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
Danny Salazar vs. Texas Rangers ($9,300) – Texas has the second lowest batting average, is third lowest in runs scored, and has a 23.7% strikeout rate vs. Right-handed pitching. Salazar has been looking like an ace lately. In five starts, he is averaging a little over 6 and a third innings with just shy of 10 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.27, and a WHIP of 0.88. He is a -125 favorite a slight discount to the big studs today. His strikeout potential gives him a nice floor and he is in line for a win. He should be one of the higher owned hurlers on the day, because he is easier to fit in with some of the bigger bats and still offers that elite upside.
Felix Hernandez vs. Boston Red Sox ($11,600) – The King will be holding court in his home ballpark against the Red Sox today. He has been unreal at home so far this season. In four starts, he is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.20 and a WHIP of only 0.60. He has 37 strikeouts in 30 innings of work and a BAA of only .137. He faces a Boston team that has struggled to score runs this lately. He gets them in a pitcher friendly park and is a large -170 favorite in a game with a 6.5 run line. Lots to like again here with King Felix.
Max Scherzer vs. San Diego Padres ($12,200) – Scherzer is the likely frontrunner at the moment for NL Cy Young as he has been dominant so far this year. His ERA is 1.99, his WHIP is 0.93, and he has 55 strikeouts in 49.2 innings of work. San Diego is much better with the bats this season, but this game is being played in PetCo Park, which is very pitcher friendly. Scherzer is a -122 favorite in a low total game with only 6.5 runs expected. His strikeout floor and dominant stuff should be enough to keep the Padres off balance and return a nice fantasy score, despite the sky high price.
Zack Greinke vs. Colorado Rockies ($10,700) – Greinke gets a matchup with the Rockies who have been struggling big time on the road. He is the biggest favorite on the board at -240 in a game with a run total of only 7. He pitches at home in his pitcher friendly park, where he has a 1.01 WHIP and a 2.81 ERA this year. His overall numbers are even better as he has not allowed a run to date on the road so far this season. Greinke is a high strikeout guy who also pitches deep into games. He averages just shy of seven innings and six strikeouts per start, while limiting the baserunners of the opposition. Colorado does have some nice left-handed bats to throw at him, but he has been good and they have been bad away from home, so he should still pitch a good game.
Middle of the Pack
Jacob DeGrom vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($8900) –DeGrom has been very up and down this season, but a lot of the indicators are pointing to a good start today. He gets to pitch at home in Citi Field which is one of the best pitcher parks in MLB. He faces a Brewers team that is in the bottom third of the league for batting average and has a 24.5% strikeout rate. DeGrom is a -137 favorite in a game with a total expected of only 7 runs. While the top of that Brewers order is a little scary, once you get past the five spot there’s a lot of weak hitters down there. DeGrom should have a nice start today and a good chance for upside with the strikeouts.
Archie Bradley vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6,600) – Bradley took a ball off the face in his last start, which is why it only lasted 1.1 innings. He had been pitching well earlier in the year, so his price here seems a little low to me. The Phillies have one of the weaker offenses in MLB. They are dead last in runs scored vs. right-handed pitching, have the worst batting average, and strikeout at a 21.5% clip. Bradley has pitched 20 innings with an ERA of 1.20, a WHIP of 1, and 14 strikeouts. Those numbers are not elite for upside, but he is a very solid, safe option at his price today.
Andrew Cashner vs. Washington Nationals ($8400) – Cashner is an underdog today to Max Scherzer, but the total of that game is really low at 6.5. Cashner has been really good so far, although his 1-6 record does not show it. In 44 innings of work, he has an ERA of only 3.07, a WHIP of 1.23, and 45 strikeouts. He is averaging a little over 6 innings per start, just shy of 7 strikeouts and about 2 runs on just shy of 8 baserunners. The Nats have been swinging hot bats and they do have some solid lefties (Harper, Span) who have been on fire, so this is not an easy matchup. If he was the favorite, he could be moved up to the Cream of the Crop based on his recent fantasy scores, but he may underperform those recent outing today. Still he has a nice floor under him and makes for a solid play.
Jesse Chavez vs. Chicago White Sox ($6700) – Chavez has been solid since returning to the starting rotation. He has thrown three good games to one clunker in his four starts so far. He is averaging about 6 innings with 4 hits, 2 walks, and just over two runs allowed per game. He has also added just shy of 6 strikeouts per game as well. He pitches at home in Oakland and is a big favorite at -145 in a game with only 7.5 runs expected. His price is too cheap for a guy who has returned basically 3 points per thousand twice and five points for a third time at his price today.
Colby Lewis vs. Cleveland Indians ($7800) – Colby Lewis is on fire. He is pitching better than he ever has in his MLB career. He currently sports a 2.40 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and is even better at home where those numbers are much lower. At home he has only allowed opponents to hit an elite .169 against him, which puts him in line with all the studs we pay $10K+ for everyday. In fact he has been so good, he almost made the top section, but this is not an easy matchup for him. Cleveland has a lot of left-handed regulars at the top of that lineup, and guys like Brantley and Kipnis have been swinging hot sticks. Texas is historically a hitter friendly place as well, and I’m not sure how long Lewis will be able to sustain these carer best numbers. Still, you can not argue with his recent success and he does have some strikeout stuff, especially against the bottom of that order.
Mike Leake vs. San Fransisco Giants ($7400) – Leake has been a really good MLB pitcher and a solid fantasy option so far this year. While he is not a high strikeout guy, he has a 2.36 ERA and a WHIP of only 0.97. The Giants had a big day yesterday in Cincy, which is a good hitter’s park, so there is some risk, but Leake has been able to keep hitters from making solid contact all season. He is a big favorite at -135 in a game with a total of 8 runs expected. He should be in line for the win and another deep run of 7 or 8 innings here today against an offense that has been weak to start the season.
Matt Garza vs. New York Mets ($7700) – Garza has been on a little bit of a roll lately, having put together four starts of at least six innings while not allowing more than 3 earned runs in any of them and striking out abut 6 batters per start. He gets to pitch in one of the majors best pitcher parks today against a somewhat weak lineup. Garza is an underdog to DeGrom, so the win is in question and would be needed to justify the salary. He does not have huge upside, but doesn’t belong on the bottom rung either based off his recent performances.
Rest of the Field
CC Sabathia vs. Kansas City Royals ($7700) – CC has struggled some out of the gate. He gets to face one of the best hitting teams in the American League here and it is not a good matchup. KC does not strike out often and makes good contact. Sabathia is an underdog to Danny Duffy in this one, which shows you how far he has fallen from grace.
Danny Duffy vs. New York Yankees ($6000) – Duffy is pretty cheap today and is a lefty going up against a very lefty heavy Yankee lineup. He is favored over CC in this one by a -120 margin in a game expected to see 8 runs. Duffy has two negative DK numbers in a row here and lasted a total of only 4.2 innings in his last two starts. He gave up over 10 earned runs and a bunch of hits, so he is definitely not on his game. He has not been striking out batters lately either, so it’s tough to use a guy who does not pitch deep, does not strike out batters, and should give up a bunch of runs.
Rick Porcello vs. Seattle Mariners ($7500) – The price here seems a little high for a guy who has given up 22 earned runs in 44 innings of work with only 38 strikeouts so far. His has allowed more than a hit per inning and that does not even include the 11 walks so far this year. His ERA is over 4, his WHIP over 1.30 and he is a huge +155 dog to Felix Hernandez today.
Scott Feldman vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($4900) – Feldman has not been horrible, but he also has not been very good. He has averaged about six innings per start and kept the runs down in all but two of them as well. He is not a high strikeout guy and faces a power hitting lineup in a good homerun park, which is not a great combination for fantasy upside.
Matt Shoemaker vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6900) – Shoe has been disappointing this season. Many expected him to take a step forward, but so far it has not happened. He had a few really good starts, sandwiched around some blow ups. Shoemaker’s troubles stem from the 10 homers he has given up, and the four multiple homerun games he has allowed. The Os have some power bats, and that stadium is condusive to long balls, so I expect the same troubles to pop up and hurt him again here.
John Danks vs. Oakland Athletics ($5800) – Danks fits the bill of a low owned guy who could surprise today. The Southpaw faces an As team that has struggled with left-handed pitching so far. Of course most of those struggles have been against more talented lefties than Danks, but that’s why this is a sneaky high upside play. There is still a chance he gets lit up tonight as he really is not that great of a pitcher, but he does have a chance against a team who struggles at a very low salary and probably lower ownership.
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6500) – Way too expensive for a guy who has been blown up in two of his four starts and been average at best in the other two. De La Rosa has a Whip over 2, an ERA over 9, and has not been striking out a ton of guys. It is conceivable he finishes with a negative today against a solid Dodgers offense. The one saving grace is he is lefty and that lineup is lefty heavy, so maybe he can nuetralize a few of those big bats.
Ryan Vogelson vs. Cincinnati Reds ($5400) – Vogelsong has had a few decent starts recently, but all have been at home. This game is in a much better park for hitters and his propensity to allow homeruns still exists. The Reds have some nice lefty sticks like Votto, Hamilton, Bruce, and Pena who profile to do well against Vogelsong. He has the nickname VogelDong for the homeruns he does allow, so I expect to see a few more added to the list today.
Jerome Williams vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4200) – Williams has two negative numbers and three single digits in starts so far this year. In fact he really only has two games where he did have some upside. Even though he is cheaper than many batters, he is not a good play based on his ability to give up runs. It’s more a matter of when, than if, when it comes to him.
Marco Estrada vs. Houston Astros ($5100) – Estrada has a problem with giving up homeruns. I guess it really is only a problem if you roster him. Houston is a homerun park, so today is should be a big problem. He is a guy to target bats against, but by no means should he be starting on your rosters today.
Bud Norris vs. Los Angeles Angels ($5900) – Norris is a guy who has returned a negative number in three of his six starts. He pitchers in a hitters park today aganst a team that has struggled, but has some pop. With a 50% chance of a negative number based off recent results and very little upside, there is no way to recommend him here at all.