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
Zach Greinke ($11700) – Greinke has been living around the 25-30 fantasy point range in most of his recent starts and would need a little more than that to pay off his salary today. Luckily for him, it’s a good matchup to expect some upside. Houston has the second highest strikeout rate in the league against right-handed pitching, so a high strikeout game for Greinke looks likely. The Strikeouts provide a nice cash game floor for him and he has both gone deep into games and limited the opposition, so added together, that spells out a great spot for the top priced option today.
Sony Gray ($11600) – Gray is another guy who draws a very favorable matchup here. He faces a Tampa team that has the fourth highest strikeout percentage and a bottom tier batting average. Gray has been awesome this year with 2.06 ERA and a WHIP under 1. He pitches today in a pitcher friendly ballpark as well. He does not have huge strikeout upside, which is why he is a notch below Greinke who is the same price basically. For tournaments, he makes for a great swerve as many will click Greinke as their expensive option which should leave Gray flying under the radar.
Taylor Jungmann ($9600)– Jungmann is a little pricey today, but had thrown up 33 and 28 in two of his last three starts which would return great value here at the price. He has been tough to hit for both handedness of batters this year and has some strikeout upside as well. Washington struggles with good right-handed pitching as only Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerrman have good numbers. Washington also is seventh for strikeout percentage against righties, so there is a floor and upside potential here today. Jungmann pitching in Washington, a pitcher friendly park, is a huge park bump over his home at Miller Park.
Middle of the Pack
Marco Estrada ($7400) – Estrada has great numbers this season and a solid matchup here. He has only allowed hitters from either side of the plate to hit .210 against him with a WHIP around 1.10. His kryptonite in the past has been the homerun ball, but even pitching in Rogers Centre, he has been able to keep that number down this season. The Angels are struggling with Pujols seeing his wOBA dwindle with every game and Trout not really smashing lately either. He goes opposite Andrew Heaney who will draw a lot of attention, but Estrada has a better offense behind him and a better matchup, so he gets the nod and is a god tournament option with probably low ownership.
Carlos Martinez ($9200) – He has cooled off from a hot start, but a trip to face the Padres in pitcher friendly Petco Park could be what he needs to change all that. San Diego has a top five strikeout rate and a lower tier batting average against right-handed pitching. They do not have any big lefty bats to worry about and only Justin Upton with a wOBA barely above .360 and an ISO score just north of .200 make sense to roll out there against him. Martinez has had some clunkers, but he has also flashed 25-30 point upside. In a good matchup like this, I expect him to be closer to his ceiling than his recent floors.
Andrew Heaney ($7500) – I am very skittish about having Heaney this high, but Vegas and the algo seems to think he is in a good spot to dominate here. The Jays hit left-handed pitching really well, although guys like Adam Morgan and Hector Santiago have not been rocked by them recently. Heaney has better numbers than both of those guys this year. He has only allowed right-handed bats to hit .238 against him and has been tougher on lefties. He will see a murder’s row of right-handed bats in this one, so I can not say he is safe for cash game play, but Vegas and the Algo have the Blue Jays priced down with few runs expected, so it could be a great upside play in a tournament if you have the stomach to take on the best team against left-handed pitching this season.
Carlos Rodon ($7100) – Rodon has averaged 7.5 innings, 8 strikeouts, and 30 fantasy points in his last two matchups. Those are some elite level numbers for a guy who is only $7100. He pitches up in Seattle today which is a great pitcher’s park and Rodon has been nearly unhitable to left-handed bats. Righties are hitting just under .290 against him, so guys like Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez do pose a problem. Still the upside at this price based on his recent outings is hard to ignore and he really only needs 21 points to make value. He has blow past that number in each of his last two starts, so there is merit to using him for cost savings with huge potential upside.
Erasmo Ramirez ($6100) – Ramirez is an interesting option today. Upon looking at his yearly numbers, you will see he has been pretty good. He faces a weak hitting Athletics team that seems to be struggling even more lately. They have just not been able to put anything together or score any runs. They are in Oakland today which is a pitcher friendly park, and the two biggest bats in Reddick and Vogt have been putrid. The struggles for the As are real and so is Erasmo this year. At $6100, he has upside and a safe floor for cash or tournaments against this lineup.
Yordano Ventura ($6400) – Ventura has a tough matchup in a decent hitter’s park, but a friendly enough price to keep him in play. He is not a huge strikeout guy, but does go deep into games. When he is able to limit the damage he has put up huge scores and he rarely gets rocked, which means his scores are always at least solid. The Red Sox do hit righties well, so it’s not a slam dunk, but I can see him returning solid cash game value with upside at the low price.
Yovani Gallardo ($6200) – Gallardo has not been great by any stretch, but usually left-handed bats do the damage against him. While the Tigers as a team do hit righties well, they do not have any left-handed bats. Gallardo is cheap enough that he can return a solid mid teens score, which would be decent value here at the price. I can also see the Tigers lighting him up too, so it would be a tournament only option for me.
Jonathon Niese ($6300) – Niese has been right around 20 or more fantasy points in 4 of his last 6 starts. While most will say you are crazy for rolling him out at Coors, the numbers are in his favor. Colorado is horrendous against left-handed pitching. It is Coors, so this is strictly a tournament option, but at this price against a lineup that has struggled with left-handed pitching all year, it could be the low owned contrarian angle that helps you take home a big prize. Niese has pitched solid lately and his floor is pretty safe if only because of the low price and solid matchup.
Scott Kazmir ($10300) – This low ranking has less to do with me not liking Kazmir as it does with his price. He would need a great game to pay it off and I do not see how that happens here. The Dodgers get a park bump switching to hitter friendly Houston, which is the first knock on Kazmir. Kazmir has not been great since his first start in an Astros uniform which is knock #2. The Dodgers also can get very right-handed against a lefty with guys like Kike Hernandez, Puig, and Van Slyke slotting in for the lefty bats that struggle against left-handed pitching. Those three negatives are enough for me not to expect a top performance, which is needed to pay off a price over $10K.
Ian Kennedy ($8100) – I do not like the price here based on Kennedy’s weakness with allowing homeruns this year, but Cashner shut down this lineup yesterday, so there is some glimmer of hope for upside. The Cards have a few injuries and a weakened lineup to roll out, so if Kennedy can pitch 60% of what Cashner did, he might be able to get the 20-25 points needed to be a decent option here. The game is in San Diego, so it’s a pitcher friendly park for him to attempt this feat.
Vidal Nuno ($4200) – This is not an endorsement of Nuno as much as it is an indictment of the Chicago White Sox bats against left-handed pitching. They have no one who stands out as a good play based on the numbers, which means Nuno could be a sneaky start. Nuno struggles most with right-handed bats, but the right-handed bats for the White Sox do not have great numbers, so it’s a question of which one gives out first. At $4200, he does not need to dominant to return decent value and I think he can do that at his price here.
Randy Wolf ($4000) – Wolf makes his debut this season against the Texas Rangers for Detroit and while he is not a huge upside guy, he is incredibly cheap with a great matchup. Texas does not hit left-handed pitching well with a very lefty heavy lineup of regulars. Wolf was solid in the minors and is not a rookie coming up that will be nervous. He has been in the league before and while he was not dominant, he was serviceable at times. I do not expect him to be the top scorer by any stretch, but he could return nice value at his rock bottom price.
Rest of the Field
Joe Ross ($7900) – this may seem a little harsh for a guy who was on fire, but at this price and with his recent struggles, it all makes sense. Ross is a good young pitcher, but he has not made it to the fifth in his last two starts. Left-handed bats are smashing him lately and righties have upped their numbers as well, so he may give up some hits and walks. He does have K upside, but is he can’t make it to the fifth, the innings bonus and win are not likely. That means he will not be able to get much done and will likely fall short of value. If he was cheap still, I could see it, but there are better options that are cheaper and much better options to pay up for.
Kyle Gibson ($5900) – I really do not like this spot for Gibson. The Orioles have some nice right-handed bats like MAchado and Jones and Gibson has struggled with righties. They also have left-handers like Parra and Davis who have good numbers against right-handed pitching. That’s a tough top four in the order to deal with on the road in a friendly hitter’s park like Camden Yards. Gibson has gone negatve fantasy scores in two of his last three, so it’s not like he has been pitching well either.
Anthony Desclafani ($7000) – Another young pitcher who has been up and down. He has a really tough matchup at home in a good hitter’s park here. The Diamondbacks have a top five wOBA since the all-star break and a top of the order that all profiles well against him. Inciarte has been hot leading off, Pollock had a huge game yesterday, Goldy, Castillo, and Peralta all have great numbers vs. right-handed pitching. This is a tough spot for the youngster and I can not see him dominating this team or going deep into this one. For $7000, he is a pass.
Chris Rusin ($4700) – After the slugfest we saw the Mets and Rockies engage in yesterday, I would not touch this game with a ten foot pole. Rusin has been bad vs. left-handed batters and even worse against the righties. The Mets are not known as a huge offensive team, but that did not stop them from pounding out homers and runs yesterday at Coors. right-handed bats have hit .291 against him with more power and lefties have a .330 batting average as well, so stacking against him makes a lot of sense.
Randall Del Gado ($4500) – The reliever gets a spot start here and it looks likely to be a bullpen game. He has neither been good nor bad, so it’s not that at all. I just do not see him going five innings or more when he has only been pitching an inning out of the pen here and there. If you can’t get through five, the innings bonus is low and the win is not attainable, so where does the upside come from here?
Aaron Harang ($4500) – the cracks are showing up lately in Harang’s armor. He has three negative fantasy scores in a row and has allowed 18 runs over his last fifteen innings. He struggles with left-handed bats and Miami has a lot of them. His price is cheap and the ballpark is pitcher friendly, but if that is the best case you can make for a guy, it’s easy to stay away from him.
Matt Barnes ($4100) – Barnes is the worst pitcher on the slate by a wide margin. Lefties are hitting .302 against him and righties are hitting .364. That means he is a guy you can look to target with bats from either side of the plate and a nice option to stack against. He faces the Royals who have the lowest K rate and one of the higher batting averages in the league. We shy away from taking stud pitchers against them for those reasons, so their is no upside to using a gas can facing them here.