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
Garrett Richards ($10500) – I love watching Richards pitch, but sometimes he makes me crazy. This guy has great stuff and the guts to battle even when his stuff is not on. He faces a Baltimore team here that has a very high K% and not a great batting average. They do have some power though and allowing homeruns has been an issue for Richards. He has given up four of them over his last three games, but has also returned a few 30+ point fantasy performances and a lot of mid-twenties scores which is what we would like to see from him today. He has become the ace of that staff. On his good games he may win you a GPP and even on a bad one he is a solid cash game play, so it makes a ton of sense to use him in either format here today.
Keyvius Sampson ($4700) – The rookie looked real good in his first big league turn and most guys do better second time around with the nerves under control. He has strikeout upside which he flashed by having 8 of them over 6 innings first time out. At a price of only $4700, the floor is easy to reach fr a high strikeout guy. Even if he does not hold that 12 K/9 IP average where it is, a six inning performance with five Ks would be more than enough here if he can hold the Diamondbacks to three runs or less while doing it. Considering they struggled recently, that is not too much to ask.
Middle of the Pack
Tyson Ross ($10600) – Ross is probably my favorite pitcher on the mound today, but that Phillies offense is pretty scary lately. I honestly can not believe I just typed that sentence, but the numbers are undeniable. They have reeled off over a dozen victories already since the all star break and have done so with some double digit run scores. The whole lineup is starting to hit and this will not be a cakewalk for Ross. Ross has struggled to go deep into games, having not reached past the sixth inning in 8 straight starts. He has been getting about a strikeout per inning and limiting runs to three or less, so he should not get lit up here. If he can’t make it to the seventh though, there is little chance for him to return value at close to $11K. While he is likely the best pitcher on the mound, he is not the best value here and would not be a great GPP play.
Trevor Bauer ($9800) – Bauer has huge strikeout upside which gives him a safe floor for cash. He also has a good matchup against a team that struggles with right-handed pitching, so that makes him a GPP option too. His price is a little high at almost $10K, but he has reached over 20 points in each of his last two games. Bauer’s troubles have come via the homerun as he has allowed 18 of them already this year. Dozier and Sano are the two main worries here, but if he can keep the ball in the yard, he can easily return 20+ points and be a solid option on the day. The Twins have some strikeouts in that lineup too, so if he pitches well he could get the win and close to 30 fantasy points, which would be a great return for him on the day.
Robbie Ray ($7200) – Ray has been pretty good this season and definitely has limited upside of his opponents. Lefties have a decent .275 average against him, but he has been real tough on right-handed bats. Ray tends to go about 6 and is not a huge strikeout guy, so there is a limit to expected upside. He has a decent matchup here against a team whose big bats like Frazier and Byrd have been slumping a little. Cincy does have good numbers against lefties and some guys with wOBAs over .400 like Votto and Frazier, but the bottom of that lineup is pretty weak, so there is a mixed bag of opportunities. Ray is a tad pricey too at over $7K for a guy who has not been returning 20+ fantasy points with any regularity.
Tom Koehler ($7500) – Koehler has not allowed either side of the plate to hit over .235 against him so far. He has been tagged for a dozen homers by lefties though, so that is a concern. Still he has a good park to pitch in here and faces a weak lineup. The Braves have very few players that scare you. AJ Pierzynski has the best numbers of the healthy options and he is still only a .350 wOBA guy in his preferred split. He has also been hitting third in the order, so that should tell you about the level of offensive talent they have available to them. Koehler does not allow a lot of hits or runs usually, but also is not a high K guy. The matchup is good enough to make him a decent option for cash, but he lacks the elite strikeout upside to make him a GPP option here.
Jamie Garcia ($10000) – Garcia should pitch well here and there is not much to hate. Milwaukee is watered down after the trades and they have not hit lefties all that well this year. Him not being a cream of the crop option has more to do with his price. Garcia is a solid pitcher. He should return 17-22 points here today, but at $10K that is well short of value. In his nine starts this year, only one touched 30 with most being in the range mentioned. That means he is very likely to be solid, but has no real upside for tournaments at this price. He is consistent enough to like for cash in a solid matchup, but that would be the only place I would consider him an option today.
Ervin Santana ($8000) – This is a tough one to gauge. In his six starts since coming off the DL, he has two where he returned around 30 fantasy points, two others with 0 or negative, and two more starts in the mid teens. The matchup here is not horrible for him as Jason Kipnis is still likely out and guys like Fransisco Lindor are likely near the top of that order again today. Michael Brantley and his .376 wOBA is the main concern as the rest of that offense has wOBAs below the .340 mark so far this season. Santana is too volatile for cash, but he has flashed the ability to dominate teams already, so he makes for an intriguing stab in a large field tournament at a price saving from the top options.
Jeff Samardzija ($8600) – The price is not too restrictive on the shark here and he has a good win chance opposite Guthrie. He is strictly a tournament play as he has flashed 30 point upside in multiple starts over the last month, but has also finished with negative and single digit numbers. When he is on, he can shut down offenses, but when he isn’t, he gets hit hard. Kansas City does not strike out a lot and has a high average, so I would not expect an elite performance, but he could pitch well enough to be useful and does have the ability to throw a gem every once in awhile.
Wade Miley ($6300) – Miley has been decent so far this year, but has a tough matchup in this one. He faces a Detroit team that is very right-handed and he has struggled with righties. Right-handed bats are hitting .269 against him with 11 homers this year so far. The Tigers have a few guys with wOBAs over .380 against lefties, including McCann, Iglesias, Victor Martinez, and Nick Castellanos who should all be in the lineup today. Even a guy like JD Martinez is in a good spot here, despite the fact he prefers to smash off of righties. Miley should be in line for a win opposite the struggling Simon, so he makes a decent play at a low price.
Ubaldo Jimenez ($7800) – Ubaldo is much better at home and has some struggles against right-handed bats. This Angels offense is not great, especially since Pujols has cooled off and seen his wOBA and ISO take a big hit lately. The one guy he has to worry about is Mike Trout. Ubaldo throws hard and has been homer prone in his career. With his struggles on the road and his struggles with right-handed bats, I can not see huge upside in this matchup for him,
Rest of the Field
Alfredo Simon ($6400) – Simon has been really bad this year. His ERA is over 4.50, his WHIP is over 1.40, and he has only one start with double digit fantasy points in his last 8, which includes a few negative numbers. He has been smashed by left-handed batters who are hitting .306 with 11 homers in 66 innings of work against him. Guys like Holt, De Aza, and especially Big Papi look to be in a great spot here. Simon has not been going deep, has been a high strikeout guy, and has been unable to limit negative events. That’s a bad trifecta for a fantasy pitcher.
Stephen Strasburg ($10,100) – I am a fan of Stras, but I can not justify this price with what I have seen of him before the injury. Add in that he will likely be on a pitch count in his first game off the DL and there is no faith he will pitch deep enough or get the strikeouts he would need to make value. That does not even take into account that he faces a Rockies offense that has hit well against right-handed pitching this year. Guys like Car GO, Blackmon, Arenado, and Paulsen have elite numbers against right-handed pitching, so this is no cake walk. The upside is the game is not in Coors, but at this price, it’s not the right spot to use him.
Wily Peralta ($5300) – Peralta has horrendous numbers this year and a tough matchup here in a good hitter’s park. He has allowed a .302 batting average to each side of the plate. Lefties have shown more power with a homerun about every five innings. The Cardinals offense he faces has hit right-handers well. Guys like Wong and Carpenter are always in play against righties and guys like Peralta and Piscotty are also worth a look. Randall Grichuk and his .390 wOBA with a .306 ISO score is another bat to worry about. The Rookie has proven that he not only belongs, but can be a big piece with the way he is swinging the bat. There is little to like here with Peralta and this should be a tough start for him,
Jeremy Guthrie ($4900) – Guthrie has only averaged 7 fantasy points over his last five starts. He averages about 6 innings, 3 strikeouts, and four runs allowed per start. If you add in the 43 hits and 9 walks allowed over those 37 innings of work, you can see why there is little upside left for him to shine. Chicago has also been surging lately at the plate, so despite the good friendly home ballpark, it is not certain he gets anywhere near value or even a positive fantasy score today.
Eddie Butler ($4300) – He gets a park bump, but that is the only positive here. Butler is one of the worst pitchers in MLB statistically this year. Lefties are hitting .343 against him with a homerun in better than 1 in 5 innings. Right-handed bats are also hitting .291 against him with a homerun per seven innings. Even at a price of only $4300, it’s tough to recommend someone who has been hit hard from both sides of the plate all season.