Carlos Lee and John Buck – These may not be names that strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers, but they have enough success in the past against Cliff Lee for me to recommend taking a flier on them tonight. The duo has combined for a .338 batting average, but it is their power potential that makes me a believer. They have smashed 6 homers (26% of their hits against Lee), and with the Phillies lefty surrendering more HR’s this season than in each of the previous 6 seasons, this tandem is a good bet to produce some runs. The risk is low, but the reward is high, making these Marlins worth your time in daily fantasy baseball leagues.
Adam Dunn (assuming health) – He is facing a strikeout monster in Max Scherzer, but you don’t lose points (in most formats) for striking out. While Dunn is a good bet to be a strikeout victim, his .286 career average against Scherzer is reason for optimism. One third of his hits have cleared the outfield wall, and with the Tigers righty often a home run victim (has given up at least 20 long balls every season since becoming a full time starter), Dunn’s power potential is high tonight. You may have to sit through a few tough at bats, but Dunn has the skill set that could make rostering him worth it with one swing of the bat.
Corey Hart – Hart is very familiar with Paul Maholm from his days in the NL Central, and that comfort level figures to make itself known tonight. Hart has a .333 lifetime average against the Braves lefty, with an ultra impressive .646 slugging percentage. Half of his hits have gone for extra bases, and in the middle of a lineup that is batting .296 against Maholm, Hart has elite RBI potential tonight. He has reached base over 41% of the time against Maholm, making him a threat to not only drive in runs, but also score them.
Players to avoid:
Carlos Ruiz - The Phillies catcher has been among the most valuable fantasy assets this season, as his .340 batting average is 64 points above his career average and his 14 homers in 96 games match his power output over his previous 2 seasons (253 games). But with him just returning from a lengthy DL stint and Josh Johnson on the bump, it is a risky proposition to count on Ruiz’s breakout campaign carrying you in daily fantasy baseball games. The big righty has held Ruiz to a pedestrian .143 batting average, with the catcher recording 0 extra base hits or RBI. In fact, Johnson has sent Ruiz back to the dugout via K twice as often as Ruiz has beaten him with a base hit. Johnson seems to be rounding into form, as his September numbers (15 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 0 home runs, and 11 strikeouts) reflect a healthy on confident pitcher. The Phillies have been on a role of late, but with JJ taking the ball, their fantasy baseball upside is limited.
Cincinnati Reds – The Red Legs rank in the top 10 in the MLB in doubles, home runs, and slugging percentage, but have been rendered ineffective against the Pirates AJ Burnett. As a team, they hold a .172 batting average and a well below average .254 slugging percentage. Their roster has 12 players that have at least as many strikeouts as hits against the righty. The Reds have two elite power hitters in Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, but neither has ever taken Burnett deep. Bucco nation is looking for their playoff dreams to take a step in the right direction, and with Burnett facing the Reds, they have a great chance to win a low scoring affair.