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) Chris Archer @ Kansas City Royals ($10,600) – Did you know that Archer has a higher FPPG total this season over Kershaw? Yep, it’s true. Archer nets 25.2 FPPG this season, while Kershaw gives owners 24.7 FPPG. Makes you think about value, doesn’t it? Well, if you were only figuring upon seasonal production. Week-to-week production does make a difference of course, especially in DFS play. The matchup is tough heading into Kansas City, but the talent is too massive and the arm is too groovy to ignore what you’re getting for the bucks spent. Archer is my No. 1 play on Wednesday.
2) Jacob deGrom @ San Francisco Giants ($10,700) – deGrom had a rough time of it last start out, only giving owners 4.6 fantasy points, as he labored through 5.1 innings pitched. Still, he’s about the best bounceback candidate a DFS owner can ask for. What about the price, you say? deGrom is worth it. Remember, he’s gone deep into games and strikes out hitters – we like-y.
3) Michael Wacha @ Chicago Cubs ($9,400) – The wind is blowing IN at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, and Wacha is turning into a dominant starter for owners with his 18.8 FPPG average, so there’s a major bonus there. I love his overall numbers too, with the dependability being very solid. The price on Wacha isn’t bad for what you’re getting. Over Wacha’s last 10 games pitched he’s only walked 15 batters.
4) Jason Hammel vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($9,100) – Hammel had a huge run of 20-plus fantasy starts that ended early-June, but he’s had a couple of solid games since. Hammel is underrated as a pitcher overall, not everyone realizing that he can carve out hitters with his arm. I like that the wind (9 MPH) is blowing IN for Hammel, so there won’t be many loosey-goosey home runs flying out. If a hitter smacks one out, it’s true power. I like a pitcher’s duel on Wednesday against Michael Wacha. Give me Hammel, but right after Wacha.
5) Clayton Kershaw vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($13,300) – Automatic? Just about. I’m sure by now, being the smart DFS player that you are, you know what a guy like Kershaw can do. Like I’ve said in many previous pieces past: Do you want to pay the price for Kershaw? I will tell you that there are plenty of hitter values to build around Kershaw, if you’re willing to sock out the $13.3 K price for the Dodgers left-handed hurler.
6) Gio Gonzalez vs. Cincinnati Reds ($8,700) – Gonzalez destroys Reds’ hitters that have faced him over the years, allowing a .215 AVG and only a .609 OPS. The best part? None of the current hitters have hit a home run against Gonzalez in 107 at-bats. Yeah, maybe he’s due for a bludgeoning, but I don’t think so this start. The $8.7 K price tag is a bit attractive for what Gonzalez has been giving owners lately. And, considering his history against the Reds? Gimme.
Middle of the Pack
7) Ubaldo Jimenez @ Minnesota Twins ($8,300) – Okay, so I’m having a hard time finding a week where Jimenez was bad. Well, maybe one week… or two. Dude is getting the job done, giving owners 18.3 FPPG this season. Jimenez is an underrated option on Wednesday. How’s he doing the job? He’s cut down tremendously on his BB/9 rate, which stands at 2.77 this season as compared to last season’s 5.53 rate. Sure, we’d like to see that 2.77 go lower, but this is Ubaldo we’re talking about (4.09 BB/9 rate over his career). His BABIP is pretty much in line with his career numbers, so it’s obvious the lack of walks helps him. I like the matchup overall, even in Minnesota, so I’d give Ubaldo a whirl in a situation where you have a somewhat hitter-heavy lineup.
8) J.A. Happ vs. Detroit Tigers ($7,200) – Do you want a home/road split that will tickle your fancy? At home: 10 ER in 7 games started. On the road: 30 ER in 9 game started. U-G-L-Y with Happ on the road. Thankfully, Happ is pitching at home on Wednesday. Sure, he’s facing the Tigers lineup which can be quite potent at times, BUT they are without Miguel Cabrera for the next six weeks or so. Ahem. Happy is an under-the-radar play for a reasonable price in Seattle. I’m not saying devote your lineup to him, but you can get by with a solid night from Happ.
9) Mike Fiers vs. Atlanta Braves ($9,100) – Fiers gives up too many hits and he needs to certainly cut down on his walks. In fact, Fiers in on pace for a bit under 70 free passes right now in the year – yikes! Over Fiers’ last three games, he’s managed to give owners almost 20 FPPG, but is he worth $9.1 K? Nah. You can find a better value overall on Wednesday, although Fiers does offers some exciting potential.
10) Anibal Sanchez @ Seattle Mariners ($9,500) – Which Sanchez are we getting? Are we getting the recent Sanchez that has given DFS owners 25.38 over his last five starts? Or, the stinker-job he gave us the previous five games. Ugh. The positives are that Sanchez strikes out hitters and he can get into games fairly deep. I love that he’s pitching in Seattle on Wednesday, so the park factor is a help. The salary, however, is a tad high, which lowers Sanchez some in my eyes. Don’t go ga-ga for Sanchez, but I won’t fault you for rostering him on Wednesday.
11) Tommy Milone vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6,800) – Milone isn’t as nearly bad as he was earlier in the season, but that doesn’t mean you go carte blanche. Right? The best that you can hope for from Milone is to go 7 innings in a game and keep runners off base, but he won’t give numbers via the strikeout. That’s enough for me to rely on another arm.
12) Julio Teheran @ Milwaukee Brewers ($8,500) – I’m not a fan. Teheran’s up-and-down performances over the season really make you think. Now, maybe Teheran has a solid record against current Milwaukee hitters but it’s not enough for me to roster him at $8.5 K. The value is NOT there. Why take the risk at this price, when you can take the same sort of risk for a $2 K less? Bam! Look elsewhere.
13) Scott Kazmir @ New York Yankees ($9,000) – Kazmir is awful on the road this season with a 4.21 ERA. That should tell you that he’s polar opposite of his home numbers, considering his seasonal ERA. I say stay away, considering the price tag and that Kaz is pitching in New York. If you’re going to fork over $9 K, spend it on Wacha or Hammel.
14) Tom Koehler @ Boston Red Sox ($6,500) – From the month of June on, Koehler has pitched pretty damn well. I’m not crazy about him heading into Boston to face the Red Sox, although there could be worse places to pitch. Maybe Colorado? Yeah. Koehler is highly underrated, but the concern is how he’ll do in Boston. Hmm. The risk, the risk. For the $6.5 K risk I’d rather have him in my lineup over pitchers like Andrew Cashner and Trevor Bauer. What? Bauer. Yeah, Bauer.
15) Andrew Cashner @ Pittsburgh Pirates ($8,100) – Cashner is too volatile for my blood. I just can’t see spending this kind of dough on him, even though I do have a secret, not-so-secret, love affair thingy for Cashner. I don’t know, maybe it’s that he pitches at Petco, in the city I live in, and that I’ve witnessed him go all strikeout-happy before; however, this Wednesday I’m not falling for him. We need more than strikeouts, don’t we?
16) Charlie Morton vs. San Diego Padres ($6,100) – Morton is a groundball pitcher, which excites most DFS owners, although the results of Morton’s groundball ways haven’t always translated into positive production. Morton doesn’t get enough strikeouts, and he allows far too many hits. Yucky, BABIP. Morton may fit okay in your lineup depending upon the circumstances, but you’ve got to be willing to take the risk. Or, have a risky lineup altogether.
17) Jeremy Guthrie vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5,600) – Three out of the last four starts for Guthrie have been solid. Very solid, in fact. If not for Guthrie’s negative-1.4 point production facing the Mariners on June 23rd, he would be someone I’d target for a turnaround. Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of like Guthrie in a weird sort of way. If I chose Kershaw to anchor my lineup, I might consider Guthrie if the moment was right. I do prefer him over the others listed below him in salary.
Rest of the Field
18) Trevor Bauer vs. Houston Astros ($7,900) – You want no part of Bauer at home in Cleveland this season. If you want proof, these are his home numbers: 6.49 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, .282 BAA, 9.5 FPPG in 43 IP over 8 games started. Ouch. For some reason, Bauer hates home cookin’, so until he proves he can pitch better in Cleveland I see no reason to spend almost $8 K on him.
19) C.C. Sabathia vs. Oakland Athletics ($7,700) – If you’re into rolling the dice and you’re carefree with expectations, then Sabathia is your man; however, if you want a bit more consistency from your pitchers, a bit more reliability, then you want to avoid Sabathia. My recommendation? Avoid.
20) Drew Hutchison @ Chicago White Sox ($7,200) – One good start, one bad start, one good start, one horribly destroying bad start. It’s up to you to decide if Hutchison is your guy or not, but he’s definitely not my guy. The instability is nerve racking and while Hutchison has EIGHT wins on the year, his ERA sits a 5.23. So, yeah, that should give you a hint on whether WINS has a bearing on DFS fantasy production. (Side note: I remember my early DFS days and how much stock I put into WINS. I was a dumb-dumb in my early days. Don’t be a dumb-dumb).
21) Dan Straily @ Cleveland Indians ($6,200) – Remember when Straily was striking out hitters at a cah-ray-zee clip in the minors? Like, everyone went nuts over him? AND, like everyone fell for it? Well, there’s still something that attracts me to Straily. This is likely Straily’s last start since he’ll likely be sent down to AAA after Scott Feldman finishes his rehab starts. Straily is just too risky to roster, even at this price.
22) Jake Peavy vs. New York Mets ($8,100) – No thanks. I’m not paying $8.1 K for a pitcher that hasn’t established himself this season due to injury. Peavy has THREE starts this year, with 14.4 fantasy points as his highest output. Sure, that was his July 3rd start coming off the DL, but it’s not enough. This price tag is outlandish! Steer clear.
23) Chris Rusin vs. Los Angeles Angels ($4,500) – Although Rusin has only had two starts at Coors Field, he does have excellent production to show. The most attractive thing about Rusin is his price tag at $4.5 K, although that alone is not enough for me to get him into my lineups. You could do worse, in case you can’t tell by my rankings. Just be very, very wary.
24) Jeremy Hellickson @ Texas Rangers ($6,400) – The last time Hellickson went 7 innings in a game, aside from his last start? August 6, 2014. No, no, no. Hellickson heading into the launching pad that is Arlington? You can do better. Rangers pitching has given up 75 HR this season to hitters, which ranks 5th in the AL in HR per game played at home. Risky here. Risky.
25) Matt Shoemaker @ Colorado Rockies ($6,000) – With the way Shoemaker has pitched this season, do you really want to take a chance on him pitching in Colorado? No, you don’t.
26) Adam Morgan @ Los Angeles Dodgers ($5,500) – Morgan has been brilliant since he joined the Phillies’ rotation, but how long will that last? I’m not crazy about Morgan facing the Dodgers’ bats, although he did quiet the Cardinals very easily. You have to be a risk-taking DFS guy to go with Morgan. I’m not that guy.
27) John Danks vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,900) – Danks has had some magnificent games this season, where he’s totaled over 25 FPPG. How many, you ask? Three. The other games he’s started? Miserable. Completely and totally miserable. You may get a wonderful start out of Danks facing the Blue Jays’ bats, and the $5.9 K price is seemingly attractive, but you’d be a knucklehead to expect good production from him. I don’t care if Danks has the best game of his life, I won’t feel bad one bit about NOT locking him in on my rosters.
28) Michael Lorenzen @ Washington Nationals ($4,800) – Lorenzen’s 7.8 FPPG total in 11 starts should be enough to keep you away. Do you really want to take a chance on Lorenzen heading into Washington?
29) Matt Harrison vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,000) – Remember Harrison? Neither do I. It’s been that long since he’s pitched in the Majors. Since 2012, Harrison has started SIX games in MLB. Sorry, but even with his $5 K price I’m not rostering him. Okay, maybe if choosing between him and Rick Porcello, but only since he’s $800 less in price.
30) Rick Porcello vs. Miami Marlins ($5,800) – Poop. That’s what my son would say if I rostered Porcello – POOP. What happened to this guy? Man, there were so many lovely signs of a pitcher that could fill into a No. 2 role with a club. The three-year improvement that Porcello had before 2015 was fantastic, but now? I’m not getting near the dude.
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