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
Jacob DeGrom vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($10,100) – Last year’s Rookie of the Year gets a good matchup to keep his string of recent success going. The Brewers are 22nd in batting average against right-handed pitching at .243 and have the sixth highest strikeout percentage at 21.5%. DeGrom had a subpar start last out, but that was because the strikeouts were low against a Braves team that does not strikeout often. In his six previous games, he was between 23 and 43 fantasy points in each, with an average per game over thirty. He should be in line for a higher strikeout game here today with the K% of the Brewers, so the floor and overall score should be towards the higher end for him as well.
Jon Lester vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($9300) – Lester has a very interesting matchup in this one. The Dodgers have struggled against left-handed pitching. They are 21st in the league for batting average against southpaws. They currently sit mid pack as well with a 20.7% strikeout rate. Two bad starts a few back are really skewing the numbers on Lester. In his last ten, he has gone 7 innings of 1 run ball five times. 50% of the time he took the mound it was a dominant performance. He still averages about a K per inning, and his Whip in those good games is well under 1. Many will shy away due to the opponent, but the Dodgers are lefty heavy and smashing right-handed pitching. Against lefties, they have not been anywhere near as good. Lester is a -130 favorite and facing Carlos Frias, so I have faith in him pitching well today.
Carlos Rodon vs. Cetroit Tigers ($5900) – Rodon is still way too cheap here, despite being the underdog. He faces a Detroit team that has a top 5 batting average against left-handed pitching, but also has a top five strikeout rate of 23.8%. Rodon has 19, 23, and 26 fantasy points in three of his last four starts. If he comes close to any of those numbers here today, he will return more than three points per thousand of cost and be a great value. The young lefty is a big prospect and the price on him here is just way too low to ignore.
Middle of the Pack
Sonny Gray vs. Texas Rangers ($9500) – Gray is one of the more underrated starters in baseball. He currently sports a 1.95 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 90 Ks in 101 innings of work. His matchup today is not bad. Texas has some big left-handed bats to throw at him and a strikeout rate of only about 20%, which leaves them middle of the pack. They also have a middle of the road batting average against right-handers, so it’s not the worst play of the day. Gray should be able to bounce back in this one and get about 7 innings, with a hit per inning and 2 runs or less. He will likely finish with 5 or 6 strikeouts as well and is favored forthe win. If he does all those things though, he still falls a little short of the return we would really want from him. The low K upside is the biggest hold up for me in using him today at the price he is at.
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7600) – I really do like Rodriguez and wanted to put him higher, but this is a really tough matchup for him. Baltimore is 20th for K%, so it’s not likely he strikes out a ton of guys here. They are also 4th in batting average against left-handed pitching, so they will likely get some hits. Rodriguez is not cheap anymore and will need 22 fantasy points to make value. He has done that in a bunch of his recent starts, but with the tougher matchup today, I’m not sure how much I can trust him to repeat those performances.
Alfredo Simon vs. Detroit Tigers ($6500) – Simon had a horrible start last time out, but had been averaging 20 fantasy points a game for the six starts before that. He is a -130favorite today against a White Sox team that is 19th in batting average against right-handed piching. The White Sox do not strikeout a ton, at only 19% which is 20th overall for strikeout percentage. Still at $6500, Simon does not need to do a ton to pay off his value number. If you excuse the bomb he put up last out, he is averaging about 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, and 5 strikeouts per game. That would give him a fantasy score of 15 points without factoring in the win. If you add the win, which is probable with him as the favorite, he gets up to just about 20 points and returns his value for the day.
Colby Lewis vs. Oakland Athletics ($7900) – Lewis has been really solid so far this year. He’s put up some great numbers lately, with multiple 20+ fantasy point games. He gets a tough matchup here in a hitter’s park against a very lefty heavy lineup that does not strikeout often. He is a big underdog going up against Sonny Gray and will struggle to return value at his price. He’s been better lately, but there is not much upside to expect at a price of almost $8K.
Doug Fister vs. Atlanta Braves ($7100) – Fister is the favorite at -130 in this one vs. a Braves team that is without their biggest bat in Freddie Freeman. They do have a lot of left-handers which will be tough for Fister, but the high average and low K% will depress his score. I expect Fister to throw a solid game, but he is not a high K guy and the Braves do not strikeout often. Without the floor the Ks provide, he will have trouble reaching value if he does not throw a complete game.
Matt Wisler vs. Washington Nationals ($6900) – The nationals are 12th in batting average vs. right-handed pitching, but also have the 11th highest strikeout rate. The rookie looked good in his debut, but that was against a very weak Mets line up. He is not a high strikeout guy, so despite the decent matchup, he may struggle to reach value if he does not strike out more batters. The Nats have some good lefty sticks that should give him trouble as well. The run line is only 7.5, but he is a big dog at +140, so he is not a recommended play. The price of almost $7K seems a little too high, especially when you can take a a guy like Rodriguez who has a similar match up and more strikeout upside for a few hundred more.
Taylor Jungman vs. New York Mets ($5300) – The Mets offense is pretty bad right now. They are not hitting for average, have little power, and are filling holes with guys no one has ever heard of. They got no-hit, they’ve been shut out, and they just flat out look bad right now. Jungman has been ok since being called up. In three major league starts he has averaged 6 innings pitched, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 Ks, and under 3 runs per game. The Mets have the second worst batting average against right -handed pitching and the ninth highest strikeout rate. This is a great matchup for the young pitcher, but he will need to be dealing to match DeGrom on the other side.
James Shields vs. San Fransisco Giants ($9900) – Shields has not been pitching well lately. He is giving up way too many walks and hits. Earlier this season he was dominant, but the strikeouts have come back to earth and the WHIP has risen. Shields has also been giving up more Homers than he has in his career. The homers are a problem since he is allowing more base runners and that has bite him in the backside lately. He is much better at home, although San Fran is pitcher friendly as well. Overall, no one expected him to be dominant this year and many were surprised early when he was. The regression has started to set in, and at $9900 against a solid, patient offense, he is overpriced.
Chris Heston vs. San Diego Padres ($7500) – Heston has a great matchup against a struggling offense that strikes out a lot. You may wonder why he is not higher on the list, but there is no way to tell which guy you are getting today. Will this be the dominant guy who no-hit the Mets and shut down the Rockies in Coors? Or will this be the guy who gave up 5 runs, 11 hits, and 3 walks over five innings against San Diego a month ago? The Padres have hit him well, so it gives me some pause here.
Rest of the Field
Miguel Gonzalez vs. Boston Red Sox ($7200) – Gonzalez has been up and down in recent starts and is coming off the DL for this one with a groin injury. He faces a Red Sox team that has been swinging it a little better lately as well, so it’s not an easy matchup. Boston has the seventh highest batting average and is 29th in strikeout percentage, so it is not a good spot to expect him to be near his ceiling. Between the match up, the injury, and the fact he is on the road, there’s way more negatives then positives for him here today.
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6700) – Jorge is favored in the highest run total game today. He has an ERA over 5 and a WHIP over 1.5. The saving grace for him is that his has struck out a batter per inning. The Diamondbacks have some big right-handed bats that hit left-handers well, so the match up is bad. He is favored though, so he gets the nod over the other De La Rosa opposing him.
Rubby De La Rosa vs. Colorado Rockies ($6400) – Rubby’s game logs are tough to decipher. Do we get the high K guy that limits walks and homers and shuts down opposing offenses or do we get the guy who gives up multiple homers, strikes out very few and gets lit up? In Coors field, with a high total, and as the underdog, I expect the guy who gets lit up, so it’s tough to look this way. He is coming off back to back 25 point performances, so it’s not out of the question completely.
Carlos Frias vs. Chicago Cubs ($4300) – This is a really bad matchup for him. The Cubs are a high K team, but Frias does not strikeout many batters. That’s not really playing to his strengths. He gives up a ton of walks and a lot of hits as well, which have translated into a good deal of runs and kept his scores low. To top it off, he rarely makes it past 6 innings. If the innings are low, the strikeouts are low, and the negative events are elevated, there is not much upside to using him at all.