MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Kershaw primed to continue excellence

Royals, Phillies bats also among best choices Monday

Kershaw primed to continue excellence

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Monday.

Odubel Herrera: As evidenced by his 30-to-31 BB/K ratio, the outfielder has made notable improvements with his plate skills this season. Herrera could thrive when he brings his lifetime .811 OPS against right-handers (.720 vs. lefties) into a matchup with Tigers righty Mike Pelfrey (career 4.55 ERA, 1.49 WHIP).

Ryan Howard: In his long career, the first baseman has produced an impressive .280/.369/.562 slash line against right-handers. With eight homers across 118 at-bats this season, Howard could display his power against the righty Pelfrey, who has posted a 5.49 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in 2016.

Maikel Franco: From the heart of the Phillies lineup, the third baseman could produce a notable total in DraftKings contests when he brings his lifetime .777 OPS against right-handers (.691 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the righty Pelfrey. Franco could also excel late in the game against a Tigers bullpen that ranks 23rd in the Majors with a 4.08 ERA.

Franco's two-run single

Jarrod Dyson: The outfielder has produced notable lifetime splits, with a .689 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .543 mark vs. lefties. Dyson has the plate skills to reach base multiple times against Twins righty Ricky Nolasco (career 4.55 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) and the speed to swipe a base against catcher Kurt Suzuki, who sometimes struggles to thwart would-be basestealers.

Eric Hosmer: Since the outset of 2015, Hosmer has produced a difference-making .325/.394/.520 slash line against right-handers. The first baseman could drive in multiple runs out of the cleanup spot when he faces the righty Nolasco, who in his career has allowed left-handed hitters such as Hosmer to post a .790 OPS (.726 OPS allowed to righty batters).

Hosmer's two-run homer

Kendrys Morales: The slugger has long fared best vs. right-handers, against whom he has registered a lifetime .804 OPS (.741 vs. lefties). Hitting .191 this season, Morales could have a reduced cost in DraftKings contests for an advantageous matchup against the righty Nolasco (4.74 ERA in 2016). Also working in Morales' favor: Minnesota ranks last in baseball with a .670 defensive efficiency ratio.

Mike Moustakas: Despite spending time on the disabled list this season, the third baseman has ripped seven round-trippers across 101 at-bats. Moustakas could have a great game when he brings his lifetime .721 OPS against right-handers (.673 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the right-handed Nolasco and a Twins bullpen that ranks 28th in the Majors with a 4.85 ERA.

Enrique Hernandez: With a 1.105 OPS against left-handers since the outset of 2015, the outfielder has proved to be among the best in baseball during those matchups. Hernandez could provide cost-effective production in DraftKings contests when he faces lefty Brandon Finnegan (4.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP in 2016) and a Reds relief corps that sits last in the Majors with a 6.64 ERA.

Addison Russell: The second-year shortstop owns a lifetime .751 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .565 mark vs. lefties. Russell could provide production at a premium position when he tangles with Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright (5.92 ERA, 1.53 WHIP in 2016).

Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo has been one of baseball's most productive hitters this season, recording 11 homers with 34 RBIs and a .918 OPS. And with a lifetime .859 OPS vs. right-handers (.754 vs. LHP), he could have a terrific performance vs. the righty Wainwright.

Evan Longoria: The third baseman could put a ball into the outfield seats when he brings his impressive lifetime .918 OPS against left-handers (.799 vs. righties) into a matchup with Marlins fly-ball-prone southpaw Wei-Yin Chen (career 1.2 HR/9 rate). In his career, Chen has allowed right-handed hitters such as Longoria to post a .770 OPS (.652 OPS allowed to lefty batters).

Clayton Kershaw: With a 1.89 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP and a 10.5 K/9 rate since the outset of 2013, the left-hander is in the midst of a historic run of dominance. Kershaw may be worth a notable investment in DraftKings contests when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against the Reds.

Kershaw's 11 strikeouts

Ian Kennedy: With a 3.24 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP this season, the right-hander is off to a solid start with the Royals. Kennedy could compile six-plus quality innings when he faces a Twins lineup that ranks 24th in the Majors with a .694 OPS against righties.

Taijuan Walker: Having posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, the right-hander is showing notable signs of growth this season. Walker could spin a gem when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against an A's lineup that ranks 26th in baseball with a .685 OPS against righties.

Johnny Cueto: With a 2.70 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP this season, Cueto has quelled any concerns regarding his inconsistent work late in 2015. The right-hander will be in prime position to post a game-changing total in DraftKings contests when he works at his offense-suppressing home park against a Padres lineup that ranks last in baseball with a .625 OPS against righties. Also working in Cueto's favor: San Diego has struck out more times (416) than all but one team in the Majors.

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Saturday's games.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.