Sacrificial Lamb

If you fade Jake Lamb, you are sacrificing a chance at victory on Monday’s slate loaded with hitting. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs, $10,400 – Can you say “revenge game”? Whether or not you believe players get extra amped up to face their old team, this is simply a fantastic matchup for one of the game’s top hitters. Probable starter Edwin Jackson, a notorious career gas can, is back to his usual suckage so far this year. Heading into the game, Jackson sports a 5.36 ERA, 4.72 FIP, 5.41 xFIP, 1.51 WHIP, 4.21 BB/9 and 5.74 K/9 rate…all of which are not pretty. Throughout the course of his career, left-handers have managed a superior wOBA (.344) although the opposite is true so far this season (in a limited sample size). Regardless, Anthony Rizzo is an elite talent against the handedness and leads the Cubs regulars in wOBA (.411), ISO (.278), AVG (.311), OBP (.406) and SLG (.589) versus RHP. Even in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, where Jackson has produced a 4.76 ERA this year, Rizzo is firmly in play. Build around him in cash games.

Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $8,400 – My top hitter on this entire slate is none other than Jake Lamb. Not only are the Diamondbacks implied to score the most total runs (5.3) of any team on the slate but they’ll square off against a pitcher who has been roasted by lefties since his inception into the big leagues. Opposing starter Mike Foltynewicz has allowed a career .297/.359/.563 slash line to lefties to complement a .388 wOBA and hefty 24.4-percent line drive rate. Meanwhile, in the friendly confines of Chase Field, Jake Lamb has put in work…especially against RHP. In 163 ABs versus the handedness at home, Lamb is slashing .307/.372/.650 with a .344 ISO, .418 wOBA and 13 HRs. Not much else needs to be said and there is virtually no reason to fade him at this affordable price tag in any format.

Outfield:

Trea Turner, Nationals, $10,400 – Including Sunday’s four fantasy point performance, Trea Turner has now produced at least 12 fantasy points in eight of his last 10 games. The guy is simply putting on video game type numbers and is showing no signs of slowing down. The matchup on Monday isn’t quite ideal as I have a great deal of respect for Dylan Bundy’s skill set but he has posted some notable reverse splits. Righties are hitting 26 points higher against him and have produced a wOBA more than 20 points higher (despite similar contact rate numbers to each side of the plate). Vegas implies the Nationals to score 4.8 runs (third highest on the slate) so they clearly believe the difficult matchup will be too much for the gifted young pitcher to handle. Turner can get it done in a variety of ways but he has already mashed four HRs (in 34 games) and Bundy has allowed a 1.39 HR/9 rate to RHHs. The price tag isn’t incredibly friendly but at this point you have to consider rostering Turner every day and the opponent’s split numbers suggest he is the superior play to their duo of powerful lefties (Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy).

David Dahl, Rockies, $9,200 – One play that jumps off the page on Monday is David Dahl versus Jimmy Nelson in hitter-friendly Miller Park. While some will happily neglect Rockies bats outside of Coors Field, this is a golden opportunity, especially for their left-handers. After displaying some talent in 177.1 IP last season, virtually all of his important numbers have regressed this year: ERA, FIP, xFIP, WHIP, GB percentage, HR/9, HR/FB, BB/9 and K/9 have all gone in the wrong direction. Similarly to last year, left-handers have hit for more power against Nelson as they’ve hit 10 of the 19 HRs he has allowed and produced a SLG nearly 20 percentage points higher. Right-handers have hit Nelson hard 29.7-percent of the time compared to a whopping 37.3-percent for left-handers. As icing on the cake, Nelson’s 22 SBs allowed this season rank second behind only Noah Syndergaard. Although Dahl has only stolen one base as a pro (in 25 games), he stolen 17 bases earlier this year across two Minor League teams (in 92 games)…and 22 bases in 79 games last year. In other words, the steals should come in due time, and this is the prime matchup for him to swipe a base if it’s ever going to happen. Not only is he a threat for extra-base hits but he could rack up the points on the base paths as well. Despite playing on the road, Dahl is a sneaky source of upside.

Pitcher:

Jon Lester, Cubs, $24,400 – Only one pitcher is listed as a heavier favorite than -156: Jon Lester. At -222, he’s above and beyond the safest bet for a win on the entire slate. Furthermore, the Cubs are already drawing 84-percent of the public betting money on the moneyline despite having to lay huge odds. Lester’s opponent, the Padres, are implied to score a slate-low 3.2 runs in one of the least favorable parks in the National League (NL). Additionally, the Padres active hitters rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, AVG and line drive rate while striking out at the second highest percentage of any NL team against LHP (24.5-percent). Even though other aces are listed at slightly less expensive price tags, paying the small extra fee is worth it on this slate.

Chad Bettis, Rockies, $10,200 – Let me be clear: the safe play as a SP2 on this slate is to simply spend up for David Price to complement Jon Lester. Those two present the highest combined floor of the evening. However, if you like to live on the wild side and spend down on SP2 in order to create the highest possible upside for a lineup, then there are still alternatives to that expensive duo. Away from Coors Field, Bettis has struck out opponents at a 17.3-percent rate (compared to just 16.4-percent at home). Bettis is not an overly talented pitcher and possesses some of the most extreme reverse splits in the entire league. The Brewers lineup is full of RHHs but the question is “Are any of them really that scary?” In my opinion, the answer is no as the only regular to have produced a wOBA higher than .345 against RHP so far this season is Ryan Braun. This is not a safe play by any means but pitchers always possess their highest possible upside against the Brewers due to their league-worst 26.3-percent K rate against RHP. Miller Park isn’t exactly AT&T Park in terms of playing as a pitcher-friendly environment but anywhere is a giant upgrade to Coors Field (from a pitchers’ perspective). The Brewers rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP and line drive rate. If Bettis were ever going to throw a good game, this would be the game. Hell, he has racked up at least 12.10 fantasy points in four of his last six road games so he could be worth the shot.

Andrew Triggs, Athletics, $8,000 – The Indians are not an opponent I like to pick on by any means but Andrew Triggs’ skill set dictates a much more expensive price tag than this. Triggs is basically free on this slate and yet we’re talking about a pitcher with solid strikeout potential (8.31 K/9 in 43.1 IP so far in the big leagues and 10-plus K/9 at each of his last two minor league stops) and a 3.54 FIP, 3.50 xFIP. Basically, his 4.98 ERA does not accurately represent his skills, especially considering he has only allowed a 26.7-percent hard contact rate. His 5.84 road ERA isn’t pretty but this game will be played in spacious Oakland Coliseum and he owns a 3.86 ERA at home thus far. Look, the Indians rank in the top 10 of nearly every statistical category, but this ballpark does its best the help the pitchers’ cause. Triggs went a season-high 5.2 IP last time out so it appears he is at least reasonably stretched out after beginning the season in the bullpen. Literally no hitters are cheap on this slate so either you’re going to have to sacrifice hitting or take a YOLO approach to pitching. For me, it’s the latter, and I’m going to try and take advantage of a talented pitcher in an atmosphere conducive to his success.

*Stats are accurate as of Sunday, August 21

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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