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
Chris Archer vs. Baltimore Orioles ($12300) – Archer has been dynamite this year. The young righty has emerged as a serious top end of the rotation guy, who no one in the league wants to face. His strikeout upside is evident as he has fanned double digit batters in four of his last six. He faces a Baltimore team that has a top 5 strikeout rate against right-handed pitching as well, so there should be some upside to him and a nice floor due to the strikeouts. Archer has a wide range of innings pitched in his last few starts. Sometimes he only goes 6 or 7 and other times he finishes his own games. It looks like 7 is a solid number to use as a metric for this one. Add in the chance for about 9 strikeouts which is his average over the last seven starts and you have a good opportunity for an upside game in a solid matchup.
Tyson Ross vs. Texas Rangers ($9700) – This is one of my favorite plays on the day for cash or tournaments and I think it will fly under the radar. Ross is at home for this one against a lineup filled with left-handed bats that hit right-handers pretty well. He owned this team the last time they played though and that one was in Texas. Ross went just shy of seven innings with 11 strikeouts of shutout ball that day. If he can do something like that here, he would be a stud play at a low price, at home, and in a good pitcher’s park. I think he will go lower owned with the initial thought that the lefty lineup will give him trouble, but they have not been putting up huge numbers even in a hitter friendly home park.
Dallas Keuchel vs. Seattle Mariners ($12100) – Keuchel is such a stud. He has really become a dominant pitcher in 2015. His groundball rates are amazing, his strikeouts are up and he pitches deep into games while limiting any damage. All of those things make him a true Ace in every sense of the word. He faces a Mariner’s team that is better this year, but still struggles with left-handed pitching. Both Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez have elite numbers, but the rest of that line up is not too good in these situations. Keuchel is at home, which despite being a hitter friendly park, is a place where he has dominated with a 1.36 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, batting average allowed under .200 and over 100 strikeouts in only 99 innings of work. Keuchel at home has averaged nearly 30 fantasy points per start, so there is no reason to run away from that here.
Middle of the Pack
David Price vs. Cleveland Indians ($12000) – This was such a hard choice on whether to have him just above or just below that line, but the price was ultimately the deciding factor here. Price has been awesome since the trade, with a ton of scores in the 25-30 point range since. While that is excellent value and makes him a perfect cash option, I think I would still rather pay up a few more bucks for Archer as he has more strikeout upside in his matchup. Cleveland does not K at a huge rate, although they are also worse against left-handed pitchers like Price. Price has been consistently putting up about 7 innings with 7 or 8 strikeouts and 2 runs, which is great, but will leave him short of the mark for tournament upside.
Danny Salazaar vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($10800) – I love the way Salazaar has pitched recently. He owns a batting average allowed that is under .220 to both sides of the plate, which is insane. He is quite expensive here though and faces one of the best offenses in the league, so there is reason to have your doubts. He is the underdog against David Price who has a much better matchup against his offense than Salazaar does. Before getting knocked a round a bit by the Yankees last time out, he had gone 7 games with only 8 total runs allowed and only gave up more than four hits once. He tends to go about 7 innings with 7 strikeouts and finish with fantasy scores in the mid twenties, which would still be very solid here today. I do not like using pitchers going against that Blue Jays offense in the Rogers Centre either, so while he has a lot of good qualities, I just do not see this as a good spot for him.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. New York Mets ($5000) – I hate to say it, but this looks to be a decent spot for him. Eickhoff pitched well with 20+ fantasy points in his first start and then followed it up with 15 fantasy points against the Mets at Citizen Bank park. Citi Field is a much friendlier spot for pitchers, so he should be able to get a decent score in between those two outings here. He is not going to wow you with a huge upside game or top score on the day, but at $5000, he is definitely in play. He tends to go about 6 innings with a strikeout per inning, so if he can limit the opposition to under 3 runs, that should pay off his salary regardless of the win bonus.
John Lackey vs. Washington Nationals ($8900) – Lackey is an old reliable asset for cash games. He has returned about two points per thousand of cost in 7 of his last 10 games. He faces a nationals offense that is not lighting up the scoreboard lately and he gets them in a pitchers park. Lackey is not a lights out option or a guy with huge upside, but he knows how to pitch, keeps himself out of trouble and always returns a decent game. While he lacks any appeal for a tournament, he could be a cash game option for a decent return at a lower cost than some of the big guns.
Hector Santiago vs. Oakland Athletics ($7700) – Santaigo has great numbers on the year, but has struggled recently. His last three opponents have been KC, Detroit, and Toronto so those are not exactly cupcake matchups. Santiago has the ability to pop off a 20 + point fantasy game and should get there here against a weak offense. Oakland does not strikeout a ton, but that ballpark yields few runs and the Oakland offense has not done much to produce many there this season.
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($8200) – Chen has been pretty solid. He does not have a lot of upside, but he is someone who has pitched decently all year. Tampa Bay actually hits left-handed pitching pretty well, so this is no easy matchup for him, but he has not been knocked around much, so he should still be solid. He has some drawbacks today though as he goes up against Archer, so the win is in question and he normally averages about a mid-teens number. With a price tag of $8200, he will need to pitch really well in order to get above 20 and have a chance to pay it off.
Bartolo Colon vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6800) – Bartolo is not for the faint of heart. He is strictly a rournament play, but I think the idea and saying of that has taken on the wrong connotation amongst daily fantasy players. Saying a guy is strictly a tournament play, does not mean he sucks and should be avoided. Bartolo is either on or off. When he is on he can get you 25-30 fantasy points and when he is off he can get you a negative number. This is why he makes for a tournament only option. He has the upside on a good day to get you a 3.5 to 4.5 point per $1000 performance which is what you need from an SP2 to get to the top of the standings. His bad games though can sink a cash game roster, so he lacks consistency. Consistency is what we need for cash and upside is what to look for in tournament play. Colon for those reasons is a tournament only option, but not a bad one to look at.
Gio Gonzalez vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($7200) – There is a lot of merit to Gio Gonzalez at this price for tournaments. It was not too long ago when asking him for a 20 fantasy point game was undershooting him. Over the last three games though, he has been bad. That is what makes this more of a GPP play only. St. Louis does not match up well with Gio here, but he has underperformed in other good spots recently too. That is why I can not recommend him for cash, but he has upside at this price in a tournament.
Felix Doubront vs. Los Angeles Angels ($4900) – Doubront left his last start with a foot injury after cruising to 10 fantasy points in 2 innings. He has been only going about 6 innings and striking out above a batter per inning right now. He has also limited the negatives which have been adding up to great scores at a low price. He faces a struggling offense that does not have a lot of guys who hit above average against left-handed pitching. He can provide nice value at a solid price, and has flashed the 25 points upside recently that would help win you a tournament.
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. New York Yankees ($6900) – Rodriguez has flashed brilliance and also shown blow up potential. The Yankees do not have many good bats from the right side, so he is not in the worst spot here. The Red Sox have skipped him in the rotation, not because of performance, but to protect the young left-handers arm. His price is not too crazy and he has a good match up, but he would need to pitch a big game. He is capable of it, but has not shown to be consistent with it, so at best he could be a GPP option.
Kyle Hendricks vs. Cincinnati Reds ($6700) – Kyle Hendricks is the opposite of a guy like Bartolo colon. Colon is an up and down kind of guy who can win you a tournament one start and lose you a cash game the next. Hendricks does not have that type of upside, but he is a safe consistent 12-17 points per start. He does not go deep into games and his strikeout rates are not elite, so he has little chance of a huge score unless he can pick up a complete game win, which is highly unlikely. He also does not usually get lit up though, as he has been averaging right in that range over his last ten starts with one or two negative outliers and one or two upside ones. His price makes him a decent bet for a solid start at a discounted price, but that would only be useful as a salary saving option in a cash game if needed.
Vidal Nuno vs. Houston Astros ($4100) – A lefty against the Astros in Houston is not a good spot to be in. The lineup is a little banged up and Nuno has been returning about 3 points per thousand based off his price since becoming a starter. There is very little upside for a 20+ point game here, despite the high Houston K rate, but he actually may be able to get you three or four points per thousand dollars of cost on his salary, so it’s not the worst idea to roll him out if you need extreme savings and do not mind rolling the dice for a tournament.
Rest of the Field
Chad Bettis vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6500) – Bettis is a tough call. He has actually been good in most of his home starts with returns over 20 fantasy points. That is right what he would need at this price. The problem is he is still in Coors field and faces one of the best offenses over the last month. The Diamondbacks have power and speed as well as a group of guys who make good contact. Even though Bettis has been solid, the huge total run line scares me here.
Ivan Nova vs. Boston Red Sox ($5400) – I have seen Nova pitch a lot as a Yankees fan and I am really underwhelmed to be honest. He is not going deep, prone to blow ups, and struggling with left-handed bats. He has to go up to Fenway to take on a Red Sox team that is much better against right-handed pitching. With Nova struggling recently, not going deep into games, and facing a Red Sox team in what always tends to be a slugfest between these two teams, I do not see any upside or safety with him here.
Michael Lorenzen vs. Chicago Cubs ($4400) – Lorenzen has not been over 13 points in 9 straight starts. He faces a Cubs offense that has been hitting it pretty well, especially against right-handed pitching with guys like Rizzo and Schwarber really playing well. Lorenzen already has two -14 point performances in his last four as well, so things like that scare me away. It’s bad enough to get a low score, even at a low price, but negatives are impossible to make up for in cash and GPP contests.
Mike Foltynewicz has been scratched from tonight’s game. Shelby Miller will start.
Mike Foltynewicz vs. Miami Marlins ($4600) – Foltynewicz is a guy I like to target against often. He rarely goes past the fifth inning, does have some decent strikeout upside, but also allows a ton of runs, walks, and hits. He is particularly bad against left-handed bats and the Marlins have a ton of them to roll out against him. The low innings and high number of negative events are never a good combination to have. His recent upside game was 13 last out. It’s not bad value at the price, but that was ore a ceiling than a recent floor which is a scary thought if you have plans to roll him out there.
Robbie Ray @ Colorado Rockies ($6500) – Robbie Ray has pitched well and is normally a decent option, but he is in Coors today. He actyally has a good matchup against a team that struggles against lefties, but he is in Coors today. His price is also reasonable at only $6500, BUT he is in Coors today. I want to say yes, but it’s still playing with fire despite the solid matchup on paper.
Chris Narveson vs. Atlanta Braves ($4000) – The Braves offense is not as bad as everyone thinks. If Narveson’s first start in over a year was any indication, he might be as bad as everyone thinks. Even if he pitches better, he likely will not make it past 6 as he is a reliever being stretched out to eat up a few innings. He gave up 7 runs in under 4 innings of work last time on the mound too, so he inspires little confidence. Atlanta is not a great hitting team, but they have been sneaky and are healthy again, so there is upside to that offense. Narveson just does not have any qualities that inspire me to roll him out there and it’s an easy pass for me here.