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 ($10500) – Archer had been unreal in his recent performances before coming back to earth with a solid start last out. Normally that would be fine, but as his price tag he really needs a top end performance to pay it off. Archer has elite K upside as evidenced by the string of double digit K performances recently. He gets a matchup with a Nationals team that has the 11th highest K% and the 19th best batting average, so it’s a softer spot, but not an easy one. He has returned 40 points in one than one recent start, so he has shown his ability to reach his ceiling. With a floor of about 20 in recent performances, it makes him a great cash game play with potential for tournament use. He is probably the best play on the board to pay up for in any format today.
Gerrit Cole ($10200) – Cole has been Cy Young caliber good to start the season. He has a 1.73 ERA, a WHIP of 1.08, and 93 Ks in 84 innings of work. He tends to go about 6/7 innings per start with 7 Ks and limits the opposition to 7 base runners and only slightly more than one run. He faces a White Sox team that is 20th in batting average and has the 20th lowest K% against right-handed pitching. While the White Sox do struggle to score runs, they do not strike out a ton which could limit his upside at the inflated price. He is very solid and makes a great cash game option, but not sure how much upside he provides for a tournament if he is not going to go past seven innings and may not have elite strikeout numbers today.
Danny Salazar ($9400) – Trevor Bauer shut down the Cubs offense and had a gem of a game. He went 7 innings, had 7 Ks, and limited the damage on his way to a win and 30 points in the opener. Yesterday Shawn Marcum and Bullpen allowed 17 runs. Today Salazar takes the hill. He has more K upside than Bauer and is a better pitcher than Marcum, so I would expect a performance more like the opener. Salazar has 87 Ks in 68 innings of work to go with a 1.15 WHIP and a 3.50 ERA. He faces a Cubs team that has one of the highest K% in all of baseball against any handedness of pitcher, but also has been known to pound out some homers and score a lot of runs. The K potential should create a nice floor for him in cash, but he will likely give up a few hits, walks, and runs which would be a huge problem. He has safety cause of the K’s, but his return today is entirely dependent on how much damage he allows the Cubs to do, which is a tough thing to predict as the last two games of the series have shown us.
Zack Greinke ($9900) – Greinke has seen his price come down. He has been solid, but really is lacking elite upside this year. Greinke has returned between 18 and 27 points on a consistent basis, which makes him a safe solid cash game play. For tournament upside though he has not been striking out a ton of guys or shutting down offenses completely to make him an upside play. He faces a Texas team that is dead middle of the league for K%, Runs scored, and batting average. That means he should be in line for an average start of around 22-24 fantasy points. Even at a tick below $10K, that is about average for a cash game and a tad below the upside we would like to see in tournaments. Unless the Rangers lineup is sitting a few guys today, I would think Greinke is useable, but would not expect him to be the day’s top scorer.
Jeremy Guthrie ($4800) – He should not be the lowest priced pitcher on the board for this matchup. Guthrie is horrendous against left-handed pitching which is something everyone realizes, but he is also pretty tough on righties. The Brewers are void of lefty bats that would scare me here, so Guthrie is not the worst guy to consider. Braun and Gomez are both playing hurt and Gomez was scratched, so he might not be playing at all. Scooter Gennett, Adam Lind, and Gerrado Parra are the only real left-handed bats the Brewers even have. Guthrie does not have huge upside at all. He has not returned 20 fantasy points all season, but he does have some games in the teens and this is a spot against a team that struggles with right-handed pitching where he could get 15-20 points and return great value for the price.
Middle of the Pack
Jason Hammels ($9000) – So Hammels is the guy going opposite Salazar today. He is a big dog at +155 in a game with a run total of 7.5. He has pitched very well this year with a sub 3 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96. He also has averaged about a strikeout per inning, so he has some ability to pitch well. The Indians have a much lower K% than the Cubs, and have a better overall team batting average against right handed pitching. This is why he is ranked below Salazar, because he will likely have less Ks, more hits allowed, and is a lower probability for a win. He is about a $1000 cheaper, but that price break likely does not make up the difference.
Bartolo Colon ($7100) – Colon has been solid so far. He hits his spots, has pitched deep into games and does strike guys out. He also does not throw very hard anymore and has been prone to allowing a few longballs. The second part is what scares daily players as the Blue Jays are one of the best homerun hitting teams and playing in one of the best homerun hitting parks. The Jays have struggled with Met pitching so far as they have been shit down in what many considered to be good spots. Today could either be the breakout game or the final nail in the coffin. The Toronto offense is explosive, so this would not be a guy to trust in cash, but they also allowed Syndergaard to put up 30 DK points two days ago, so the upside is definitely there at a squared price for a 20+ point performance. That would easily be enough to help him reach value.
Mat Latos ($6800) – After a poor start to the season and a stint on the DL, Latos was lights out in his last start against the Colorado Rockies. He did face them at home in his pitcher friendly park, and the Rockies struggle on the road. He will have a tougher test today against the Yankees in a park that is tough for right-handed pitchers who allow lefties t hit well against them. The Yanks will throw a lefty heavy lineup out at Latos here and should be able to make him work and get a few runs. As bad as CC has been at home, he is favored by a good margin over Latos in a game with 8 runs expected. Latos needs to have more than one good game and needs to prove himself outside of his home field before anyone jumps back on the bandwagon. The good thing is, he is cheap and talented, so if you believe in him you should get him pretty low owned.
Doug Fister ($5700) – Fister draws a solid matchup for his return to the mound against a Tampa Bay team that is struggling and has a few guys playing hurt. The Rays have he fifth worst batting average and the 7th highest K% of any team in the league. The problem is that Fister may be on a pitch count in his first return start and has never been a high strikeout guy. Despite the low price, he does not have a safe floor with a probability of less innings and a history of low Ks. Add in the fact he faces Chris Archer today as an underdog and there’s not enough positive event probability to expect him to perform well.
Jeff Samardzija ($7700) – The Shark has been swimming in the shallow end recently and looks more like a beached whale this season. He has one start in his last ten where he returned 30 fantasy points and the rest have been well short. He is an underdog in this one and goes up against a Pirates team that has been heating up. They have been scoring runs and pounding out hits in what has become a pretty lengthy lineup of solid hitters with guys like Cervelli, Walker, and Pedro Alvarez at the bottom of it, who are all professional hitters. His price is down to the low point of the season, but he has not shown the ability he did last year to strikeout batters or limit damage. He’s not the worst option on the day, but at $7700 he is not a top option either.
Mike Leake ($6400) – in his last eight starts, he has reached 20 fantasy points twice. He has also reached negative numbers twice, and single digit numbers on three other occasions. He is not a high K guy with only 48 in 82 innings of work. He also faces one of the teams with the highest batting average in the league, so the lack of Ks and probably negative events will depress his fantasy score. He is a slight favorite in a high run game, but the win is not a lock and he will definitely need it to reach value. It’s a tough spot for him, but his price is low. Even so, things need to break just right for him to even come close to value, and there is not much certainty he will.
Jimmy Nelson ($6500) – This is a really tough spot for a guy who has been feast or famine. When Nelson is able to dial up the Ks, it covers up his high walk rate and the runs/hits he gives up. That is a problem here against the team with a very low strikeout rate and a high batting average against right-handed pitching. Nelson never goes deep into games as he rarely pitches to contact in order to do so. Instead he tends to go 5/6 and rely on striking guys out or walking them, both of which drive up a pitch count quickly. His price is cheap and he does have strikeout ability, but it would be bucking trends to expect him to do that here today against the team with the lowest K% of only 16.2% against righties.
Rest of the Field
Shelby Miller ($8500) – Miller had a nice run of starts a few weeks back where he was returning 25-35 points each outing, but lately he has struggled. He has never been a high K guy, so that is an issue that will limit his floor and upside. He faces a Boston team that is tenth best in batting average vs. righties and has the second lowest K%. Those things do not point to a good matchup here for Miller. With a high price tag, he would need to get some Ks and limit damage. Neither of those things is probable in this matchup and he should fall way short of value.
Clay Buchholz ($8100) – Buchholz is a tough guy to have on your roster. In his last ten starts, he has 3 that were around 30 fantasy points, 2 under 4 points, and five more between 11-18. That means he failed to really reach value in about 70% of those starts, but has flashed the upside to win a tournament in the other three. His three good games were against Minn, Sea, and TB who all struggle with right handed pitching. He faces a Braves team today that is lefty dominant and does well vs. right-handers. They have the sixth highest batting average and the fourth lowest K%, so this is not a good matchup for him. His price makes this even worse as he is likely to deliver a number in the mid teens today, which is well short of what you would need to justify him in a cash game and the matchup is not good enough to consider him for a GPP.
CC Sabathia ($7500) – He has been consistently inconsistent over his last ten starts. You either get good CC or bad CC with few starts in between. In five of his outings his has returned 2.5-3.5 points per $1000 of cost and in the other half he has allowed multiple homers, 4 or more runs, and close to double digit baserunners while returning numbers in the single digits or even below zero. He gets a tough matchup here with the team that has the fourth highest batting average against left-handed pitching and a low strikeout rate that ranks them 21st at under 20%. CC also has struggled with right -handed bats and long balls, which screams GIANCARLO STANTON when you look for guys who profile well against those issue’s. His price break is nice, but as a feast or famine guy, he feels like he’s going to be starving for points in this one.
Justin Verlander ($7900) – Another former Cy Young award winner who has fallen on hard times. Verlander made his debut last week and scored 8 fantasy points. He is still rounding into shape and was well short of 100 pitches, so he will not go deep into this game. Cincy has a lot of lefty bats to throw at him, so the matchup is not easy. They do have a low batting average, but also a very low K%, so the strikeout upside he would need to make up for the innings is not going to be there. Overall, he is too expensive based on name recognition and it makes sense to stay away from him today. He will not return value or have upside for a tournament unless he completely turns things around, which is unlikely.
RA Dickey ($6700) – He has one start all year where he returned at least 3 points per $1000 of cost. He has been about a 10-15 point a game guy all season. He does have a little revenge factor and faces a lineup that has struggled, but he has not been racking up Ks, which means he has a very low ceiling. He also has been hit hard a few times, so he has no safe floor. Lastly his price seems a tad high for a guy with his stats. If he was not a former Cy Young award guy a few years ago with name recognition, He’d probably be a $5K pitcher an no one would think it was strange. At $6700 though, I can not see him getting 20 points to pay it off without throwing his best game all season.