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.
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Cream of the Crop
Chris Heston vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($9500) – Heston has been the man lately. He has averaged over 20 points through his last ten starts and has 57 in his last two. He faces a Brewer’s team that has the tenth highest strikeout rate in the league, although they have raised up to 9th overall in batting average. Heston has been upping his strikeout numbers recently and keeping the high groundball rate. He gets to pitch at home in a pitcher friendly park and has been the hottest pitcher of those on the hill today. Milwaukee has some explosive bats, but Heston has the best combination of price, recent performance, and talent of those on the bump Monday.
Lance Lynn vs. Cincinnati Reds ($11100) – Lynn has been very good in most of his recent starts. In five of his last six, he has been around 20 fantasy points or more, including two games where he was at about 33. That would be the value you would want to see from him in this one at that price. Cincy is coming off a big run scoring weekend in Coors, but gets a huge park shift downgrade here. The Reds are a low strikeout team with the 25th ranked K% and they are middle of the road for batting average against right-handed pitching. Still Lynn is one of the few guys with the ability to reach his ceiling today and the Reds may take a game to get adjusted to leaving the thin Coors air. He does have the talent to be the top scorer on the day, but the upside is probably not going to be there for using him in a tournament. He is favored though, so he makes a solid cash game play with the high likelihood of a decent performance that goes somewhat deep into the game.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($10200) – I put him in the top section somewhat reluctantly, because he is prone to games where he gets blown up, but he also has been dominant at times. He faces a team that has the fifth highest strikeout rate and the worst batting average in the league against right-handed pitching though, so you really can not argue with the matchup. The Argument here is with the price. At $10,200 he needs to throw a gem. He has a 30 and 40 fantasy point performance in his arsenal as he flashed a few games back, but he usually is around the mid teens and that is not going to get it done for over $10K. You have to assume he pitches to the top end of his range in a matchup this good and on a weak day for pitching he is at least worthy of GPP play with his upside.
Middle of the Pack
Kyle Hendricks vs. Colorado Rockies ($8200) – Over his last five games, Hendricks has averaged 23 fantasy points. That is a pretty good average for a guy around $8K. The Rockies have struggled on the road a bit, but they do own the highest batting average against right-handed pitching and a middle of the road strikeout rate. Hendricks is at home and I expect him to pitch solidly. He has been upping his strikeout numbers and pitching deeper into games. I do not foresee him being the top option on the day either as I do think he gives up some negative events today, but I also do not think he gets shelled, so he has some merit in cash and tournaments.
John Danks vs. Boston Red Sox ($6100) – Up until two weeks ago, I would not dream of taking Danks. Since then, he has now throw up 20+ fantasy points in 3 of his last four games and 4 of his last seven overall. This Red Sox team is about 20th in K% vs. a lefty but they are also 24th in batting average as they do much better against right-handed pitching. There is merit to making a case for Danks here. He has pitched well, the Sox have struggled. The Ballpark is not particularly great for right-handed homerun hitters with the monster, so that may help limit one of his big weaknesses. Finally the price is pretty friendly and if he pitches like he has, he should return great value at only $6100.
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Chicago Cubs ($7700) – This could be a sneaky spot for De La Rosa although I wish the price was a little cheaper. The Cubs are middle of the pack for batting average against lefties and have the sixth highest strikeout rate. While they do have a few bats that mash lefties, the strikeout floor may be enough to help De La Rosa today. He has a 1.93 ERA with a WHIP of 1.10 away from Coors, so he has pitched well outside of the altitude. The Cubs have not been smashing anyone lately as Bryant has cooled and Rizzo is not doing much of anything. When the big bats do not hit, the whole offense suffers. I do not think De La Rosa is the top scorer on the day, but he should do better than many would expect at first glance based off the numbers.
Edinson Volquez vs. Cleveland Indians ($8600) – Cleveland was just embarrassed against a bevy of left-handed pitching against the White Sox. Volquez though is a righty and Cleveland has better numbers against right-handed pitching. Better is a relative term though as they do have a low strikeout rate that is 24th in the league, but they also have the 24th ranked batting average as well. Volquez threw a gem last out, but his recent starts before that would barely be equal to two times value. He has some upside, but not a ton and the floor is only about 12-14 points which would fall way short. Cleveland has been bad so I expect him to pitch well here, but he is by no means a safe option that screams cash game play.
Nathan Karns vs. Detroit Tigers ($8700) – Karns has been pitching well lately except for the blow up against the Royals. He has a really tough matchup here though against the team with the second highest batting average against right-handed pitching in the league. The Tigers also do not strike out a ton as they are ranked 19th overall in that category too. Karns only goes about 6 innings per start and his fantasy scores have been buoyed by higher than normal strikeout numbers recently. Since this will likely not be a high K game against a team that does not K often, I do not think he has a huge ceiling or a safe floor.
Alex Wood vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7100) – Wood does not have an easy one here against the Orioles. The O’s have the 8th best batting average against left-handed pitching and a much lower strikeout rate that is twelfth as opposed to the high 22.5% one they have against righties. Wood has given up at least three runs and gone at least six innings in 5 of his last seven starts. That makes those good numbers to use for projecting him today. He has also averaged over five strikeouts, although he faces a lower strikeout team here. That means unless he gives up a ton of runs and hits, he should have a return of 14-18 fantasy points which is a tad below value, but not the worst option on the day.
Robbie Ray vs. Seattle Mariners ($8000) – It’s more a problem with the price on Ray here for me. He is a solid pitcher and has been great lately, but Seattle has the 12th highest batting average and a low strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching. Nelson Cruz has crushed lefties in his career and this year is no different. The rest of the team actually does better against lefties this season than they have against right-handed pitching. Ray could be a decent option for 15 or so points, but the problem is that is not enough at a salary of $8000. There is little upside with Ray today and a chance for a blow up, so at best he is a fringe option.
Rasiel Iglesias vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5500) – Iglesias has been solid and consistently in the 10-20 point range. That makes him a decent option here at only $5500. St. Louis is not a huge offensive juggernaut this season, but they do have the fifth highest batting average and a low strikeout rate against right-handers. Iglesias does not pitch deep which is a concern, but he has also not been knocked around and does strikeout a few guys. While he may return 12-15 points here, he will not be the top scoring option on the day and is more a play if you think he can get you value and allow you the savings to get the big bats.
Cody Anderson vs. Kansas City Royals ($8100) – Anderson has had a good start to his major league career. He had three 20+ point fantasy performances followed by a 16 point game before getting lit up last out. He never strikes out a lot of guys, so the fact he faces the team that strikes out the least is negligible. KC does also have a high batting average and scores some runs though, so it will be tough for him to limit the negative events. Anderson does pitch deep into games, but without the Ks and with negatives probable, he will have a hard time returning anything close to decent value here.
Matt Harrison vs. New York Yankees ($4900) – Harrison is making his third start. His first start went bad and in his second he shut down the Rockies at Coors field. I’m not really sure what to expect from him here after that one. He is a lefty facing a team that does not strikeout a ton, but also does not hit well as they have the twentieth best batting average in the league.He will likely not be the top scorer on the day, but at only $4900, he could return a decent value whether or not he gets the win.
Rest of the Field
Mike Montgomery vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($7300) – This is the guy to avoid today in my eyes. Montgomery came out hot in his first few turns, but since has cooled dramatically. He faces a team with a middle of the road strikeout rate, but a high batting average (7th) and a good deal of power. The DBacks have a few guys who profile well against left-handed pitching, so this is not an easy spot for Montgomery. I think he will be highly used today, but I have the most concerns about him that I have of any pitcher on the slate who is in play. I would avoid him based on the matchup.
Ivan Nova vs. Texas Rangers ($6600) – Nova has only gone about 6 innings each time since coming off the DL. He has not been striking out a lot of batters and has struggled with left-handed bats. He pitches in a hitter’s park today against a lefty heavy team, so it is not a great matchup. He has given up 9 runs in his last 17 innings of work, so he will have some negatives today as well. Low innings and low strikeouts with negatives are a bad combination. Even at the discounted price he will not have an easy time making value.
Joe Kelly vs. Chicago White Sox ($5100) – Kelly does not have mush upside. He tends to not make it past five innings and he is not a huge strikeout guy. He also gives up a few hits, walks, and runs, so there’s always a couple negative events. The White Sox are actually coming off a series in which they scored a few runs too, so this one could turn into a slugfest. The White Sox are 21st in batting average and 12th in K percentage, so it’s not a bad matchup, but Kelly is not a great pitcher so I doubt he takes full advantage of it.
Kyle Lohse vs. San Fransisco Giants ($4900) – Lohse has been getting lit up all season. He is down to averaging about 5 innings with 3 to four runs per start. He does not strikeout a lot of guys and gives up a decent number of hits and walks. Add that all together and you get a low score which is not even worthy of consideration at below $5000.
Kevin Gausman vs. Atlanta Braves ($4300) – The Atlanta line up is not that great, but I still would not recommend Gausman at this price. For starters, Atlanta just welcomed back Freddie Freeman and they already have a lot of lefties. Gausman struggles with left-handed bats. He also has not gone past six innings in and of his recent turns. He has 21 hits and 16 strikeouts in his last 20 innings of work, but he has allowed 13 earned runs with three homers. Atlanta is 12th in batting average against right-handed pitching and have the fourth lowest strikeout rate. Not much upside here at all.