Save the Cole Industry

Since the Mets will be missing their best left-handed hitter (Michael Conforto), A.J. Cole is sneakily in a great position to produce a quality start at an inexpensive price tag. Check out daily fantasy expert Ricky Sanders’ recommended plays to help you fill out your roster for today’s MLB.

Infield:

Gary Sanchez, Yankees, $10,200 – No starting pitcher has allowed more home runs (HRs) to opposing RHHs than Ariel Miranda this season. Now, he will now be tasked with shutting down an excellent offense (Yankees) in power-friendly Yankee Stadium. Good luck. Heading into tonight, Gary Sanchez has homered in three straight games and has driven in nine hitters during that span…all while on the road. Although Miranda has done a decent job limiting hard contact against him, he has still allowed fly balls at a whopping 56.0-percent rate to RHHs which has led to a 2.03 HR/9 rate. Relying on fly ball outs in Yankee Stadium is a scary proposition regardless and Miranda is bound to give up at least a few long balls in this contest. Look for the red-hot Sanchez to be one of the hitters who launches one out.

Todd Frazier, Yankees, $10,200 – One Yankees bat is simply not enough against the HR-prone lefty so go ahead and fire up Todd Frazier as well. While Miranda has struck out righties at a respectable 21.3-percent rate, and Frazier strikes out at a decent clip (21.4-percent), he also ranks second amongst the team’s regulars in ISO against LHP. Yes, Frazier has edged out Aaron Judge in a category that measures power, which shows just how much potential Frazier possesses. If looking for the best correlation play of the entire day, look no further than Frazier’s 58.0-percent fly ball rate in the split against a pitcher allowing fly balls well over 50-percent of the time. Frazier’s swing is a bit of an uppercut which will be an advantage in this game because he will have a great shot to send one into the bleachers. Look for the Yankees to rack up runs in a hurry and for Miranda to suffer through a long (short?) evening.

Outfield:

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, $11,100 – Death, taxes, the Twins letting fantasy owners down against a gas can and Giancarlo Stanton against a southpaw are the four surest things in life. Probable starter Travis Wood stands no chance against Stanton mostly because he has only struck them out at a 16.3-percent rate. When righties have made contact against Wood, they have made it count: .352 wOBA, .289/.365/.455 slash line, 22.8-percent line drive rate and a 40.6-percent fly ball rate. Thus far, only Nolan Arenado, Andrew McCutchen and Nick Castellanos have launched more homers against lefties this year than Stanton although Stanton leads the league in overall homers by 10 (over the aforementioned Judge). The man is just a beast and should be started whenever he is in a favorable matchup because he quite often delivers with a long ball. Of course, this matchup qualifies so start him with confidence in all formats.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, $6,600 – What in the world is this price tag on Jose Bautista against 44-year old Bartolo Colon? Sure, Colon has strung together three productive outings over the course of his last four starts. Still, since Jul. 24, Colon has allowed at least a 33.3-percent hard hit rate and 35.0-percent fly ball rate in every start. In fact, he has allowed a hard hit rate of 38.5-percent or more in all but one start during that span and a fly ball rate of 42.3-percent in all but one as well. Essentially, hitters are smashing the ball against him and hitting the ball in the air, but Colon has gotten a bit lucky. At some point, his luck is destined to run out, and that likely starts tonight against a Blue Jays team loaded with power (especially at the top of the lineup). The Blue Jays’ projected lineup begins with two powerful righties and Colon has struggled to retire RHHs this year: .400 wOBA, .336/.376/.581 slash line, 31.8-percent hard hit rate and a 1.69 HR/9 rate. At this price point, Bautista can be locked into both cash game and tournament rosters.

Pitchers:

Justin Verlander, Tigers, $23,200 – If spending up for a pitcher, Justin Verlander is the safest of the bunch because he should be a lock to flirt with double-digit strikeouts against the lowly White Sox. Both Leury Garcia and Yoan Moncada are dealing with injuries plus Avisail Garcia’s wife just birthed their second child. In other words, their already weak lineup has the potential to get significantly weaker on Friday if all (or some) of those hitters sit. Already, the White Sox rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO, BB rate, AVG, OBP, SLG, hard hit rate and line drive percentage against RHP. Sans a few of the team’s top hitters, the White Sox present just about the easiest possible matchup for an opposing righty. For that reason, Verlander is worth every penny of his expensive price tag.

Kenta Maeda, Dodgers, $20,100 – In Dodger Stadium this evening, Vegas is only implying the Brewers to score 3.4 runs against the en fuego Kenta Maeda. What a run Maeda has been on as of late: seven straight starts with at least 16.50 fantasy points and he has struck out six-plus in five consecutive starts prior to Friday. Fortunately for Maeda, the Brewers strike out at the highest rate in the National League against RHP and arguably their best hitter (Travis Shaw) may be out of the lineup due to fouling a ball off his foot. Even if Shaw suits up, Maeda should be able to cruise through this lineup because his arsenal is nasty and he misses bats with the best of them (12.8-percent swinging strike rate this year). If needing a discount from the top tier of pitching, feel free to pivot to Maeda.

A.J. Cole, Nationals, $12,800 – Finally, A.J. Cole will round out the pitching options tonight and I honestly feel pretty good about him. Cole is one of the worst pitchers in the league against LHHs but Michael Conforto is out and will possibly need season-ending surgery. The only lefties remaining in the starting lineup are Brandon Nimmo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Dominic Smith; none of which strike fear into anyone’s heart. Otherwise, Cole has struck out righties at a 20.0-percent rate and has held them to a .274 wOBA, .214/.279/.350 slash line, 12.1-percent hard hit rate and 32.3-percent fly ball rate this year. Assuming he can keep the lefties quiet, and the lefties stink so he should be able to, then Cole should toss a solid outing.

*Stats are accurate as of Thursday, August 24

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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