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
Kendall Graveman ($6600) – After a rocky start to his season, Graveman has three games of over 20 fantasy points in his last five. He faces a San Diego Padres team today at home in his pitcher friendly park up in Oakland. The Padres have been ice cold since the early season outburst they were on. Their batting average has fallen from a top 6 mark earlier in the year to 6th worst currently against right-handed pitching. They also currently sport the 5th worst K% at 22.3%. In his last five starts, Graveman has been going about 6 or 7 innings, has not allowed over three runs, and has picked it up with the strikeouts. He is a -145 favorite at home as well, so with the win and those averages, he should be able to return over 20 points and provide excellent value for you here today.
Middle of the Pack
Jaime Garcia ($9300) – Garcia has been really good in his first five starts of 2015. He had 30 DK points in his last start, but that is really the only one that would have returned nice value at his price today. I think he is the safest and best pitcher on this early slate, but that is not saying much. He has been pitching deep into games with an average of about 7 innings per start. He has an ERA of 2.06 and a WHIP of 0.89 so he is not allowing many negative events. He is only averaging less than five strikeouts per start though, so he will likely have trouble getting to value if those numbers are not towards the high end. The Twins are actually pretty good against left-handed pitching as well. They have the 9th highest batting average and the fifth lowest K%, so this is a horrible spot to expect a top end performance out of Garcia. While he is one of the safer plays to get you 20 points today, that will likely not be enough at his elevated price to really be a top end option for tourney’s, even on such a weak slate for pitching.
CJ Wilson ($8700) – Likely to be the second highest owned pitcher on name recognition alone, but he has not been returning great scores, nor does he have an easy matchup. He is coming off a really good game against an A’s team that does not hit lefties well. Today he faces a Diamondbacks squad that has the seventh highest batting average and a middle of the road strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. He also gets a park downgrade as he goes into Arizona, which is a hitter friendly ballpark. His last start was the only one he returned over 3 points per $1000 of cost, and he too may struggle to get there again today. His floor is less safe than Garcia’s as those Arizona bats at the top of the order have pounded out some runs lately.
Bud Norris ($7600) – Norris has a good matchup here and goes opposite a gas can. He has been getting only about 5 innings with about 4/5 strikeouts per which is not horrible, but when you factor in the negatives he averages and the price, it is tough to see how he returns over 20 points and makes value here. he’s not a bad option against one of the worst offenses in baseball for cash, but there is really no upside here at the price to justify using him in a tournament setting.
Mike Pelfrey ($5300) – It was only a matter of time before Pelfrey came back to earth and he showed how bad he can be by giving up 8 runs in 3 innings last time out. Pelfrey was lights out before that, but struggles with the long ball and left-handed batters. The Cards have not been scoring lately so he makes the middle tier, but starting him is not something to feel good about. He is cheap though, so he does not need to do much. It’s a tourney option only as the Lefty heavy Cards have a chance to do what the lefty heavy Rangers did to him last time out.
Rest of the Field
Ian Kennedy ($9000) – The second priciest pitcher on the board is not even remotely a guy you should consider playing here. He has not returned 3 points per $1000 of cost at this price all year and even after failing to do so, his price is up over $1000 for this start. Kennedy is not going deep into games. He is still striking guys out at a decent clip per inning, but if the innings are low than the Ks will be as well. He has been better recently, but his ERA is still almost 6, his WHIP about 1.40, and he faces a lefty heavy Oakland lineup that hits right-handed pitcher much better. If he was $7500, he would be in play on a tough slate, but at $9000, he needs to pitch his best game all season to even sniff value.
Allen Webster ($7200) – He is a decent option, but the price is way too high to justify it here. He just took over for Collmenter and is on a pitch count as they stretch him out. If he goes six, that is probably hos innings ceiling today. He is not a high K guy either so low innings and low Ks means few fantasy points. Even if he gets the win, he will not be able to get anywhere near the 20 points needed to return value in this one.
David Hale ($5200) – Hale has been ok, but he pitches for the Rockies and has another home game today in Coors Field. It’s not easy to be a starter in Coors, athough he has been serviceable. He has returned a low teen’s fantasy score in his last few Coors starts, so I think he has a chance at value today, but there is very little upside for him against a hot hitting Astros team in a great hitter’s ballpark.
Colin McHugh ($6600) – McHugh was very good last year, but the walks and homeruns have killed him so far this season. He has not been pitching that deep into games either, so despite a decent K %, he is not doing enough. There’s no sense expecting a turn around in this one as he has the honor of pitching in Coors Field, so while I think he eventually gets it fixed, that day will likely not be today.
Sean O’Sullivan ($4200) – He might be the worst starter in all of baseball right now. He averages about six innings per start, has allowed 10 homers, 29 runs, 60 hits, and 15 walks in 50 innings of work. There is no upside to using him. He has returned -2.7 points over his last 23 innings. That’s not an average, that’s a total. He has a total return on investment of -2.7 with 2.4 being his best return. Even if he was at zero, there would be little justification for using him as his recent performances still do not warrant that. He is a low K guy who doesn’t go deep and gives up a ton of negative events. In fact, I’ve already wasted enough time on him, just steer clear.