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
Max Scherzer vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($11500) – Stephen Strasburg was scratched as I was writing a scathing review of his performance thus far, so as I erased it, I moved right to the top of the list for Max Scherzer. Scherzer has been a stud since coming over and he has a 20 point floor with a 30+ ceiling. He has Multiple double digit strikeout performances already and pitches deep into the seventh and eight inning of most games. He had only allowed five runs in his first five starts, before giving up five last out. He was cruising through that game until allowing a few baserunners and giving up a 3-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton.
Zack Greinke vs. Miami Marlins ($10200) – Greinke is the biggest favorite on the day and pitching at home in the lowest run total game at 7. Greinke has been dominate with a 5-0 record, a 1.56 ERA, a WHIP of 0.84, and 34 strikeouts in 40.1 innings of work. He gets a Marlins team that has the third most strikeouts in MLB, while they are also worse vs. right-handed pitching and have the second least number of homeruns against righties. Overall this is a dream matchup and the only drawback to Greinke is the high price. He’s a great cash game play, but may lack the upside to win you a GPP at over $10K.
John Lester vs. New York Mets ($9700) – The Mets are much weaker against left-handed pitching without David Wright. In fact the only big right-handed bat they have without him is Michael Cuddyer. The Mets have been one of the lowest scoring teams against left-handed pitching and have a batting average in the lower half of the league with a K% of 22.8%. Lester is a -140 favorite and pitching at home. Lester has three straight quality starts where he has gone 20 innings with 19 baserunners, 4 earned runs, and 20 strikeouts. He has three straight mid-twenties DK scores and a softer matchup today than in any of those three. His price is high, but he makes a lot of sense for cash games and may even pay off in a GPP, although his upside is somewhat limited.
Scott Kazmir vs. Boston Red Sox ($7100) – I almost glanced over Kazmir, because of the huge price drop after one bad start. Kazmir has been awesome at home this year putting up 25 and 38 DK points in his two starts in Oakland. He has K potential and good numbers despite getting lit up for 6 runs in 6 innings last time out. He gets a Boston team here with a league worst .190 batting average against left-handed pitching and a 25.6% strikeout rate. Kazmir is a -132 favorite in a game with a run line that has crept up to 7.5 after opening as a co-low at 7. In a pitcher’s park like Oakland, I think he is in line for a huge day.
Middle of the Pack
Gerrit Cole vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($8900) – Everyone else jumped off the bandwagon after his last start, so now is the perfect time to get back on. The Phillies are last in the league with only 91 runs scored. They have the third worst team batting average at only .228, and they are about middle of the pack for number of strikeouts. Cole had been brilliant before his last start. He still only has a 2.23 ERA and a Whip slightly over 1. He gets a negative park move here, but He should still bounce back today at a pretty fair price against a team that has allowed some big games to starters recently.
Alex Colome vs. New York Yankees ($6700) – Colome has been brilliant in his two starts so far. So far he is averaging five innings per start with only three and a half hits, one run, and five strikeouts. He also has not thrown over 80 pitches, but he has been building with each start, so tomorrow he should stretch out a little more. He averages a K per inning with no walks so far and very few hits. If he can be that efficient and get more pitches, he can have huge upside. He is a -120 favorite in the other 7 run game, so there’s a lot to like here.
Shelby Miller vs. Cincinnati Reds ($8300) – I’m buying into Miller again today at this price. Anyone who expects another CG out of him is a little crazy, but asking for 6 innings of solid work is not. He went 7 innings while allowing two earned runs and nine baserunners two back against the Reds team, before coming back and throwing a gem against the Phillies. Cincy has the fifth worst batting average, is seventh worst in runs scored, and have a 22.5% strikeout rate vs. RHP. Miller is an underdog in this one to Mike Leake, so Vegas does not think he has completed a turnaround. That will likely keep his ownership down too if you were so inclined to use him.
Mike Leake vs. Atlanta Braves ($8000) –Shelby Miller will be the hot pick today off his last outing, but he is actually the underdog in this one to a guy who has been pitching really well. That guy is Mike Leake who has 20+ DraftKings points in each of his last four starts. Leake pitches deep into games and limits damage. The innings contribute to his overall score and limiting the negatives helps keep it high. He is not a huge strikeout guy, although he had nine Ks two games back, so he can finish batters when he has to.The Atlanta offense does have a lot of lefty bats the can throw at him up top, so this is a tough matchup, despite being favored.
Jacob DeGrom vs. Chicago Cubs ($8100) – DeGrom is coming off a gem and gets the team that leads the league in strikeouts vs. right-handed pitching. They also have a pretty high average and score a lot of runs, so there’s upside with the strikeouts and downside with the potential negative events. DeGrom struggles some with left-handed bats and there’s not many big ones outside of Rizzo on the Cubs roster. DeGrom has a higher than normal WHIP for a guy with such a low ERA, so some regression may be in the cards. Still he pitches deep into games and has a lot of strikeout upside in this one. Limiting the damage will be the key to whether he has a good or great start.
Rick Porcello vs. Oakland Athletics ($7700) – Porcello has thrown back to back gems where he went through seven innings in each of them. In fact he has pitched 14 innings, only allowed twelve base runners one earned run and struck out twelve in those games combined. He has returned a mid-twenties number on DraftKings for both of those efforts. He plays in a low total game in a great pitcher’s park against an offense that is pretty solid, so there’s some risk to it. He should be low owned again and a repeat of either of the last two efforts likely helps him reach and exceed his own value.
Colby Lewis vs. Kansas City ($7200) – I am actually recommending Colby Lewis as a start in daily fantasy against the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals and it is not a joke. The punchline has been on those rostered bats against Lewis so far. He has three games in six with over 20 DK points, which is shocking for a guy daily fantasy players loved stacking against last year. Still this is the team with the highest batting average in baseball, second most runs scored, and lowest number of strikeouts. There is nothing safe or easy about his matchup. He may even belong in the bottom rung, but I had to bump him up a little while he is pitching about a well as he ever has.
Jeff Smardzija vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($8500) – The Brewers have the fifth worst batting average and strike out fourth most in the league. Smardzija is coming off suspension and should get thrown right into the mix. He has flashed twenty-five point upside a few times this year already. At his price that would be an excellent return if he can do it in this matchup against a weak hitting strikeout prone team.
Rest of the Field
CC Sabathia vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($7800) – Sabathia has not been good in his last few starts after being serviceable in the first few. He gets a Rays team today that is sixth worst in batting average and fifth for most strikeouts. He has not been returning value or pitching all that well, but he could have a decent game here against a weak offense.
Wily Peralta vs. Chicago White Sox ($7300) – Peralta has pitched better over the last few games. He went 8 innings in his last outing and only gave up two runs. He faces the White Sox are have the second fewest runs scored, but also do not strike out a ton. Peralta and Smardzija are co-favorites at -105 each in this one, so it could go either way.
Tom Koehler vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6500) – Koehler has given up 19 runs in 33 innings of work. He is a right-hander facing a team full of power lefty bats that has been smashing homeruns at a solid clip. Koehler is a soft tossing righty who is playing in a good pitcher’s park. Still the Dodgers have been scoring runs at home anyway and should do some damage in this one.
Josh Collmenter vs. Washington Nationals ($6300) – Collmenter tends to pitch deep into games. When he limits the damage, he can put up a nice number. He has 30 DK points in two of his last four. At the price he is today, that would be a huge return if he could do it again. In order to match that performance, he would have to severely limit the nationals run scoring. They have been homer happy lately, so that is a tall order.
Ubaldo Jiminez vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($6100) – Ubaldo has two home starts and scored 30 DK points in both of them. HE pitches much better at home than he does on the road. He has always been a guy who can get a few strikeouts, but lately he has allowed too many walks and hits. If he really is as good as he has been at home, we could see a nice return from him here.
Danny Duffy vs. Texas Rangers ($6400) – Duffy had been ok until he got shelled last out. He gave up six hits and four runs while not recording an out in the secnd inning before being pulled. The game before that he had 26 DK points against a tough right-handed dominant Detroit Tigers lineup, so I do not know what to think here.
Jerome Williams vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($4300) – Williams gets the nod over Estrada here because he is cheaper and pitches deeper into games, but neither guy is someone I would use. In fact it is advisable to take hitters against both of these guys who are homer prone and give up a lot of runs.
Marco Estrada vs. Baltmore Orioles ($5300) – Estrada will not go deep into the game as he is being stretched out. He has a problem serving up long balls and Baltimore is a good place to hit them. He has been a high ERA guy for a few years now and I do not expect that to change here.