Justin Verlander

Tuesday baseball is back, and we have 14 games on tap for the main fantasy baseball slate. There are a wide array of pitching options, and there will be some tough decisions to make tonight. That is what I am here to help with!

Value also unexpectedly can open up due to lineup changes, making it important to stay up-to-the-minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter at @DKLive.


1. Griffin Canning, $7,900, LAA vs. DET

Canning has not been a particularly good pitcher this season. He has a 5.08 xFIP, and gave up five runs in his most recent start against Baltimore. So how is he the top pitcher on today’s list? For starters, you should note that today is a Coors slate involving a very potent Dodgers offense. You’re going to want some access to those bats. Canning is the cheapest pitcher on today’s list, and has to be in consideration at the top on that information alone.

The matchup is what really puts him over the top. Detroit is miserable against right-handed pitching. The Tigers rank last in wRC+ against righties, and strike out more than any other team in baseball. Though Canning has not been great at preventing runs, he is still striking out over 25% of batters. And as we’ve discussed many times before, that is what matters most on DraftKings.

Also helping Canning is that he is a primarily fastball pitcher. He deploys the pitch over 40% of the time, and the Tigers are 29th in the league against fastballs, according to Fangraphs pitch value. They are also 25th or worse against sliders and curveballs, the other two pitches of significance that Canning throws.


2. Justin Verlander, $11,400, HOU at CLE

Verlander is on the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, but is also the most talented pitcher on the slate. He has an ERA under 3.00 this season, and has struck out 183 batters in 144.2 innings. In his most recent outing against Oakland, Verlander struck out 11 batters in six innings to just two hits.

Cleveland is an average matchup. They are 16th in wRC+, and strike out just 21.9% of the time against righties. That last start about Oakland, however, shines some light into the kind of upside Verlander still possesses in these matchups. The Athletics have a higher wRC+ and strikeout less than Cleveland, and he still mowed them down. Anytime Verlander pitches, you have to consider him.

With that said, it will be difficult to feature Verlander in a cash type of setting given his price. I love him in tournaments as a roster-construction pivot. Paying up at pitcher and finding a cheaper stack outside of Coors should differentiate you in GPPs with a boatload of upside.


3. Yu Darvish, $9,800, CHC at STL

Darvish has had his second straight up-and-down season, but it has still come with plenty of fantasy-viable starts and strikeouts. He has a 4.29 xFIP, but has struck out over 27% of batters faced. A good example of Darvish’s helter-skelter season is that over his past four starts he has pitched two shutout outings and two allowing four runs. However, I think fantasy gamers should be looking more at the upside in this spot.

The Cardinals are 21st in wRC+ against righties and strike out 22.7% of the time against them. Darvish throws mostly a fastball (27.8%), slider (26.5%) and cutter (23.3%). St. Louis is average against fastballs, but rank 25th against sliders and 26th against cutters, according to Fangraphs.

Darvish has pitched against the Cardinals twice this season, and, in true Darvish fashion, was excellent in one start and terrible in the other. However, it was the road start in which Darvish scored 19.3 DKFP. He has overall been better on the road this season, with a 0.91 difference in ERA, and striking out more batters while walking less.


4. Jake Odorizzi, $9,400, MIN at MIA

Odorizzi is coming off a disastrous start in which he allowed nine earned runs to the Yankees. But even with that start in hand, Odorizzi has pitched to a 3.84 ERA and struck out a little over a batter an inning. He has given up one or less earned run 10 times this season.

Odorizzi is in great position to get back on track against the Marlins. Miami is better than only the aforementioned Tigers in wRC+ against righties, and strike out 25.3% of the time, a top-five rate. The Marlins are also very righty-heavy, with eight expected right-handers in tonight’s lineup. Odorizzi has allowed just a 0.266 wOBA to opposing righties this year.

Odorizzi leads with his fastball, which he throws about 57% of the time. The Marlins are 28th against fastballs, according to Fangraphs pitch value.


5. Noah Syndergaard, $10,300, NYM at CHW

Syndergaard has been very average this season, especially for him. His 4.12 xFIP and 23.7% strikeout rate is not what people expected from him in 2019. However, there is some hope that Thor can still be a top-end pitcher in baseball. He had a fantastic July, pitching to a 3.51 xFIP and 25.2% strikeout rate, the best he has had since the beginning of the year.

The White Sox are 27th in wRC+ against righties, and strike out 26% of the time against them, third most frequently. Syndergaard throws mainly his sinker (30.3%) and fastball (28.5%). The White Sox rank 25th and 26th respectively against those pitches, according to Fangraphs.

Don’t snitch to fellow DK writer Greg Ehrenberg, but there is a little NARRATIVE STREET going with Syndergaard, who is making his last start prior to MLB’s trade deadline. If he wants to find himself in a pennant race this fall, Syndergaard would do well to perform here, and increase his trade value for the eligible teams in the pitching market.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.