Bear Bryant

This “bear” is a Cub but he still projects as a beast in a matchup at home against Cody Reed and his 9.00 ERA. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Todd Frazier, White Sox, $8,400 – C.C. Sabathia is amidst a surprising bounce-back season but his last few outings suggest the beginning of a turn for the worse. Through 11 starts this season, Sabathia had managed a ridiculous 2.20 ERA. In just two starts, Sabathia has regressed his ERA all the way back to 3.17 (11 runs over his past 11.1 IP). After producing a 1.04 ERA in May, Sabathia’s June ERA now sits at 3.68 partially due to the fact that he has begun walking hitters (4.30 BB/9 this month versus 1.73 BB/9 in May) once again. Hitters are hitting the ball hard at nearly three percentage points higher in June compared to May and his 4.36 FIP is by far the worst of any month this season. Meanwhile, Todd Frazier has struggled a bit with AVG this season (.204) but he has hit 23 HRs and stolen six bases. Of his HR barrage, six have come off the bats of LHPs and his .409 ISO against the handedness leads all hitters this season. As icing on the cake, Frazier’s .373 wOBA leads the team against southpaws, so this is the perfect opportunity to deploy him versus a struggling opponent.

Didi Gregorius, Yankees, $7,800 – Since Carlos Beltran sat out the entire weekend, I’m going to assume he’ll continue to sit on Monday. Aside from Beltran, the Yankees’ hottest hitter in June has been none other than Didi Gregorious. In 27 games this month, Gregorious has slashed an impressive .337/.368/.535 with a .385 wOBA against RHPs. In fact, both he and Beltran are tied for the team lead in wins above replacement (WAR) versus the handedness this month with a 1.0 tally. Probable starter James Shields has shown signs of turning around his miserable season lately but lefties have smoked him since the beginning of last season. He allowed a .380 wOBA to LHHs last year and is following up that performance with a .371 wOBA allowed so far this season. Hell, lefties are slashing .305/.383/.479 against him this year and have hit six HRs. With Beltran out of the lineup, Gregorious moves up to the six spot in the order, and therefore he should factor into cash game consideration. Even if the entire team ends up suiting up, Gregorious rates as a fantastic GPP option against a pitcher allowing a career-high 34.4-percent hard contact.

Outfield:

Kris Bryant, Cubs, $10,200 – The last time the Cubs faced youngster Cody Reed (Jun. 29), they lit him up for seven ERs in just 4.0 IP. Less than a week later, the Cubs will get their second shot at him…this is excellent news for Kris Bryant. Not only did Bryant manage two hits off of him in the first meeting but his eight HRs versus LHP lead the team. If it weren’t for Javier Baez’s dominance (.425 wOBA), Bryant would lead the team’s regulars in wOBA versus southpaws, but he still leads the starters in ISO (.323). As of Sunday night, no line has been set for this game yet, but Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs are expected to be listed as huge favorites with a substantial implied run total. What more is there to say about the lineup? In a battle of a polished hitter versus an inexperienced, struggling starter, the advantage goes to Bryant.

George Springer, Astros, $9,600 – It’s impossible to overlook the favorable spot the Astros hitters are in on Monday afternoon. They are easily my favorite stack of the entire day against Wade Miley at home. Through 80.2 IP, Miley sports a 5.58 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 4.61 xFIP, 1.56 HR/9 rate and 32.9-percent hard hit percentage. On the other hand, five hitters on the Astros currently own ISOs of .184-plus against left-handers this season. Of all their bats, Jose Altuve and George Springer easily stand out from the pack with their .393 and .375 wOBAs versus LHPs respectively for their careers. It would not be shocking if the offense slugged multiple homers over the short fence in left field against a dong-prone opposing pitcher. Hitting in the prime lineup spot (leadoff) in this elite matchup deems Springer my favorite cash play of the bunch.

Pitcher:

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals, $17,200 – Carlos Martinez suffered through May and finished with a 5.18 ERA but has rebounded in a massive way in June. In 34.1 IP this month, Martinez has stifled opponents to the tune of a 1.31 ERA partially due to a 3.05 GB/FB rate. As long as Martinez continues to force opponents to pound the ball into the ground, there won’t be much resistance against him. On paper, the Pirates are a difficult opponent and their hitters have fared well against Martinez. However, he is pitching the best he has all season, and Vegas lists the Cardinals as big favorites (-180) against Jonathon Niese. In other words, his offense should provide him with some nice run support. Also, Martinez shut the Pirates down for just one run in 8.1 IP the last time he squared off against them (Jun. 11). Although the matchup isn’t perfect, Martinez is one of the safest few bets amongst starting pitchers on a slate filled with volatile options. For that reason, he’s best suited for cash games.

Lance McCullers, Astros, $17,200 – Speaking of volatile options, Lance McCullers will be making his first start following his last start being skipped. Fortunately, McCullers was only dealing with a blister so hopefully this will not be an ongoing injury. Furthermore, McCullers has much preferred pitching at home this season, as his ERA at home sits at 2.37 versus 6.89 on the road. Similarly to Martinez’s matchup, McCullers’ is no walk in the park either; the Mariners rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP and hard hit percentage. The positives are the splits for McCullers, his swing-and-miss stuff leading to Ks and the fact that his offense should put up a hefty run total on a porous starting pitcher. Again, this is a difficult pitching slate, so these positives are enough to deem him as usable in any and all formats.

Matt Harvey, Mets, $13,800 – Since the pitching options all possess downside, the preferred option is to just spend down at SP2 and pay up for bats. Heading into this start, Matt Harvey should be extra fresh because he was pulled early in his last start due to a rain delay. Clearly, Harvey isn’t the same pitcher as last season but he has managed at least 10 fantasy points in each of his last five starts prior to the rain-shortened 8.05 fantasy point outing in his last start. Comparatively to the masses, he possesses a safe floor, and that’s really all that is necessary on Independence Day. It doesn’t hurt that he is listed as a -150 favorite in a game with a projected 7.5 run over/under with a red hot offense behind him. After dropping 32 runs on the Cubs in a four game series (including absolutely lighting up both Jason Hammel and Jon Lester), the team will now face off against Tom Koehlera substantially inferior talent. Consequently, Harvey should finish with a quality start and likely a win so, dollar-for-dollar he makes the most sense of any starter.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, July 3

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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