Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Sunday September 23rd

Daily Fantasy BaseballDon’t look now, but Ryan Ludwick has had himself a solid 2012 campaign. I expect that to continue tonight, and it won’t be a move that hamstrings your budget.

Value plays:

Ryan Ludwick – By all statistical measures, Ludwick is having the second best season of his career. He is never given the respect he is due in fantasy circles, as he has never been the model of consistency, but his power is legitimate. He has hit 62% of his home runs this season at home, only adding to the potential of Ludwick against Aaron Harang, a pitcher he has dominated. He’s batting .389 against the Dodgers righty, with 21.4% of his hits clearing the outfield wall. Opponents are batting 26 points higher against Harang away from LA, making the low risk Ludwick worth your while in daily fantasy baseball games.

David Wright – He is worth every penny you need to spend to get him on your roster today. He has seen Ricky Nolasco 60 times in his career, so these numbers are not the cause of a small sample size. He has a .400 batting average and a .750 slugging percentage against the Marlins righty. He has clubbed more homers (5) and recorded more RBI (15) against Nolasco than the rest of his Mets teammates added together. The Mets offense isn’t intimidating, but Wright is an elite talent, and should be considered as such tonight.

Players to avoid:

Adrian Beltre – There is no doubting that the Rangers 3b is among the best at his position in the game, but consider Jason Vargas unimpressed. The M’s lefty has retired Beltre on 14 of his 15 career at bats (.067 batting average) and has been an entirely different pitcher in the comforts of Seattle. Vargas’ ERA is 2.38 runs lower at home than it is on the road with opponents batting 59 points lower and hitting only 21% of their homers against him at home.The combination of success at home and past success against Beltre is enough for me to consider Vargas a threat to the Rangers, and if nothing else, I’m avoiding Beltre in all daily fantasy baseball formats.

Paul Konerko – It is fun to see a great hitter face of against a great pitcher, but Konerko’s fantasy baseball owners have yet to find it pleasurable when he faces Jered Weaver. He has one hit (a single) in 20 career at bats (.050 batting average) against the Halos ace, and figures to get very little help from those hitting around him. Alex Rios and Adam Dunn serve as Konerko’s protection, but they have combined for a .179 batting average with 6 strikeouts for every 1 walk. These trends are enough for me to look elsewhere, but in case it’s not for you: Weaver has held opponents to a .179 batting average at home this year.

Michael Bourn – The Braves speedster is the last Atlanta player I’d roster today, but to that point, there is not a single Brave I am confident in tonight. Cliff Lee wins big games, and I don’t need fancy statistics of split stats to tell me that. But if you’re not sold on Lee as a big game pitcher, he has dominated Bourn. The leadoff hitter has exactly as many hits against the Phillies lefty as you or I do … 0. In fact, he hasn’t even reached base in 15 career at bats against Lee. Dan Uggla and Martin Prado have recorded 8 hits (in 41 at bats) as compared to 16 strikeouts. There is simply no way I am going to bet against Cliff Lee tonight given the big stage and the past success.

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