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 Archer vs. Chicago White Sox ($11800) – This guy has scored 125.4 fantasy points in his last three starts, so there’s no way you can argue against his price being where it is. Archer has been dominant and gets a solid matchup here against a team who has been struggling. The White Sox are not particularly bad at anything, but they also are not good at anything. They are middle of the pack for batting average, runs scored, and strikeouts against right-handed pitching. The get a park downgrade switching on the road to Tampa, and are going up against one of the hottest pitchers in the league. JB Shuck is probably the best bat they have vs. RHP currently and he is a tough guy to strikeout. The other two big bats hitting over .300 are Abreu and Avasail Garcia who combine for about 75 strikeouts in 225 at-bats (33%). Archer might not reach the forty point plateau again here today, but he should still be close to value based off his recent performances.
Gerrit Cole vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($10700) – Cole has a matchup with the Phillies who have the third lowest batting average against right-handed pitching. They are 19th in K%, but are also one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league and playing in one of the friendliest pitcher parks. Cole has been awesome lately, with 124.4 fantasy points in his last four starts. That’s an average of 31.1 per game and would help him reach his value threshold here. Cole is one of the biggest favorites on the day at -265 in a game with a total of only 7 runs expected.
Middle of the Pack
Jacob DeGrom vs. Atlanta Braves ($10500) – DeGrom has been awesome, especially at home in his pitcher friendly home park. He has 137.3 fantasy points over his last four starts, which breaks down to an average of 34.3 per start. The Braves have a 16.9% K-rate against right-handed pitching and the seventh highest batting average against, so this is not an easy matchup. Still DeGrom has been lights out lately, so while he may not go huge here, he is still a safe option for 20+ points in cash games as a -145 favorite in the lowest total game at only 6.5.
Carlos Carrasco vs. Detroit Tigers ($8800) – Carrasco on paper does not look like a great play today. The tigers are 21st in K% vs. Right-handed pitching, They have the third best battng average in the league, and Carrasco just got shelled for a negative number last time out against the Orioles. In actuality though, the Orioles have been hanging negative numbers on a lot of top pitchers lately (See Michael Pineda’s last start) and the Tigers have struggled. Carrasco was putting up 25-30 Fantasy points routinely in the games leading up to this one, so it’s not out of the question he can pitch well here. Carrasco averages about seven strikeouts and seven innings per start. He had only allowed 28 runs in his first eleven starts before getting tagged for five last time out. Minus that sub par game, he had averaged allowing under 3 runs per game, which he still does at this point. There are positives and negatives to using him today, but he has upside potential and a discounted price off his last blow up, so it makes sense to roll him out in tourney’s as he should be lower owned and helps you save salary over the top priced guys.
Mike Pelfrey vs. Texas Rangers ($5300) – This might seem like a reach, but Pelfrey is not the same gas can he was in year’s past. In fact he has played against a few teams recently (Milwaukee, Boston twice, and Pittsburgh) who have all hit right-handers well and he has done a fine job against them. Pelfrey will not likely repeat the 30 fantasy point effort he had last time out, but even 16-20 points today would be enough to return solid value and he has done that in three of his last four. He is not normally a high strikeout guy, but his numbers there are up and he is pitching deep into games, which gives him a nice floor, especially when he has been able to limit the opposition like he has lately. While other options have more upside and sexiness, Pelfrey has been the guy who is cheap and has helped people win GPPs lately, so at least that deserves some respect.
Mike Montgomery vs. Houston Astros ($4300) – After the way they knocked around Felix, there’s no way a lot of people will be targeting against them here today. Montgomery is not a guy who will get you 20-30 points, but at his price, he can certainly return value as he has in his first two go arounds. The Rookie has been solid, averaging 6.5 inning per start, limiting opponents to 2 runs or less, and giving up less than a walk and hit per inning. He is not a high strikeout guy, which has hurt his upside, but he does play a high strikeout team in Houston, so that may be able to change. Worst case scenario, he should wind up with an extra K or two and that would be great value at his price of only $4300 today. If he squeezes out a win, you could see a return of almost 20, which would make him one of the highest scoring value plays relative to his price.
Shelby Miller vs. New York Mets ($8800) – Miller has been a solid option in his recent starts, but nothing spectacular. He has pitched well enough to warrant his price lately, but not well enough to return value. The low strikeout numbers have been the main culprit for him as he is only averaging slightly over 3 in his last four games, as opposed to six or seven earlier in the year when he was putting up fantasy scores in the high twenties and low thirties. The Mets do struggle on offense, strikeout at a decent clip, and play in a pitcher friendly park in the lowest total game, so there’s safety with Miller. Unless he finds a way to really dial up the strikeouts though, he will probably fall short of reaching value or adding anything resembling upside to your tourney rosters.
Jimmy Nelson vs. Washington Nationals($6900) – Nelson is one of the few tourney only options on this slate. His strikeout potential gives him huge upside, but he also struggles with walks, hits, and runs which limits him somewhat. He has thrown together a few high strikeout games where he has limited the negatives and put up numbers in the twenties. He has also had a few bad performances where he has not and barely returned double digits despite the strikeout numbers. The Nationals do strikeout at a 20.8% clip vs. RHP which is 9th in the league, but they also are ninth in runs scored vs. RHP. This feels like another game where Nelson pitches through six innings at most, with a good number of Ks, but also allows a bunch of negative events. When that happens he tends to score in the teens, which would be OK for cash, but severely lacking for upside. He seems like a tourney only play today if you believe he can get the Ks and limit the damage, but that is a big if, which is why he makes no sense for cash play.
Jeff Samardzija vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($8300) – The Shark is a tough guy to recommend as he is coming off two bad starts where he combined for 12 innings, 22 hits, and 15 runs. He goes opposite Chris Archer here, but has a soft matchup against a weak hitting Rays lineup. The Rays have a 20.9% K-rate which is 8th in the league and are the third worst in runs scored against right-handed pitching. Despite being the underdog, the game only has a 6.5 run line so Vegas does not expect much damage to be done on either side. His price is high based off his last few starts, but he has flashed the 20-30 point upside he would need to pay it off in his recent past. There’s no certainty for cash as he has looked bad lately, but he could produce a nice score here in an under the radar type performance against a weak offense.
Colin McHugh vs. Seattle Mariners ($7800) – McHugh has some good stuff, but it has rarely translated into solid pitching performances. He faces a Mariners team here that has the third highest strikeout rate and the worst batting average in the league against right-handed pitching. He is at home in this one, although he pitches in a hitter’s park and he has failed to reach value in all but two starts this year. He has a price break today, but he has given up at least three runs in all but two of his starts this year. He tends to go a max of about 7 innings with five or six strikeouts, so the key for him here is limiting the negative events, which has been problematic for him all year. Still against an offense that has struggled this bad, there is some upside that may be seen, although he will need a lot of it to pay off the asking price.
Colby Lewis vs. Minnesota Twins ($6100) – Lewis has been up and down this season. He has four starts of 20+ fantasy points to sandwich between 2 single digit numbers and a -15. He gets a good matchup with a Twins team that has allowed a few big games already to right-handed pitching. The twins 21.6% K-rate is the seventh highest in the league and that goes along with a batting average against RHP that is fifth lowest. Both of those stats are positive for his fantasy score here today. He’s a -125 favorite n a game with a run total climbing up to 9.5 here, so he has some chance to pay off his salary, but also may give up some negatives in the process.
Rest of the Field
Justin Verlander vs. Cleveland Indians ($8200) – We have not seen him in the bigs since he was injured earlier in the season. Verlander has also not been the guy who was a Cy Young quality starter in way longer than that. He will likely be on a pitch count in his return here, although he dialed up 90+ pitches with 9 Ks, four hits, and only one run allowed in his last AAA tune up. The Indians are middle of the road in most offensive categories, but are 25th in strikeouts, so the upside is very limited for a guy who may not rack up the Ks and likely will not go deep into the game. If his price was lower, maybe it would be an option, but at $8200 with all the negatives we mentioned, it’s not something I would waste money on.
Jeremy Guthrie vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5300) – This is one of the worst possible matchups for Guthrie. The Cardinals have a lot of left-handed regulars and Guthrie has been horrendous throughout his career against left-handed batters. They are hitting .318 against him with nine homers in 31 innings pitched. Last year it was .297 with 19homers in 108 innings. Guys like Wong, Carpenter, Adams, and Heyward should all be in line for good games given those numbers. Vegas thinks so too as he is a big dog (+135) to a rookie pitcher in a 7.5 run total game here. There’s not much to like for upside or safety with using him.
Tyler Lyons vs. Kansas City ($5300) – Lyons has one of the worst matchups in baseball today as he faces a very low strikeout team that has a high batting average and scores some runs. The Royals have looked sluggish lately after a hot start, and Lyons is actually favored here, so maybe there is more upside than we first think. He has only made it to the fifth to qualify for a win in one of his three starts, so there is not much sense hoping for a miracle. If he is not going to pitch deep, strikeout a lot of Royals bats, or get the win, then even at this low price, he has little chance to pay it off.
Mat Latos vs. Colorado Rockies ($6200) – He is averaging less than five innings per start, with 9baserunners allowed, over 3 runs, and only four strikeouts. He does face a team who both struggles on the road and is playing in a pitcher friendly park. Latos has been up and down, but his upside is barely twenty and it would be tough to see him make it there today against a tough Rockies lineup that recently welcomed back a few more good hitters (Dickerson). The rice is low if you wanted to take a stab at him in a tourney, but it would be a very high risk play not backed up by any recent performance.
Sean O’Sullivan vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($4200) – There is really no upside case you can make for him, even at this price. He is one of the worst pitchers in MLB that gets the ball every fifth game and should get knocked around again here. It’s not a question of if O’Sullivan will get hit hard, but how early and how often. There’s no real upside case I can make and he has no safety, so he is not useable even at this price.