We have a huge slate of games today! Here are some guys I think you should at least consider, at every position and price range. Good luck!
Early and Late options today for contests:
Fransisco Liriano vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($9700) – Liriano has the best combination of recent performance, matchup, and price for me today. He has been awesome over his last three starts. He has gone 19 innings, with 13 hits, 4 walks, only 2 earned runs and a whopping 29 strikeouts. He will be at home in his pitcher friendly home park and taking on a Brewers team that is one of the worst in baseball against left-handed pitching. The Brewers are batting a league low .194 against left-handers and have a 23.3% K-rate which is 5th most. He also goes opposite the rookie today who had a ERA above 5 in AAA before this spot start. He plays in that high scoring League down there, so we can give him a small pass, but this is still a step up. Liriano is a huge favorite at -210, in a great upside matchup for strikeouts here, and should be one of the top scorers on the day.
Carlos Rodon vs. Houston Astros ($5700) – I had to double and triple check to make sure I did not miss some number that would justify this price, but after further review I think it is just way too low. Rodon is a huge prospect and has flashed his upside a few times already. He tends to go about 6 innings max, due to the high strikeout and high walk numbers that he allows driving up his pitch count. In his bad starts he has averaged about a K per inning and has dialed up 8 and 10 strikeouts as well, so he has upside. The Astros have the second worst K% against left-handers and the 8th worst batting average. Those numbers do not even factor in the 14K gem left-hander Chris Sale threw against them last night as well. The matchup is solid and the price is too enticing to pass up for an SP2 today.
Stephen Vogt ($3900) – Catcher is a tough position today. If you look through the matchups, there’s not many splits advantages from the usual top priced guys everyone likes to roll out there. A lot of guys have matchups with tough pitchers, which makes sense with so many Aces on the hill today. Vogt did suffer a thmb injury that is not serious enough to keep him out, but does seem to be bothering him. He was 0 for 9 in his last two starts, so he probably flies under the radar here as well. He gets a matchup with right-hander nick Martinez who has been tough on lefties this year, but allowed a 1.62 WHIP to them last year. Left-handed bats are the way to attack Martinez and with so few options standing out, Vogt gets the nod from me today.
Anthony Rizzo ($5000) – Rizzo has one of the highest bb% and lowest K% of any first baseman. He is a solid cash game play with GPP upside in almost any matchup against right-handed pitching. He has a hit in each of his last ten games and five of those have been multi-hit games including his last four. He matches up today with Anibal Sanchez who has allowed 20 runs over the last 23 innings he has pitched in his four recent starts. Sanchez is weaker vs. left-handed batters and despite his strikeout potential, he has allowed way too many baserunners and runs to negate them. People may shy away from Rizzo in this one due to a matchup with Sanchez, but the numbers say he should be able to keep the hit and on base streaks alive.
Mark Reynolds ($3100) – With Matt Holiday going down yesterday and likely sitting out today, Reynolds is likely to move up in the order as one of the top remaining right-handed bats on the Cardinals team. We should see him in the four hole in this one, which would make him arguably the cheapest clean up hitter on the day. Toss in the fact he gets a good splits matchup with Jorge De La Rosa with a chance to hit in Coors Feild and you have the recipe for a great value play. At only $3100, he does not need to do much and should be able to pay that off with an RBI Double or two singles and a run scored. He has the chance to do all of that and more here today, and the price is too cheap to pass up in this good of a situation.
Howie Kendrick ($3900) – Kendrick should remain somewhere in the top of the order for this one. He has been hitting cleanup lately and doing a nice job of making contact and driving in runs. He does not have a ton of power upside for a guy who hits fourth, but he is a solid professional hitter with great lineup placement and a good matchup today. He goes up against left-hander Robbie Ray who was good in his first start of 2015, but was a gas can who DFS players targeted bats against in 2014. I see regression coming from Ray and his struggles with right-handers plays to Kendricks strength.
Neil Walker ($3700) – Without seeing lineups, I could not go any lower than Walker here, but the Pirates 2B seems like a good play here. He gets a matchup with the rookie Milwaukee is calling up for a spot start and should be somewhere in the top 5 of that order against the young righty. Walker is a switch hitter who prefers batting against right-handed pitchers, so this is what he wants in a splits matchup. He is discounted from his price earlier in the season and his lineup mates have picked it up. He has safety and upside which make him an excellent play here today.
Miguel Cabrera ($4600) – Miggy is a consistent cash game play as he gets on base nearly every game. He has only averaged about 7 points per contest over his last ten, but it’s been a reliable source of points/ He has not had a true breakout game recently where he hits a few homers or racks up multiple hits and RBI. I think he can do that today against Lester. Cabrera has a long track record of hitting lefties well. He is at .300 this season, was .301 last year, .368 in 2013, and .314 in 2012. Although he has been worse to lefties this year, Lester struggles typically have come from right-handed batters over his career. Miggy looks to be heating up with the weather and his price is discounted from it’s usual high here. I’m going to take the generous price tag and the consistent points that Miggy gives me. If I am lucky I may also get the upside he always has the ability to tap as well.
Brock Holt ($3200) – The lefty utility guy was a good player for this Sox team in 2014 before being lost in the myriad of new signings this year. He has been back towards the top of that order now and producing good results. He has at least 9 fantasy points in four of his last five, so he has safety and upside at this price, provided he is still in the two hole. He gets to hit in Camden Yards, so it’s a park bump. He also faces Miguel Gonzalez who struggles with left-handed bats. Gonzalez has been tough at home, but if you can get a guy who is batting second for $3200 in a good splits matchup and on a hot streak, there’s not much you can argue against with it.
Hanley Ramirez ($4800) – This is more of a process of elimination pick for me today, so let me walk you through the thought process. The top four priced SS are Tulo, Hanley, Jhonny Perralta, and Reyes. Tulo has a tough matchup with Wacha and is very pricey, so he is out. Reyes has a matchup with Dan Haren, but he is not someone I like paying up for at this point in time. That leaves Perralta and Hanley at the same price and both with solid matchups. I would not knock anyone who went Perralta as his matchup with the lefty De La Rosa in Coors is pretty ideal. Still for the same price, I just think Hanley is the better player. Gonzalez has been known to allow a few long balls, and Camden Yards is a friendly place to hit. Hanley has rounded back into form from injury and his exit velocity is backing up the claims that he is healthy and feeling good. Coors field players are always over owned too, so my choice is Hanley over Jhonny at the same price point.
Rueben Tejada ($3100) – Listen, I do not love Tejada. I do not think he is a long term solution as a two hole hitter on a winning team. I also do not think he stays there all season, BUT he is hot right now and very cheap. A lot of good players are finding a way to get him into their lineups daily as a salary saver and he has produced great numbers for those who showed him faith. He has had at least 7 in 8 of his 10 games and is averaging about 8.5 over that stretch, so at $3100, you really can not be mad with that production.
Giancarlo Stanton ($5200) – People will shy away from Stanton here because Buehrle has been really good lately. He’s going 8 innings per start and cruising through opponents lineups, but that only means low ownership to me. Stanton has double digit fantasy points in six of his last nine games. He has five homers in thirty-eight at-bats against left-handed pitching in 2015 and was batting .363 with seven homers in only 108 at-bats in 2014 against them. This game is being played in the Rogers Centre which is a very homerun hitter friendly place where right-handed batters tend to do well. It makes sense to ride the hot bat in a matchup that is preferable to him in a great hitter’s park.
Josh Reddick ($4400) – Reddick smashes right-handed pitching. It is the reason he finds himself batting in the 3 spot most nights when they face a righty. Reddick is batting over .300 with 8 homeruns so far this year. He does his best work against right-handers as the numbers from this year and last year show. This year he is hitting .371, with 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 8 homeruns against righties in only 140 plate appearances. Those are MVP caliber type numbers from a guy who missed about a month of the season to start with as well. Reddick has been swinging it well again lately after breaking out from a mini-slump, so take advantage f the discount before he is back up at $4800 or above.
Yasiel Puig ($5000) – Puig has 3 hits in seven at-bats since returning from injury. He was mashing left-handed pitching earlier this year before he was injured and against a weak pitcher like Robbie Ray, it is probably going to continue that way. Puig is 5 for 12 so far against south paws in 2015, and he should be back in his normal high batting order spot for this one here today. Puig has speed, power, and can hit for average. If he ever learns how to run the bases without making boneheaded plays, he would be a complete player. Still, he has the explosive ability to really go off, and a good matchup against a weak pitcher to do so here.
Ryan Raburn ($2600) – Raburn is always in play when he faces a left-handed pitcher. The Platoon guy is one of the bigger right-handed bats the indians have and will likely find himself in the four or five spot of the order again here today. He gets a matchup with Roenis Elias, who has been pretty solid in most of his starts this season. Still at only $2600, you do not need a lot from Raburn and will have a hard time finding another guy in the meat of any lineup at a cheaper price or with a better splits advantage today.