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
Johnny Cueto vs. San Fransisco Giants ($10100) – This is the easiest pick on the day. Cueto is the most expensive pitcher by far, but he is also the most valuable. It is worth it to pay the extra $1000 for him over Ross as his floor and upside are both better to justify the price. Cueto can pitch deep into games, rack up strikeouts, and limit his opponents walks and hits. He has already returned over 30 DK points in a game which would be three points per $1000 of cost based on his price. The Giants offense is middle of the pack for batting average against RHP. They also do not strike out a ton, but the drawback is they also struggle to score runs. Cueto is a -165 favorite in a game with only seven runs expected, so Vegas agrees he should be one of the top guys on the hill.
Drew Hutchinson vs. Houston Astros ($6300) – This pick carries more risk and more upside, but makes sense on a bad ay for pitching. Hutchinson has flashed big upside a few times this year and put up twenty or more DK points while doing so. Vegas considers this one a pick em between him and Fausto Carmona. Hutchinson historically struggles with left-handed bats and Houston really does not have any outside of Valbuena. They also have a 27.6% strikeout rate vs. right-handed pitching. The K potential should create a nice floor and potential ceiling for Hutchinson, who is very cheap. The other expensive starters do not have much upside, so it makes sense to come down and he looks like the best option of the cheap guys.
Middle of the Pack
Roenis Elias vs. Boston Red Sox ($7100) – He has been good so far, averaging over six innings, over six strikeouts, and over 16 fantasy points per start. So far he has yet to pick up a win for his efforts, but if he does than the return would be right around 20 fantasy points.He is a -127 favorite in a 7.5 run line game to do that here in his pitcher friendly home park. The Red Sox have the lowest batting average against left-handed pitching and a 23.5% strikeout rate, so there’s a good matchup here on top of the other data.
Tim Lincecum vs. Cincinnati Reds ($7700) – Lincecum has thrown three gems in his last four starts and all of them have been at home. His one recent road start returned a negative score on DraftKings for him. He gets a negative park switch to a hitter friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincy today and faces a lineup with a plethora of left-handed bats which he tends to struggle against. He also goes up opposite Johnny Cueto, so the win is doubtful. Still he has been pitching deep into games and effectively limiting opponents while striking a few guys out. He has returned 20 DK points in three of his last four, so he has a nice floor, but really lacks in upside with all the knocks on him today.
Tyson Ross vs. Washington Nationals ($9200) – Ross has positives and negatives with him today. He has 48 strikeouts in 40 innings of work and plays at home in pitcher friendly PetCo Park. He has been averaging about six innings per start and has a few wins already. He is also a slight favorite here at -110 in the game with the lowest expected run line of 6.5. The drawback is he is having control issue’s with multiple walks per game, his ERA is near 4 and his WHIP is currently over 1.50. He faces a nationals team that has been scoring runs lately and has a tough matchup with some quality left-handed bats like Harper and Span on top of that order. He has been returning just shy of 20 DK points per start, which really only means about two points per $1000 of cost based on his price. There is safety to him with the strikeout numbers, but not much upside in this matchup.
Brett Anderson vs. Colorado Rockies ($6500)- Anderson is an obnoxiously large favorite at -185 in this one. He has not pitched amazingly, so I was a little shocked to see this. The game also has a low run total of only 7.5, so he should be in a good spot. The Rockies have really struggled on the road and with Tulo not hitting, they are vulnerable to left-handed pitching. Throw in the negative park switch to Dodger Stadium and there’s a lot to like here. Anderson has not allowed an earned run in his last 11 innings while allowing only one baserunner per. The downside is he only has five strikeouts over this run and doesn’t pitch past six innings. Still he has been able to induce a ton of groundballs, which is what we like to see from our pitchers to help limit runs and hits. Against a struggling Rockies team as a large favorite, he makes an interesting option.
Doug Fister vs. San Diego Padres ($8300) – Fister is a very effective real life pitcher who is an underperforming fantasy player. He gets a lot of weak contact which leads to easy outs, but really does not help our fantasy scores. He never really pitches to more than a few batters after six innings and he usually ends up with only 3 strikeouts. He has a low ERA below 3 and a WHIP of 1.25, so he does allow a run or two and some baserunners to get on. Those negative events coupled with the lack of innings and strikeouts really limits his upside. Still he tends to keep the game low scoring and could be in line for a win today. If he does not get the win, it will be nearly impossible for him to return a solid fantasy score and pay off the high salary. He has a solid floor, but absolutely no upside today.
Chase Whitley vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5700) – Whitley is cheap and has already pitched well in his debut against the Rays. He is also a -112 favorite in a game where eight runs are expected. The Rays have a 23.8% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. They are sixth worst in both batting average and runs scored as well, so the matchup is pretty solid. Whitley’s price is cheap enough where he doesn’t have to throw a gem in order to pay it off. Six innings, four strikeouts, and three runs or less still makes him a solid value.
Roberto Hernandez vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($4800) – Hernandez has not been horrible enough to justify a salary this low. He tends to pitch at least six innings and has put up a few scores around 20 DK points. At a price of $4800, that would be over 4 points per $1000 of cost and make him a top value play. Toronto has some big bats, so he could also get blownup, but for the price he is worth the gamble for tournaments.
Rest of the Field
Joe Kelly vs. Seattle Mariners ($5100) – Kelly has allowed 21 runs in his last 21 innings. He tends to pitch between five or six innings with five runs allowed over his last four starts. Those are not good numbers. He struggles more with left-handed bats, but everyone has been hitting him lately. The Seattle order has some big sticks in the middle of it with Cano, Cruz, and Seager who all profile well against a pitcher like Kelly. His walks are up, his strikeouts are down, and he has allowed a homerun in five straight games. If he was still striking guys out, than he would have a nice floor, but low innings and low strikeouts with a lot of earned runs is not a good recipe for fantasy success.
Erasmo Ramirez vs. New York Yankees ($5300) – Despite being an underdog who has not pitched well, he is also a reliever being stretched out. He barely makes the fifth inning in recent starts, and if you can not do that, than you can not even record a win. You also record very few fantasy points for innings pitched and even if he did strikeout a lot of batters, which he does not usually, he would still struggle to return decent value.