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
Carlos Martinez vs. San Diego Padres ($9000) – Martinez has a lot of positives going for him here. He faces San Diego who has the fifth lowest batting average against right-handed pitching and the fifth highest strikeout rate. He gets to pitch at home in a pitcher friendly park and gets a very right-handed dominant lineup which is the side of the plate his does his best work against. He is a huge favorite at -185 in a game with only 7 runs expected. He has averaged about 7 strikeouts per start in just under seven innings of work. He has been very good lately with back to back starts that have reached the mid twenties. Martinez has strikeout upside and faces a lineup where he should be able to limit the negatives. The price discount and softer spot then the top priced options complete the picture here.
Michael Pineda vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($8300) – This is a solid price on Pineda. He has been erratic lately, but this matchup sets up beautifully for him. The Rays have the sixth highest strikeout percentage at 22% against right handed pitching. The Rays also have the third lowest batting average at .236, so you can not ask for a better matchup as a right-handed pitcher. Pineda’s ERA and WHIP are elevated, but that has a lot to do with a few really bad starts he has had. He has alternated between negative numbers and upside’s close to thirty. He had a problem with the break on his slider, which was being hit hard. Whether it was a grip issue or a release point issue, the word is it was fixed. The proof is in the pudding as he went out and was dominant against the As last out. The As are very good against right-handed pitchers, so if he can limit them, he should be able to do it to a struggling Rays team.
Kendall Graveman vs. Seattle Mariners ($6000) – This is the cheap guy who makes the most sense to use here. Graveman has returned 18 or more points in five straight starts, which was 3 points per thousand of cost or more. He faces the Mariners who are dead last for batting average against right-handed pitchers. They also have the third highest strikeout rate at 22.6%, so the matchup could not be any better. The one drawback is that Graveman faces Felix Hernandez in this one, so he is the underdog. It’s been eight straight starts without allowing more than 3 runs, so if his offense can do anything for him, he should walk away a winner. Even without the win, his return should be around three points per thousand or more, so he is safe for cash and tournaments.
Middle of the Pack
Felix Hernandez vs. Oakland Athletics ($11400) – King Felix is not a cream of the crop pick today. Yes he is a stud. No, he should not give up a dozen runs in the first inning here, but this is not a good situation. The As have the sixth highest batting average in the league vs. right-handed pitching and the 4th lowest strikeout percentage at only 17.1%. They also have a lineup filled with quality left-handed bats that hit righties well. Felix is only a -130 favorite which is one of the lower numbers Vegas has put on him all year, so there’s definitely some merit to this.
Clay Buchholz vs. Houston Astros ($8500) – This is the highest price in awhile for Clay, but it is a good matchup for him. The Astros have a 26% K rate which is tops in the league vs. right-handers. They have the sixth lowest batting average to go with it and a few key players injured, such as George Springer. Buchholz has been good with back to back twenty something point starts at lower cost. The price bump is concerning, although it makes sense given the strength of the matchup he has. Buchholz is not a huge K guy, but should be towards the top end of his range given the huge swing and miss rate of the Astros.
David Price vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($10200) – Price is a stud, but he is a left-handed stud going up against a team filled with right-handed bats. The Bluejays have the second lowest strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers at only 16.6% which is one of the lowest against any handedness in all of MLB. The Blue Jays are also the best team against left-handers with a .309 average and a slugging percentage almost .100 points higher than the closest team in second. Like Felix, Price is favored in this one, but the matchup is so tough, he can not be considered a top option.
Chris Tillman vs. Chicago White Sox ($5200) – Tillman has not been all that great this year, but he is coming off a gem against the Indians. He faces a White Sox team that has the 22nd highest batting average at .246, although they do not strike out a ton with a K% that is 19th vs. right-handers. Tillman does not need to do a ton to pay off his salary. He has not been consistent, so the upside makes him a GPP play, but it is not a preferred option in cash.
Colin McHugh vs. Boston Red Sox ($7400) – After getting lit up for eight runs and a -14.5 fantasy score against the mariners four back, McHugh has been great with at least 22 points in the next three starts including a 33 point performance last time out. The Red Sox are not an easy matchup though. They have the second lowest K% in the league and the sixth highest batting average against right-handed pitching. McHugh has been great, but the upside in a tough matchup like this limits his useability.
Nathan Karns vs. New York Yankeees ($6600) – Karns has been solid lately with four straight games between 17 and 23 fantasy points. He does struggle some with left-handed bats and the Yanks will throw a lot of them at him. The Yanks are a big favorite in this one at -160 and the run line is 7.5. While Karns has been decent lately, this is a tough matchup and he is not likely to get the win, so he will have a tough time reaching value if he does not go at least 8.
Rest of the Field
Jeff Locke vs. Cleveland Indians ($5800) – Jeff Locke is a decent pitcher who is favored here in a low run game. He is a lefty facing a lefty heavy Indians lineup. The Indians have a very low K% and the 8th highest batting average against lefties, which was surprising to see. Therefore it’s not going to be an easy game for Locke.He faces Cody Anderson, who has not been striking out a lot of batters, but is 2-0 with only one run allowed through his first fifteen innings of work. Both offenses are better than the pitchers they face, so this could turn into a slugfest.
Jeff Samardzija vs. Baltimore Orioles ($8400) – This would be a solid price for 2014 Jeff “Shark” Samardzija, but he has not been that guy this year. The Orioles should be a good matchup for him, with the 4th highest strikeout rate and a batting average that is 17th in MLB. Still, the Shark will need to return 25 points to make value and he has only done that once in his last ten starts. His strikeout numbers are down, his negative events are up and his offense has not provided any support all season. None of that is positive for someone looking to roll out the shark and not have it bite them on Independence day.
RA Dickey vs. Detroit Tigers ($6800) – Dickey has only returned value at this price in two of his last ten starts. When the Knuckler is dancing, he is good. When it isn’t though, he can get hit hard. Detroit has some really good bats and Dickey is so hard to predict. Based off the returns he has provided against teams without one of the top batting averages against righties in the league, he should struggle here against one that is. Dickey has as many negative numbers as he does numbers that would reach value, so he belongs in the bottom tier and no where near your cash game rosters.