Daily Fantasy Baseball Must Starts: Tuesday July 31st

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must StartsAvoid big market players in New York and Boston today in favor of a pesky veteran (Todd Helton) or an underrated NL lineup (Atlanta Braves).

Value plays:

Atlanta Braves – This may not be the explosive offense that typically has multiple players on your daily fantasy baseball team, but in a one game format, you have every reason to load up on Braves tonight. Atlanta holds a team batting average of .318 against Ricky Nolasco, reason enough to jump on their bandwagon as soon as possible. But their success doesn’t stop there, as they are doing tremendous damage with those hits. The middle of the Braves order (Chipper Jones and Brian McCann) has homered 10 times in 96 at bats against the Marlins righty, and the team as a whole averages one extra base hit every 7.2 at bats. There is a laundry list of players batting at least .320 against Nolasco (Dan Uggla, Martin Pardo, Jones, McCann, Jason Heyward, and Matt Diaz), and they are all valuable tonight. I expect the Braves to be the leagues highest scoring team tonight: make sure you get a piece of the fantasy baseball action.

Neil Walker – Assuming Ryan Dempster isn’t traded before his start, Walker is a solid option tonight. The Bucco’s second basemen holds a .409 lifetime average against the Cubs righty, with 55.6% of his hits going for extra bases. He is the only Pirate to take Dempster deep more than once despite ranking 4th on the team in career at bats against the Cubs ace. He is a low risk high reward option today, but only if Dempster toes the rubber.

Todd Helton – Yes, he is still playing, and yes, I am recommending you roster the 38 year old. He is playing in Coors, a place where he is batting 52 points higher than when on the road, and facing Kyle Lohse, a pitcher whom he has owned to the tune of a .435 career batting average. Half of his hits against the righty have gone for extra base hits and he has only been K’d one time. Helton is going to put a good swing on the ball, and in Coors, that’s all you can ask for. Combine that with the fact that his batting average is 71 points higher against right handed pitchers and you’ve got yourself a candidate for a top 5 performance at his position with the price tag that doesn’t nearly reflect that potential.

Players to avoid:

Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston’s center fielder has looked good at times since returning from the DL, but there is a big difference between occasionally looking good and being able to deal with the Tigers Justin Verlander. The reigning MVP has held Ellsbury to just 3 hits in 18 at bats (.167 career batting average) and has only walked him once. Ellsbury would see some better pitches to hit if David Ortiz was healthy (.333 batting average with a .750 slugging percentage against Verlander), but with Big Papi on the shelf, the stage is set for another outstanding outing from Verlander. The middle of the order doesn’t scare the righty even a little bit (Gonzalez and Pedroia have combined for a .080 batting average), giving him every reason to focus on speedsters like Carl Crawford and Ellsbury. There is no reason to risk good money on any Boston player today in daily fantasy baseball games.

David Wright – Giants manager Bruce Bochy has stuck by Tim Lincecum this season, and his patience figures to pay off tonight. Bochy has stated how Linecum is still throwing the ball good (despite his lack of success), leading me to believe Wright will struggle as he has in the past. The all star third basemen has only 2 hits in 19 career at bats (.105 batting average) against “The Freak” with 11 punch outs. The Mets offense is struggling since the all star break, and facing Lincecum won’t turn that around.

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