Working at the CarMart

Carlos Martinez will face a struggling Blue Jays team without arguably their best hitter (Kendrys Morales) so go ahead and fire him up in all formats. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks, $9,000 (Late) – At home in Chase Field, Jake Lamb is virtually always in play due to his elite skills against the handedness and the favorable hitting environment. When Jered Weaver toes the mound against him, it is just foolish to fade him. Last year, Weaver forced ground balls at the lowest rate amongst all qualified starters and produced the second lowest K/9 rate (5.21). Arizona is a terrible place for a pitcher to rely on fly ball contact to register outs because the thin air helps the ball carry similarly to Coors Field (which is why the ballpark will begin using humidor balls in May). Aside from leading the team in wOBA last season, he also led all Diamondbacks regulars in fly ball rate (36.7-percent) so the odds of him lifting a pitch against Weaver are quite high. In a park that plays favorably to LHHs pretty much across the board, that screams trouble for the pitcher. Fading Lamb in cash games is simply a bad idea (and he is viable in tournaments as well).

Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals, $7,600 (Early) – Okay so the Cardinals play a double-header on this slate and it is unclear which game Aledmys Diaz is going to start. For now, I am assuming he is going to play both games so this is my analysis from the yesterday (since this very game was postponed): “Let’s get this out of the way: Mat Latos is not very good. After posting a 5.40 SIERA last year, he is currently posting a 6.21 in the category so far this year. Furthermore, the man allowed a .356 wOBA and .309/.370/.458 slash line to RHHs in 2016 and he is allowing a .446 wOBA to them in a limited sample size this year. In other words, Latos rates as a pretty substantial reverse splits pitcher and Diaz just so happened to lead the Cardinals in wOBA against RHP last season. In fact, he slashed .317/.387/.554 against righties with a .237 ISO and 33.1-percent hard hit rate. The Cardinals are being implied to score 4.6 runs, which is more than even the Cubs, so Diaz is the hitter to build around on this offense.” Having said all of that, Casey Lawrence has also produced reverse splits in his short time in the Major Leagues and has posted underwhelming minor league numbers as well. Regardless of which game Diaz plays, he is absolutely worthy of consideration in all formats, as is Jedd Gyorko for similar reasons.

Outfield:

Khris Davis, Athletics, $7,200 (Late) – On a night slate that only features four games, the pickings are slim, so beggars really cannot be choosers. While the Diamondbacks’ stack sticks out above the rest, there are still ways to differentiate…beginning with Khris Davis. Opposing starter Ricky Nolasco has produced some substantial reverse splits in two consecutive seasons and that trend has continued into this year; he has allowed a .433 wOBA to RHHs and .315 wOBA to LHHs. Since righties have gotten the best of him, it makes sense that Davis is 5-15 in his career off Nolasco with one HR after Davis posted a 39.4-percent hard hit rate off RHP in 2016. While Davis is always a threat for a zero, this is a prime spot for him to go deep.

Kike Hernandez, Dodgers, $4,500 (Early) – Whenever Kike Hernandez is leading off against a lefty, fantasy owners should take notice because he always seems to be underpriced. Even though the team acquired both Logan Forsythe and Franklin Gutierrez as lefty specialists in the offseason, Hernandez still leads the team in career wOBA…edging out both the other (specialists). In their absences, Hernandez has been leading off consistently and has hit two homers in the last week in that role. Moore only forced a 38.2-percent ground ball (GB) rate last year which explains why he allowed a 1.13 HR/9 rate despite pitching half the season in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. Quietly, San Francisco plays favorably to LHHs especially when it comes to triples. If Hernandez can lift one in the air, he should be able to provide excellent value for his bargain price tag.

Pitcher:

Noah Syndergaard, Mets, $24,600 (Early) – Noah Syndergaard had his start moved back from Wednesday to Thursday which means he will draw the identical matchup to the one he was supposed to draw yesterday. Consequently, the analysis from yesterday still applies: “To this point, the Braves rank 17th in stolen bases, but upon closer look, only three players on the roster have swiped bags: Brandon Phillips (five), Ender Inciarte (two) and Freddie Freeman (two). Why is this noteworthy? Well, Syndergaard allowed by far the most steals against him last year (48) so their overall lack of speed limits the team’s upside against the Mets’ ace slightly. Thus far, the Braves rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and line drive rate against RHP while striking out at a 21.4-percent rate (about league average). Therefore, Syndergaard and his dominant 0.72 FIP, 1.90 xFIP and 10.38 K/9 should be in an excellent spot to succeed. If spending up for a true SP1, Syndergaard is the ace who stands out above all the others.” UPDATE: Syndergaard has been scratched so Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber stand out as the SP1 alternatives. Assuming the ailing George Springer and Jose Altuve both remain out of the lineup, Kluber gets the edge.

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals, $17,400 (Early) – Due to weather, Carlos Martinez will similarly draw the same matchup as yesterday, so here were those thoughts once again: “The Blue Jays’ offense is just pathetic against right-handers and Michael Wacha strung together yet another quality start against them on Tuesday. Amazingly, this once great Blue Jays offense ranks 29th in defensive efficiency against RHP this year while ranking in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG and OBP and striking out at a hefty 24.7-percent rate. Martinez has had a strange season to this point but one thing he has done exceptionally well is miss bats. With this game being played in a National League park, one of Kendrys Morales or Justin Smoak will once again be forced to sit because the team cannot use a designated hitter. This only limits their offensive potential even more so start Martinez with confidence in any and all formats.”

Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, $14,400 (Late) – This is going to be a fun slate because one can just double up on the matchup against the Blue Jays who will probably rotate which guy plays first. One of the Cardinals’ pitchers is going to face a struggling Blue Jays offense without RHP without arguably their best hitter: the aforementioned Morales. Both Martinez and Adam Wainwright are excellent plays in this spot because of the Blue Jays’ struggling offense but Wainwright also dominated at home last season (3.20 ERA, .298 wOBA allowed). His kryptonite happens to be hitters of the left-handed variety (.361 wOBA allowed last year) and the only respectable one on the Blue Jays roster right now is Morales. If he is out, or really even if he is not, Wainwright should compete for the fantasy-point-per-dollar lead on this slate due to his depreciated cost. The over/under is a bit high (8.5) for comfort but being listed as a -161 favorite should calm some of those nerves.

*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, April 26

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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