We have a slate with eight games starting at noon and four late games starting at 7pm that we will analyze separately. This breakdown will concentrate on the early slate of games. Those with start times before 7 PM EST.
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
Max Scherzer vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($12700) – He has been downright dominate since coming to the national league. He has 25 strikeouts in 21.2 innings of work with a 0.83 WHIP to match his 0.83 ERA. He is the biggest favorite on the early slate at -151 in a game with a total of only 6.5 runs. He pitches deep into games, strikes batters out, and limits the number of walks and hits. He is a big favorite for the win as well, so he clicks off all the boxes. The only question you have to ask is whether or not you are willing to pay the sky high price for him?
Bartolo Colon vs. Atlanta Braves ($8400) – Bartolo is now 3-0 to start the season with 18 strikeouts in 20 innings of work. He has a WHIP of .80 and an ERA of 2.25. He gets to pitch at home in the friendly confines of Citi Field, which is a great pitchers park. Bartolo is a -133 favorite in a game with a 7 run total. He offers a 33% discount from Scherzer today and is as likely to get 20 fantasy points as Scherzer is to get 30, if not more so. That Atlanta line up is nothing spectacular, so I think he has a good chance to go at east 6 innings with 5 strikeouts 2 runs and pick up the win. He should end up in the 20-24 range off of that stat line and that would make him a very useable option today.
Michael Wacha vs. Washington Nationals ($8200) – I would not advise taking both him and Scherzer, but I do think this is a pitcher’s duel with the winner being one of the top starts on the day. Wacha actually has a good case for himself today despite being a big underdog going opposite Scherzer. He has a WHIP of 0.80 so far and an ERA of only 1.35. His price is low due to only having 6 strikeouts so far, but he is a strikeout pitcher so I think they will come. The Nationals have struck out the second most times of anyone in the league so far. Wacha should be able to improve on those K totals in this one. The way to get to Wacha is with Left-handed batters and the Nats really only have two to worry about in Harper and Span. Plus he gets a neutral park move to another great pitcher’s park today. I don’t recommend taking both him and Scherzer in the same lineup, but I will not fault anyone who goes Wacha over Scherzer for the salary relief.
Middle of the Pack
Julio Teheran vs. New York Mets ($9200) – Teheran goes up opposite Bartolo and you may be wondering why I have two sets of guys opposing each other on the top of this list, but those games have total of 7 or less and the other games all have totals of 8.5 or more. Teheran gets a good pitchers park to throw in here, and his offense has been decent despite having a severe lack of overall talent in the eyes of most baseball analysts. He gets a Mets team that has been hot, but has a ton of injuries which have forced a lot of bench players into prominent roles. Teheran has already seen the Mets once this year and went six innings of five strikeout ball with only two hits, four walks, and one earned run allowed. That was also against the Mets at full strength, so he may improve on those numbers today. Again I would choose either him or Bartolo tomorrow, but would be leaning Colon’s way. Still I think he can go 7 innings with six or more strikeouts and limit the Mets to three runs or less.
Anibal Sanchez vs. New York Yankees ($8100) – I do not know how smart this is after the Yank’s teed off on David Price in the last game, but I think the matchup here is in his favor. He is a -121 favorite at home and gets a Yankee team that is in the top five in the league for the most strikeouts so far. Sanchez has always been a high K pitcher, so he should have a nice floor under him in this one. He got shelled in his last outing after two quality starts earlier in the season. I think that will help him go lower owned as more people may gravitate towards his opposition despite Sanchez being the favorite.
Jeff Locke vs. Chicago Cubs ($6900) – Locke dazzled in his last outing against a righty dominant lineup for the Brewers. This Cubs team has a lot of young free swinging right-handed bats as well and that can be good or bad here for Locke. They have struck out in 24 of the 82 plate appearances against left handed pitching in 2015. They also have reached base in 28 of those plate appearances, so there’s positives and negatives. Locke is a -125 favorite and expected to give up about 3 runs. If he can go seven innings with five strikeouts on his way to the win, he will finish with about 22 DK points for under $6700, which would make him one of the best value’s on the day.
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Detroit Tigers ($9600) – Just when people were ready to write off Tanaka, he comes back with a gem of a performance. He went 7 innings of two hit, no run ball with 8 strikeouts and he did it on only 85 pitches. That was against Tampa Bay and now he will likely see a much tougher offense in the Detroit Tigers. I expect him to have a solid game, but he is an underdog, on the road, and facing a really good hitting team. He does have better numbers against right-handed batters, which is what the Detroit lineup is loaded with, so there’s a lot to like. If his price was not so high, I could consider him, but with the win not being probable and the chance for some of those big bats to get to him, I can’t move him up into the elite tier in this one.
Tyson Ross vs. Colorado Rockies ($7600) – Ross was very good last year for San Diego and the obvious drawback here is the Coors Field effect. Still, Ross is currently a -110 favorite and has big strikeout upside. His price is cheap right now and that is likely due to his not pitching deep into games and having to face the Rockies in Coors. This is definitely not a safe cash game option I would recommend, but he should have a pretty solid floor off of those projected strikeouts. He is cheap enough that he may make value even without a win if he can limit the damage and make it through six innings.
Kyle Hendricks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($7000) – Toss out the Coors field start and Hendricks numbers look really good. He gets to play in a pitcher’s park tomorrow against a team who averages the least hits per game in the National League at only 7.1, is in the bottom third for runs with only 3.9 per game, and is averaging over 8.3 strikeouts per game which is fifth worst. Hendricks had eight strikeouts in six innings against a much better hitting Padres team last out, so he could improve off of that one here. He had over 20 fantasy points without picking up the win last out. I expect him to pitch as well today if not better as he only threw 85 pitches in each of his first two. If he gets to 100, it could be a 7 inning 10 strikeout performance for him.
Rest of the Field
Kyle Lohse vs. Cincinnati Reds ($6100) – These last five pitchers all have the ability to blow up, but Lohse is probably the best of the bunch. He is a -120 favorite in a game with a lot of runs expected. He has not gone more than six innings, struck out more than five batters, or given up less than four runs yet in any start, so you can see why he is low on the list. Still he is favored tomorrow and I like him more than his opposition, so he is not the worst option.
Homer Bailey vs. Milwaukee ($8200) – I just can not pay $8200 for an underdog who went five and two-thirds with no strikeouts while allowing 12 base runners and five runs. I know the Brewers have struggled and maybe I would consider him at $6000, but $8200 is way too much for him today. You can have Wacha and/or Bartolo Colon in much better spots for the same price and those guys are both healthy. Bailey missed his first start and is still knocking off the rust. I can not use him today as it just makes no sense to me given other options.
Jordan Lyles vs. San Diego Padres ($5300) – He is probably the best of this bunch down here, but his matchup scares me against the San Diego Padres in Coors Field. Lyles is a -120 underdog and facing a Padres line up that has been absolutely mashing it on this road trip. Lyles averages 6 innings of work, with eight baserunners, a little over two runs, and three strikeouts per game. He is really cheap, but the ballpark and matchup give me some pause. I do not like taking good pitchers in Coors Field, so I would certainly not reach down for Lyles in this one.
David Phelps vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4400) – He gets the nod above McGowan strictly because he is the favorite. Actually he also gets the nod, because his lineup has done slightly better than that of the Phillies so far. This is just an ugly game between two pitchers who could both blow up. Phelps has given up five runs in five and two-thirds with only 3 strikeouts and he has yet to make it through the fifth inning. I expect very little from him today and would not even consider it as a flyer.
Dustin McGowan vs. Miami Marlins ($4000) – The best thing I can say here is that McGowan is cheap. That’s really about it. He has been pitching in relief, so he likely will not even go five innings to qualify for a win. He has very little upside as he has only struck out three batters in seven innings of relief work so far. He has not been horrible, but he also does not look like a guy who can dominate a lineup. There’s no reason to risk the low score he will get you tomorrow in a line up, so just move on.