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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Daily Dose; April 18th

Ryan Howard

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

 

Stacking can either win you games or lose you games.

There’s no in between.

Tonight’s matchup in Coors Field between the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies could draw a lot of stacking interest in daily fantasy baseball, and while I’m not 100 percent opposed to it, I’m also not 100 percent for it. The most home run friendly ballpark in baseball with some less than stellar opposing pitchers, this game could be fairly high-scoring, especially when you consider that the current over/under for this contest is sitting at 10.5.

Wait, there are other games, too? Oh. Cool.

Projected Starters

Alfredo Simon (CIN) Jeff Samardzjia (CHC)
Kyle Lohse (MIL) Charlie Morton (PIT)
Michael Wacha (STL) Gio Gonzalez (WSH)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) Justin Masterson (CLE)
Jared Weaver (LAA) Drew Smyly (DET)
Aaron Harang (ATL) Jonathan Niese (NYM)
Chris Tillman (BAL) Jon Lester (BOS)
Hirkoi Kuroda (NYY) Erik Bedard (TB)
Chris Young (SEA) Nate Eovaldi (MIA)
Felipe Paulino (CWS) Martin Perez (TEX)
Ricky Nolasco (MIN) Jason Vargas (KC)
Jonathan Pettibone (PHI) Tyler Chatwood (COL)
Jarred Cosart (HOU) Sonny Gray (OAK)
Wade Miley (ARI) Zack Greinke (LAD)
Matt Cain (SF) Tyson Ross (SD)

 

Catcher

Wilin Rosario vs PHI - Rosario is always one of the top catcher options when he is at home, and he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Coors this evening. He has some nice pop for a catcher, hitting 29 home runs in Coors Field over the last three seasons. It would be even more appealing if Jonathan Pettibone wasn’t a right-handed pitcher, but Pettibone really isn’t very good, and Rosario should be one of the top catcher plays of the evening, for sure.

First Base

Ryan Howard @ COL - Staying in the same game here, Howard has been a huge favorite of mine for Week 3 fantasy baseball, and that continues with the start of this friendly series in Colorado. Howard is certainly declining, but he still has 25-30 home run power, and there is no better venue for power than Coors, as we know. This venue has ranked inside the top-10 in home runs per game in each season since back in 2001, while Howard has launched three home runs in his last 32 at-bats in Colorado. He can mash in this venue, especially since opposing pitcher Tyler Chatwood, is a righty who is sporting a fly-ball percentage of nearly 40 to start the season. And while it’s a small sample size, Howard is 2-for-5 with two doubles against Chatwood, and the fact that he is right-handed makes Howard in play, seeing as The Big Piece is batting a much improved .272 against righties over the last three seasons, compared to a dismal .198 against lefties. Howard also received a day of rest, so he should be fresher than normal for this one.

Second Base

Chase Utley @ COL - Can’t include batters from this game without arguably the hottest hitter in baseball. Utley is dominating at the plate so far, batting an insane .462 with three homers and 10 RBI. Anyone who is this dialed in at the plate and gets to head to Coors for three outings obviously warrants the attention. His price has gone up, and for good reason, but this is the time to pay fur Utley.

Third Base

David Wright vs ATL - Wright is one of my favorite plays of the evening. Currently riding an eight-game hit streak, the dialed-in hitter gets to face Aaron Harang, who is wildly exceeding expectations and should come crashing back to reality very, very soon. Wright, meanwhile, owns Harang in his career, batting .458 with zero strikeouts and an average of 1.36 fantasy points per at-bat against him in 24 plate appearances. Wright also loves playing against division rival Atlanta, batting a solid .271 with 22 RBI (his 3rd-most vs any team) and seven home runs (2nd-most). He could certainly steal a base, too, as catcher Evan Gattis allowed 16 swiped bags in 42 games a season ago. He’s known for his bat more than his arm.

Outfield

Shin-S00 Choo vs CWS - Choo will still be batting leadoff in an always dangerous Rangers offense that is starting to get it together, scoring 16 runs in their last three games, all resulting in wins. You always want to target Choo against right-handed pitching, as he simply mashes the variety, sporting an impressive batting average of .308 against rights for his career. His price has dropped a good amount since the start of the season, and he is coming off an outing in which he launched his first homer of the year. Opposing pitcher Felipe Paulino is nothing to fear, and is allowing a contact percentage of 84 percent and HR/9 0f 2.45 to start the season. That bodes well for someone like Choo, who is seeing a HR/FB percentage of 16.5 against rights in his career. I like the Rangers offense to keep it going tonight, and Choo should reap the benefits atop the lineup.

Domonic Brown @ COL - Because I’m not a big fan of the shortstop position tonight, I figured I’d provide some bonus outfield option. Dom Brown is certainly volatile, but a GPP play is not out of the question, especially in Colorado. Brown showcased some of his untapped power potential last season, belting a career-high 27 home runs. However, 22 or so of those homers barely escaped the yard. However, you won’t have to worry about that in Coors, where the ball just carries… and carries… and carries some more. The lefty/lefty is a bit concerning, but Brown is batting a strong .283 to start the season, and has recorded a hit in four of his last six outings.

Other OF options: Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Ben Zobrist.

Starting Pitcher

Sonny Gray vs HOU - Gray is one of the top pitchers of the night against a struggling Astros offensive unit. The 24-year old stud is off to a great start to the year, winning two of his first three starts, allowing just two runs and striking out 19. He has some dynamic stuff that should puzzle an Astros offense that has struck out 149 times thus far, the second-most in baseball. They have also scored the fewest runs in baseball (45) and Gray gets to face them in front of his own crowd. Houston has zero plate discpline, swinging at 10.6 percent of pitches landing outside of the strike zone, which is fifth-worst in the league. James Shields just torched this unit for 12 strikeouts last night, and I think Gray has the stuff to approach double-digit K’s tonight.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.