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
David Price Vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($10,000) – The Cardinals have one of the worst batting averages against left-handed pitching at .240 with a 24.3% strikeout rate. Price is a -125 favorite in a game where the line opened at 8 and is now down to 7.5. He has thrown gems in all but two of his starts. In the other five starts he has finished with scores in the 25-30 range. The Cardinals lineup is very lefty heavy and Price has always been tough on left-handed hitters. The right handed platoon players they use, and the guys they move up in the lineup against left-handed pitching are more strikeout prone, so it makes sense why they struggle against lefties. When Price is on he is one of MLB’s best left-handers and when he is not, we have seen how ugly his starts can be. Things all point to a solid performance from him tomorrow and he is going to be tough to fade on a small early slate.
Jon Lester vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($9,100) – Lester is the favorite over Gerrit Cole today and might even have a better match up. Despite everyone flocking to Cole v. the Cubs due to the high strikeout rate, the Pirates actually have a higher one against left-handed pitching. They currently sit at a 31.1% K-Rate against left-handers and are hitting only .199, which is third worst in the league. I think Lester also flies under the radar since most people are in love with Cole and know about the high K-Rate of the Cubs. Over his last four starts, Lester is averaging over 23 fantasy points per game. This is the cheaper than he has been in his last three starts, and the matchup is better. It seems like the perfect spot to play him in.
Middle of the Pack
Gerrit Cole vs. Chicago Cubs ($9,400) – Despite being a +110 underdog, Cole is in a great spot today for fantasy purposes. He faces a Cubs team that has the most strikeouts in the league vs. right-handed pitching by far. That should give him a nice floor. The Cubs are also only batting .244 which ranks 19th vs. righties. The wind blowing out to center field again in Wrigley is a concern. The high total Vegas already has makes me believe that is a distinct possibility.
Mat Latos vs. Atlanta Braves ($7,700) – Atlanta has a lot of lefty bats and a low strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, but Latos is a big favorite here in a low total game. That is why he is in the middle tier and not the upper one. After a slow start, Latos has been much better. There’s upside to him at this price and downside risk due to the match up. The Ballpark is pitcher friendly and he is at home, although he has not been great at home, but much of that is due to his poor start. It could go either way, but his recent game logs suggest he is safer than many of the other options.
Alex Colome vs. Minnesota Twins ($6,000) – He may be a slight underdog in this one, but he has more upside than his counterpart. Colome has flashed the ability in his young career to get 20+ fantasy points. He probably does not even need to do that well in order to pay off his rock bottom price. He is a young pitcher, so it’s doubtful he goes deep into the game, but he has shown the ability to get a strikeout per inning, which would provide a nice floor against a strikeout prone team.
Rest of the Field
Alex Wood vs. Miami Marlins ($8,100) – The Marlins have the fourth best batting average against left-handed pitching, although they do strikeout a lot. Wood has been known to dial it up for seven or eight strikeouts, so he should have a nice floor. The problem for him is the upside. Strikeouts usually require a lot of pitches to be thrown and a team that has a high batting average will battle for base hits in some of those potential K situations. That should mean a high pitch count early on for Wood. That would hurt his fantasy score as it would limit his chances to pitch deep into the game. His price is a little high today based on his recent performances, 17 DK points is the best he has done so far this year, which would not be a good return at his price.
Trevor May vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5,400) – May is probably the worst pitcher on the day, but he has a better match up than Lyons, so he has a better chance for a good fantasy score. Tampa Bay has the seventh worst batting average, the eight lowest number of runs, and a 23.2% strikeout percentage. May does strikeout a few batters, but he does not pitch deep into games and he allows a lot of hits. Sometimes they translate into runs and other times they did not.
Tyler Lyons vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,600) – Lyons does not pitch deep into games, but he has been striking out a lot of batters. Unfortunately he gets a really tough match up against a righty-heavy lineup in this one. Detroit has some big bats to throw up against a lefty and they should be able to do some damage. They are in the top third of the league for runs scored and batting average vs. Left-handed pitching, so that is bad news for Lyons. They do strikeout a lot against left-handed pitching, so he may be able to control the negatives with a high K game. Still he does not pitch beyond the fifth, so the win and innings points are in doubt.