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
Clayton Kershaw vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Kershaw is left-handed. The St. Louis Cardinals struggle against left-handed pitching. They have a 23% K rate and are hitting only .243 against league average lefties. Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the game and anything but average. In his five home starts, he has a 2.48 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts in 32 innings of work. The last home game he pitched against a lefty heavy lineup was two back against Atlanta where he put up a 37.4 DK score on the back of a seven inning, four hit, ten strikeout performance.
Felix Hernandez vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($11500) – It’s not fun to pick all the chalk, but this is the cream of the crop section and both guys have legit upside matchups. Felix gets the Rays who have the sixth worst batting average against right-handed pitching and the seventh highest strikeout rate in the major leagues. Felix is coming off his worst start in two years after getting shelled by the Yank’s last out. The start before that he put up 42 fantasy points against this same Rays lineup. In fact you can argue that he is in a better spot for this start as he also gets to pitch at home which is a park bump for him too. Felix has elite stuff and the Rays lineup has no scary left-handed bats. You can even make a case for him ahead of Kershaw as the last start may scare some away, and the price break makes him a better GPP option with the same elite upside.
Adam Warren vs. Los Angeles Angels ($5200) – This price seems way too low on Warren today. In his last four starts, he returned four, three, five, and four points per thousand of cost at this same price. That makes him the perfect cash game option to pair with either Kershaw or Felix and still be able to spend up on bats. Warren is not a huge strikeout guy, but he has gone deep into games, limited walks, and kept the number of hits and runs allowed down. The Angels have the seventh worst batting average in the league against right-handers and strikeout a league average 20.3% t be in the middle of the pack. Warren does not have to do a ton to pay off his price. As long as he doesn’t get shelled, he should reach value as the perfect salary saver.
David Price vs. Chicago White Sox ($10200) – Price is not a tournament play for me, because the white sox are not a huge strikeout team, and he has not been mowing people down as often this season. He is more of a cash game option, because his price is too high to really give him any upside. He is a very solid and safe bet for around 25 fantasy points, but that is not enough upside to win you a tournament. Compared to guys like Kershaw and Felix who can strikeout double digits and limit hitters to a few hits, Price is going to fail to reach a strikeout per inning and will likely allow a few more baserunners. He should still pitch well, but neither the ceiling nor the safety downgrade from the top two options will justify the extra $1000-$2000 savings.
Bartolo Colon vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6900) – Arizona definitely has some hitters that scare me and Bartolo is definitely better at home, but I think Colon can outpitch Anderson here for a win. Unless he gets lit up, he tends to go at least seven and strikeout a few guys along the way. His price has dropped and frankly I can not explain how he still gets guys out, but I’m not trying to win a beauty contest, I’m trying to win fantasy games. It doesn’t have to look good, as long as it is safe consistent points which Bartolo really has been.
Jaime Garcia vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($7700) – Jaime Garcia has been pretty good so far this year. He has been a solid pitcher throughout his career when he is healthy. He faces a Dodgers team that is not horrendous against left-handed pitching, but they could be categorized as such compared to how they smash righties. They are league average in strikeouts, but Garcia does have some K upside. I do not like that he is an underdog to Kershaw here as the win is unlikely, but he could keep the game close and put up a decent number. His score n the last game which he lost would make him a better value play than price will probably be, but still lacks the upside of those above him and has a lower floor.
John Locke vs. Atlanta Braves ($5900) – The Braves have a lot of left-handed bats on top of that lineup and they really struggle to hit left-handed pitching. They have the seventh lowest batting average and seventh highest strikeout rate (23.5%) vs. Southpaws. Lock had a bad start last time out, but he threw up a 20 DK point game the one before, so his has the capability to do it. His price is cheap enough where he does not need to do a lot, and his offense has the ability to hit him into a win, which would be 25% of his value number and is a real possibility.
Rest of the field
Garrett Richards vs. New York Yankees ($8800) – Richards has good stuff, but this price tag seems too high. He faces a lefty heavy Yankee lineup in a park built for left-handed hitters. He has not made it to the seventh inning of any of his recent starts, and only has 11 strikeouts in his last 18.2 innings of work. He has allowed 25 hits, 7 walks, and 11 earned runs as well over those games, so he is not pitching well. There’s nothing to hold onto that screams upside or safety today and $8800 is way too much. You would be better off figuring out a way to free up cash for Felix, than you would be rolling with Richards right now.
Julio Teheran vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($7400) – Teheran has a really good 2014, but he has struggled this season. In his last two starts, he has been straight garbage. In his last two starts, he has gone ten innings, allowed 14 hits, given up 11 runs, and walked 7. He also has only struck out two batters and has not made it past the sixth. If he threw six no hit innings with one strikeout, it would only be worth 15.5 points and leave him well short of value. When you factor in the negative events, you can see why his scores have been so low. The Pirates offense has also been hitting it a little better recently, so this is way too much of an asking price with nothing to build confidence in a good performance coming.
Alex Colome vs. Seattle ($6100) – He is a solid young pitcher with a bright future, but that does nothing for his fantasy score in this one. At present, he is a six inning guy who strikes out seven batters per nine innings, gives up a few walks, hits, and runs as well along the way. He’ll get a few Ks and likely be in the showers before the seventh inning, while giving up some negative events along the way. Even with the low price, there’s not much hope for big upside.
John Danks vs. Detroit Tigers ($5700) – That 34 point performance last time out jumps off the age at most players, but do not fall into that trap. He threw a bad game where he allowed double digit hits, but was lucky enough to dodge any runs scored and pitched nine full innings (Which he never does) to get the bonuses for a shutout and a complete game.
Chase Anderson vs. New York Mets ($5500) – Anderson has been pretty bad lately. He is not a high K guy, has not gone deep, and has given up negative events. His fantasy scores recently have all failed to crack 11 and there is very little reason to believe that will change here. He is actually worse at home than on the road so far, so there’s no bump there and the Lefty heavy Mets have a few guys who profile well against him. There is a reason why he is last on the list, or actually more like a half dozen reasons we just listed.