Time for a Kep Rally

Targeting hitters against Ubaldo Jimenez is pivotal and Max Kepler stands out as the prime suspect to torch him. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

David Ortiz, Red Sox, $10,800 – Yet again David Ortiz makes an appearance in a “Today’s Plays” article except this time he is on the road. While the ballpark isn’t nearly as favorable, the matchup more than makes up for it. The Red Sox will face Jered Weaver whom Ortiz has torched over the course of his career; he is 12-37 (.324) with three HRs and 10 RBI while slugging .622 against him. I’ve made much ado about Ortiz’s numbers at home but his numbers away from Fenway Park aren’t too shabby either. On the road against RHP, Ortiz is slashing .270/.330/.560 with a .366 wOBA and ridiculous .290 ISO. Facing a pitcher who barely tops 80mph any more these days, the Red Sox are unsurprisingly implied to score the second most runs on the slate (4.9). Considering Weaver has allowed a .350 wOBA and 10 HRs already to LHHs, Ortiz should be in for a big day regardless of which numbers you rely on.

Chris Davis, Orioles, $8,000 – If rostering one of the aces on the slate, fitting Ortiz is no walk in the park, assuming you want to roster any hitters with any semblance of talent alongside him. An intriguing alternative, or even complement, is Chris Davis who busted out of a 0-24 slump last night. He only singled but a step in the right direction should only lead to brighter days…such as Thursday against Kyle Gibson. Opposing LHHs have slashed .281/.331/.438 off of Gibson this season with four HRs and a .330 wOBA in 36.2 IP. Over the course of the season, Davis has hit 16 bombs off of LHP en route to a .247 wOBA and .468 SLG off the handedness. Davis’ career numbers suggest this year’s numbers should inevitably be on the rise towards his .369 career wOBA and .266 ISO against the handedness. The recent slump has obviously affected his numbers but this matchup against a gas can is just what the doctor ordered to get him back on track. Not only is Davis in play but the Orioles offense is one of my favorite few stacks on the slate (along with the Red Sox).

Outfield:

Max Kepler, Twins, $9,300 – Any time Ubaldo Jimenez draws a start, the daily fantasy community must take notice. Among all pitchers who have thrown at least 80 innings this season, Jimenez’s 7.38 ranks dead last by a large margin. In fact, Anibal Sanchez’s 6.56 ERA ranks second worst, aka there is a difference of 82 percentage points from first to second. He has been that bad. A majority of the damage against Jimenez has come off the bats of left-handers as they’ve hit seven HRs to go along with a .345/.433/.568 slash line and an insane .425 wOBA. The Twins left Max Kepler out of Wednesday’s lineup meaning he will almost assuredly be back tonight. While Kennys Vargas is a switch-hitter and does hit lefty against RHP, Kepler is the team’s best mix of safety and upside amongst the lefties. He sports a .348 wOBA and .290 ISO against the handedness and is in a great position to take advantage of his opponent’s shortcomings. Even though this price feels expensive for the skillset, this matchup deems him viable even at the uncomfortably high cost.

Dexter Fowler, Cubs, $6,600 – Dexter Fowler’s price tag is the exact opposite of Kepler’s because his skill set far exceeds this bargain price tag. The major issue here: Fowler and the Cubs will square off against Chris Sale at home. Still, Sale hasn’t exactly been unhittable since the start of June as he produced a 3.93 ERA in June and 5.40 ERA so far in July. Actually, Sale’s wOBA allowed has increased each and every month this season; from .197 to .260 to .329 to .332. On the other hand, Fowler is slashing .312/.391/.494 against LHP this season with a .383 wOBA and .182 ISO. The matchup isn’t ideal but the price tag more than takes the formidable foe into consideration. All-in-all, this is still an excellent hitter facing a recently struggling pitcher, so overlooking some of the Cubs bats may be unwarranted. If rostering just one member of the offense, Fowler’s price tag by far sticks out as the most bang for your buck.

Pitcher:

Jose Fernandez, Marlins, $26,100 – With Chris Sale pitching on the slate, the decision for SP1 in cash clearly is between the ace lefty and Jose Fernandez. In the Fowler tidbit, I mentioned Sale’s recent struggles (not to mention his mental breakdown leading to cutting up throwback jerseys), so Fernandez at home wins by default. Last start, Fernandez continued an impressive trend this season, as he managed 17.35-plus fantasy points for the 12th time at home this season (in 12 starts). Furthermore, Fernandez has eclipsed 24 fantasy points in 11 of 12 starts at home as he just loves pitching in Marlins Park. Sans Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals aren’t nearly as potent against RHP, although they still only K at 19.1-percent. Regardless, this is Fernandez’s home court and Fernandez does not fail at home. He’s the safest pitcher on the slate and is worthy of consideration in any and all formats as per usual.

Cole Hamels, Rangers, $19,200 – A pitcher pitching in a game with a 9.0 run over/under can be a bit unnerving but Cole Hamels is listed as a -162 favorite. It’s early but 78-percent of the early public betting money is coming in on the Rangers. His opponent, the Royals, rank is a favorable matchup in a multitude of categories; they rank in the bottom half of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against LHP. Hamels’ BB rate is way up this year but the Royals walk less than any other team against the handedness so his kryptonite doesn’t have much of a chance of being exploited. Therefore, I expect Hamels to either equal or exceed his fantasy point total (19.20) that he produced against the Royals late last week.

Aaron Nola, Phillies, $16,400 – Only Jose Fernandez (3.0) and Johnny Cueto (3.3) are implied to allow fewer runs on Thursday evening than Aaron Nola (3.5). Although Nola sports an ERA over 6.00 this month, his 10.20 K/9 is his second highest monthly total this season other than June (in which he also struggled). Yesterday, the Braves went bananas against subpar starter Tyler Duffey but he only misses bats at approximately a league average level. The Braves rank dead last in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against RHP so it’s unlikely they’ll go on a “run” against the handedness. After one solid day, it’s likely they come crashing back down to Earth the following game. While he’s nowhere near as reliable as the aforementioned starters, a matchup against literally the worst offense is a prime spot for him to produce an outlier positive performance. If you believe in the power of matchups, and Nola has only allowed a .277 wOBA on the road, then Nola is your man on this difficult pitching slate past the few studs.

*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, July 27

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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