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
Chris Rusin vs. Miami Marlins ($4900) – The most faith I have in any pitcher today is a guy making his fourth start and priced below $5K. Rusin looked real good last time out against this same Marlins team and is getting a friendly park bump as they move to Miami for the rematch this time around. Rusin is a groundball pitcher, which allows him to get deeper into the game than most high strikeout guys do. He has been able to dial up the Ks as well with 15 of them in 18 innings of work. He threw a seven inning gem against these Marlins last out in Coors Field, finishing with eight strikeouts and only allowing 7 hits and two runs in that effort. In his three starts, he has returned what would be 3,4,and 5 points per thousand of cost based on his salary today. On a short slate with no standout options, the best value looks to be on the young Rockies lefty by a wide margin for safety and upside.
Wade Miley vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6600) – Miley has been pretty good in most of his recent starts. He has three 20+ fantasy point starts in his last four, with the other one being a negative number where he was lit up. Miley is not a huge strikeout guy, but he has gone deep into most of his recent starts, as he is pitching into the seventh lately. He also has limited the damage with 2 runs or less inthree of those last four. He does have a tougher matchup as the Orioles are 18th in K% and have the tenth best batting average, so there’s some concerns. Still his price is only $6600, which requires about a 20 fantasy point performance to reach value. He has done that in 3 of his last 4 with upside and even the bad games have seen him in the mid teens which would not kill you.
Middle of the Pack
Garrett Richards vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($8900) – Richards has a lot of talent, but has been inconsistent so far this season. He has looked dominant at times and has been dominated at others. He did not make it out of the first inning in his last start against the Yankees as they knocked him around for six first inning runs and chased him after 2/3 of an inning with five hits and two walks. Word is Richards is fine, but it’s tough to trust a guy who is coming off such a poor outing. He gets a good matchup today to bounce back. Tampa Bay has the fourth worst batting average against right-handed pitching and the seventh highest K rate at 21.4%. Richards is a small favorite at -110 in a game with only seven runs expected, so the numbers show Vegas expects a good showing from him. The Rays lineup is pretty weak, so he should do better here, but the consistency is his problem, which makes him more of a GPP only option in this one.
Tim Lincecum vs. New York Mets ($8100) – This is a pretty good spot for Lincecum, but the price is the thing that holds me back with him. He is pitching in Citi Field today, which is one of the friendliest pitcher parks in all of baseball. He gets to face a struggling Mets lineup that is batting guys like Wilmer Flores in the five spot. Lincecum is usually much better at home, but given the lineup and ballpark today, that is not a huge concern for me. What is of concern is that he is not pitching deep into games and is allowing far too many walks. His strikeout numbers are ok, but he would need them to be elite in order to pay off this salary if he does not pitch deep into this one. There’s some positives for him today, but at this price he would need to be close to perfect and I do not see that happening. He’s one of the safer guys going today, but there’s very little faith in him reaching value or having any upside at that price.
Tsuyoshi Wada vs. Cincinnati Reds ($6800) – Wada was lit up in his last start, but had been solid before that. Today is not a great day for pitching, so you have to dig deep into the numbers to find something good. Wada at least offers you a little bit of a floor as he has been a pretty solid strikeout guy in recent outings. Cincinnati is right in the middle for batting average against left-handed pitching and has a K-rate just north of 20%. Wada is a big favorite at home (-145) in a game with a total of only 8 runs. Cincy has a few big right handed bats to worry about and Wada is too expensive here to really expect upside, but the strikeouts could provide a nice floor for him and he should have a number in the mid to high teens, which would make him a serviceable option here.
Alex Colome vs. Los Angeles Angels ($6100) – Colome’s starts do not go more than six innings. He has been solid, as he allowed three runs or less in six of those eight turns. His whip is a tad high at 1.44 and he has allowed a few too many long balls which has been his downfall. He has about 30 Ks in 39 innings, so he has some strikeout potential, but overall he has a limited ceiling with so few innings pitched on average per start. The Angels bats are waking up too as they have scored a few more runs in their recent games. There’s not much upside with him, but he could provide a nice value at his price of $6100, provided he limits the damage.
Tanner Roark vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($5400) – Roark had his best start of the season last time out and finished with a little over 17 fantasy points on the day. He has been stretched out enough to where he is throwing about 100 pitches, which should help him get through six here today. He is a slight favorite at -110 in a game with a high 8.5 run total. Milwaukee has some big bats that can do some damage, so there’s no safety here, but he makes a nice GPP play at only $5400 if you want to save some money for bats. He does not need to do much to pay off his salary and the six innings and four or five strikeouts expected might be enough positives to offset the inevitable negatives from walks, hits, and runs.
Matt Garza vs. Washington Nationals ($7000) – Garza had a good early part of the season before hitting a lull and falling way back. He turned things around in his last start with some good upside, but has a really tough matchup here today. Milwaukee is a good hitters park, so that’s a negative and the Nationals have some nice left-handed bats they can throw at him. Garza has only allowed 1 run in his last two starts, but was tagged for four and five in the start before that one. The consistency is a problem with Garza, but he has flashed upside into the twenties on more than one occasion, which is what he would need for value here today. He’s a slight underdog in a high total game, so there’s a lot of concern about whether he ca get it done. Still, with so many guys whose projections come no where near the price today, Garza actually has thrown games that would pay off his salary, so he is notthe worst option to consider.
Micahel Lorenzen vs. Chicago Cubs ($4500) – Lorenzen has not been horrible in his recent starts. He has double digit fantasy points in four of his last five. Of course he has not cracked the 20 point mark, so there is little upside, but he has proven he can get you double digits, which is a solid return at his rock bottom price. He is a big underdog against a Chicago team that can score some runs. The upside for him is that he does not give up a ton of homers and the Cubs do strikeout a lot. That could allow him to limit negative events and create a decent floor with a few extra strikeouts. There’s not enough upside for a tournament play, but he has returned decent value of 3 or 4 points per thousand if you need a salary saver for cash.
Rest of the Field
Chris Tillman vs. Boston Red Sox ($6500) – This game takes place in Camden Yards which is a hitter friendly park and Boston has been hitting right-handed pitching pretty hard. Tillman has not reached value in any of his recent starts and has only really done it twice all season. He is averaging under six innings, over 3 runs, and under 5 strikeouts per start with a WHIP over 1.50. There’s a lot of negatives and very few positives in a bad matchup for him today. He opened as a favorite, but dropped to a pick em and I would not be surprised if he ended at the underdog in this one. There’s no upside with him and there’s little safety against a good hitting team like Boston.
Jonathon Niese vs. San Fransisco Giants ($7100) – In his last five starts, he has not gone past six innings or given up less than 3 runs. He is also only averaging four strikeouts per start and over a walk/hit per inning. None of that is positive for a guy who gets a solid offense to try and shut down here today. The Giants have the third highest batting average here today and are 20th in K% vs. LHP. They have been swinging the bats well so far at Citi Field as they roughed up Matt Harvey yesterday as well. There’s just not much room for error at this price for Niese and he has been a cold pitcher facing a hot hitting team. There’s a chance for blowup, although I would think the ballpark lessens that. Still there is not a lot of upside or a safe floor with him, which is why he ended up in the bottom rung.
David Phelps vs. Colorado Rockies ($4300) – Phelps is not a high strikeout guy and does not go deep into the games. He averages 6 innings or less with 4 strikeouts as a max. Unless he can completely shut down his opponents, that falls way short of a tournament winning type of score. He does get to pitch at home, but those Rockies bats have woken up a bit and Phelps has been giving up more hits and runs in his last few starts. He is favored today, but he should give up a few negative events and that will really hurt his score with so few innings and Ks to balance it out.