all regulars on the team this season (behind only Wil Myers). In other words, Solarte’s wOBA ranks highest of any LHH on the team, and only five percentage points behind Myers’ team-leading .357. While his skill set doesn’t usually jump off the page, it does when enhanced by the atmosphere in Colorado. Most of the hitters in this game are dealing with inflated price tags but Solarte’s remained reasonable for whatever reason…maybe an oversight? You simply cannot pass on that type of value in cash games.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,200 – Speaking of players with an inflated price tag in Coors, Charlie Blackmon is the Rockies hitter worth paying up for…if you can only afford one. The Rockies are listed as -166 favorites in a game with a projected over/under of 12 runs! If you don’t like math, the lines imply the Rockies will score around 6.9 runs, which is one of the highest team projections you’ll ever see. Not only does Blackmon sports a .365 wOBA, .193 ISO and .304/.358/.496 slash line against RHPs heading into this game, but he has owned probable starter Andrew Cashner as well. In 19 career ABs, Blackmon has slashed .316/.350/.579 against him with a HR and three RBIs. Additionally, Cashner allowed 14 stolen bases while on the mound in 2015 and Derek Norris has rated as a below average catcher over the course of his career in terms of stolen base runs saved above average, per FanGraphs. Basically beyond the great hitting environment and individual matchup, Blackmon has an above average chance to swipe a base. Combine all of these factors and Blackmon should be a solid bet for 15-20 fantasy points.

Dexter Fowler, Cubs, $8,100 – Solarte’s price seems awfully affordable and McCann is the cheapest of the enticing Yankees bunch but no price tag awards more bang for your buck than Dexter Fowler’s ridiculous $8,100 cost. Fowler is arguably the National League MVP through 56 games played and he will face a pitcher who has fared notoriously poorly against LHHs over the course of his career. Just last season, Bud Norris allowed a hefty .385 wOBA to LHHs and that tally has actually increased this season to .411 in 18.0 IP. Hell, this is a trend for his entire career because over 518.2 IP, Norris has allowed a .270/.357/.458 slash line to LHHs including 77 HRs. Fowler, on the other hand, currently owns a .403 wOBA, .214 ISO and .297/.422/.510 slash line against righties through 145 ABs versus the handedness this season. Of course Anthony Rizzo warrants consideration as well but he’s priced above $9,000…or where Fowler should be priced. This is quite simply a mismatch and I would be shocked if Fowler didn’t produce a multi-hit game at an unbelievable bargain cost.

Pitcher:

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, $26,000 – For one of the few times in the history of the world, Clayton Kershaw may not be the top overall play on a slate. He’s a viable play any time he steps on the mound so I decided to not even comment on him this time around, especially because Stephen Strasburg may be the superior play. Strasburg, whose 11.39 K/9 ranks second in the MLB behind only Jose Fernandez, draws an extremely favorable matchup for a RHP: the Philadelphia Phillies. To this point, the Phillies rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage against the handedness while they have struck out at a rate of 22.3-percent. Amidst the best season of his professional career, don’t expect the ball to stop rolling against a rather weak/beatable opponent.

Lance McCullers, Astros, $20,100 – Strasburg is difficult to argue with but dollar-for-dollar Lance McCullers is my favorite pitching play on the entire slate. Through 27.2 IP, McCullers sports a 12.04 K/9, which would actually rate higher than Strasburg if he were to have qualified. Also, McCullers’ 4.23 ERA seems inflated to this point, and his BB rate (6.18 BB/9) hasn’t helped, but his FIP (2.98) and xFIP (3.27) suggest he has befallen to a bit of bad luck. Sure McCullers needs to tighten up the control but his numbers look worse than they are because of consecutive four and six walk outings. In his last start, McCullers walked just three and struck out nine through 7.0 IP against the Athletics and the Rays actually align better with his skill set. The Rays rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage against RHP, but most importantly, they strike out at the highest rate versus the handedness (26.1-percent). Due to McCullers’ monster K rate dating back to last season, it’s easy to envision how the sky would be the limit for him against a strikeout-prone opponent.

Sonny Gray, Athletics, $12,900 – Admittedly, this is going to be an unpopular opinion with such a plethora of viable pitching options on one slate. Call me crazy but this price tag for Sonny Gray is just too cheap against a beatable opponent on paper. Okay so the Reds offense has been hot over the two weeks but Adam Wainwright, who has struggled since the get-go, shut them down last night. The real reason I like Gray is because I think his short disabled list stint fixed whatever issues he was having. Last time out, his first start since returning, he tied a season bests with just one walk and one ER. Remember this is a pitcher whose numbers stacked up with most of the elites last season sans K rate so there is way more potential than the price tag suggests. The Reds strike out at a rate of 22.5-percent versus RHP and rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, BB rate and OBP, and Gray will enjoy a positive league shift (meaning he will not have to deal with the designated hitter pitching in a National League ballpark). There’s a ton of risk but the upside is there to differentiate yourself from most other lineups in tournament formats only. The only question is, “Do you have the guts?”

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, June 9

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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