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 late slate of games. Those with start times after 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
Clay Buchholz vs. Tampa Bay ($7400) – Clay has the best combination of matchup, talent, and probable outcome today. He faces a Tampa Bay team that has struggled at the plate. They are tied for the fourth most times struck out so far this season and are averaging under four runs per game. If you can excuse that disaster against the Yankees, he has pitched pretty well so far. He had 35 DK points in his opener and had 16 last out without getting a win. He is a -117 favorite today and if he matches his last outing and adds a win, he will finish with 20+ DK points. He should be in line for a few more Ks today which will boost his score and the TB offense is not as explosive as the Baltimore one he handled last time, so he looks to be the best combination of upside and safety in the late slate.
Middle of the Pack
Chris Sale vs. Kansas City Royals ($11000) – Sale is one of the game’s best pitchers. I expect him to go out and throw a good game today, but there’s a few reasons I do not have him in the Elite tier. He is a -145 favorite today which is good, but his offense has not been great to start the year. That means as well as I expect him to pitch, it is a little dicey to expect a lot of run support. The bigger thing for me is that the Royals just do not strike out a ton. I know Sale can change that, but at his price, even a few less strikeouts will impact his chances of making value. They also seem to be limiting him to 100 pitches, which for a high strikeout guy against a patient team likely means six innings max.
Jake Odorizzi vs. Boston Red Sox ($8200) – Odorizzi has looked awesome to start the season. He has 19 strikeouts in 20.2 innings and has not scored under 21 in any of his first few starts. He has the ability to pitch deep into games or rack up strikeouts, but the more Ks he does get, the shorter his appearances tend to be. He gets a Red Sox offense that has a lot of big bats in it. Their batting average is lagging a bit so far, but they are sixth in the league in runs scored, first in Walks drawn, and top 10 in home runs hit. I expect a solid start from Odorizzi, but he is the underdog here and has a tough matchup to contend with. Still I think his strikeout ability gives him a nice floor and solid upside. If you think Clay reverts to his Yankee game form, than Odorizzi pitching with a lead sounds like a recipe for fantasy success today.
Yordano Ventura vs. Chicago White Sox ($7100) – Ventura had two solid starts to begin the year before giving it up against Oakland last out. He goes opposite Sale today in a low total game as a big underdog. The White Sox offense has a high average, but is fifth worst in the league for runs scored. They also are top 10 for most Ks per game, so there are pluses and minuses here for Ventura. He has some strikeout ability and is basically the ace on that Royals staff. He is cheap enough today to have a solid floor although the win is certainly not probable. Still on a small slate of games, he is a better option than the other half of the field.
Rest of the Field
Jesse Chavez vs. Los Angeles Angels ($4300) – Chavez gets a spot start here today with Jesse Hahn on the shelf with blisters. He has been throwing long relief, so he may get 5 innings today, but it’s not a lock. Without five innings he will not be able to record a win, so that has a lot to do with his really low price. Chavez is a former starter and has not been horrendous in that role. He is coming off an injury which is why they are monitoring him and limiting innings. He does have some strikeout ability and that Angels lineup falls off pretty fast when you get below the 5 or 6 spot in the lineup. Still he is cheap enough to be a quality play if he can get through five and limit the damage. He should have a few Ks and if he gets a win, there’s going to be the upside of 3 to 4 points from him per $1000 of cost. While I doubt he is the top scoring pitcher, he could be a top value at the position.
Drew Hutchinson vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6700) – Hutch is favored in the highest run total game on the day at -125. He had a great start against the Yanks first out, but has failed to make it through five innings or give up less than four runs since. He has also given up 18 base runners in his last 9 innings of work, so it’s definitely not a solid spot for him today. He pitches in a great hitters park against a pretty solid lineup full of right-handed power bats that should relish hitting in the Rogers Centre. While he may be in line for the win and a few strikeouts, he should not pitch deep into this one and will likely have a lot of negative events (hits, Walks, Runs allowed).
Chris Tillman vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($6500) – Deciding between him and Hutchinson was very close, but I would not be looking to use either of them today anyway. Tillman, at his pric, has returned nice value in two of his three starts. The problem is that other start was against this same Blue Jays lineup and they rocked him in that one for a -12 DK score. He gave up 7 runs on 7 hits and a walk. He lasted only 2.2 innings with one strikeout and two homeruns allowed. Tillman is the underdog in a game where a lot of runs are expected. I assume he pitches a little better this go around, but still not going to be an easy start for him.