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
Dallas Keuchel vs. Chicago White Sox ($8700) – The White Sox have the third worst batting average in the league vs. left-handed pitching at .220. They also strike out at a rate of 22.7% vs. southpaws. Keuchel is not a huge strikeout guy, but he has been dominate so far this year. He has an ERA under 2, a WHIP under 1, and 49 Ks in 72 innings of work. Keuchel relies on ground balls and pitching to contact, which has allowed him to go deep into games. He is averaging over seven innings per star with five strikeouts about 2 runs allowed and less than 7 baserunners. Against an offense that is this weak against left-handers, those numbers could be even better. The lack of strikeout potential really caps the upside for Keuchel, but he should go deep into the game and limit the oppositions ability to score runs and get hits, so that is the trade off you have to be willing to live with. While I think there’s more upside in others for a tournament, Keuchel is a great solid cash game option. He is a huge -170 favorite, so Vegas expects him to win.
Aaron Harang vs. Colorado Rockies ($7000) –Harang has done very little wrong in 2015. He has been lights out from the start for the Phillies. He went into Colorado two starts back and threw a gem against this Rockies team at Coors, so he has some history on his side. He is a -115 favorite here in a game with a total of only 7.5, so there’s an expectation of a win. He has averaged a little over six innings and about five strikeouts per start. What has really helped him is limiting the negatives. He has a WHIP of only 1.03 and an 1.93 ERA. If he is able to limit this offense and actually gets a little bit of run support, he could finish with a number around twenty which would equal value for him at this price.
Middle of the Pack
Gio Gonzalez vs. Cincinnati Reds ($9200) – Gonzalez gets a nice matchup here with a Reds team that is bottom third against left-handed pitching. They also have a 22.2% strikeout rate which is a tad above league average. Gonzalez is a high K guy, who averages about a strikeout per inning, but he does not go deep into games which hurts his fantasy upside. Gonzalez averages a tad over six innings pitched. He has flashed upside in the high twenties, but that would basically just help him hit his value number. The low innings total is my main concern here. If he was playing pitching deeper, I could see him as a top option, but without him getting into the seventh or eight inning, it will be tough to get 30 or more DK points to make him a solid upside play.
Jose Quintana vs. Houston Astros ($7800) – Quintana has a pretty good matchup here. Despite the perception of that right-handed heavy lineup, Houston has a 26.1% strikeout rate and a bottom seven batting average vs. left-handed pitching. Of course they benched some of the high strikeout righties and replaced them with a few young players, but for the most part the team is still the same. Quintana has been pretty erratic all season. He threw a gem vs. Milwaukee and then was shelled in his recent starts. His stuff is electric, bt he has struggled to put it all together. He’s a huge dog in this one at -150, but the strikeout floor may be enough to help him to at least a decent showing.
Kyle Gibson vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5700) – Gibson is a big favorite at -130 here. He faces a very righty dominant lineup, which is what he does his best work against. He has 33 and 22 DK points in two of his last three games, which would be awesome upside at his price today. He faces a Jays team that is 18th for batting average and has a 23.3% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. Gibson got shelled in his opener as he allowed 6 runs in 3.2 innings, but since then has gone over 50 innings while only allowing eleven. His strikeouts are insanely low at under 5K per nine innings of work, but he makes up for it by limiting opponents walks, hits, and runs. A little regression is likely for him, but his cheap price means he could still reach value here.
Tom Koehler vs. New York Mets ($6200) – Koehler is very boring. He is not a high strikeout guy, nor does he have a ton of upside, but he has been solid and safe for 15-18 points which would make him a decent value. He does get a matchup with Jonathon Niese who is as likely to shut down an offense as he is to blow up. I can envision a situation where he implodes and Koehler cruises in a good pitcher’s park against a weak offense, so there’ is some upside and safety to this play. Of course the low strikeouts also means a low score if he does get touched up, so he is by no means an elite option.
Aaron Sanchez vs. Minnesota Twins ($5500) – The rookie from Toronto has looked better in his recent starts. He is up over 6 innings per start in his last four, and he is striking out about four batters per game. He does allow a ton of walks, a ton of hits, and quite a few runs, so those negatives will drag down his score, but at only $5500 he can return value. He would need about 16 points or more to do so. His positives average out to about 21, so if he can limit the opposition to 2 runs or less, or if he lets up three runs or less and gets the win, he will make it. There’s more risk than upside though, even at the depressed price, so it’s no slam dunk by any means.
Rest of the Field
Jonathon Niese vs. Miami Marlins ($6600) – Despite the solid home matchup and the high strikeout rate for the Marlins, Niese is not really in a good spot. The Marlins hit left-handed pitching well. They have the 8th highest batting average against southpaws in all of MLB. Niese is favored at -130 in a game with a run total of only 7.5. His price is cheap enough that he has upside and will not need to do much to make value. Still his last three starts have been putrid, so I can not recommend someone who has been this bad lately.
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($5400) – Hellickson has some strikeout stuff as he is averaging about 7 per nine innings, but he also struggles with 17 walks and eight homers allowed in only 5o innings of work. Those numbers are not good against a power hitting team like the Brewers who he will face in a good hitter’s park. The strikeouts should be there against a high K club, but so should the runs against him. I do not think he pitches deep enough here to rack up enough innings or strikeouts to offset the inevitable homerun ball or two he gives up.
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($7200) – Chen had been pretty solid, but he suffered an injury and looked horrible pitching through it last time out. His matchup here is not bad, but he struggled while giving up 11 hits in his last game and not making it to the sixth. He is a slight favorite today at -130, but the run line is high at 8.5 and there’s concern his injury will creep up again. He is no longer cheap either, which means he needs to do a bunch to make value here and I just do not see how he will do it.
Kyle Lohse vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($6800) – Lohse has one of the worst matchups we see on paper. Arizona has the seventh best batting average vs. right-handed pitching, a low strikeout rate, and is high up in runs scored. Lohse has been roughed up some in his recent outings as he has allowed 13 hits, 7 runs, and 5 walks in his last two starts in only 11.2 innings of work. He has decent strikeout ability, but if he can not get past six innings, than it really is not going to matter. The Diamondbacks have some big bats and a they play this game in a hitter friendly park, so there is not a ton of upside. The potential negatives easily outweigh any good he may do.
Jorge De La Rosa vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6700) – Do not fall into this trap. I know the Phillies offense has struggled, but De La Rosa is not a good option. He has allowed 30 hits, 15 walks, and 22 runs in only 27 innings of work. He has only gone past the fifth once so far this season and his negatives far outweight the upside. I;m not sure I would gamble on him if he was %5K, but at $6700 it’s very easy to pass up.
Rasiel Iglesias vs. Washington Nationals ($4900) – In his last three appearances, Iglesias has been horrid. It took him 143 pitches to get through six innings of work spread out over his last three appearances. During those six innings, he has allowed 11 hits, 4 walks, and 5 runs. He has flashed a little bit of strikeout upside, but if he can not pitch more than four innings, he has no shot for a win and will not be around long enough to really rack up the Ks. Add in the high probability of negative events and even $4900 is too expensive for his services.