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 Rodon vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($6500) – I do not know whether I like this guy too much or the DK algo hates him that much, but the price here seems too low for the talent level and recent production. He has scored over 20 fantasy points in back to back starts now, has a 2.66 ERA and a strikeout per inning in 40 innings of work. He faces a Pirates team that has the 19th best batting average against left-handed pitching and the second highest K% at 23.9% vs. LHP. The game is slated to be played in a pitcher friendly Pittsburgh ballpark as well and has a run total of only 7, despite Rodon being the underdog. He’s been going over 6 innings in his recent starts and the strikeouts have been there in tougher matchups. With all the numbers pointing in his favor and the price tag very low, I can’t see how you would not want to use this guy in this spot.
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Miami Marlins ($10400) – Tanaka is a big favorite here at -145 in a game with a run line of 7.5. He has been good since his return from injury, averaging 7 innings, 4 base runners, one run and about 7 strikeouts per game. He has put up an average of 30 fantasy points in each game since his return, so he’s been pitching to his price tag. The Marlins are better against left-handed pitching, but are still basically middle of the road against righties in terms of batting average. They are tenth in K% at 20.3%, so there is some floor to Tanaka’s performance based off that number. This game is going to be played in the pitcher friendly confines of the MArlins home park, so that should be a park bump for Tanaka as well.
Fransisco Liriano vs. Chicago White Sox ($10000) – The White Sox have the second lowest batting average against left-handed pitching at .212. They also have the 10th highest K% at 22.5% against the southpaws. He pitches at home in a game with a run total of 7 as a -140 favorite in this one. He has been putting up numbers in the 20s lately for his fantasy scores, which would be a little below where he needs to be today. He did have back to back games of 30+ fantasy points three and four back, so he is capable of the big games. The White Sox offense is not too scary and Pittsburgh is a great park for pitchers. Based off the numbers, he should have another great start today and be one of the higher scoring hurlers on the day.
Middle of the Pack
Dallas Keuchel vs. Colorado Rockies ($9600) – This will be the sneaky low owned play that flies under the radar, but Keuchel is in a great spot here. He is a huge favorite at -190 in a game with only 7.5 runs expected. The Rockies have the highest strikeout rate in the league against left-handed pitching at 25.5%. He has a 1.90 ERA and a WHIP of 0.95, which goes along with a K/9 of 7. Keuchel has only returned over 20 points in one of his last four starts though, so this is strictly an upside play for a tournament. He is not a guy who is consistently returning top value, so steer clear for cash.
Trevor Bauer vs. Chicago Cubs ($7800) –Bauer had a horrible start last time out, but had five great ones before that where he was averaging about 26 fantasy points per turn. He faces the Cubs, who are neck and neck with the Astros for highest K% against right-handed pitching. Bauer is a high strikeout guy as he has racked up at least 10 in two separate starts during that stretch and has 75 of them in 74 innings of work. He matches up better against the Cubs than Arrieta does against the lineup playing behind him, so he is also a sneaky win candidate as well. There’s a chance you get a really high score at a really low ownership on Bauer today and that makes him a great option for tournaments.
Jesse Hahn vs. San Diego ($6400) – There might be a little bit of revenge here as well for Hahn as he was traded from San Diego to Oakland. Besides that though, his matchup is not that bad. San Diego has the 20th batting average in the league against right-handed pitching and the fifth highest K% at 21.8%. The total is only 7 points and Hahn is +120 under dog here. He gets to pitch in a great ballpark for pitchers, with few runs expected, and a strikeout upside. His price is pretty low here, so he does not need to do much to make value.
Mark Buehrle vs. New York Mets ($6800) – Buehrle has been really good in his recent starts. He was averaging 19 fantasy points per start in the six games leading up to his last. He did not pitch well last out against the Marlins, but had a 30 point game the one before that, so he has been good. The Mets have the fifth highest K% against left-handers, a bottom tier batting average, and a very friendly pitcher’s park. All those things point to an upside start for Buehrle and that could be a return of 20-25 points and great value for him.
Edinson Volquez vs, Milwaukee Brewers ($7100) – Volquez has been solid over his last five stats, but really lacks elite upside. His numbers are good with a 3.07 ERA and a WHIP of only 1.15, but he has low strikeout numbers and does not really pitch deep into games. He averages just shy of seven innings per start and less than 5 Ks. He is a solid major league pitcher but lacks elite fantasy upside. He gets a matchup with the Brewers who have the sixth highest k% against right-handed pitchers and the seventh lowest batting average. There’s a chance Volquez can get to 20 and return good value, but there is not a ton of upside for him.
John Lackey vs. Minnesota Twins ($7700) – Lackey was shelled in his last start and failed to make it past four innings. In fact he has been up and down all season long. He has some negative numbers sprikled in with some games in the 30s, so his volatility erases him from cash game consideration today. He gets a good matchup with this Twins team that is bottom 20% against right-handers based on average and have the seventh highest K%. His price is not too high, but he has been feast or famine. It might be a good idea to roll him out in a tournament, but there’s no way to feel good about starting him in cash games.
Jake Arrieta vs. Cleveland Indians ($9400) – Arrieta is a really solid pitcher, but this is a horrible spot for him. For starters, the prrice is pretty high. He normally ends around the low 20s mark for fantasy points, so he would need one of his best games to return value here. That is going to be tough to do against an offense that has a lot of lefty bats to throw at him. The Indians have the sixth lowest strikeout rate at only 18% against right-handed pitching. They also have a middle of the road batting average, but the top of the order is filled with solid left-handed bats that hit righties well. I’m not suggesting they are going to shell Arrieta, just that it’s not an easy spot to hope for value at such a high price tag.
Yovani Gallardo vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7400) – Gallardo has been really good over his last four starts. He is averaging 24 fantasy points per game and has reached at least 20 in three of those four. The other one was above 18 as well, so he has been consistent. He gets a really tough matchup here against one of the biggest homer hitting lineups in the league. The Dodgers have the seventh best batting average and the most HR against right0handed pitching, which is tough since they will also be getting a park bump to a hitter;s paradise here. Gallardo has looked good, but it might be a tall order to expect him to do that against this offense. Still he is not too pricey and has been returning value based off his recent numbers and price today. There’s risk against this offense, but there’s much worse choices too.
Trevor May vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($6900) – May has been surprisingly good lately, but faces a lefty heavy lineup here which should give him some trouble. The upside is he faces them in a pitcher friendly park and he is coming off two great starts of around 30 fantasy points each, which would give him a lot of upside here today if repeated. With the lefty heavy lineup that hits right-handers well and does not have a high K%, I think it is highly unlikely.
Taijuan Walker vs. San Fransisco Giants ($7900) – Walker has been really good in about half of his last ten starts. Returning numbers in the mid 20s and 30s that would be excellent value at his price today. He is coming off some solid performances and pitches in a great park, despite being on the road. It will still not be an easy task though as the giants have the fourth highest batting average and lowest K% against right-handed pitching. Still Walker has been good, so he gets the benefit of the doubt, but there’s too much risk here against a good hitting team to really have him as a target for a safe return.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Cincinnati Reds ($8000) – It is maddening to start Sanchez in daily fantasy. He has the upside for 30 fantasy points and has flashed it in a few starts already, but also has two negatives and a single digit number, so he is as likely to dominant as he is to get lit up. Cincy does not have a particularly high k% or any other stats that truely stand out as a team, but they do have a few individual bats to worry about. Sanchez should be able to produce a nice start here, but he has a tendency to allow a big inning or two and ruin his overall score. He makes a great tournament play, cause his skills show he is capable of big things, but there is a lack of consistency that keeps him out of my cash lineups.
Gio Gonzalez vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($8500) – Gio is not a great play or a horrible option here. The K% is 12th in the league and the batting average is 19th best, which make this a decent matchup, but not exactly a great one to target. Gio has been good, but not great. The drawback to him is he never gets more than 6 innings and he’s below a strikeout per inning so far. He has not scored value lately, except for one of his last six starts. He is a +110 underdog, down from an open line of -115 as a favorite. The total here is only seven though, so Vegas does not expect him to get lit up. The numbers also do not scream upside, so if a middle of the road performance is what you seek, he will likely deliver, but the question is whether there is enough there to make sense.
Wei-yin Chen vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($7700) – Chen has some sneaky good starts over his last ten. He has four games where he went over twenty points and would have returned really good value. He gets a matchup with the Phillies here who are sneaky tough on left-handed pitching. They sport the tenth highest batting average and a K% of 18.6% which is the sixth lowest in MLB. Lefties have not served up a ton of runs against this Phillies team, but the fantasy points to southpaws have been hard to come by.
Williams Perez vs.Boston Red Sox ($4400) – Perez threw an inning in the marathon with the Mets Saturday and picked up the save. He is still slated to start Monday and should be able to get at least five or six innings. He has thrown some solid games where he reached about 20 fantasy points and in fact he has done that in four of his last five starts. This is not an easy spot though. The Red Sox have a decent average against right-handers, but they have a very low K%. They also score a few runs, so the upside is limited on Perez. Still he is amazingly cheap and could return around 20, which would make him a supreme value play and open up your roster to any hitters you wanted.
Tyson Ross vs. Oakland Athletics ($8600) – Ross is a solid pitcher, but has not put up any big numbers this year. It’s great that he is solid, but solid pitchers are not worth much in daily fantasy. He faces an Oakland team with a low strikeout percentage and decently high batting average against right-handed pitching. The game is being played in a pitcher friendly park, so that is a plus, but the price is too high to expect a great return. In fact he has been erratic, so the price is too high to even really think of him as a good option for cash with a full slate like this.
Tim Hudson vs. Seattle Mariners ($6200) – While Hudson is a better real life pitcher than a fantasy one, he has been useful lately. His last three home starts have yielded at least 18 fantasy points and at his depressed price that would be three points or more per thousand of cost. The Mariners are dead last against right-handed pitcher for average and have the third or fourth highest K% in the league, so this is a good spot at a good price in a good pitcher’s park. There is no elite upside with Hudson as he will not get you 10 Ks, but he could limit the damage, get through 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and return a good value with a number in the low 20s.
Rest of the Field
Noah Syndergaard vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($8200) – Toronto is in the top third of the league for batting average and the bottom third for K%, which makes this a tough matchup for the rookie. He does get to pitch at home in Citi Field which is arguably the best pitcher’s park in the league. Still Toronto scores a ton of runs and Syndergaard has not been sharp recently. If the price was lower, maybe you can make a case for him, but at the present levels, it’s tough to see how he gets anywhere near value.
Aaron Harang vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6300) – Harang still has good numbers on the year, with an ERA just over 3 and a WHIP of around 1.10. The problem is he has been shelled in his last two starts. He has allowed 12 runs over his last twelve innings with only 6 strikeouts. If the K #s are down and the innings are low, there is not much else for him to hang his hat on for a high score. Baltimore has been swinging it well lately and Harang is struggling, so a high upside start is probably not in the cards for him.
Jered Weaver vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6700) – Weaver does pitch deep into games, but struggles to strikeout batters. He also has given up a bunch of runs, and Arizona is an offense that can score. They have some power, some speed, and a lot of left-handed bats towards the top. If Weaver had more strikeout upside, he could be in play, but he has struggled to finish hitters lately and without the Ks, he has no safe floor.
Kyle Lohse vs. Kansas City Royals ($5300) – Lohse has been pretty bad this season. When he is not giving up five to seven runs, he is allowing 1 hits in six innings and just getting lucky. His strikeouts are down as well, which really limits his upside since he also is not going deep into games. Top it off with the fact he faces a low strikeout team with a solid average that puts the ball in play and you can see there is not much hope for a great start here.
Jon Moscot vs. Detroit Tigers ($4200) – Moscot was a call up to fill in for Iglesias being injured. He goes about 5 or 6 innings per start and does not strike out a lot of batters. He is also a big underdog in a game with a few runs expected, so there’s not much in the way of upside to expect. His price is low so the bar to reach value is pretty easy, but he has no real upside at all based off his recent efforts.
Rick Porcello vs. Atlanta Braves ($6600) – Porcello has been dreadful lately. He has allowed 5, 6, and 7 runs in three of his last four games. He faces a lefty heavy Braves lineup fresh off pounding out a bunch of runs against the Mets, so there is little faith in his upside. Porcello does a god job of chewing up innings, but he does not rack up the Ks and he has not limited the damage. That is a big reason why he has three scores of single digits or negative numbers in his last four games. Nothing here points to a bounce back start coming, so I would expect him to miss value again here.