The Right Kemp-erature

In a matchup against Bronson Arroyo in extremely hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, the Braves opened as favorites in game with a 10.0 run over/under. In other words, look for offensive fireworks from the normally mediocre Braves offense, beginning with their best hitter: Matt Kemp. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Joey Votto, Reds, $10,200 – Batter versus pitcher data (BvP) very rarely is worth looking at because small sample sizes do not really tell fantasy owners much. When the numbers align, however, it is nice to at least see the BvP data confirm what should happen. Opposing starter Mike Foltynewicz has struggled with lefties throughout the course of the year and this season has been par for the course; in 21.0 IP against LHHs, Foltynewicz has been roasted to the tune of a .379 wOBA, 9.1-percent BB rate, 1.71 HR/9 rate, .315/.384/.494 slash line, 24.7-percent line drive rate, 34.3-percent hard hit rate and 38.4-percent fly ball rate. The Great American Park is not a great park for fly ball pitchers because it plays as very power-friendly park…especially for left-handers. Of course, Joey Votto leads all active hitters not named Gary Sanchez in career wOBA against RHP and he has slashed .317/.435/.551 over the course of 3,230 career at-bats (ABs) against the handedness. Playing in the game with the highest projected over/under (10.0 runs) on the slate, Votto is amongst the safest plays on the entire slate.

Adam Frazier, Pirates, $8,000 – Adam Frazier is a name that fantasy owners have become accustomed to in the last week because he has been moved into the leadoff spot against RHP. Over the course of the last 30 days, Frazier is slashing a whopping .314/.400/.429 with two home runs (HRs), 13 RBI and two steals in 70 ABs. In other words, the man has become a force to be reckoned with so a struggling pitcher like Matt Harvey should struggle to consistently retire him. This season, Harvey has yielded a .350 wOBA, 12.8-percent BB rate, 2.10 HR/9 rate, .248/.350/.475 slash line, 23.2-percent line drive rate, 32.5-percent hard hit rate and 39.0-percent fly ball rate to lefties so Frazier should theoretically possess a pretty high floor. Frazier both hits the ball hard against righties (32.1-percent hard hit rate) and gets on base at an impressive clip (.376) so this is a great correlation play. While he is better suited for cash games, he does tend to flash the power bat on occasion so starting him in tournaments is not such a farfetched idea either.

Outfield:

Matt Kemp, Braves, $9,000 – Any game involving the Braves that features a 10.0 run over/under typically means Vegas expects their pitcher to get crushed. Amazingly, the Braves are actually listed as road favorites on Friday because Vegas is expecting 5.1 implied runs from them against Bronson Arroyo. Looking at Arroyo’s numbers this year, it is easy to see why an opposing team would be expected to score runs against him; he has allowed a .427 wOBA to LHHs and .379 wOBA to RHHs this year. Both sides of the plate have hit the ball hard at least 35.9-percent of the time and Arroyo has allowed a 2.93 HR/9 rate overall at home this year. The 40-year old just does not have it anymore and is a threat to be lit up anytime he toes the mound these days…especially at home. Oh by the way, Arroyo has allowed fly balls to righties at a 45.0-percent rate this year so Kemp, who sports a team-high .258 ISO against RHP this year, has a great shot at an extra-base hit (and possibly a bomb). Fading him is simply a bad idea.

Jorge Bonifacio, Royals, $6,900 – Since the Royals often are a team to target against, as opposed to an offense to consistently roster bats from, names like Jorge Bonifacio can slip through the cracks. Quietly, Bonifacio leads the Royals in wOBA against RHP this year (.393) as well as ISO (.280), SLG (.587) and line drive rate (29.8-percent). Tonight, the team faces a pitcher so terrible that this offense cannot be overlooked, so the first name to consider should be Bonifacio. Probable starter Josh Tomlin pounds the zone at a 47.2-percent rate (27th highest amongst qualified starters) so he often relies on opposing hitters to get themselves out. Specifically against righties, that strategy has not worked great this year because RHHs have posted a .357 wOBA, 1.65 HR/9 rate, .310/.328/.513 slash line and 26.7-percent line drive rate against him this year. With Bonifacio leading the team in line drives against the handedness, there is a solid chance frozen ropes leave Bonifacio’s bats before this game is all said and done. At this price tag, Bonifacio is tough to pass on.

Pitchers:

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, $23,200 – Writing up Clayton Kershaw on a large slate is not worth the time because by now everyone should know he is a viable play anytime he steps on the mound. If looking for an alternative, Stephen Strasburg finds himself in a fantastic spot against an Athletics team that whiffed 17 times yesterday including 10 Ks against Corey Kluber in 6.0 IP. According to Susan Slusser, the Athletics set a franchise record for strikeouts in April, with 221, and followed that up by striking out at a franchise record 255 times in May. During their recent seven game trip, the Athletics struck out 93 times, which set a franchise record for the most Ks in seven-game span. Basically, Strasburg should be a lock to at least flirt with double-digit strikeouts and he is priced $2,300 cheaper than the aforementioned Kershaw. Honestly, pivoting to him may result in a similar amount of fantasy points for cheaper.

Michael Fulmer, Tigers, $15,600 – One thing is for sure on this slate: rostering the Kershaw/Strasburg duo is darn near impossible if attempting to construct a roster with a healthy amount of upside. Most of the bats are properly priced so concessions are going to need to be made somewhere. As per usual, SP2 seems like the correct spot to punt (if not going with the Kershaw/Strasburg duo) since pitchers like Michael Fulmer look primed to succeed. While the White Sox rate as baseball’s number one hitting team against LHP, they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG and hard hit rate against RHP. As a professional, Fulmer has pitched slightly worse at home but he has still only allowed a .284 wOBA to opponents in Comerica Park. In this matchup, Fulmer is priced about $3,000 less expensive than he should be, so take his bargain price tag all the way to the bank.

Clayton Richard, Padres, $10,400 – If looking for significant salary relief at the SP2 position, Clayton Richard is darn near free despite the fact he will be pitching in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in all of baseball. Furthermore, Richard will be facing a team has struck out a hefty 26.4-perent of the time on the road against LHP and they have only produced a .295 wOBA in the split. Although Richard’s curveball did not force nearly as many whiffs in May as it had in the two previous months, he still struck out 27 batters in 33.0 IP in the month and allowed just a .326 wOBA overall. Unsurprisingly, Richard has pitched much better at home this year as he has only allowed a .323 wOBA in Petco Park compared to .365 on the road. All the risk is built into the price tag, and this spot is not all that risky, so do not hesitate to roster him in all formats if looking to spend up on hitters.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, June 1

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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