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) Carlos Martinez vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($7,700) – As you can tell, Martinez is one of my favorite pitchers on Wednesday. The Phillies have produced squat (.603 OPS) over the first month of the season. SQUAT! Martinez is filling out that madman potential we’ve all been hearing about since his early prospect days, and I’m really digging his approach. I love the strikeouts (21 in 20 IP), too, although I do realize Martinez is young and still prone to giving up the long ball. If anything, that slows my thought process a tad on the kid, but for $7.7 K? Gimme.
2) Michael Pineda vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($7,400) – 27 strikeouts in 25.2 IP so far for Pineda? Gawd, I’m so into Pineda on Wednesday. Pineda gets saved by his ability to strikeout hitters, so if he does give up some runs it’s going to be okay. I would expect at least a 17-20 fantasy-point day from Pineda, but the ceiling is so much higher.
3) Dallas Keuchel @ San Diego Padres ($8,200) – Me like-y. Me like-y a lot. Did you know that Keuchel has only given up 11 flyball outs to this point over the season? That’s outstanding, in case you’re wondering. Keuchel has more than fulfilled my expectations to this point, and I love that he’ll be pitching at Petco Park in San Diego. Keuchel is my favorite play of the day.
4) Felix Hernandez @ Texas Rangers ($10,600) – There aren’t may pitchers I feel this confident about in DFS play, regardless of where they are pitching or whom they are tossing the ball to, but King Felix isn’t going to be cheap. He’s not as much as Clayton Kershaw; however, Felix is one arm I don’t mind shelling out over $10 K for to land his services. Just to give you an idea: the King has only given up 5 ER all season long (28 IP). Not surprisingly, Rangers’ hitters are only hitting .225 against Felix over the last three seasons in Arlington.
5) Zack Greinke vs. San Francisco Giants ($10,200) – Greinke is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 21 K in 26.2 IP since the 2015 season has started. The Dodgers’ ace – yes, he’s still an “ace” even with Clayton Kershaw as their No. 1 – makes my “Cream of the Crop” section for obvious reasons. Current Giants’ hitters are slashing .208/.237./.312 against Greinke. Shall I give you an exuberant “Lock him in!”? Well, go ahead and do just that – there are plenty of good value-pitchers to match up with Greinke’s salary.
Middle of the Pack
6) Bartolo Colon @ Miami Marlins ($7,400) – Colon just keeps chugging along, averaging 22.7 FPPG in 2015. Surprising? Not really. Nothing Colon does surprises me anymore. I’d love to say Colon is pitching with smoke and mirrors, but he isn’t. Dude only have ONE base-on-balls the entire season. Incredible.
7) Andrew Cashner vs. Houston Astros ($8,500) – Why not go with the other pitcher at Petco on Wednesday? Cashner’s strikeout ability pushes him up in these rankings, along with park factor and that I even find value in his $8.5 K price tag.
8) Mat Latos vs. New York Mets ($7,300) – Latos has settled down nicely since his first start of the season where he got his tits lit, only netting a negative-17.3 fantasy-point day. Yikes. Still, Latos scratched and clawed his way out of nothingness. While Latos’ seasonal numbers look abysmal (7 ER in only 0.2 IP over his first start of the year), don’t let that keep you away from using him in a mid-range pitching lineup.
9) Mike Leake vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($7,000) – With only two walks over his last three starts, Leake sure turned his early-season woes around from a fantasy-point perspective. The bad with Leake? He is giving up too many home runs. That’s the scary part, although I don’t think Leake is a bad play, just not a good play. Confusing? Yeah, I get ya. Hopefully, you can decipher my meaning, but just don’t put all your eggs into the Leake-basket.
10) Jordan Zimmermann @ Atlanta Braves ($8,600) – We all know that Zimmermann is a fantastic arm, but until we see more consistency and that he can start popping 20-point fantasy games, I’m staying away at $8.6 K. Sure, I’m a fickle dude and a “what have you done for me lately” kinda guy. He’ll come around, but don’t be caught guessing against a good Braves’ lineup.
11) Alex Wood vs. Washington Nationals ($8,400) – Wood has only had ONE lousy strikeout over his last two starts, so that definitely digs at my craw, although I do like his 26:12 seasonal GB:FB comparison. And, Wood didn’t allow any runs at all over 5.2 IP last time out. Do you want to pay $8.4 K for him though? That is the question. I can find better risks myself.
12) Gerrit Cole @ Chicago Cubs ($8,800) – It’s only been a total of 68 at-bats for current Cubs’ hitters facing Cole, but they’ve tuned him up pretty good, hitting .338 against the youngster. Cole will get aided a bit, with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field (13 MPH) on Wednesday, and while I have confidence in his skill set I’m just not willing to put my lineup on the line with all those revved-up Cubs’ bats.
13) Kyle Hendricks vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6,700) – I’m indifferent to Hendricks, taking him or leaving him. I guess if I was desperate for a pitcher in this price range I may consider him, but there are far too many options to build a lineup with on Wednesday that require far less thought and worry. You’d be be much better off spending a few more bucks to avoid Hendricks.
14) Jesse Hahn vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6,000) – So how do you post such great looking seasonal numbers so far, only to produce 11.2 FPPG on average in those starts? No strikeouts! Plus, Hahn hasn’t gone very deep into games, averaging under 6 IP in his three starts on the year.
15) Jordan Lyles @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,500) – I still believe Lyles has the skills to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation option for years to come for the Rockies, and he’s proven to be a good value to this point averaging 13.9 FPPG in 2015 at an average salary a smidge above $5.3 K. I’ll take that risk factor, with Lyles being a very nice value-play on Wednesday.
16) Jeff Samardzija @ Baltimore Orioles ($9,200) – There is no denying Samardzija’s skill set, but you can do better for the price. I have a hard time paying this kind of money for a pitcher heading into the unfriendly hitting confines of Camden Yards.
17) Mike Leake vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($7,000) – With only two walks over his last three starts, Leake sure turned his early-season woes around from a fantasy-point perspective. The bad with Leake? He is giving up too many home runs. That’s the scary part, although I don’t think Leake is a bad play, just not a good play. Confusing? Yeah, I get ya. Hopefully, you can decipher my meaning, but just don’t put all your eggs into the Leake-basket.
18) Shane Greene @ Minnesota Twins ($6,400) – The value isn’t horrible by any means, but if there IS one pitcher getting by using smoke and mirrors? Here you go. Greene has given up 14 total hits over his last two starts, compared to 7 total hits over his first two starts.
Rest of the Field
19) Aaron Harang @ St. Louis Cardinals ($6,600) – I don’t like Harang heading into St. Louis to take on the Cards, so I’m avoiding him even with his excellent start to the year. Harang, more than anyone so far, has shocked me most from the mound – he’s pitching well off a great 2014 season. Let’s just say I don’t have the faith to roster him facing the Cards and Carlos Martinez.
20) Josh Collmenter vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,900) – I know when you dip into this price range you’re likely not getting a guy that can whiff a ton of hitters, but only 10 strikeouts in four starts? I want some “pop” in my starting pitchers and you’re not getting that with Collmenter. To pull a jingle from a Shasta soda ad in the 80’s: Don’t gimme that so-so (pitcher), that same old (pitcher), I wanna rock ‘n’ rolla, I wanna pop (pop, pop), I wanna… strikeout pitcher!
21) Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Chicago White Sox ($6,800) – One fantastical start – that’s what Jimenez gave DFS owners to start the year. Since then? Two sub par 9.9 FPPG average starts. Plus, does the extra rest due to the riots really benefit Jimenez ? Maybe, but I’m not willing to take that chance.
22) Ryan Vogelsong @ Los Angeles Dodgers ($5,800) – Current Dodgers’ hitters run a .293 AVG and .839 OPS facing Vogelsong. Those aren’t run-and-hide numbers, but they’re strong enough for me to avoid the Giants’ fill-in starter.
23) Matt Garza @ Cincinnati Reds ($6,900) – Garza’s 15:11 K:BB numbers are not attractive, are they? The Reds have been known to blast opposing pitchers coming into town, especially ones that give up far too many free passes.
24) Phil Hughes vs. Detroit Tigers ($7,500) – Hughes is coming off a fantastic 9 K, 30.9 fantasy point day in his last start, but that wasn’t against the Tigers’ bats. I’m avoiding Hughes on Wednesday, not nearly expecting another 30-point game. You’ll be lucky if Hughes reaches double-digits.
25) Drew Smyly @ New York Yankees ($8,000) – You can go with better pitching options, considering salary-to-talent ratio. It will be Smyly’s second start of the year in a much more hostile environment. I just can’t justify spending $8 K on Smyly.
26) Matt Shoemaker @ Oakland Athletics ($7,800) – Shoemaker’s salary is overinflated. To put it simply, I’m just not going to spend this kind of dough on a guy that hasn’t done much of anything this season. I know he’s coming off a fine 2014 season, and his production in his first two starts is deceiving, but I’m passing.
27) Wandy Rodriguez vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,700) – Not a chance Rodriguez ends up in my lineup on Wednesday, does he. Even though Wandy posted a respectable 13.9 fantasy point total last start out, he walked too many, threw two wild pitches and had a hit batsman. Move along. These are not the stats you are looking for.
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