Buckle Your Seat-Belt

The Giants are listed as -159 road favorites in Chase Field against Shelby Miller and his .417 wOBA allowed to LHHs. Basically, Brandon Belt is a great investment on Friday. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Brandon Belt, Giants, $9,900 – Despite being the road team in Friday’s tilt against Shelby Miller and the Diamondbacks, San Francisco is listed as -159 favorites in a game with a projected 8.5 run over/under. Okay so a large part of the Vegas line is due to Johnny Cueto but another aspect of it is the fact that Shelby Miller will head into the game with a 2-7 record and 6.79 ERA. All Giants hitters will experience an extreme positive ballpark shift due to moving from one of the top pitchers’ parks to a place that has played as a top three hitters’ park over the past two seasons, per ESPN Park Factors. Both sides of the plate have managed at least a .353 wOBA against Miller so far this season but lefties are clearly the preferred play against him. In 31.0 IP versus LHHs this season, Miller has allowed a .323/.422/.568 slash line along with seven of the 12 HRs he has allowed and a .417 wOBA. Among all Giants regulars, Brandon Belt handily leads the team in wOBA with a .391 tally, not to mention his .311/.406/.519 slash line against the handedness. Although Belt is one of the most expensive hitters on the slate, he’s the guy I have listed as the highest probability for a bomb on the entire slate.

Eduardo Nunez, Twins, $9,300 – Probable starter Martin Perez possesses some of the most substantial splits you’ll ever see at the Major League level. So far, Perez has allowed zero HRs, a .145/.256/.176 slash line and .211 wOBA to LHHs compared to nine HRs, a .281/.356/.431 slash line and .341 wOBA to RHHs. Eduardo Nunez, a right-hander, is the prime target to take advantage. Not only does Nunez hit in the ideal lineup spot for cash games (leadoff) but he has posted a .323/.338/.613 slash line against LHP this season as well. The dimension Nunez offers that Brian Dozier and Robbie Grossman do not is his willingness to steal. Overall, Nunez has stolen 18 bases, or eight more than any other player on the team (Danny Santana), including the most on the team versus LHPs (three). Essentially a five tool leadoff man on a team implied to score 4.6 runs at home is an ideal cash game play and should be a building block for lineups in the format.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $7,200 – Away from Coors Field, Charlie Blackmon always comes at a bargain, and this price is too enticing to pass on. The Rockies will draw a matchup against the Dodgers’ newly acquired Bud Norris in Dodgers Stadium. While the ballpark shift is quite unfavorable, Norris is a pitcher who has consistently struggled against LHHs over the course of his career. In 528.2 career IP versus LHHs, he has allowed a .269/.357/.456 slash line and .355 wOBA, including a HR/FB ratio three percentage points higher comparatively to RHHs. This season has been more of the same as four of the six HRs he has allowed have come off the bats of left-handers and the handedness has produced a .367 wOBA against him. People will write Blackmon off but he sports a .394 wOBA on the road against RHPs this year with a .323/.375/.552 slash line and .229 ISO. Amazingly, nearly all of those numbers are superior to the ones he has produced against the handedness at home yet people continue to fade him with the depreciated price tag….but not me. He’s a fantastic play in any and all formats.

Alex Gordon, Royals, $6,000 – With plenty of expensive bats to prioritize along with upper mid-tier priced pitchers, a bargain or two is going to necessary to fill out a lineup. Squaring off against Jeremy Hellickson and his 1.54 HR/9 rate this season, most of the Royals are underpriced, but none more so than Alex Gordon. Last night Gordon actually led off instead of Whit Merrifield and I wouldn’t be shocked if he does so once again on Friday. It’s actually a fantastic matchup for Royals lefties because Hellickson has already allowed eight HRs to the handedness along with a .281/.364/.521 slash line and .378 wOBA. Gordon’s numbers are down this season but he was just activated from an extended disabled stint and has hit the ball hard 40.4-percent of the time since his activation. In a matchup against a weak righty, Gordon should continue to smoke the baseball, and he’s just too great of a value to pass on at this price tag.

Pitcher:

Michael Fulmer, Tigers, $21,300 – Right-handers facing the Rays automatically possess a higher ceiling than usual because the team strikes out so damn much (25.7-percent leads all teams versus the handedness). Meanwhile, Michael Fulmer is amidst an amazing season, as he sports a 2.40 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 11 starts. Taking a closer look at his peripherals (3.82 FIP, 4.06 xFIP), he seems destined for a slight regression, but it is unlikely to come in this game. The Rays not only K a ton but they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate versus RHP and they will toss recently struggling Drew Smyly. Vegas lists Fulmer as a -114 road favorite but I think he’s closer to around -150 in a game I expect the Tigers to win. The price tag isn’t incredibly favorable but Fulmer could push double-digit Ks so he simply cannot be overlooked.

Ian Kennedy, Royals, $17,200 – Speaking of pitchers in excellent matchups, Ian Kennedy will draw a matchup against subpar opponent while enjoying a positive league shift in the process. His team, the Royals, will head to Philadelphia to square off against the Phillies in a game where he is listed as a -111 favorite. The Phillies rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage versus RHP while striking out at the 11th highest percentage against the handedness. Like Fulmer, Kennedy’s peripherals suggest he has pitched over his head to this point, partially due to his absurd 32.9-percent GB rate. Assuming Kennedy can avoid too much damage from the Phillies’ main power hitters (Maikel Franco, Ryan Howard and Tommy Joseph), he should be able to string together a solid quality starter. Considering the discount he offers to the likes of Johnny Cueto and the aces, I think he packs a ton of bang for the buck.

Nathan Eovaldi, Yankees, $10,800 – If needing even more salary relief from the aforementioned duo, Nathan Eovaldi is an intriguing proposition at less than $11,000. Most of the Padres’ monster bats are of the right-handed variety and Eovaldi typically fares well against them. It is hitters of the left-handed variety that give him fits and his opponent does not really possess any feisty ones other than maybe Travis Jankowski or Yangervis Solarte (neither are overly scary). Furthermore, Eovaldi will experience both a positive park and league shift by pitching in Petco Park. Ultimately the reason to consider Eovladi, though, is the matchup on paper; the Padres rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive rate while striking out at a rate of 23.5-percent versus the handedness. For an American League East starter, this is damn near the best possible matchup he could draw. Admittedly he isn’t the most talented pitcher on the slate but he could pitch over his head due to the circumstances.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, June 30

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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