Good Judge of Character

Aaron Judge is about to take on a pitcher who has yielded a whopping .423 wOBA to right-handed hitters this year in a power-friendly ballpark. In other words, he is amongst the best plays on the entire slate. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Freddie Freeman, Braves, $9,600 – Wow, Tuesday’s slate is filled with mediocre pitching talents so limiting down the hitting pool to just eight worth starting is going to be difficult. Since John Lackey has allowed a .353-plus wOBA in two consecutive months, he is one of the pitchers worth targeting against despite his name value. Just how bad has Lackey been this year? Well, he owns a 5.05 ERA at home and a 5.33 ERA on the road plus he has allowed a career-worst 37.0-percent hard hit rate. Hell, the 38.0-percent fly ball rate he has allowed this year would be his highest since the 2006 season if it held. Meanwhile, Freddie Freeman’s .486 wOBA against RHP ranks first amongst all hitters with at least 20 at-bats (ABs) in the split as does his .421 ISO and .759 SLG. The man is simply one of the best hitters on the planet so a pitcher amidst one of his worst MLB seasons should not be able to slow him down. Lock in Freeman and move on.

Justin Smoak, Blue Jays, $8,400 – Another hitter matched up against a beatable opponent is Justin Smoak in Fenway Park against Brian Johnson. While Josh Donaldson is generally considered the lefty specialist on the Blue Jays, Smoak is running away with the team lead in wOBA this year versus the handedness (.452). To round out his stat line, Smoak has produced a .260 ISO, .384/.439/.644 slash line, 41.5-percent hard hit rate and 38.5-percent fly ball rate against lefties while only striking out at an 11.0-percent rate. On the other hand, opposing starter has yielded a .376 wOBA, 2.60 HR/9 rate, .297/.342/.568 slash line, 36.7-percent hard hit rate and a ridiculous 45.0-percent fly ball rate to RHHs this year. In a ballpark that has surrendered the fewest homers in the American League (AL), Johnson’s home run (HR) rate is still out of control. With the Green Monster only slightly over 300 feet away in left field, the park is still incredibly favorable for righties even if they have had a more difficult time than usual hitting it out. On paper, this individual matchup is nearly as good as it gets, so feel free to roster Smoak in both cash games and tournaments.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,800 – After homering against a right-hander at home last night, go ahead and fire up Charlie Blackmon in the friendly confines of Coors Field once again. While yesterday’s starter, Luis Perdomo, has induced the highest ground ball (GB) rate in the league, today’s starter (Dinelson Lamet) is a pure fly baller and this ballpark is obviously not conducive to such a skill set. Most importantly, Lamet has struggled mightily against LHHs this year: .423 wOBA, 3.00 HR/9 rate, .299/.365/.682 slash line, 39.7-percent hard hit rate and a 50.8-percent fly ball rate…all while playing half his games in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Now, pitching in Coors Field, he is in a world of trouble relying on fly balls to result in outs. All Blackmon has done at home this year is slash .390/.448/.799 with a .409 ISO, .505 wOBA and 43.7-percent fly ball rate so he is basically a lock every time he is playing at home. The matchup cannot get much better than this one on Tuesday so consider Blackmon a building block in all formats.

Aaron Judge, Yankees, $10,400 – Speaking of players worth building around, Aaron Judge is about to take on Bartolo Colon. What more needs to be said? Righties have lit up Colon this year to the tune of a .423 wOBA, 1.71 HR/9 rate, .352/.405/.606 slash line and a 30.1-percent hard hit rate and that was before he became a member of the Twins. Of course, this is noteworthy because the Twins’ home park, Target Field, is one of the best parks in the league for right-handed power. The Yankees are filled with powerful righties beginning with none other than Aaron Judge and his 30 homers. Although he has been quiet since the All-Star Break, this is the perfect spot for him to breakout as Colon has only struck out 12.5-percent of RHHs. If not going to miss Judge’s bat, it is going to be a long (or short) evening for Mr. Colon.

Pitchers:

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $27,200 – Normally, rostering Clayton Kershaw is a no-brainer but this may be a situation where he is only a viable cash play. Not only is he insanely expensive but he will draw a matchup against the White Sox who rank first in the AL in wOBA against southpaws. Still, Kershaw will have the element of surprise and the fact that he is arguably the best pitcher in the MLB. In 106.2 IP against RHHs this season, Kershaw has held them to a .223 wOBA while striking them out at an outrageous 33.3-percent so he has a chance to succeed in any matchup. While he may not prove to be the top per-dollar investment, it still would be shocking if he did not exceed 20 fantasy points (and probably even flirt with 30).

Mike Clevinger, Indians, $17,600 – The one starting pitcher who stands out as a viable option on this weird slate is Mike Clevinger on the road in AT&T Park. Clevinger’s glaring weakness is his tendency to walk opposing hitters but the Giants have walked at the third lowest rate in the National League (NL). Additionally, Clevinger has relied almost solely on fly balls (47.3-percent) to retire LHHs this year and AT&T Park has been the most difficult park to hit the ball out of in 2017. Factor in Clevinger’s 23-plus percent K rate to each side of the plate and it is easy to see why he is still viable despite the price increase. Oh, by the way, the Giants rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against RHP. Clevinger is just about the only rock-solid investment at the position tonight.

Matthew Boyd, Tigers, $11,200 – If looking for a cheap SP2 option with some potential, Matthew Boyd is worth a shot due to matchup alone. Thus far, the Royals rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, BB rate, AVG, OBP and line drive percentage against LHP. Admittedly, they are a difficult team to strike out, and Boyd is not a massive strikeout pitcher by any means. Despite the limited upside, the Royals are not a very imposing opponent and Boyd has at least held LHHs to a .286 wOBA. Assuming the Royals roll out 3-4 lefties in the lineup, Boyd could be worth a shot at this basement price tag.

*Stats are accurate as of Monday, July 17

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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