Duvall Along the Watchtower

Adam Duvall possesses serious power and he will now face a beatable left-hander in the hitters’ paradise of Great American Ballpark. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Freddie Freeman, Braves, $9,900 – Since the beginning of last season, only Max Scherzer, Julio Teheran and James Shields have allowed more homers to LHHs than Jerad Eickhoff. During that span, lefties have slashed .278/.341/.493 with a .350 wOBA, 21.0-percent line drive rate, 31.6-percent hard hit rate and a 40.4-percent fly ball rate. All these stats should be music to Freddie Freeman’s ears as he is one of the game’s best hitters against RHP as-is. After homering yesterday, Freeman is officially red-hot, having topped 15 fantasy points in four of his last eight games. For the season, only Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have topped his .459 wOBA against RHP and his .345 ISO ranks fifth amongst hitters with at least 150 at-bats (ABs) against the handedness. Now, factor in the hitter-friendly park (SunTrust Park), and it is easy to see why Freeman is a top five overall hitter on the slate.

Zack Cozart, Reds, $8,800 – Speaking of top plays, Zack Cozart draws an elite matchup against a middling lefty in Great American Ballpark on Wednesday. Although probable starter Travis Wood has pitched much better as a starter this season, he still has struggled away from home and against RHHs. Thus far, righties have roasted Wood to the tune of a .363 wOBA, .312/.383/.464 slash line, 20.0-percent line drive rate and 39.3-percent fly ball rate. While fly balls are not such a dangerous proposition in Petco Park, they could easily leave Cincinnati’s home park. Cozart’s homers are not accidental as he currently leads the team in wOBA against LHP (.490) and sports a monstrous .397/.462/.735 slash line in the split this year. Following his activation from the disabled list, Cozart homered in just his second game back on Monday, so he appears to be just fine. In the friendly confines of home, there is simply no reason to consider fading Cozart. UPDATE: Cozart is not in the lineup so feel free to pivot to either Marwin Gonzalez or Patrick Kivlehan (hitting second for the Reds at an extremely affordable price).

Outfield:

Josh Reddick, Astros, $9,900 – Man, the Astros are quite expensive on this slate and rightfully so. Tonight, they will square off against Miguel Gonzalez and his awful 5.56 SIERA. In fact, amongst all pitchers with at least 90 IP this year, Gonzalez’s SIERA ranks third worst behind only Matt Cain and Mike Pelfrey. Whenever a terrible pitcher faces arguably the best offense in the league, fantasy owners must take notice regardless of price. While rostering the entire offense is likely not the optimal play, Josh Reddick is darn near impossible to overlook. Lefties have managed a .365 wOBA, 1.28 HR/9 rate, .289/.355/.515 slash line, 35.5-percent hard hit rate and 39.6-percent fly ball rate against Gonzalez while only striking them out at a measly 13.1-percent rate. If looking for a solid correlation, Reddick only strikes out 13.9-percent of the time versus righties, plus he hits the ball hard (33.9-percent) and in the air (43.9-percent) a fair amount. There is no value in rostering the whole team, because then upper-echelon pitchers cannot be rostered, but Reddick and Marwin Gonzalez are excellent one-offs.

Adam Duvall, Reds, $9,000 – One Reds hitter is not enough against Wood in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark so go ahead and pair Cozart with teammate Adam Duvall. In 2017, Wood has relied heavily on his cutter (24.6-percent) and Duvall has rated as the team’s second-best hitter against the pitch this year (per FanGraphs’ pitch type linear weights), behind only Scott Schebler. Like the aforementioned Gonzalez, Wood rarely misses bats and that is bad news in a small ballpark. While Cozart leads the team in wOBA, Duvall leads the team in ISO against southpaws so he is the team’s main source of power. If looking for a bundle of fantasy points in a hurry, Duvall is the likeliest candidate on the Reds to hit one out. With the team being implied to score 5.2 runs at home, Vegas agrees the Reds are amongst the top offenses on the slate. It would be surprising if Duvall did not finish this matchup with at least an extra-base hit (XBH) and he possesses as much upside as any hitter on the slate.

Pitchers:

Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees, $18,000 – All season long Masahiro Tanaka has been missing bats at an elite rate and yet there had been mixed results until recently. Over the course of his last four starts, Tanaka has struck out seven-plus thrice and has produced three quality starts. Additionally, he will head into Wednesday’s start having induced a 13.4-plus-percent swinging strike rate in 10 consecutive games including a 20.0-percent swinging strike rate against the Tigers his last time out. Although the Blue Jays have only struck out at a 20.1-percent rate, they rank 19th in wOBA against RHP and Tanaka completely shut them down on Jul. 3 (7.0 IP, six baserunners and one earned run). The odds-makers are respecting Tanaka is this spot as the Blue Jays are only being implied to score 4.1 runs at home. Bats are the higher priority on this slate, as no top starting pitchers really stand out, so feel free to invest in Tanaka as a fantastic per-dollar asset.

Collin McHugh, Astros, $17,100 – Sticking with the great per-dollar theme, Collin McHugh is reasonably cheap for a pitcher slated to toe the mound against the lowly White Sox. Exactly one team has posted a wOBA than the White Sox (Giants) against LHP this year and no team has walked at a lower rate in the split. Furthermore, the White Sox also rank in the bottom 10 of wRC+, ISO, AVG, OBP, SLG and line drive rate while striking out at a healthy 24.2-percent rate. In his last two starts combined, McHugh has whiffed 13 hitters in just 12 innings, and now his offense is expected to provide him with plenty of run support. In other words, McHugh should be able to cruise to a victory, and he is easily one of the safest pitching options of the night.

Sean Newcomb, Braves, $14,400 – Finally, Sean Newcomb may be my favorite per-dollar investment of any pitcher (including the two already mentioned) in a matchup against the Phillies at home. The reason to worry about rostering Newcomb normally is due to his uncomfortably high BB rate. Fortunately for the young lefty, the Phillies’ active hitters cumulative have walked at the third lowest rate in the league against LHP. Basically, Newcomb’s lack of control should not hurt him and the Phillies struggle in nearly all other categories; they rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage. Oh, by the way, Newcomb has topped double-digit fantasy points in seven of 10 starts still being called up so he has been rather consistent. Expect another productive outing for a pitcher who could easily crush this price tag if he has his best stuff.

*Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, August 8

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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