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
Jon Lester vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($10400) – I really like Lester in this spot today. He gets a positive park switch moving to spacious Pittsburgh and has a solid matchup. Pittsburgh has the fourth highest K% against left-handed pitching at 23.5% and are only 14th in batting average. They do have a few guys who hit righties well (Marte, Kang, McCutchen), but the rest of the lineup is filled with some easier outs. Lester has been very good lately with no scores under 19 and an average of about 28 per start over his last six games. He seems to be hitting his stride right now and I like him a tad more than Liriano who he goes up against for the win.
Garrett Richards vs. Cleveland Indians ($9800) – Richards has a slew of 25+ point games over his last 10. He is much better at home with an ERA of only 2.08 and a WHIP under 1. He is not a huge strikeout guy as he falls short of a K per inning, but has 51 in 65 innings of work at home this year. Richards is a very underrated guy who has become an Ace on that Angels staff. Cleveland has a decent K% and batting average, mostly because they have a lot of left-handed bats to throw at him. After the top of the order though, it gets very weak very fast for the Indians. His discount from top options make him intriguing for cash games, although he lacks elite strikeout upside to be a top GPP play.
Middle of the Pack
Corey Kluber vs. Los Angeles Angels ($11700) – Kluber has elite strikeout upside, but has been falling short of value at this lofty price. I expect him to be a good cash game play and someone who returns a mid-twenties number as he normally does, but the upside is just not there. He would need to put up 35 or more fantasy points to provide tournament winning upside and while he has the ability, he has not done that at all lately. The only time he reached that mark in the last ten was against a weak hitting Tampa Bay team, so I am not looking forward to him doing so today.
Fransisco Liriano vs. Chicago Cubs ($10600) – Liriano is a tad more expensive than Lester who he faces today and has a solid matchup. The Cubs are 8th in strikeout rate to lefties and are in the bottom half of the league for batting average. Liriano has labored through a lot of his recent starts, which is why I like him less than Lester. He has not been going into the seventh and his pitch counts have been high. He still has strikeout upside and should not bomb here today, but it’s also very dicey to expect a hug upside performance as he really has only thrown one solid start in his last five.
Jose Quintana vs. Tampa Bay ($8400) – Quintana has been very good over his last 6 with an average of about 24 points per game. He has four games with 8 or more strikeouts and has been pitching deeper and limiting damage. He has a huge splits difference as right-handed bats hit .200 against him and left-handed bats are hitting closer to .300. Tampa Bay does hit better against left-handed pitching and strikeout less often, so both of those are negatives. They still are not an elite offense though and Quintana is only allowing an average of 2 runs per start. This is a mixed bag of stats to be honest here and while I do not hate him, it’s also not a slam dunk.
Tyson Ross vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($9300) – The price is a tad too high to love Ross here today. He has been solidly in the high teens, but at $9300 that is not enough fantasy points to be a upside play. He does have a decent matchup as the Brewers are pretty righty dominant and Ross is tough on right-handed hitters. He has not been pitching deep or racking up a ton of Ks. He should be a solid option with a decent return, but at $9300, he will need to pitch very well in order to really make great value. He makes an OK cash play, but lacks any type of elite upside here.
Felix Hernandez vs. Colorado Rockies ($9500) – Normally I would be chomping at the bit to roster Felix at $9500, but there’s a ton of downside today. For starters he is in Coors and even good pitchers give up a few more hits and runs there. The Rockies have also been hitting well lately, although losing Tulo and Dickerson from that order hurts. Felix has actually alternated 25-30 point performances with sub par efforts in the teens and single digits over his last ten games, so it’s a 50/50 proposition that he will do well based on his stats. I’d prefer to pass on him today with the game being in Coors, but he does have the ability to shut down offenses and miss bats when he is on. At best it might be a low owned tournament option, but would not use him for cash today despite the discount.
Matt Cain vs. Atlanta Braves ($7000) – Cain is another guy that is tough to figure. He has shown his ability with two scores of 20+ in his last four, but has also had two single digit fantasy scores mixed in as well. The Braves are not a great hitting team, but they do have a few decent left-handed bats from Freeman to Markakis to Jace Peterson who have all homered and racked up hits this past weekend. The game is in Atlanta which is pitcher friendly and his offense should be able to put up a few runs against Foltynewicz. He is in line for a win and if he limits damage, he could make for a nice upside play at the price when everyone is looking to spend up on the studs.
Lance McCullers vs. Texas Rangers ($8800) – McCullers has been awesome so far this year and a guy we recommend often, but this is not a great spot for him. Texas is 19th in K%, so the strikeout floor is low. They also have the eight highest batting average so he may see some negative events. The Rangers have four solid lefties in Fielder, Choo, Moreland, and Odor with good wOBAs against right-handed pitching. McCullers has been great with high strikeouts and low batting averages to both sides of the plate, but in a good hitter’s park like Texas, it seems tough to envision him hitting his ceiling here.
Doug Fister vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5300) – Fister is an interesting option on this slate at his price. He is not a high strikeout guy, which hurts his cash game floor, but he does tend to pitch deep into the game. He is in a good pitcher’s park at home in Washington and the Diamondbacks do not have a ton of lefties, which is what he usually has trouble with. He also has not pitched extremely well with fantasy scores under 10 in three of his last four games. I would not expect a top score from Fister, but he could return 15-20 points as he has done a few times this year and be a solid value option.
Zac Godley vs. Washington Nationals ($5000) – The fact he is in this section is not to be taken as a ringing endorsement of him, so much as it should be an indictment of the putrid Nationals offense. Outside of Bryce Harper, no one on the Nats scares you much and even Harper is coming off a 3-13 series against the Mets with a bunch of Ks. Godley is no Degrom, Harvey, or Syndergaard though, so maybe he was the Nat’s need to wake up. He has returned an average of over 20 points in his two starts, so you at least have to take a look in his direction with this game being in a pitcher friendly park and his price being so cheap.
Wily Peralta vs. San Diego Padres ($5800) – I am not a huge fan of Peralta as a pitcher, but the San Diego bats he faces have been pretty bad lately. Peralta has allowed batters from either side to hit about .290 against him, so it’s not like he has dominated anyone. The PAdres have a low batting average and high strikeout rate against right-handers which is good for Peralta, but is he good enough to take advantage of it? His homeruns allowed are down this year, but Miller park is a good place to hit, so he may still allow some. I do not see him getting lit up, but I also do not see a huge upside game in this one for him. The price is reasonable though, if you want to roll him out.
Jesse Chavez vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6800) – In Oakland, Chavez is an intriguing option. He has flashed 30+ point upside twice in his last 8 games, but also has a ton of single digit scores to go with it. Left-handed bats have done best against him, but with Paredes cooling off, that really only leaves guys like Weiters and Davis to attack him with. Oakland is not a good park for hitter’s so he does have some chance to return value at under $7K. He also has thrown a few poor starts though, so there is little safety with him for cash games. Strictly a tourney option in my eyes and not the best one either here.
Rest of the Field
Tom Koehler vs. New York Mets ($7100) – Koehler has been giving up the long balls to lefties all season which has been his Kyrptonite. His batting average allowed is low, but the homeruns have been killers. He is pretty pricey today for a guy with a low strikeout percentage, so there is not a very safe floor. The Mets have been hitting it pretty well lately, especially the lefties. Lucas Duda has three multi-homer games in his last 8 and nine total homeruns over that stretch. Curtis Granderson has the best wOBA on the team vs. lefties and smashed a homerun of his own over the weekend. It is a good pitcher’s park, but Koehler has not been on top of his game lately, so this is not a great spot to use him at that price.
Colby Lewis vs. Houston Astros ($7700) – This price is way too high to consider using Lewis. He has struggled most with lefty bats, so guys like Preston Tucker are squarely in play here. The Astros have some solid bats now with Altuve, Correa, and Gomez on top of that order too. Even Hank Conger is smashing righties lately. The Astros have a ton of homerun power and Lewis has struggled with the long ball. The hitting environment in Texas is top notch, so this is no easy spot for him. At the price, he is an easy fade and someone I would prefer to target bats against.
Mike Foltynewicz vs. San Fransisco Giants ($5200) – Foltynewicz is an intriguing option. While he never goes deep into games, he does have a strikeout per inning average so far. He also has allowed a high batting average to both sides of the plate and faces a Giants team that is much better away from home. The Giants have five or six bats up top with wOBAs over .360 against right-handed pitching, so there is a ton of risk to using him today. The Giants are going to be a popular stack, so it’s tough to see him having a good game.
Bartolo Colon vs. Miami Marlins ($6000) – I am not the guy to ask about Bartolo, because I never get him right. Mostly because you never know what he will give you. In his last seven, he has two games of 20+ fantasy points. He has also has a single digit and three negative scores to go with it. Home/Road, good matchup/Bad matchup, none of it seems to matter. Sometimes he is good, sometimes he is not. The Marlins have a bottom six batting average and a mid tier K%. It doesn’t look like a tough spot, but there really is no telling whether that will translate into a good game or not. The negative numbers scare me too much to use him in cash. The low price may make him a decent tournament stab with the good matchup if you are daring enough to try.
Eddie Butler vs. Seattle Mariners ($4000) – Yeah he is very cheap, but he is at home in Coors field and has allowed everyone to hit him hard this season. Lefties are hitting .333 and righties are at .295, so there is no one he profiles well against. Butler had 18 fantasy points once in last ten starts and has not been over 10 fantasy points in any of the others. Even at this price, he is to risky to use.