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.
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Cream of the Crop
Jacob DeGrom vs. Washnigton Nationals ($11800) – DeGrom is my #1 on the day and rightly so. His Teammate Matt Harvey dominanted this lineup yesterday and DeGrom has pitched better by every metric so far this year. He has returned 27 fantasy points or more in seven of his last nine. He faces the team with the seventh highest strikeout rate and a bottom ten batting average. He is also in a great pitchers park here again today, so there is very little downside. The only bat he has to watch out for is Bryce Harper and Harper looked lost yesterday at the plate vs. Harvey. DeGrom is a true ACE in the league right now and one of the few guys I would pay this much for the right to roster.
Gerritt Cole vs. Cincinnati Reds ($10600) – I may be higher on Cole than most, but I love the discount from Kuechel and DeGrom. Cole has just as much upside or more and has been great lately. He faces a Reds team that is bottom third for strikeout percentage, which is not ideal, but they also hit better against left-handed pitching. The only real lefty bat to worry about is Votto as guys like Pena and Hamilton from the left side do not scare anybody. Cole is consistently in the 20+ range for fantasy points and has flashed 30 point upside as well. I like him a lot to be one of the top cash game plays today.
Middle of the Pack
Dallas Keuchel vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($11200) – Keuchel is coming off a rocky start against the Royals in KC, but has been dominant most of the year. The high price is a concern and the matchup is not a cakewalk. He faces a Diamondbacks team that is eleventh in strikeout rate vs. lefties, but also has the ninth highest batting average as a team. Keuchel should be able to induce a lot of groundballs and keep the damage to a minimum. My biggest concern is the strikeouts. They have been trending back down and he will need a bunch of them to pay off a salary of $11,200.
Lance Lynn vs. Colorado Rockies ($10200) – Lynn has been solid in most of his recent starts. He has 20+ points in three straight and an average of about 26. He does face a Rockies team here who is without Dickerson due to a recent injury and Tulo due to a recent trade. They do have a lot of guys who hit righties well though in Cargo, Reyes, Blackmon, and Arenado still left on top of that order. The game being in St. Louis helps and he likely will be ok, but I do not see a huge upside game coming out of this one.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Baltimore Orioles ($8300) – Sanchez can be great and horrible at times in the same game. He has big strikeout upside which is good against a team that has the fourth highest strikeout rate in the league. He can also get tagged at times though as right-handed bats have hit .285 against him with 13 homers in 60 innings of work. That is obviously not good against a team with some power bats like Jones and Machado from the right side. There are positives and negatives with using him today, which makes this more of a tournament option in my eyes.
Cole Hamels vs. San Fransisco Giants ($9800) – I will be staying away from Hamels today for quite a few reasons. For starters, he is coming off his no hitter so the ownership percentage will be elevated. He had two horrible starts before that as well, although he has been great in most of his starts this season. He has a really tough matchup here though which is the other reason. The Giants are much better away from home. They also have the fifth highest batting average against left-handers and the fifth lowest strikeout rate. Neither of things are a good omen for a huge upside game. I do think he pitches decently, but at almost $10K, it’s going to be a struggle for him to reach value.
Rasiel Iglesias vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5000) – Iglesias has the strikeout upside that makes him a sneaky option. The young righty does not usually go deep into games though which also limits his upside. While he usually only goes about 6 innings, he has had a strikeout per inning or more in half of his recent starts. He had 7 and 8 in back to back games, so that creates a nice floor for him. The Pirates have a top ten batting average which is a negative, but also a top ten strikeout rate. The strikeout rate provides a nice enough floor to make him a solid option here today.
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Houston Astros ($6300) – This is a sneaky good matchup for Hellickson. He has 20+ fantasy point in 3 of his last six, including two straight games. He has struck out 6 or more in 6 of his last 7 and faces the team with the highest strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching. There is definite upside to him today at a square price. The knocks on him are that Houston has some pop, so they could tag him for a few runs. He also gets a negative park switch as this game is in hitter friendly Houston. Still, his K floor and low price make him intriguing.
Jorge De La Rosa vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($6400) – Do not be fooled, De La Rosa is pretty good away from Coors. He faces a Cards team that has a bottom 7 batting average against left-handed pitching, although they also do not strikeout much. This is a mixed bag for me. I do think the Cards will score a few runs, but D La Rosa is cheap and has gone deep in games away from Coors. I do not see upside for a tourney here, but he could return 15-20 points and be a solid value for cash games.
Kevin Gausman vs. Detroit Tigers ($4100) – This is another tournament only option, but Gausman has two 20+ fantasy point games in his last four. He struggles most with left-handed bats who have hit .289 against him, but the Tigers do not have a lot of lefties to throw at him. He has gone into the seventh and does strikeout a few guys, so he has some chance to return nice value. I would not expect a safe or a dominant performance though, so there is a ton of risk. At $4100, the reward for taking the risk might be worth it.
Odrismer Despaigne vs. Miami Marlins ($4000) – This is purely a price play and only for tournaments, but Despaigne is not the worst option at only $4000. He has mashed some upside around 20 fantasy points in a few of his last ten starts, which would be an excellent return for a guy priced at only $4000. Miami does not strikeout a ton, but Despaigne is not a big strikeout pitcher either. They do have the fifth worst batting average against right-handed pitching though and the game is in a pitcher’s park. Despaigne will not be the top scorer, but he could be a route to open up salary for some big ticket items and return great value.
Aaron Nola vs. Atlanta Braves ($5700) – Nola will be a popular pick after his first two solid starts, but this is no easy matchup for him either. The Braves have the eleventh highest batting average and the fourth lowest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. With Freeman back, they also have their strongest lineup to date and should be able to score a few runs in a hitter friendly park. Nola is a guy a lot of people will have too, so fading him with a strong case for regression here makes a lot of sense.
Kyle Hendricks vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($7100) Hendricks has been very erratic lately. He has had some good starts, some starts where he gave up five runs, and other starts where he looked dominant. He faces a Brewers team that has decent numbers, but just traded away two of their top hitters in Gomez and Parra. Scooter Gennett is now leading off and Khris Davis is an everyday player again, but that weakens them against right-handed pitchers like Hendricks.
Mike Montgomery vs. Minnesota Twins ($6600) – This is another guy who will be popular but I would stay away from. Montgomery has good numbers this year, but has been slipping a little in recent starts. He has not thrown up a 20 fantasy pont game recently and would need to in order to make value. The Twins are not an easy matchup for him either. They are 18th in strikeout rate and have the 8th best batting average. That does not scream out as a team to target against.
Rest of the Field
Matt Wisler vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($7200) – Wisler has not lived up to his early season hype. The highly touted rookie has been ok, but nothing special so far. He averages about six or seven innings, with about 3 runs per start and only a few strikeouts. He also faces a red hot phillies team that has won 11 of the last 12 games. He has not been returning 20+ fantasy points and since this is not a matchup with a high strikeout team, I doubt he gets there today either. At $7200, let others roster him.
Cody Anderson vs. Oakland Athletics ($5800) – Anderson had only allowed 3 runs over his first 28 innings of work through four starts. He has since allowed 11 runs in the last eight innings, while struggling to get through five frames in both those games. He struggles most with left-handed bats and Oakland has a lot of those. This is not a great matchup for him and he is coming off two negative fantasy point performances. He is an easy pass.
Aaron Brooks vs. Cleveland Indians ($4100) – Brooks was part of the Zobrist trade coming back to Oakland. He has been decent in AAA this year for the Royals and gets his first big league start. Right-handed bats have tagged him for a .303 average and 7 homers in 55 innings of minor league work, but the Indians do not have a ton of righties. They have a very low strikeout rate, but are also seventh worst in batting average. Without strikeouts and with the rookie not likely to go deep, there is no upside here for him.
John Danks vs. New York Yankees ($5400) – Danks has alternated studly 20+ fantasy point starts at low prices with numbers that are negative. His matchup here today does not scream out another 20 pointer is coming. He faces a Yank’s team with the eigth lowest K% and the 12th highest batting average against left-handed pitching. The Yanks have some power in the middle of that order with guys like Young, Rodriguez, and Teixiera that can absolutely mash lefties. Danks scared a few people away from targeting him with a decent run of solid starts, but he went negative last time out and looks to be back to his old gas can ways.
Jose Urena vs. San Diego Padres ($4000) – Urena does not have much upside, but he also has a pretty easy matchup. The Padres have the third highest K% and fourth lowest batting average against right-handed pitching. Urena does not ever go past 6 innings and his best return to date is 15 fantasy points. If that is all the upside he offers, it’s not a great idea to roll him out in any format.
Matt Garza vs. Chicago Cubs ($5300) – The Cubs are usually a team to target with righties as they have the second highest K% and a bottom tier batting average, but Garza has been that bad. Lefties are hitting .309 against him and righties are hitting .282. He has given up 17 homeruns and basically equally to each side of the plate. The cubs are a very feast or famine kind of team. They rely on the longball and lately they have been getting it. In a good park today, I think Garza will struggle through six, get a few Ks, but allow a lot of negative events.