I really don’t like too many pitchers today. Again, I find I’m at a crossroads with upper-echelon arms, compared to the lack of middling pitchers that I’m not terribly confident in. I have more pitchers listed here that I’m avoiding than I’d be willing to start, but maybe that’s a good thing. Sort of a process of elimination, eh? It really does work for me most of the time as I seem to eliminate and weed out the putrid ones, whittling my options down to a handful of appealing arms. Tony Cingrani is an interesting value-play, considering his return to the Reds’ rotation.
Good luck on Wednesday! Feel free to Tweet me at your own risk @TheRolyPolyBoy.
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
1) Jose Fernandez @ Arizona Diamondbacks ($10,000) – Okay, so I was wrong about Fernandez needing a few games to adjust to MLB hitting. I can see the error of my ways now; however, if there’s one pitcher I don’t feel bad about proving me wrong, it’s Fernandez. You have to figure the only major negative for Fernandez is pitching in Arizona, although the Marlins’ superstar pitcher has only walked ONE hitter in 19 IP since returning from Tommy John surgery. Not too shabby, eh? He’ll be worth every dollar spent on Wednesday.
2) Noah Syndergaard @ Washington Nationals ($10,400) – If you’re looking at wins and losses, then Syndergaard isn’t top notch with a 4-5 record. Of course, as informed DFS owners, we know wins and losses don’t mean squat. Syndergaard is worth the $10.4 K spent, considering his xFIP (2.98) and ability to strike out hitters. Sure, his numbers on the road don’t look too attractive, but consider this: Syndergaard’s last two road starts (St. Louis and Los Angeles Dodgers) averaged over 20 FPPG. Syndergaard is getting better as the summer heats up. Sorta scary good.
3) Jake Odorizzi @ Philadelphia Phillies ($8,300) – I’m definitely giving Odorizzi the benefit of the doubt in his last start against the Blue Jays. The Phillies’ don’t offer the best park for pitchers, but, even so, Odorizzi will get back on track. Last time out facing the Jays, he leaned on his cutter a bit more than usual, likely overthrowing it and not getting the movement he should have considering the velocity boost; hence, the Jays lighting Odorizzi up for 6 ER in 4.1 IP (yuck). Take advantage of this price tag and the strong likelihood that Odorizzi bounces back against the lame Phillies’ bats.
4) James Shields vs. San Francisco Giants ($9,600) – Is it surprising that Shields is that much better at Petco Park than on the road? Not really, not considering the park factor and how well pitchers benefit. You get quite a boost if you roster Shields at home, but be wary of the base-on-balls from him. I see a 20-plus fantasy night here, getting plenty of K’s and getting deep into the game.
5) Sonny Gray vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($10,700) – Gray has only allowed 5 HR all season long to opposing hitters, with two of them coming in his last start against the Twins. I know the Blue Jays’ bats can be formidable at times, but Gray is a Top 5 pitcher heading into Wednesday. He’s a good bounceback candidate. While Gray does pitch better on the road this season, he’s someone I feel confident about. His $10.7 K salary does put a kink in my thinking slightly, however, that’s the only reason that keeps him from a higher ranking slot.
6) Tony Cingrani vs. Chicago Cubs ($4,000) – Cingrani is my under-the-radar value-pitcher of the day on Wednesday. Why, you ask? The obvious reason is his price tag at $4 K, but Cingrani is still a pitcher that possesses the skill set to be a solid MLB starter. Plus, he’s looked very good while being stretched out in the minors. Cingrani may still be a one-pitch wonder at times, although he isn’t afraid to go to his slider as much as he was in the past. Mainly, since he has improved it. The Reds’ youngster was decently successful out of the bullpen this season, even though he is walking too many hitters for my tastes. Still, this is a second chance to anchor himself into the Reds’ rotation considering their starting-pitching woes and Cubs’ hitters are striking out frequently this season. I love taking a chance on Cingrani, pairing him Noah Syndergaard, Anibal Sanchez or Sonny Gray. Just keep in mind that Cingrani will likely have a 75-80 pitch count limit, but what do you expect for $4K?
7) Anibal Sanchez vs. Seattle Mariners ($9,000) – Sanchez hasn’t pitched a bad game since the beginning of June, or at least bad by DFS standards. Sanchez still gives up far too many homers, with 19 on the season so far, so that’s the rub on him. Is he worth $9 K? I don’t have a problem with the salary considering he’s facing the lowly Mariners’ bats, who scrape the bottom of the barrel with a .235 batting average (2nd worst in MLB). If Sanchez keeps the ball down for the most part we could be looking at one of his best performances of the season.
Middle of the Pack
8) Robbie Ray vs. Miami Marlins ($7,500) – If there’s a negative about Ray this season it’s his inability to go deep into games. It’s not like the Diamondbacks are limiting his pitch count, as most starts Ray does reach the 100-pitch mark, but it’s all about efficiency; however, Ray really hasn’t had a bad start this season either, and I like that he’s $1 K less than C.J. Wilson. That makes him a better value in my book. The Marlins’ bats aren’t enough for me to worry that the it will all come tumbling down for Ray.
9) C.J. Wilson vs. Minnesota Twins ($8,500) – Wilson’s home/road splits have been very equal this season, right down to FPPG earned in each start. His ERA, K, BAA… all roughly the same. Wilson is very consistent, which is part of the reason why he sits at $8.5 K. The Twins don’t hit a ton of home runs as a club, which is good for Wilson. So, if you’re okay with a 15-20 fantasy night out of Wilson, give him a go.
10) Julio Teheran vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,100) – If it’s not obvious by now, I’m a big advocate of home/road splits for pitchers. Take Teheran for example: (Home) 57.2 IP, 14 ER, 3 HR, 49 K and 2.19 ERA, (Road) 55.2 IP, 43 ER, 13 HR, 42 K and 6.95 ERA. These numbers are a bit staggering to me, and point to using Teheran in a roster where I’m looking for mid-level pitchers.
11) Jordan Zimmermann vs. New York Mets ($8,700) – Daniel Murphy and David Wright both smack Zimmermann around pretty good but Zimmermann only has to show concern for Murphy with Wright still out of action. The current Mets’ hitters do hit .272 against him, although it’s not enough of an overwhelming stat for me to completely avoid Zimmermann. The price isn’t great but it’s not bad either. Keep in mind that Zimmermann will likely benefit from a BABIP (.315) correction that’s been part of his first half issues at times, but on Wednesday he’s more of a specialized role fit where the hitters I choose may not allow me a $10 K plus pitcher.
12) Lance Lynn @ Chicago White Sox ($9,900) – Lynn is a different pitcher on the road with a 4.06 ERA, while putting up a 1.83 ERA at home for a difference of 9 FPPG. Lynn’s road numbers aren’t worth his price tag in my estimations. You could do worse but getting more for your dollars spent is smart.
13) Collin McHugh vs. Boston Red Sox ($8,000) – I like McHugh’s GB% this season, which is right at 47% for the year (above average), and his success will hinge upon keeping the ball down. McHugh has allowed 8 HR over his last 10 starts, although only 1 HR over his last five starts. McHugh is a mid-range option, although a bit overvalued considering his salary.
Rest of the Field
14) Kyle Hendricks @ Cincinnati Reds ($7,800) – You have to be impressed with Hendricks to this point, but you don’t have to be impressed enough to roster him pitching in Cincinnati. My ball park factor issues keep popping up as I write the MLB Pitcher Rankings but they are valid. Really valid. Other than Coors Field and Yankee Stadium, the Reds’ Great American Ball Park is the third best park for hitters in 2015.
15) Felix Doubront @ Oakland Athletics ($4,800) – So which Doubront will we get on Wednesday? The one that debuted in 2015 with a sparkling 6.2 inning performance, allowing only 1 ER while striking out six hitters? Or, will we get the 5 IP, 7 R(5 ER), 2 K showing we got just before the All-Star break? Doubront is a risk I’m not willing to take. You just don’t know what you’re getting at this point.
16) Kevin Gausman @ New York Yankees ($4,000) – Gausman is tempting, isn’t he? No? Maybe I’m just getting a bit geeked out here that he’s back for the O’s. Ignore my geeky-ness and go with Tony Cingrani at this price range. I won’t be shocked if Gausman has a good start, it’s just not likely.
17) Edinson Volquez vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($7,000) – There’s always been solid potential with Volquez but the guy just can’t get deep into games, averaging just under 6 IP per start. I want more out of my pitchers for DFS play. Over Volquez’ last four starts, he’s only reached six innings once. Volquez’ ERA (3.29) is misleading, meaning if you’re not someone that doesn’t dig into stats for your daily research you may get hurt.
18) Mike Montgomery @ Detroit Tigers ($7,800) – Don’t get overly excited about Montgomery, although he has provided some noteworthy value this season. I’m not happy about the matchup he draws, facing one of the better hitting teams in the league in the Tigers. There’s some heavy risk facing those Detroit bats, enough for me to pass.
19) Ivan Nova vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5,500) – Not that Nova isn’t capable, because we all know what his healthy arm can do, but there is likely some strength still that needs to be built up. Nova’s 12:7 K:BB rate is noticeable, plus he’s not going far into games which is partly by design considering his return from injury. Why take the chance on Nova?
20) Cody Anderson @ Milwaukee Brewers ($8,000) – I have a hard time taking anyone by the name of “Cody” seriously, mainly since I envision a Jeff Spicoli-like dude surfing the tastiest San Diego waves ever. Cody, my brah, did you hang ten? Cody, Bodhi, Brody… all surfer names, eh? Putting my immature name issues aside, Anderson has impressed to this point with a 20.7 FPPG average in four starts this season. Will the wheels fall off? Yeah, brah, they will. And, no way I’m paying $8 K for what’s about to implode. The Brewers have won five out of their last six games and have really poured things on with the bats of late. I sense an ultimate Cody crash.
21) Mike Leake vs. Chicago Cubs ($6,400) – Leake is a hero-to-zero pitcher, with about half of his starts outstanding and the other half in the crapper. I don’t really see a hero start here by Leake, even with the Cubs’ hitters running into major contact issues at times. Leake is better than some of the lower-tier pitching options, but why mess around with him?
22) Dallas Beeler @ Cincinnati Reds ($6,700) – Beeler? Beeler? Beeler? Okay, bad Ferris Bueller. If I’m not that impressed with Kyle Hendricks pitching in Cincinnati, what would make you think I’m into Beeler? These Cubs/Reds double-header games are going to be doozies for hitters on Wednesday
23) Matt Cain @ San Diego Padres ($7,900) – Just because Cain is pitching in San Diego doesn’t mean I’m buying. My lineup is not safe with Cain in there, who has given up 3 HR in three starts since finally returning from injury. I’m not ready to put my trust in Cain.
24) Mike Bolsinger @ Atlanta Braves ($7,200) – In three out of his last five starts, Bolsinger hasn’t even hit the five inning mark. Yep, that’s right, he gets pulled too soon in games. Not good. Bolsinger’s numbers look solid all-around, but if dude can’t get deep into games? Blech. There are too many other options to consider. Pass on Bolsinger.
25) Charlie Morton @ Kansas City Royals ($5,400) – Morton’s 8.20 ERA on the road should be enough to make you run. Morton is another pitcher you’ll want to avoid, as it’s looking tougher and tougher to find low-end options to match with a superstar option.
26) Mike Pelfrey @ Los Angeles Angels ($4,400) – I see no logical reason to recommend Pelfrey as a starter for any of your lineups on Wednesday. Sure, you could get lucky rostering him but that’s what it would be: pure luck. No thanks on Pelfrey.
27) Martin Perez @ Colorado Rockies ($4,700) – In his second start back from Tommy John surgery he gets to toss at Coors Field? Yay, lucky for him. Maybe it won’t be too bad for Perez facing Rockies’ hitters, who were shut down on Tuesday night, but there’s heavy, heavy risk here, maaaan. Like, way heavy.
28) Adam Morgan vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($4,000) – We contrarian DFS folk even know to stay away from Morgan, and I don’t see the need to go grazing at this level just to be a GPP contrarian anyway when you could go with better pitchers for a similar price tag. Come on, you know better. Don’t you?
29) John Danks @ St. Louis Cardinals ($5,600) – Danks is another pitcher I’m completely avoiding, with the Cardinals coming to town. It really doesn’t matter, however, since I’d avoid Danks even if the Bad New Bears were coming to town.
30) Jorge De La Rosa vs. Texas Rangers ($6,800) – De La Rosa has given up 5 HR over his last three starts and he’s awful at Coors Field, averaging 10.4 FPPG at home compared to his road 20.2 FPPG average. The Rangers’ bats have not been shy either, scoring 16 runs over the last two games at Coors.
31) Kyle Lohse vs. Cleveland Indians ($4,300) – Laughable as a DFS option, Lohse is. Mmm. I sense pain, darkness, many uneasy nights of sleep if you trust your feelings to Lohse. Giving up 46 ER in 51.1 IP at home in Milwaukee this season makes me want to comfort Lohse, tell him it’s going to be alright… even if it’s not.
32) Wade Miley @ Houston Astros ($6,400) – Volatility is Miley, and Miley is volatility. Did you know that Miley has four starts over his last 10 games where he scored 2.9 FPPG or LESS? Yikes. Three of those were negative-point starts. Please don’t be one of those DFS owners that rosters Miley, in Houston, facing Astros’ bats where they hold a league-leading 128 HR on the year. Plus, the Astros have scored a 414 runs on the season, third best in the Majors. This is a recipe for disaster.
Tweet me at your own risk @TheRolyPolyBoy.