Bryce-a-Roni

Facing a pitcher who allowed a ridiculous 2.43 HR/9 rate to left-handed hitters last season, Bryce Harper needs to be locked and loaded into all lineups. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Manny Machado, Orioles, $10,000 (Late) – Luckily for the Orioles, Kyle Kendrick is about to make his 2017 debut because his last season in the majors did not go so well. In 2015, Kendricks allowed a .413 wOBA to LHHs and a .374 wOBA to RHHs and both produced a hard hit rate of at least 33.9-percent against him. Of course, Manny Machado is right-handed, so it is comforting to know righties slashed .288/.335/.540 against him with 18 homers in 78.1 IP. The series with the Red Sox seems never ending but the worry here is someone throws at Machado yet again and he gets ejected. Assuming he can weather that storm, Machado should be in a solid spot to succeed; he posted a .359 wOBA, .252 ISO and .283/.328/.535 slash line against RHP last season and his power should only be enhanced by the Green Monster in left field. Kendrick should be in for a rude awakening and an Orioles stack is very much in play for the night slate.

Daniel Murphy, Nationals, $9,200 (Early) – Speaking of debuts, Braden Shipley is also about to pitch his first game of the season and the Nationals present an incredibly tough matchup for him. In 2016, Shipley allowed a 39.8-percent hard hit rate to righties and 35.3-percent hard hit rate to lefties so virtually everyone roped the ball off him. Of the 14 home runs (HRs) he allowed, 11 came off the bats of LHHs and they posted a hefty .373 wOBA against him. Of course, this means the Nationals’ lefties are on red alert to go deep, led by Daniel Murphy. Even with Bryce Harper on the squad, Murphy led the team in wOBA against RHP last year (.419) which only complemented his other ridiculous numbers against the handedness: .261 ISO, .354/.396/.614 slash line and 41.1-percent hard hit rate. Fire him up with confidence in all formats.

Outfield:

Bryce Harper, Nationals, $10,400 (Early) – One National is simply not enough, even after they burned us a bit yesterday, especially when considering Shipley rarely misses bats. Last year, Shipley only posted a 14.3-percent K rate against LHHs which equated to a 5.53 K/9. Additionally, the 11 bombs he served up to lefties equated to a 2.43 HR/9 rate…or a real lot. With a 6.47 FIP and 5.12 xFIP against LHH, the underlying numbers suggest he pitched significantly worse against lefties. Meanwhile, Harper has put up All-Star worthy numbers to this point against RHP: .506 wOBA, .416 ISO (leads team), .351/.490/.766 slash line, 37.7-percent hard hit rate and 45.9-percent fly ball rate. Unsurprisingly, in concurrence with the astounding HR rate, Shipley surrendered a whopping 39.6-percent fly ball rate to lefties. All of this is a long-winded way of saying Harper is a prime suspect to launch one out of the ballpark.

Josh Reddick, Astros, $7,200 (Early) – After left-handers put a beating on A.J. Griffin last year to the tune of a .285/.355/.623 slash line, .406 wOBA and 44.4-percent hard hit rate, they are back at it again in 2017. Thus far, all lefties have done against Griffin is post a .522 SLG, .343 wOBA, 42.9-percent hard hit rate and hit fly balls at an absurd 47.6-percent rate. In fact, literally everyone is hitting balls hard against Griffin and each side of the plate has been launching almost solely fly balls off him. In a stadium like Minute Maid Park, righties lifting the ball should lead to an easy HR (so consider George Springer as well). However, the historical data still suggests lefties are the superior play against him and Griffin is only striking out LHHs at a measly 11.5-percent rate this year. Josh Reddick rarely ever whiffs so there more than likely are going to be multiple batted ball events. Judging by Reddick’s 28.1-percent line drive rate against RHP this season, those batted balls are destined to do some damage and rack up the fantasy points.

Pitcher:

Max Scherzer, Nationals, $24,600 (Early) – Following back-to-back starts in which Max Scherzer topped 30 fantasy points, he put up an 11.50 fantasy point dud against the Mets his last time out. On paper, this is not the easiest of matchups as the Diamondbacks rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive rate against RHP. The one saving grace here, other than Vegas loving this spot for the ace, is the fact the Diamondbacks strike out at the sixth highest rate against right-handers. If Scherzer has his best stuff on Thursday, he could strike out double-digit bats by accident. Lastly, the Nationals bats are in a superb spot to go nuts as well so Scherzer is listed as by far the heaviest favorite on the slate. Since a healthy number of strikeouts and a win are almost a virtual guarantee, it is difficult to make a strong case against Scherzer in cash games.

Ian Kennedy, Royals, $16,500 (Early) – On Wednesday evening, Nathan Karns dominated the White Sox, further proving just how helpless this team is against righties. While they can put up a solid fight against lefties, they rank dead last in wOBA, wRC+, AVG and OBP against RHP this season. Although Ian Kennedy can be prone to the long ball at times, he has somehow managed to limit wOBAs against each side of the plate this year…and he is still allowing a ton of hard contact. Fortunately for Kennedy, only one team has produced hard contact at a lower rate than the White Sox so far (Giants) and they have hit the fewest number of HRs against the handedness as well. Kennedy will enter this game with a 2.30 ERA and the White Sox are unlikely to make a real dent in that number. At this price tag, Kennedy should compete for the lead in terms of fantasy-points-per-dollar on both the early slate and for the entire day.

Jaime Garcia, Braves, $15,600 (Late) – Sans Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets only really feature a couple real threats against LHP in their lineup. Cumulatively, their current active hitters have only combined to rank 27th in wOBA against the handedness and they also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, AVG, OBP and line drive rate. Hell, the remaining players are only slashing .194/.271/.360 against lefties so this quietly is a fantastic time to fire up Jaime Garcia. On the surface, his downtick in K rate (only 13.5-percent so far) is concerning but his swinging strike rate is actually up a little and his swing rate outside the zone is only down slightly from last season. Garcia has faced a bunch of teams that strike out and has still had some issues but chances are absolutely going to have to be taken on this brutal night slate (at least in terms of pitching). Of all the potential crap shoots to take at pitcher, Garcia makes the most sense of the bunch.

*Stats are accurate as of Wednesday, April 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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