Jay Bruce - Doc Halladay is a pitcher to avoid most nights, but not for power hungry daily fantasy baseball owners looking to roster Jay Bruce. The right fielder is putting together a typical season with a lower than ideal batting average and upper level power, but he supplies a solid average (.368 vs Halladay) with his elite power against the Phillies ace. He has stepped into the role of most feared Reds hitter with Joey Votto on the shelf, and batting in the middle of a lineup that owns a very respectable .274 average against Halladay, I expect run producing opportunities to present themselves. Halladay’s numbers spike when pitching away from Philly, as his batting average against jumps 20 points and his ERA nearly a full run. It would be foolish to simply avoid all Reds players simply because they are opposing an ace.
Josh Reddick – It is time to buy Reddick as a legitimate power threat (28 home runs) and sell Dan Haren as a top of the rotation starter this year. These are two players headed in opposite directions right now, and there is very little reason to think that’s going to change tonight. Fantasy baseball owners do not need to be told that Dan Haren struggles more in the second half than the first, and with the Athletics surging, this would appear to be a mismatch. Reddick is the best hitter on a lineup full of underrated players, and he is fresh off of his best RBI month (22) of his breakout campaign. If you’re looking for a sleeper from Oakland, look no further than Seth Smith. Smith owns a .500 slugging percentage against Haren with more than half of his hits going for extra bases.
Detroit Tigers – This loaded lineup has a .309 batting average and records an RBI every two hits against Ubaldo Jimenez, making them the top offense in daily fantasy baseball games. The top producer might surprise you, as it is not Cabrera or Fielder. Delmon Young leads all Tigers in career hits (10) and batting average (.417), while slugging .625. He and Jhonny Peralta (identical .625 slugging percentage) figure to pack a powerful punch in the bottom half of the Detroit lineup, especially if the big guns are pitched around and on base. Playing in Detoit, I like the Tigers offense to lead the MLB in runs scored tonight, making every member of their every day lineup a valuable fantasy commodity.
Justin Upton – Yes, I know that he has been a disappointment all season long, but in a daily format, you need to view every game as a one day season. Ignore his mere 12 homers this season, and instead, focus on his .583 batting average and .913 slugging percentage against the Giants Madison Bumgarner. The Giants lefty has struggled of late (19 base runners, 8 earned runs, and 2 home runs over his last 10.1 innings pitched) against the Cubs and Braves. Upton has shown signs of life in the last month or so, and tonight will be another night when we see a flash of his potential greatness.
Players to avoid:
Carlos Santana – Coming into the season Santana was viewed as an elite talent behind the plate, but his low batting average and declining power numbers have made him a major disappointment in 2012. He doesn’t catch a break tonight, as he faces Doug Fister, a pitcher who has retired him on 18 of 21 occasions (.143 batting average). The light hitting Indians don’t figure to give Santana many run producing opportunities, and on the rare chance that they do, the odds are against Santana to cash them in. With catcher being such a revolving door when it comes to fantasy baseball, I am almost never willing to spend top dollar on an “elite” option. Santana may be more skilled than the other options at catcher, but his ceiling is too low tonight select him.