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
Nathan Karns vs. Cleveland Indians ($7100) – Karns has been really solid for a putrid Tampa Bay team. He has a 3.28 ERA with a WHIP of 1.22 and 77 strikeouts in 82 innings of work. He faces a Cleveland offense that is in the bottom half of the league for batting average vs. right handed pitching and has about a 20% K rate on the season vs. righties. This game has one of the lowest totals with only seven runs expected and Karns is favored at – 135. He has put up about 20 fantasy points in each of his last three starts, so a continuation of that here would return value for him.
Joe Blanton vs. Houston Astros ($4800) – Blanton has dialed up the strikeouts so far and looked pretty solid since becoming a starter. He faces the team with the fourth lowest batting average and highest K% against right-handed pitching. The matchup has been one DFS players have targeted all season long against righties. Blanton threw a gem in his last game, which included a good number of strikeouts and very few negative events. At his price here, it will not require a ton to reach value. He has flashed 20-30 point upside already, so if you can get the low end of that at his price, it will still be a whopping 4 points or more per $1000 of cost.
Kendall Graveman vs. Colorado Rockies ($6200) – Graveman has really picked it up lately. He has been over or around twenty fantasy points in each of his last 3. He faces a Rockies team that struggles when away from Coors and is getting a huge park downgrade having to come up to Oakland for this one. Over his last four starts, Graveman has averaged just over 7 innings, just shy of 6 Ks and given up two runs or less in each of those starts. At his price of only $6200, he needs about 18.5 points to make value which he has basically met or exceeded in each of those starts. He is a -150 favorite here in a game with a total of 8 and going opposite a guy who many feel is the worst pitcher on the slate. That’s a lot of positives in his corner here.
Middle of the Pack
Lance McCullers vs. Kansas City Royals ($7700) – McCullers has been a nice surprise for the Astros since his call up. He has a 2.34 ERA with 1.08 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 46 innings of work. His matchup here is not easy against a Royals team that does not strikeout often and has a high batting average against right-handed pitching. Still McCullers has been putting up an average of over 20 fantasy points per start and the strikeouts have served as a nice floor for his fantasy scores. If the matchup was softer, he would be in the cream of the crop, but targeting pitchers against the Royals has not been a winning strategy this season.
CJ Wilson vs. New York Yankees ($8400) – CJ Wilson has been erratic so far this season. He has thrown up a lot of games with 7 to 9 strikeouts over 6 or 7 innings. He has also mixed in a few games like his last outing, where he returned a negative number. He has done well against left-handed dominate lineups, such as the Oakland As who he put up 33 points against two back. Wilson struggles most with Right-handed bats, as they had a .277 batting average against hi in 2014. The Yankees have a few, but are better from the left side against right handed pitching, so Wilson may be able to throw a good game today. Other than his recent dominate stretch of back to back 30+ point fantasy games, he has been closer to the twenty point mark this season. At $8400, he would need about 25 here today which may be asking a bit much.
Mike Leake vs. Minnesota Twins ($6900) – This could be a sneaky good spot for Leake who is discounted a little bit here as well. Minnesota struggles against right-handed pitching with a top 10 K% and a bottom ten batting average. Leake is tough on righties and usually struggles with left-handed bats. Eddie Rosario and Joe Mauer are the only two left-handers near the top of that Twins order and neither is a huge home run threat, although both have a little bit of pop. The matchup favors Leake and his price is not too high. The one drawback could be the weather though, so keep an eye on that.
Mike Bolsinger vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6700) – Bolsinger has only gone past six innings twice so far this season, but he is averaging close to a strikeout per game with an ERA under 3 and a WHIP under 1.25. That means he upside is probably 25 before factoring in any negatives. He is giving up about two runs and 7 baserunners per start, which drops his overall score down near 15. If you factor in a win, he could make value and has done so quite a few times already at this price level. Bolsinger is not going to pitch deep and usually does allow a few baserunners, but he has a solid floor with his strikeouts and has been serviceable all season.
Clay Buchholz vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($8000) – Buchholz has been pretty solid lately with a few starts in the low 20s, but this is not an easy matchup against a Blue Jays team that has a lot of run scoring potential. Toronto is fifth in the league for batting average and almost 20% ahead of anyone else for runs scored. They are better against left-handed pitching, but have still knocked around a bunch of righties, especially up in the Roger’s Centre. Buchholz has averaged just over 6 innings and five strikeouts per start with an average of 2-3 runs allowed. Against a good offense, he should be towards the lower end of his averages and that will leave him short of value. I do not expect him to go negative, but also would not be looking for a big upside game.
Mike Pelfrey vs. Cincinnati Reds ($4600) – Pelfrey is just too cheap to be in the bottom rung of the pitching ladder today. He has not been that bad this season with a 3.06 ERA. He averages about 6 innings per start, with 2 earned runs, three strikeouts and about 8 baserunners per. That puts him at about 11 fantasy points, which is not a horrible return at the price. A win, an extra innings, or an extra strikeout from those averages would be all that is needed to help him reach value. While I would not expect him to be the top scorer on the day, he could be a sneaky way to save salary.
Jimmy Nelson vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6600) – Nelson is favored here against a weak hitting Phillies team that does not strikeout much. His numbers are erratic as he followed up some negative fantasy scores with a gem last out that netted hm close to 30 fantasy points. The lack of strikeouts is concerning, but Nelson is a huge favorite in a game where the other team is expected to get less than four runs. I do not love his upside, but he is cheap and as safe as a guy who alternates good and bad performances can be with the plum match up in front of him.
Rest of the Field
RA Dickey vs. Boston Red Sox ($6800) – Dickey has been up and down all season. When the Knuckler is dancing, he can go 9 innings and limit the damage with a few Ks. When it isn’t, he can give up runs in bunches. He has started twice against the Red Sox in the last 8 games and has not had any success. He pitched 12 innings, gave up 14 hits and 9 runs in those two outings. There are a handful of Red Sox from Bogaerts to Ortiz to Hanley to Napoli that will be in the middle of that order and have good lifetime numbers off of Dickey. It’s a tough matchup in a good hitter’s park against a good offense.
CC Sabathia vs. Los Angeles Angels ($7500) – CC has reached his value number in only about 3 of his last ten starts. He has scored a single digit or negative number in five of those ten. Therefore it is more likely that CC will tank your roster then it is that he will surprise to the upside. That is not a recipe for winning fantasy matchups. CC has struggled mightily with right-handed bats who are hitting .339 with 16 homeruns in 65 innings of work this season. Guys like Aybar, Trout, Pujols, and Freese all have a good matchup in this one.
Wandy Rosriguez vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5400) – Wandy is cheap, which was tempting me to move him into the iddle tier, but he plays in a high over/under game and is the underdog. With a win not very likely, Wandy not being a high K guy, and him not pitching incredibly deep into games lately, there’s very little that gives confidence he can return value.
Alan Webster vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6100) – Webster doesnot have a long track record as this will be his fourth MLB apearance. So far he has allowed a few homers, agood number of runs, a lot of hits and struck out few. None of those things are positive for his fantasy score here today. At $6100 there is no way I would take him over a Graveman. He probably would not even be on my Radar at $5000 today, so he is too overpriced to justify.
Bud Norris vs. Texas Rangers ($5800) – Norris is in for a long day here. He struggles with lefties who hit .320 against him and have a WHIP of 1.89. Texas has a ton of them to throw at Norris from Odor to Fielder to Moreland to Gallo. All those guy whould be in line for a good day and Norris will likely have a short afternoon filled with a high pitch count and some runs allowed.
Sean O’Sullivan vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($4300) – O’Sullivan has been lit up in a bunch of his starts so far. He tends to go about 6 innings per start and has given up at least 3 runs in 8 of his 11 trips to the mound. He faces a Milwaukee Brewers offense that is not one of the most imposing in the league, but they should be able to get some runs off of him in a hitter friendly ballpark. O’Sullivan has thrown up a lot of single digit and negative fantasy scores, so even at the cheap price, he is not in play.
David Hale vs. Oakland Athletics ($4500) – This is an incredibly tough matchup for Hale. Hale has allowed a .309 batting average with a 1.47 WHIP and 5 homeruns in 16 innings of work to left-handed batters. The Athletics have a ton of left-handed bats on the top of that order. Guys like Zobrist, Burns, and Sogard will be settting the table for the Big bats like Reddick and Vogt to drive them in. Vogt and Reddick have combined for a .315 average with 21 homeruns this season against right-handed pitchers. None of this is positive for Hale’s chances today.