Sean Manaea is simply too cheap for his upper-echelon skill set so he can be rostered in all formats despite a difficult upcoming matchup against the Astros at home. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.


Edwin Encarnacion, Indians, $9,600 – Heading into tonight, Edwin Encarnacion has now posted double-digit fantasy points in six of his last seven games including 11 hits during that span including five bombs and 11 RBI. Once again last night, Encarnacion went deep against a subpar right-hander (Chris Tillman), and he will draw a matchup against another one tonight: Kevin Gausman. Although Gausman has not been quite the gas can Tillman has been this season, he has still been roasted to the tune of a .428 wOBA, 1.79 HR/9 rate, .377/.429/.584 slash line, 26.5-percent line drive rate and 33.3-percent hard hit rate. In other words, Gausman is not exactly a gigantic upgrade comparatively to yesterday’s starter, which should be expected against a team whose starting staff’s ERA ranks dead last in the American League (4.86). Whenever Encarnacion is en fuego, the smart play is to keep riding the wave, especially in upper-echelon matchups such as the one he draws on Wednesday.

Gary Sanchez, Yankees, $9,600 – Catchers are not required on FantasyDraft which typically means there is no need to roster one. However, every once in a while, a talent comes along that is above and beyond better than the rest of the pack like Mike Piazza or Ivan Rodriguez. While this man is unique in his own right, Gary Sanchez is clearly the best hitting catcher in the game this season by a large margin (and has been since his call up last year). Therefore, it does not even matter what position he plays because a great hitter is going to do battle with a reverse splits pitcher in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium tonight. All Sanchez has done against RHP this year is post a .399 wOBA, .262 ISO and .303/.380/.566 slash line. Meanwhile, opposing starter Ricky Nolasco has allowed a 3.00 HR/9 rate to RHHs despite playing half his games in an extremely pitcher-friendly home park. Tonight should be bombs away for Yankees right-handers and Sanchez should be worth every penny.


Khris Davis, Athletics, $7,800 – Speaking of reverse splits right-handers, Mike Fiers has not exactly fared well in the split against RHHs. In 33.2 IP against righties this year, Fiers has yielded a .387 wOBA, 8.1-percent BB rate, 3.21 HR/9 rate, .274/.340/.590 slash line, 31.7-percent hard hit rate and 40.0-percent fly ball rate. While the Oakland Coliseum is a difficult park to hit the ball out of, the Athletics lineup is loaded with power and none of their players are more powerful than Khris Davis. Despite hitting just .250 against the handedness, Davis leads the Athletics in home runs (HRs) against RHP this year (17) and he currently sports a .358 wOBA, .284 ISO and 40.6-percent hard hit rate. Admittedly, Fiers has pitched better as of late but he still has only forced a ground ball rate above 41.2-percent in three of his last five starts. Essentially, Davis has a great chance to display the power stroke in this one.

Miguel Sano, Twins, $7,600 – What in the world is this price tag for Miguel Sano? Not only does the guy lead the entire league in hard hit rate but he also homered last night and is playing at home in one of the most power-friendly parks in the league. This season, probable starter David Holmberg has actually pitched pretty well but he still has only struck out 15.5-percent of the RHHs he has faced. Holmberg’s career numbers tell a different story against righties as well: .372 wOBA, 9.9-percent BB rate, 2.24 HR/9 rate, .259/.355/.514 slash line, 36.5-percent hard hit rate and a whopping 45.1-percent fly ball rate while only striking out righties at an 11.9-percent rate. Judging by Holmberg’s .183 BABIP and 4.39 FIP to RHHs this year, regression is on the horizon, and the powerful top of the Twins order should jump start that process. Just like last night, lock Sano onto your roster and move on.


Jose Berrios, Twins, $22,200 – This price tag is not ideal, nor is facing a red-hot White Sox team, but Jose Berrios possesses the highest ceiling of any pitcher on the slate. The young stud has finally started to put it all together as he will come into tonight sporting a 2.74 ERA, 24.7-percent K rate, 77-percent BB rate, 22.2-percent hard hit rate and 12.0-percent line drive rate allowed. Still, it is noteworthy that the White Sox are slashing .285/.337/.453 over the last 14 days and they ripped apart Ervin Santana last night. At this price tag, this is by no means a safe spot, except for the fact that Berrios misses bats at a much higher rate than Santana. He should possess a higher strikeout floor in theory, and if he has his best stuff, he can shut any offense down. Considering the White Sox rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, OBP and SLG, Berrios is still a worthwhile investment in tournaments for his potential ceiling.

Jeff Samardzija, Giants, $18,300 – Sadly, the safest pitching play of the night is probably Jeff Samardzija as the pitching landscape is just brutal. Pitching in hitter-friendly SunTrust Park equates to a substantial ballpark downgrade for Samardzija but the Braves rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate and SLG. The team is difficult to strike out but Samardzija has struck out right-handers at a 31.8-percent rate this year and lefties at a 29.3-percent rate. As per usual, Samardzija has fared worse against lefties but none of the left-handers other than Matt Adams are really threats to go deep against him. With little resistance headed his way from the mediocre Braves offense, Samardzija should be able to pitch deep into this game and at least provide an ample number of strikeouts. He is worth building around in cash games.

Sean Manaea, Athletics, $13,600 – Finally, Sean Manaea is a bit of a risky proposition, but one who is drastically underpriced and therefore worth a shot. Incredibly, Manaea has forced a swinging strike rate of 15.0-percent this year which is an elite tally in the category. Unfortunately, the Astros have posted the lowest swinging strike rate of any team in the league. At this price point, Manaea does not need to strike out 10, but rather just post a respectable outing…and there is reason to believe one is coming. The Astros hit the ball on the ground at the 13th highest rate and Manaea has forced a 48-plus percent ground ball (GB) rate this year. Additionally, Manaea has thrown at least 6.0 innings in five consecutive starts so this is an extremely reliable pitcher. Go ahead and rely on him once again at this bargain price and ride him all the way to the PayoutZone.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, June 20

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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