Fade to Blackmon

Chris Flexen did not look like he belonged in the Major Leagues in his first start so imagine how he is going to fare in the hitters’ haven of Coors Field. Lock Charlie Blackmon into all lineups. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Jose Altuve, Astros, $10,800 – Since being called up, opposing starter Austin Pruitt has been roasted by RHHs: .386 wOBA, 8.3-percent BB rate, 1.64 HR/9 rate, .330/.385/.530 slash line, 25.0-percent line drive rate, 34.2-percent hard hit rate, 8.59 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP in 22.0 IP. To be fair, Pruitt’s 4.56 FIP and 4.06 xFIP suggests he has gotten unlucky but the Astros typically do not do pitchers any favors in the luck department. Already this season, the Astros have scored double-digit runs 18 times and they will head into this game sporting a .365 wOBA over the last two weeks (fourth highest during that span). By far the hottest (and best) hitter on the team is Jose Altuve who managed to hit .485 in the month of July. Additionally, Altuve owns a .429 wOBA against RHP this year but that is not even the most favorable aspect of the matchup. Pruitt has thrown his slider 33-plus percent of the time this year and Altuve ranks as a top five hitter against the pitcher in the league, per FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights. All signs point to another monstrous game from one of the league’s best players.

Yulieski Gurriel, Astros, $7,200 – One Astros hitter is simply not enough against Pruitt as there is just no way he is able to slow down the best offense in baseball. While righties have launched 1.64 homers per nine innings off him this year, that has been with him playing half his games in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. The right field bleachers in left field of Minute Maid Park are only about 310 feet away so hitting a bomb in this park can happen by accident off the bat of RHHs. Since Pruitt has struggled against the handedness overall, he certainly is in a world of trouble against the Astros. Over the course of the last 30 days, Gurriel is one of seven active Astros to have produced an above average wRC+ tally, and he is slashing .284/.316/.511 during that span with a .340 wOBA. For the entirety of the season, Gurriel has produced a .352 wOBA and .307/.330/.512 slash line in the split. In a matchup against a starting pitcher who is far from polished at this point in his career, the Astros should flirt with double-digit runs yet again…and Gurriel is an underpriced asset who should hit in the middle of the order.

Outfield:

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, $10,800 – There is no safer investment in daily fantasy baseball than Charlie Blackmon at home and Chris Flexen did not look ready for the big show in his first Major League start. After posting excellent numbers in Double-A, Flexen only lasted 3.0 IP in his first start because he walked four hitters and allowed five base hits (and legitimately had no idea where the ball was going when it left his hand). In any ballpark, this is a recipe for disaster, but especially in Coors Field. To refresh, Blackmon is arguably the best hitter in baseball when playing at home: .339/.460/.830 slash line, .431 ISO, .520 wOBA and a whopping 44.9-percent hard hit rate. Vegas is sipping the Kool Aid here considering they are implying an otherworldly 7.0 runs for the Rockies offense in this spot. Feel free to stack the Rockies but make sure to start all lineups with Blackmon.

Bryce Harper, Nationals, $10,500 – I know what you are thinking: “Bryce Harper too? How in the world can all these hitters be rostered in the same lineup?” Well, pitching tonight is rather awful, and the best options per-dollar cost less than $13,000. Therefore, if pairing a duo of reasonably priced pitchers, all the top hitters on the slate can played together. Probable starter Vance Worley has been crushed equally by both sides of the plate this year. No, seriously, both righties and lefties have produced a wOBA of exactly .386 against him this year. The number that jumps off the page is the fact Worley has yielded a massive 29.3-percent line drive rate and 53.5-percent hard hit rate to LHHs in 2017 (despite only allowing fly balls from them at a 29.3-percent rate). Harper has a true uppercut swing (41.0-percent) and he leads all players in wOBA against RHP this year. In other words, he is in a great spot to produce some hard contact every time he is in the batters’ box. Although this is a difficult park to hit the ball out of, Harper is one of the few hitters in the league who has what it takes to launch one out.

Pitchers:

Zack Godley, Diamondbacks, $17,700 – While Dallas Keuchel possesses the highest upside of any pitcher on the slate, this is only his second start off the disabled list, and he only lasted three innings in his start (and allowed nine baserunners in the process). Pitching at home, Keuchel is always a worthwhile shot, but Zack Godley actually rates as a significantly less volatile option. On Wednesday, Godley will enjoy a positive park shift as he toes the mound against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. Although the Cubs have fared pretty well against lefties this year, they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against righties this year. On the other hand, Godley has induced ground balls at an elite rate (57.5-percent) this season and induced a fantastic 14.1-percent swinging strike rate. Despite the fact he is not priced like an ace, Godley has absolutely pitched like one this season. At this reasonable price point, Godley can be relied upon as a SP1 in all formats.

Matt Moore, Giants, $12,000 – Get ready for Matt Moore day because it is going to be glorious. Of course, Moore is not what most would refer to as a “good” pitcher at this point in his career, there will never be a better spot to deploy him. The Athletics’ roster features exactly one formidable hitter against LHP: Ryon Healy. Otherwise, Marcus Semien is the only hitter currently sporting an above average wOBA in the split (and it is by literally one percentage point). Furthermore, Moore’s home park is the worst hitting environment in the entire MLB and the Athletics lack power against lefties (.151 ISO). As icing on the cake, the Athletics strike out at a 25.1-percent rate against LHP, which ranks third highest in the league. If there ever were a game where Moore could both cruise and produce an outlier strikeout total, this would be the spot. All-in on Moore in both cash games and tournaments.

Luke Weaver, Cardinals, $9,600 – For a pitcher who struck out 27.0-percent of the hitters he faced in the majors last year and 27.3-percent of the ones he faced in Triple-A this year, Luke Weaver is drastically underpriced. His opponent, the Brewers, have struck out at a 23.5-percent rate against righties this year as well so there should be at least a solid strikeout floor here. Weaver has struggled against lefties during his tenure in the pros but only two in the Brewers lineup are even remotely scary: Eric Thames and Travis Shaw. Assuming he can limit the damage to the two of those hitters, he should be able to at least eclipse double-digit fantasy points. For a pitcher at this basement price tag, that is all fantasy owners will need.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, August 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.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply