Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings MLB salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each pitcher.
Cream of the Crop
1) David Price vs. New York Yankees ($10,700) – Talk about consistent, eh? Price has averaged 27.2 FPPG over his first three starts of the season. I mean, sure, Kershaw brings the boom here, but Price isn’t far off. And, you can get Price for $1.8 K less! Nice, huh? The Yankees aren’t an easy foe, however, so be aware that Price has given up 8 HR to Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira combined. It’s not enough for me to avoid Price, and he pushes into my No. 1 spot on Wednesday.
2) Clayton Kershaw @ San Francisco Giants ($12,500) – Kershaw has had one fantastic start, one decent start and one poopie start. The good news? He’s only given up one HR to current Giants’ hitters over 312 at-bats! Um, yeah, wow-zers. Over the last three seasons, Kershaw is 8-4 with a 1.55 ERA against the Giants. The Giants,as a team, have only hit .189 against Kershaw in those three years. You just don’t have a better option to choose from for Wednesday’s games, it’s only if you can get past the $12.6 K price tag.
3) Madison Bumgarner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($9,800) – Ah, yes, so that’s what Bumgarner’s stuff looks like normally. Forget about his first two starts of the year, and feel confident in using him. He doesn’t quite give you Clayton Kershaw-confidence, but Bumgarner is a slight drop in talent with a decent savings at the salary mark. Bumgarner dropped $1,000 in salary, even with his recent improvement.
4) Archie Bradley vs. Texas Rangers ($6,800) – You can’t ask for much better from the youngster to this point. Bradley holds an advantage, considering he hasn’t faced most teams as of yet. He’s got electric stuff and the Rangers aren’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball this season, with only a .211 batting average. Bradley is one of my favorite value-plays on Wednesday.
5) Johnny Cueto @ Milwaukee Brewers ($9,500) – Cueto has 24 strikeouts in his first three starts for DFS owners, so that alone should tell you how valuable Cueto is. What about the $9.5 K price? Tough call. I would normally be all over Cueto, but the fact that Aramis Ramirez has incredible history (.365/.463/.778, 5 HR and 11 RBI) against him bothers me. I like Cueto, but I’ve got others I feel more confident about. Good?
6) Sonny Gray @ Los Angeles Angels ($8,700) – Mike Trout has success against Gray, but other than Trout? No. Gray has the Angels pretty well wrapped-up in the action he’s seen against them so far. I love his early-season improvement to this point as well, with Gray being an underrated value at $8.7 K.
Middle of the Pack
7) J.A. Happ vs. Houston Astros ($6,400) – Current Mariners’ hitters only have TWO hits against Happ in 35 at-bats. That’s a bit extreme, don’t you think? Either way, I’m diggin’ it. Happ is a smart play, playing at home in Seattle, with the potential he’s got facing the players he has in the past.
8) James Shields @ Colorado Rockies ($8,100) – The Padres landing Shields was the “oomph” in their playoff hopes this season, the cap-on-to-of-the-toothpaste moment for me. You have to love the move and what Shields has already done for the Padres. Now, what about pitching in Colorado? Yeah, it gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Shields has had success at Coors Field, even though a ton of the Rockies’ current hitters are smacking him around. Tough call, but I think you can do a bit better than Shields in Colorado.
9) Cole Hamels vs. Miami Marlins ($9,200) – Hamels wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he dominates this game facing the Marlins, but he’s too much of a risk at $9.2 K. I just can’t see risking Hamels here, not with the 12 homers he’s given up to current Marlins hitters. And, no, Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t have all 12 home runs.
10) Jeremy Guthrie vs. Minnesota Twins ($5,500) – I actually like Guthrie here. Maybe it’s the matchup facing the Twins’ bats, or maybe it’s the peyote I just consumed. Okay, kidding. Seriously, though, Guthrie isn’t a horrible pitcher by any means and he does give DFS owners a shot-in-the-dark 20-point fantasy night facing the lowly Twins’ bats.
11) Jason Hammel @ Pittsburgh Pirates ($7,200) – Hammel is keeping DFS owners in contests because he’s striking out hitters and limiting walks. I mean, isn’t that the point of this game for a pitcher? Well, getting down to the nitty-gritty anyway. I don’t have a problem rostering Hammel at all, say with someone like Archie Bradley, to get a good, solid pitching duo so you can go a bit heavy on hitting.
12) Ubaldo Jimenez @ Toronto Blue Jays ($6,600) – So that’s one crappy start and one brilliant start from Jimenez to this point. What about today, you ask? Current Blue Jay’s hitters are only hitting .203 against Jimenez, so there is some positive upside to the Orioles’ hurler. Am I ready to go all-in on him? No, but I’m fine using Jimenez in a hitter-heavy lineup.
13) Jimmy Nelson vs. Cincinnati Reds ($7,000) – Nelson is averaging six strikeouts over his first two starts in 2015, but still provides risk to DFS owners. He’s only allowed two walks over the season, so that’s a lovely sign that he’ll pitch well over tanking big time, but you have to figure that youth and consistency issues will pop-up from time-to-time.
14) Joe Kelly @ Tampa Bay Rays ($6,400) – Kelly is currently leading the Red Sox in ERA and WHIP, and represents a pretty solid value overall. This will be his third AL-East matchup in a row, so he’ll need to be at the ready to silence the Rays’ bats. It’s okay to look for other pitching options, but don’t be afraid to roster Kelly either.
Rest of the Field
15) Doug Fister vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($7,400) – Fister’s real MLB numbers look fantastic on paper, while averaging 16.2 FPPG in his first two starts. Yeah, it’s early. Yeah, Fister is a decent pitcher, likely undervalued some, but I’m not into the Cardinals as an opponent. I think you can do better considering the price.
16) Yovani Gallardo @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($6,500) – Gallardo induced 14 ground balls in his last start – can you believe it? Sort of a strange turnaround for Gallardo, and maybe he’s figured something out that we’re not aware of just yet, but I’m still a tad hesitant. He’s not a horrible option to roster, but I’m not expecting another groundball fest from him either.
17) Kyle Kendrick vs. San Diego Padres ($4,000) – Kendrick may be the sneakiest play of the night. I mean, for $4 K… what do you expect? This would be the ultimate Studs-and-Duds play, but that would mean rostering Kershaw with him and making sure hitters like Mike Trout are roaming your lineup. I like the risk in Kendrick. And, yeah, be sure to knock me upside the head if it doesn’t work out for you.
18) Nathan Karns vs. Boston Red Sox ($6,000) – Karns sure showed me in his last start against the Yankees, eh? I was staying far away from him last week, but he was able to sling his stuff and get outs like the big boys do. I don’t know, maybe I’m undervaluing Karns, but I’m just not thrilled about this start.
19) Jarred Cosart @ Philadelphia Phillies ($6,300) – Cosart has no pitching history against the Phillies, so there’s not much to go on here. The risk is far too great at $6.3 K. Give me Jeremy Guthrie for much less, and only give him a whirl when Cosart starts striking out hitters and turning into a more efficient pitcher.
20) Dillon Gee vs. Atlanta Braves ($6,500) – I’m a bit surprised that Gee had seven strikeouts last start out, but I’m not expecting that again. The only way Gee has a rockin’ delicious start for the Mets is if he strikes out 20. Ahem.
21) Roberto Hernandez @ Seattle Mariners ($5,000) – Believe it or not, Hernandez has actually had decent history against current Mariners’ hitters. The $5 K price tag is tempting, but if you’re going to roster Hernandez you need to make sure you’ve got Clayton Kershaw or David Price as your other starter.
22) Vance Worley vs. Chicago Cubs ($6,100) – Yuck. If anyone pays $6.1 K to roster Worley it’s because they’re not digging into the numbers and they’re just playing their hearts. Even coming off a good quality start, I’m not buying. Not facing Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo, new-dude Kris Bryant… the list goes on.
23) John Lackey @ Washington Nationals ($7,800) – I’ve got a bad feeling about Lackey facing the Nationals on Wednesday. He’s coming off a start against the Reds where he only netted 3.2 fantasy points, and I know it’s not a sign of things to come in this game, but Lackey is heading into Washington facing a Nats team that is getting better and getting very hungry. I’m wishy-washy on Lackey, and not confident enough to suggest you lock him in.
24) Aaron Sanchez vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,800) – Great super-future talent, and will likely show some of it this season, but I’m passing all the way around facing the Orioles’ bats.
25) Adam Warren @ Detroit Tigers ($4,200) – Going against David Price? Facing the Tigers’ bats? Ugh. I like Warren this season from an underrated value, but not enough to make a run at him in this game. The stars are not in Warren’s favor today.
26) Mike Pelfrey @ Kansas City ($4,100) – Blech. Double blech. Pelfrey is facing the Royals’ bats and he’s got what behind him for run support? No thank you. I relish the old days of once value Pelfrey as a top-level prospect.
27) Eric Stults @ New York Mets ($5,800) – Stults is leaving right off from where he did last year, giving up three home runs already in two starts. Just in case you didn’t know, Stults gave up 26 HR in 2014. Yeah, run away… far away.
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