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
Madison Bumgarner vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($10500) – The last time these two teams met, he outpitched Kershaw on his way to 30+ DK points. You really can not go wrong with either of those two on top of your lineup, but I like the discount on Bumgarner and the fact that he is home. San Fran is a great pitcher’s park and this game has a total of only 7 with Bum being ever so slight of an underdog at +108. His price is almost 20% cheaper, which was the real kicker for me.
Jacob DeGrom vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($9000) – DeGrom gets to take the mound in his pitcher friendly home park for this one. He has pitched some good games and a few clunkers already this season. He is a -120 favorite today in a game with only seven runs expected. DeGrom has struck out 43 batters in 4 innings of work, so he has been giving himself a nice floor. He also He’s been going about 6 innings per start and is good when he can limit the walks and hits he allows. DeGrom would need about six strikeouts in six innings of work and limit the cardinals to about two runs. ll those things line up with Vegas projections and make me think we should see 25 DK points from him today, which would be great value returned at his price.
Middle of the Pack
Clayton Kershaw vs. San Fransisco Giants ($12400) – I would not recommend using both of these guys, and I rank Bumgarner slightly ahead of Kershaw due mostly to price. Kershaw should be every bit as safe to use in a cash game, but will be less of a tournament play due to that price. He would need to get you close to 40 DK points, which is not out of the question, but would require about 8 innings pitched with ten or more strikeouts and very few negative events. Kershaw is capable of a game like that, especially against a team that does not score a ton of runs like the Giants, but it’s not something he is going to do every time out. In fact, he does not have one start this season that would return 3 points per thousand based on his price today. While he is a stud and that is without question, he is a little too pricey to be a top play.
David Price vs. Houston Astros ($9600) – Houston is a high strikeout team, but they strikeout less and have a better batting average against left-handers like Price. Still Price has been pretty good in most of his starts, with only two blowups on his resume and the rest were very solid starts. His price is down a bit in this one, which makes sense as his strikeouts are down this year and he has allowed a few more walks, hits, and runs than usual. He is the second biggest favorite on the board at -160, so the win is probable. Against a team with a 22% k-rate vs, left-handers and an average that is .040 higher than it is from the other side, I’m not sure he can do enough to pay off his price. He would need a game with seven or eight innings of work and about a strikeout per inning, while limiting the Astros to three runs or less. He has the talent to do it, but it’s not the easiest matchup on paper.
Scott Feldman vs. Detroit Tigers ($5700) – No one is iving Feldman much of a chance as he goes opposite David Price, but he has been good in his last few starts. He has gone about seven innings in three of his last four and has not allowed over 3 runs in any of them. The Innings provide a nice floor and if he can limit the negative events, he will not have much trouble making value at his cheap price. He dominated a righty heavy lineup like the one he will see today in his last start against Toronto, so he has the capability to do it. I would not expect him to match the ten strikeout performance he just had, but if he gets you 5 in seven innings, he’ll pay off today.
JA Happ vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7100) – Happ has been well above average so far this year and his price increase proves that. He is going about six innings and averaging around five strikeouts per start. He has limited the opposition to two runs or less in all but one start and has returned a few scores that would be three point or more per thousand based off his price today. I would be more excited about him, but it looks like rain all day in Baltimore, so there’s also a chance for a start and stop which may see him pitch limited innings. Happ is a sneaky good selection this season, but best kept on hold for another day.
Mat Latos vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6600) – Latos got shelled last out vs. Atlanta, but he had six straight quality starts of 3 runs or less before that sandwiched between his last blowup in his first start. His strikeouts are down and he has allowed a decent number of baserunners, so there’s not a ton of upside with those two stats. Still he has returned two times value in all but one of those sandwich games and has even returned three and four points per thousand in a few as well. Arizona is not the best or worst hitting team, so the matchup is pretty neutral here. Latos is a big -140 favorite in a game with a 7.5 run total, so he should be able to return near three points per thousand today, which would make him a solid cash game play.
Rest of the Field
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6100) – De La Rosa is a -145 favorite here today in a game with a high total. The good news is his strikeouts are up this year. The bad news is so are his ERA and WHIP.Still he is favored here and going up against one of the worst offenses in MLB. There’s a chance for some upside, but he is not safe enough to consider for cash and that is why he is on the bottom tier.
Chris Tillman vs. Seattle Mariners ($6300) – Tillman is a tough guy to gauge. In his three starts against the Blue Jays, he has a combined score of -11 on DK. In his other four starts though, he is averaging 16 points per appearance. While those are not great upside numbers, it would be serviceable at his price today. My fear is that Seattle has a lot of left-handed bats on top of that lineup, especially guys with power. Tillman has allowed an average of one long ball per game, and his home park of Camden Yards has been known to be homer friendly for left-handers. The lack of consistency makes him nothing more than a GPP play, but the matchup is not great which is why he finds himself in the lower rung here.
Jerome Williams vs. Colorado Rockies ($4200) – Williams is dirt cheap, but he is also a big underdog in the highest total game on the board. He has to go into Coors Field for this one and that is one of the toughest parks on pitchers in all of MLB. The Rockies offense has been dreadful, even with the return to hitter friendly Coors Field, so there’s a sneaky chance for upside with him today. Still, he is not going to be a top scorer on the day and using him is purely a product of his cheap price. While I think it’s a stretch to expect 20 DK points from him, he really only needs about 15 to make value and that is not out of the question.
Jaime Garcia vs. New York Mets ($7400) – Garcia is making his first start back from injury in 2015. While he is not a horrible pitcher, I can not justify using him at this price. He may be on a pitch count in his first appearance here, and there’s a good chance he will need a start or two to knock off the rust. It is doubtful he pitches deep into the game, so he would need a lot of strikeouts to reach value. Garcia has never been a huge strikeout guy, so I doubt he gets his points that way. Overall, he is just too expensive for a guy who shouldn’t go deep, shouldn’t strike out a lot of batters, and is an underdog to boot.
Archie Bradley vs. Miami Marlins ($5100) – Bradley started the season hit before taking a line drive to the face. He returned last out and was chased in the second inning after allowing four runs on eight baserunners with only one strikeout. It make take a little time for him to get comfortable again on the mound, so until we see that he is a stay away guy for me.