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

Max Scherzer vs. Atlanta Braves ($14500) – There’s no argument about who the top pitching option is. The question is more about whether or not you are willing to pay that price tag. He has gone for 42, 53, and 60 in three of his last six games. That means he returned 3 points, 3.5 points, and 4 points per thousand in half of those starts. He also had a 29 and two numbers in the mid teens which would have been a cash game safe 2 points per thousand and the other two would have been clunkers. He is the best option on the day and has a decent matchup with a Braves team who is missing the biggest bat and has some high strikeout guys in the middle of that order. I am not worried about him pitching well, but it is a concern when thinking if he will be able to reach value or not.

Yovani Gallardo vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7700) – At first glance, this may seem odd, but there is a compelling case for using Gallardo here today. He opened at +120 and is down to +105 already. He faces an Orioles team that has the third highest strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching and is 15th in batting average at .256. Gallardo has thrown up some really good fantasy scores in recent games. He has at least 18 points n six of his last seven and five of those have been over 20 points. He needs about 23 today to make value and the strikeout upside against the Baltimore team could easily get him there. The price savings he offers at about half the price of Scherzer is pretty tough to pass up. Other than Scherzer, there’s not much high end talent to go after today. Gallardo has been pitching well and has a solid matchup, so he might be the second best option based on price.

Middle of the Pack

Chris Young vs. Minnesota Twins ($5500) – If you want to play Scherzer, you basically have to go cheap with your SP2 to have any money left for bats. Chris Young is a guy who can make it work for you. He has returned 20 fantasy points in three of his last four starts, which would be great value at only $5500. The Twins struggle with right-handed pitching, and while Young has low K numbers, he also does not allow a lot of negative events. If he can go 6 or 7 with 4 or 5 Ks and limit the damage, that would be a huge return for the price.   

Scott Kazmir vs. Seattle Mariners ($9200) – Kazmir has been really tough at home. He has a 1.63 ERA and a WHIP of 1.05 with 48 Ks in 49.2 innings of work. The matchup is middle of the road all around with the K% being 19th at 20.2% and the batting average being 16th overall for the Mariners. With a low run total and the game in a pitcher friendly park, it still favors Kazmir. He has gone about seven innings in each of his last four, while giving up about 6 hits, 1.5 runs and striking out six each time. That equates to a fantasy score of about 22 points. Even with the win he may fall a little short, which is why he is not in the elite category.

Roenis Elias vs. Oakland Athletics ($7000) – He is cheaper than Kazmir, who he opposes, but may have a softer matchup. Oakland puts the ball in play and has the 25th lowest K% against lefties at only 17.6%. They also have a low average which is 24th in the league against southpaws at .239. He is in a low total game in a great pitchers park, so there is a lot of upside. He is more erratic than other options today as he has alternated 20 and 30 point games with scores that were below five and even negative over his last 8 games. He tends to struggle with righty dominant teams like Houston recently, but the As are left-handed heavy so the matchup for him is above average.

Tyson Ross vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($9700) – Ross has dropped down the runs allowed and jacked up the strikeouts in his recent starts. Those two things are net positive for pitcher’s in fantasy, so his scores have come up. Based off of that, he will likely be over owned today. While he has been good recently, he has not been great this season to justify the price. St. Louis will throw a lot of lefty bats at him on top of that order. He has a good matchup against the rookie, so the win is forseeable, but if he is still walking 5 guys a game like he even did last out, eventually that regression will bite him. Unless he stays away from the base on balls, he will fall short of value and is not a recommended cash game play.

Kyle Gibson vs. Kansas City Royals ($6300) – Gibson is solid, yet unspectacular. He will go six innings, give up two or three runs, and strike out about five. That will earn him a number in the low to mid teens. He has no upside, but is likely to return a decent number in that range based off his recent performances. I do not see why that would be enough against a team that doesn’t strike out a lot. I just can not see him breaking through his averages here against a tough opponent.

Rest of the Field

Wade Miley vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($6900) – Miley has not been horrible lately, which is why this is tough to do, but a lefty facing the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre is a clear stay away. Toronto is one of the highest scoring teams in baseball and the Rogers Centre is one of the friendliest ball parks for hitters. The Blue Jays have a ton of right-handed bats that feast on lefties. Batista, Encarnacion, and Donaldson is a fearsome trio. Guys like Martin/Navarro at catcher, Valencia, Collabelo, and even Travis and Reyes are all in play. With that many guys who profile well against Miley, it is going to be a long day for him.

Jeremy Hellickson vs. Colorado Rockies ($6500) – Hellickson has not been good this year. He struggles with lef-handed bats and anyone with power. While the Rockies only have a few lefties, tey do have plenty of power. The game is in a good hitter’s park in Zrizona. Hellickson is allowing a .329 to lefties this year, so guys like Cargo and Blackmon are in play. He has also allowed 13 homers in 83 innings of work, so guys like Arenado and Tulo are as well. He is not a high K guy and always gives up some hits and runs. Without a high K floor, he is neither safe for cash or someone who has any real upside for a tournament.

Matt Boyd vs. Boston Red Sox ($4400) – The young lefty had mixed reviews for his first start. He went six and two-thirds which is good and he struck out 7 along the way. The downside is he also allowed 9 hits and four runs, which including three homers in that game. He faces a Red Sox team that is not dominate against left-handed pitching and he is probably the young pitcher who will throw the most innings and has the best K upside. Still I am not sure it will be enough to justify using him today. While he has the best chance to make value of the youngsters listed below him, he is also not likely to return 20-30 fantasy points and really be a useful player for you to roster.

Kevin Gausman vs. Texas Rangers ($6200) – This is a rough matchup to draw for Gausman. The game is in Baltimore, which is a good hitter’s park, but his splits are bad news based on his opponent. Gausman has allowed lefties to hit .360 against him and the trend of lefty bats doing well extends back a few years. Texas has guys like Fielder hitting .380 against righties and Mitch Moreland who has 12 homeruns and a .320 average this year against them. Moreland has been the hottest hitter in baseball with two multi-homer games in the past week, so that alone is bad news for Gausman.

Tim Cooney vs. San Diego ($4400) – Cooney is a young lefty the Cardinals called up. He was lit up in his first appearance, not making it past three innings and giving up a few runs on seven hits. If he was not playing San Diego it would be even worse, but the Padres bats have really struggled. Cooney is not likely to pitch deep into this game, has not shown K upside, and is unlikely to get a win if he is pulled early or just ineffective.

Manny Banuelos vs. Washington Nationals ($4600) – The Nat’s have a lot of guys banged up and are rolling out a pretty thin lineup. Banuelos is a pretty big prospect who is finally getting his shot in the rotation. Even if he does pitch well though, it is unlikely he goes deep into this game. His strikeout numbers in AAA this year have not been overly impressive, so low innings with few strikeouts and a low win chance opposite Scherzer are all negatives for him today.

Chris Rusin vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4200) – This price is still expensive for a guy who has been knocked around this year. Both righties and lefties are over .300 against him, but he struggles more in his career with right-handed bats. The Diamondbacks have a ton of good ones up top from Pollock to Goldy to Tomas who will all be doing some damage today. The Diamondbacks likely have five starters today batting over .300 against left-handed pitching and the game is in a hitter friendly park in Arizona. There is very little upside or safety with him today.