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
Zack Greinke vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($13500) – Greinke has been one of the best pitchers in the game on his recent run. He had six straight starts without allowing an earned run, which is just silly. In his last ten games he has not allowed more than 2 runs in any of them and only 7 runs allowed total. His ERA is down to 1.42 and his WHIP is a ridiculous 0.83. He has 30+ fantasy points in 4 of his last 6 and there is not much downside. The best case for fading him comes down to two points. First off, his price is huge. He would need to go 40 fantasy points to pay it off, which he has only done one time in his last five. He also faces a surging Phillies team that has reeled off 13 victories since the break with only 4 losses. While Greinke is the clear best pitcher on the mound, there is some risk he won’t do enough to be the top pitcher on a dollar for dollar basis. He is still too good to ignore though, so he is definitely in play and still the top option.
Joe Ross vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($8700) – Joe Ross has been lights out since being called up. It’s almost unfair that the Nat’s have so much pitching and the rich got richer here. He has averaged over 18 points per start, which would make him a solid cash option with some upside here at the price. Arizona has some bats to worry about, so it’s not a slam dunk, but he has a better chance for upside at his price than a guy like Wacha does at his, so he gets the nod as a top SP2 option on this slate.
Middle of the Pack
Michael Wacha vs. Cincinnati ($10400) – Wacha threw a gem last out and returned 30 fantasy points. It was his best game in awhile and still fell a little short of what we need from him today to make value. Wacha never goes 8 or 9 innings and he is not a huge K guy, so his upside has a cap. While he should throw a solid game, he is not a good bet to return 30 fantasy pints again, which means he should fall short of tournament upside. Cincy has a lower K% and a decent team batting average against right-handed pitching. They also have decent power numbers. That is what scares me, because a homerun or two with a man on against a guy who likely goes 7 with less than a K per inning will not translate into a 30 point fantasy game.
Matt Garza vs. San Diego Padres ($5900) – Garza has been pretty bad this season and it is reflected in his price here. He has only been going about 6 innings and striking out about five batters per lately. In his last three he has only averaged 2 runs per game allowed. If he can do that, he can return decent value at his huge discounted price. The Padres started off hot, but have since slumped as a team and now own a very low batting average and a very high strikeout rate. Until they start hitting though, it’s not a scary spot for a pitcher, so we could see a decent 15-20 point return here which would be great value.
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Washington Nationals ($6100) – Hellickson has been very feast or famine and only makes sense for tournaments. Still at this price though, he could provide a nice return. The Nats have seen Rendon, Werth, and Zimmerman all return from the DL recently. They are not hitting well at the moment, so I still think they can be targeted until those guys get their feet under them again. It’s pointless to look at the season long numbers as they were playing with Harper and a bunch of role players for most of it. Still Hellickson has flashed 20-25 upside in two of his last three, so he can get you good value in a solid matchup against a team that is still struggling on offense.
Rest of the Field
Anibal Sanchez vs. Kansas City Royals ($8900) – I actually like Sanchez as a tournament only option today on a short slate for differentiation, because he will be pretty low owned, but for cash games this is a horrible spot for him. KC has one of the highest batting averages and by far the lowest K% against right-handed pitching. Sanchez usually relies on his strikeouts to help provide a decent floor and they will not be there today. Without that floor, his normal high hit/walk rate will not be offset and the few runs he gives up every time out will eat into any positives he gets from pitching innings. If he was cheap, I could make a case for it, but he is not cheap and also prone to the occasional blow up. If that happens, he will be a horrible option on the day.
David Buchanon vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($4600) – I am not saying he is a guy you should use, but at this price he has been decent enough to return value. He has been in the mid to high teens in most of his recent starts with one clunker that resulted in a negative fantasy score. He faces a Dodgers team here that has some of the best power numbers against right-handed pitching and is getting a park bump to a hitter friendly stadium, which is why I think you need to temper any expectations with Buchanon.He is not horrible, but the matchup for him is, so today is not the day to roll him out there.
Michael Lorenzen vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($4300) – Lorenzen has some positives, but the negatives far outweigh them here. The good news is he has been striking out about 5 batters per start. The bad news is those starts barely last over five innings and have been accompanied by over 5 runs per start in his last 5 as well. Any upside from the strikeouts is quickly negated when you give up that many runs. Even at the rock bottom price, he is not someone I can recommend.
Odrisamer Despaigne vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($5000) – He had back to back solid starts, but both came against a very weak Miami Marlins line up. There is not much to get excited about here. Despaigne rarely goes past 6, rarely gets anywhere near a strikeout per inning, and rarely limits the damage other offenses can inflict. A guy with low innings and low Ks does not have much upside. He also does allow some negative events, so a low upside with the potential for losing points will not be enough to get him over the hump in this one.