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
Jordan Zimmerman vs. Baltimore Orioles ($9200) – Zimmerman has been a huge stud lately. He has averaged 30 fantasy points over his last two starts. He faces an Orioles team that currently owns the third highest K% against right-handed pitching and a batting average that places them smack dab in the middle of the league. Still he is the underdog here and the game is expected to see 8 runs. At his price, Zimmerman would need the win and to limit the damage despite the massive park switch he has to deal with. While this may not be the best spot for a huge upside game, he is not a horrible option for cash based on his recent dominance.
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. New York Yankees ($6500) – The left-handed rookie has been arguably the second best pitcher for the Red Sox lately. His price today is what really stands out. The Yanks do not strikeout a lot against left-handed pitching, but they also have the 23rd ranked batting average against lefties, so they are not that great. In 6 of his 8 starts, he has reached 28.5 fantasy points which is what he would need today. In five of those he has scored over 20, so there is upside for him at this price. He is a -128 favorite at home in a game with 9 runs expected. His price here is very low and he should be a popular option as a salary saver.
Middle of the Pack
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6300) – This price is incredibly low given the Vegas lines on this game. Iwakuma is the favorite at -115 in his home pitcher’s park. The run line is only 7.5 as well, so there is not a lot of runs expected. Iwakuma has historically been tough at home, so he has that on his side, but he is also only going about 5 or 6 innings in his starts. He has never been a huge strikeout guy either, so he will need to improve on one of those numbers to really have any upside. Still he is favored, and the run total is low in a good pitcher’s park, so he is in play.
James Shields vs. Texas Rangers ($8000) – The price is the main reason Shields is up this high. Texas has a batting average and K% in the middle third of the league. Shields has seen his gaudy early season strikeout numbers come back to earth and that has also been a reason his other numbers are ballooning up. He would need 24 to really return good value here, and while it is not out of the question, it also is not highly likely.
John Lackey vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($8400) – Lackey is at a little bit of better price than Burnett who he faces here. The Matchup with the pirates is pretty nuetral. They have the 12th highest batting average against right-handed pitching and are 14th in strikeout percentage. Lackey has been cash game safe in four of his last five with scores of over two points per thousand of cost. He neared the three point mark we look for in two of those last five as well, so while this is not an easy matchup, he also is not far from value.
Colby Lewis vs. San Diego Padres ($5900) – Lewis has not been great this season, but his matchup here is elite. The Padres have the fifth highest strikeout percentage and the fifth lowest batting average against right-handed pitching. They are just flat out bad lately, although they should be better away from PetCo in this one. Lewis was lit up in his last start, but has a bunch of fantasy scores around the twenty point mark he is at here. He probably lacks the talent for elite upside, but he is capable of a low twenties score which would be plenty good at this price.
CJ Wilson vs. Seattle Mariners ($7400) – The Mariner’s are not a high strikeout team with a rank of 21 against southpaws. They also have a batting average that puts them in 14th against lefties, so at best it can be considered nuetral. Wilson has pitched ok in some of his recent starts with a few fantasy scores into the 20s, which is what he would need here. He is the underdog and on the road, but Iwakuma is still not right, so maybe he can get a big lead and cruise from there against a team that could not hit lefties last season. Of course they added guys like Jackson and Cruz to correct that, which makes the matchup even tougher.
AJ Burnett vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($9400) – Burnett has been really solid this season. His ERA is under 2, but he does have a high WHIP at 1.21 and is not striking guys out at a high rate lately. He is a solid pitcher for 7 innings and five Ks with a few baserunners and a run or two, but if that barely gets him to twenty fantasy points, is it worth it? Burnett is not a bad option, but the Cardinals do hit righties well and have a lot of left-handed bats to throw at him. While he should be ok, OK performances do not win tournaments.
Taylor Jungman vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6400) – Jungman has been solid and was a stud in his last start. Of course the matchup here is much tougher. While the Dodgers are middle of the league for K% and average against right-handed pitching, they also have scored a lot of runs and have a high OPS. Jungman should be decent, but this is a tough spot to expect large upside. Despite the discounted price here, there is too much risk to use Jungman in case, even off his best start to date.
Ryan Vogelsong vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6600) – Vogelson was lit up a few starts back against this lineup in Philly. He is better at home, so that helps, but he is only averaging 13.5 points there as well and that would not be enough for value or upside here. He is favored and while Philly does not strikeout a ton, they also have a low average against right-handed pitching. The win is likely and will help, but he would either need to go deeper than normal or have a high strikeout game to reach value and neither seems that likely.
Rest of the Field
Miguel Gonzalez vs. Washington Nationals ($6200) – Gonzalez had a nice run of 20+ point games, but he has been lost in his last four. He gets to face a weakened Nats lineup at home in this one, but he has allowed 11 runs in his last nineteen innings over three games with only 8 total strikeouts. That means he likely will go about six innings, with three runs allowed, and 3 or less strikeouts. Those numbers will not be enough to reach value, despite this being a solid matchup for him.
Ivan Nova vs. Boston Red Sox ($6400) – Nova is the underdog on the road and after his last start, it is easy to see why. Nova has not gone through 6 innings yet this year in his three starts. He has not reached 20 fantasy points and he has not won since his debut. He is in a high run total game here and the Red Sox should be able to knock him around. He does not have the strikeouts to create a nice floor, so he will likely fall short of value again.
David Buchanon vs. San Fransisco Giants ($4000) – Buchanon is easily the worst starter on the board. He has two negative numbers, two single digits, and a fantasy high score of 12 in his five starts. He averages five innings, three strikeouts, and five earned runs per start. At those levels he is already almost negative, so there is no price including zero where he would interest me today.