Interleague play makes calling on past performances a bit tougher, as these players have not seen each other often. But here are some trends to consider when selecting your daily fantasy baseball lineup.
Kevin Youkilis – Stuck in a season long slump and facing an up and coming front end pitcher, Youk would seem like a player to avoid in any format of fantasy baseball. But he has 6 hits in 11 career at bats against the Nationals Gio Gonzalez and owns a .583 OBP against the lefty. Despite his awful season, Youkilis is batting 124 points higher against left handed pitchers and 28 points higher at Fenway. The .239 season average is discouraging, but it is worth rolling the dice on the Sox third basemen in daily fantasy baseball games.
Jason Kipnis – One of the bright spots in fantasy baseball this year, Kipnis figures to continue his break out season against Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals. While the two have never faced each other, I like the hitter in this matchup due in large part to the players around him. Current Indians are batting .311 against Lohse, leading me to believe that there will be people on base when Kipnis approaches the batters box. Cleveland’s second basemen ranks among the best fantasy options over the last 30 days (22 runs, 4 HRs, 15 RBI, 8 SBs) and the Cardinals opponents have averaged over 6 runs per game in Lohse’s last 5 starts.
Adam Dunn – The Dunn of old seems to have returned, and that’s bad news for a pitcher who doesn’t strike out a ton of batters. Jordan Lyles averages about 2 strikeouts every 3 innings, making contact a likelihood for Dunn and the rest of his White Sox teammates. Few players to as much damage when contact is made, which is why I like Dunn in his first career appearance against Lyles. It doesn’t hurt that over 70% of his HR’s have come against right handed pitchers or that he bats 70 points higher against righties.
Players to avoid:
Michael Cuddyer – Some pitchers dominate hitters, and then there is what Dan Haren does to Cuddyer. The Angels righty has struck out Cuddyer 10 times for every one walk issued, and has held the outfielder to a pitiful .148 average. Cuddyer is a value daily fantasy baseball play on many days, as he bats in the middle of a strong lineup that plays 81 games at Coors field, but rostering him today is a waste of time.
All Nationals – Let me be clear, this is not a Dice-K endorsement. But from a fantasy perspective, I hate owning players when Dice-K pitches, as walks are not high point getters. In his first start of the season, Dice-K figures to either have his A stuff and strikeout batters or have no control and walk everybody. Either way, the fantasy points will not accumulate in a hurry, so I’m staying away from Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and the rest of the upstart Nats.