Cincinnati Reds – Daily fantasy baseball owners are truly playing with fire if they avoid the Reds smoking hot lineup tonight. They simply do not lose games any more, and with the high scoring Brewers in the other dugout, the Reds need to continue to swing a hot bat. Yovani Gallardo opposes Cincinnati tonight and been knocked around by all parts of their lineup (.328 team batting average against the righty). Jay Bruce leads the way with a .462 batting average and 2 RBI for every 3 hits. Ryan Ludwick owns a .353 batting average against Gallardo, with half of his hits leaving the ballpark. The ageless Scott Rolen holds a .381 career batting average vs the Brewers ace and has had half of his hits go for extra bases. Even without MVP candidate Joey Votto in the lineup the NL Central leaders should be feared.
Josh Hamilton – Fantasy baseball is a game of patience, and that should be rewarded tonight. Hamilton has struggled of late and is searching for any little advantage, anything to give him an edge. He has 3 hits in 3 career at bats against the Red Sox Aaron Cook, which can’t hurt is confidence. Hamilton is an elite hitter and is just scuffling like another elite hitter did to start the season … Albert Pujols. With the Green Monster to his left and a short wall to his right, Fenway would be a perfect place to start the resurgence of Hamilton. It doesn’t hurt that Adrian Beltre will be batting next to him, as he has a .462 batting average vs Cook.
Players to avoid:
New York Yankees – Does great pitching beat great hitting? Not always, but from a fantasy baseball perspective, I’m not betting against the best pitcher in the MLB. Justin Verlander hosts the Bronx Bombers tonight, and while a few hitters have had marginal success against the righty, nobody figures to produce a useful stat line in daily fantasy baseball games. Derek Jeter (.344 batting average against Verlander) and Ichiro Suzuki (.333) have done well against the Tigers ace, but those singles don’t add up very fast. Their value drops as the middle of the order hitters have had no success when it comes to knocking in runs. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Raul Ibanez have all struck out at least as many times as they have recorded a hit. Alex Rodriguez has blasted 3 homers and owns a .333 batting average against the reigning MVP, but he will be watching this game from the dugout. Verlander will give up some hits, but the potential for scoring runs is very low for the Yanks tonight.
Adam Jones – The O’s center fielder seems to be a safe bet every day for at least a hit if not more, but I’m not counting on him for anything tonight. Jason Vargas and the Mariners are on a roll, making a continuation of domination of Jones (.188 batting average with 0 extra base hits) even more likely. Vargas has won 8 of his 13 starts on the road, and with the Mariners weak offense, the odds of this being a low scoring game are great. Hits figure to be hard to come by, and with only 2 homers the last 3 weeks, a long ball seems unlikely from Jones.
Coco Crisp – Yea yea, I know the A’s have been nearly impossible to beat and have done it with a relatively unknown cast. But if you think they can beat Jered Weaver, you mine as well not pick a roster for tonight’s action. Crisp (.158 batting average with 3 strikeouts for every 2 hits) is only one of the many Athletics that has been paralyzed by the elite pitching of Weaver. Oakland is batting .193 as a team against the Angels righty, with more strikeouts than hits. They have flourished in extra innings during this magical run, and if that is going to be the case tonight, it’ll be because of phenomenal pitching, not hitting. Crisp is the most owned player in Oakland, and he needs to be avoided like the plague tonight.