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
Sonny Gray vs. Baltimore Orioles ($11900) – I know Sonny Gray is expensive, but he is in a great spot here today. He faces an Orioles team that has a high strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, so his K numbers should be towards the top of his range. He has thrown up 31, 44, and 23 fantasy points in his last three starts, so he has already reached value at this lofty price recently. Gray’s numbers are also insane, with only a .184 average allowed to left-handed bats and a .214 average allowed to righties. Most will shy away from the price, but he’s been as good as any pitcher in the league, so there is no need to shy away from this one.
Danny Salazar vs. Boston Red Sox ($10800) – This is my boldest call of the day, but I really like Salazaar in this matchup with the Red Sox. Over his last 6 starts, Salazaar has averaged about 25 points with a low of 19 and a high of 30, so he has been consistent and in a pretty solid range for his price today. The Red Sox have a weaker lineup with guys like Jackie Bradley and Castillo now playing full time, although both have hit well lately. David Ortiz is really the only bat that profiles well on the numbers against Salazaar. The strikeout floor he provides should be a good boost to his score and lately he has limited damage and gone deep, so this is a great place for him at low ownership to help your rosters.
Middle of the Pack
Michael Wacha vs. San Fransisco Giants ($10100) – Wacha is a great pitcher, but is better used in real life than fantasy. He is safe, solid, and consistently at about 18-25 points a game every time. The problem here is that San Fran has some very good patient bats, so Wacha is not likely to go overly deep into this one. He also is not a huge strikeout guy, so he will need to go deep and be lights out in order to really make value. Wacha has flashed 30 point upside, so he is able to do it, but he is more likely and probably to finish with a number around 20, which may be solid for cash, but lacks upside for a tournament.
Carlos Rodon vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6700) – Rodon has thrown up 30+ fantasy points in two of his last four, but he has also thrown up a 3.1 and a -8.5 in that stretch. that makes him strictly a tournament play in my eyes. If he is on, he can shut down an offense and win you a large field GPP, but when he is not, he will sink your roster by himself. Still at less than $7K you will not find many guys capable of going four or five points per $1000 of cost and Rodon is one of them. Right-handed bats have been the way to attack him as they have hit .297 with 7 homers in 64 innings of work. Guys like Trout and Pujols have good numbers to go up against him, so this one could go either way.
Gerritt Cole v. Arizona Diamondbacks ($10600) – It’s not too often I like all three of the top priced options for the top section and Cole has not done enough lately to warrant inclusion up there. Cole has struggled to reach the sixth inning in three straight starts. His hits and runs allowed are up and his strikeouts and innings are down, which is all bad news for his fantasy score. He faces the Diamondbacks in this one who have some big right-handed bats who have performed well against right-handed pitching. They also have a few solid left-handed hitter’s who have done the same, so this is a tough spot for him. He has the talent to go big here, but just has not shown it recently. I also think he will give up a few runs, which would be a killer with a low innings numbers likely.
Andrew Heaney vs. Chicago White Sox ($9000) – Heaney has been great since his call up and many will tell you he is a top option today. I can see why with his numbers and the struggles the White Sox bats have had against left-handed pitching. The problem for me is that he is now very expensive at $9000. Heaney has four straight starts of 6 innings or less, so it will be tough for him to make value if that is as deep as he is going to go. He has also given up more hits and a few walks and runs each game with a lower number of strikeouts. His scores have come down and his price has risen so it has become much tougher for him to return a decent value.
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Houston Astros ($6000) – Ramirez has been pretty solid and has flashed a bunch of scores recently that would be good value at his price today. He is a right-handed pitcher facing a team that has one of the highest strikeout percentages in the league against right-handed pitching. He has limited right-handed bats to a .253 average this year and left-handed bats are hitting even worse at .191. Houston is a good hitter’s park, so this is a downgrade, but Ramirez does not need to do a ton to make value here. The high K number should serve as a nice floor for him, so he has a lot of upside potential today at his low price.
Scott Kazmir vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($10000) – Kazmir threw a gem right after the trade and than has been run of the mill since. Tampa Bay actually has been pretty good against left-handed pitching so this is a bad spot for Kazmir. Tampa gets the park bump as they move to Houston for this one as well. Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe in the middle of that order smash left-handed pitching, so they should make this very tough on Kazmir. Kazmir has also not been striking out a ton of guys, going deep, or limiting negative events, so there is little chance he reaches the top of his range in this one.
Chris Heston vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($7300) – Heston has been pretty solid this year, but the matchup is a tough one. The Cardinals have one of the better offenses in the national league and quite a few left-handed bats to throw at him. Heston has struggled most with lefties, although they too are only hitting .253 against him with 7 homers in 63 innings of work. This is expected to be a lower scoring game today, so Heston might not get lit up, but he also might not reach value against a team with a low strikeout percentage and solid average against right-handed pitching.
Cole Hamels vs. Seattle Mariners ($10000) – Hamels threw a no-hitter right before the trade deadline, but he had been struggling before that and has continued to struggle since. In his two games after his historic gem, he has pitched 13.2 innings with 16 hits, 3 walks, 9 runs, and 5 homers allowed. The Mariners do have some big right-handed bats doing some damage. Nelson Cruz has a .498 wOBA and a .358 ISO against left-handed pitching, so that is a tough matchup and guys like Cano, Seager, and Gutierrez have all been heating up. Hamels was the big shiny object at the trade deadline, but his production so far is not that great.
Chris Tillman vs. Oakland Athletics ($5500) – Tillman has a chance to return nice value today in a matchup with a struggling Athletics offense. Tillman has allowed about a .265 batting average to both sides of the plate today, with right-handers showing more power against him. The A’s do not have a ton of right-handed power bats and the left-handers that profile the best against him, like Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick have slumped recently. Both have seen their wOBAs dropping recently, so there is not a lot to worry about going up against him today.
Matt Garza vs. Miami Marlins ($6100)– Garza does not have huge upside, but should be a solid 10-20 points here today as he has returned in his last four starts. Garza’s problem today is he struggles most with left-handed bats who have hit .286 against him with a 1.58 WHIP. He has also allowed 20 total homeruns in 130 innings of work, so he has given up a few long balls. The Marlins have a ton of left-handed bats to throw at him. Dietrich is the top one, but guys like Gordon, Yelich, Ichiro, and Bour are all likely to be in the lineup as well. Milwaukee is a hitter’s park too, so it’s not a favorable park matchup, but Garza is pretty cheap, so he does not need to do a ton.
Colin Rea vs. Atlanta Braves ($4800) – Rea is making his 2nd big league start here. During his last two seasons in the AAA, he has been a reverse splits guy as right-handed bats have a higher average against him. The Braves have been winning lately, although I do not understand how they have been doing it. He pitches at home in a pitcher friendly park today and is a better pitcher against a weaker lineup than his opponent below him is.
Williams Perez vs. San Diego ($4600) -Perez does not have a ton of upside, but he does not need to do much for value at this price. He pitches in San Diego which is a good pitcher’s park and has a decent matchup against the Padres. Perez has struggled most with left-handed bats and the Padres are a righty dominant team. Guys like Solarte, Venable, and Alonso are the only left-handed sticks they do have along with Justin Upton who does well in righty on righty matchups. I would not expect a huge score, but he should be solid.
Kyle Gibson vs. New York Yankees ($6600) – Gibson had a nice run earlier in July, but has struggled in his last four starts. Kyle Gibson has allowed right-handed bats to hit .284 against him with 10 homers in 69 innings of work. The Yanks really only have A Rod to throw at him in a righty on righty split, but guys like Teixiera and Beltran have also hit right-handed pitching pretty well this season.
Tajuan Walker vs. Texas Rangers ($8100) – Walker has been very volatile this season. He has thrown some gems and some absolute clunkers. He has been much better at home and is on the road for this game, so it gives me a lot of pause with him. Although he is a right-handed pitcher, right-handed hitters have been the way to go after him. Texas is a lefty-heavy lineup, so this is not a great matchup for them. Guys like Fielder, Moreland, and Choo all profile well against right-handed pitching, but none of those guys are right-handed. Beltre is the one righty on righty bat, but he has struggled this year. I can see a scnario where he pitches well and also one where he gets rocked. If you like him, I would say at best he is a GPP only type of play.
Rest of the Field
CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins ($6200) – Sabathia has struggled with an ERA over 6 at home this year. He has also struggled against right-handed batters who are hitting .329 against him with 21 homers in 99 innings of work. The Twins have hit left-handed pitching pretty well this year and guys on top of that order like Aaron Hicks and Brian Dozier profile very well against CC. Sabathia is a shell of his former self and has struggled in three of his last four outings. It does not look like a great spot for him here.
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5900) – Hellickson has alternated bad and great starts over his last six games. He has 20+ points in hal of his last six and failed to reach double digit fantasy points in the other three starts. Left-handed bats have been his kryptonite, as they have a .286 average against him although he has been able to keep the ball in the park. He gets a park upgrade on the switch to Pittsburgh, but that Pittsburgh offense has been pretty good lately, so the chances for a big upside game are not high.
Justin Nicolino vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($5000) – He young left-hander is making his fourth start today for the Marlins. After a good debut, he has been shelled for negative scores in his last two games. He has been hit by batter’s of both sides of the plate this year. He has allowed major league right-handed bats to hit .317 so far on the heels of allowing AAA batter’s to hit .302. Left-handed bats have hit .286 in the majors on the heels of a .294 average in the minors this year as well. He gets a park downgrade on top of this as he moves to Miller Park in Milwaukee, so this is not a good spot for him at all, despite facing a soft offense.
Matt Barnes vs. Cleveland ($4400) – Barnes had been in the bullpen most of the season as well as some time in AAA. He makes his first start here today for the Sox. Righties bats have done better against him according to his numbers from the Minors and short time in MLB. That Cleveland offense is not too explosive, but they are expecting guys like Brantley and Kipnis back this week. Either way Barnes should not go deep into the game and will likely not score a lot of fantasy points.