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
1) Gerrit Cole vs. Cincinnati Reds ($9,500) – What’s Cole’s secret to success? He’s given up only one home run to opposing hitters in 2015. Cole has also kept the ball on the ground, with very few put-outs by air. The consistency, and knowing he’ll go deep into a game, is worth spending the salary to land Cole. Plus, his miniscule 1.76 ERA comforts me.
2) Scott Kazmir @ Minnesota Twins ($8,000) – At some point, I’ll stop doubting Kazmir, but it won’t be this week, even facing the Twins. Sure, maybe I grudge on Kazmir a bit, but he’s been absolutely phenomenal on the season averaging 24.6 FPPG. The value is here with Kazmir, one of my favorite pitchers on the day, even if he’s been giving up one too many free passes on the season.
3) Jon Lester @ St. Louis Cardinals ($9,700) – Lester is rounding into form nicely as his fantasy point production has increased each week since the start of the season. I’m not thrilled about the road matchup for Lester facing the Cardinals, but he’s one of the few starting pitchers that you know you can count on Wednesday. Don’t let Lester’s early season stats scare you away.
4) Chris Sale vs. Detroit Tigers ($10,000) – Sale is coming off one of the worst starts in his career, a game in which he only lasted 3 innings, while giving up two walks and 8 ER in the process. Sale will bounce back, enough that I’ve listed him in the “Cream of the Crop” section. Expect Sale to go deep into the game for you facing the Tigers, while also giving you lots of perdy strikeouts.
5) Max Scherzer vs. Miami Marlins ($12,000) – Can you argue with the $12 K you have to pay for Scherzer to lock him in? Well, sure, you can argue quite a bit, actually. Considering the matchup and what Scherzer does for DFS owners (26.6 FPPG in 2015), I don’t have a problem with the price tag. Just make sure you’re not ignoring those hitters!
Middle of the Pack
6) C.J. Wilson vs. Seattle Mariners ($7,800) – Wilson has had excellent success facing the Mariners over the past three seasons, so the matchup draws me in. Plus, Wilson is pitching consistent ball averaging 16.5 FPPG this year. He seems to really be bouncing back from last season, and with the matchup as good as it is, Wilson is a nice play under the $8 K mark.
7) Danny Duffy vs. Cleveland Indians ($7,400) – Duffy has given up 8 walks over his last three starts, but he is coming off a wonderful game where he gave up one earned run on seven strikeouts in 7 IP to get the win. Duffy is an attractive pitching choice for me coming off a great game last time out, and I like him to build off that momentum taking on the Indians.
8) Lance Lynn vs. Chicago Cubs ($8,800) – I love seeing the strikeouts from Lynn, but the $8.8 K price is borderline for me. I don’t like Lynn’s chances enough facing the Cubs, so he’s more of a moderate play. I don’t deny the skills, just that I think I can get better production for less of a price. Value, right?
9) Chris Heston vs. San Diego Padres ($6,200) – Heston has stepped into the Giants rotation this season with huge success, but the likelihood of it continuing? Heston is an average pitcher to lock in on Wednesday, but he could be a nice filler No. 2 for you pairing with a stud arm. Heston holds a good K/BB rate to this point, giving up only seven walks on the season.
10) Jacob deGrom vs. Baltimore Orioles ($8,500) – It’s been two rough outings in a row now for deGrom, where he gave up a combined 9 ER over his last two starts. deGrom will take on an Orioles lineup that has never faced him, so there is a slight advantage there for the young Mets pitcher. Is it enough to spend $8.5 K? There are better pitchers to choose from.
11) Carlos Carrasco @ Kansas City Royals ($8,300) – Carrasco has been very inconsistent from start-to-start early in the season, but he’s still an intriguing option to consider knowing the potential he’s got in his arm. Current Royals’ hitters are only hitting .187 against Carrasco in 75 at-bats, with only six extra-base hits. Carrasco is an under-the-radar pitcher I’d consider if I was doing a high risk/high reward lineup.
12) Ian Kennedy @ San Francisco Giants ($8,500) – I know that Kennedy has fantastic potential this season for the Padres, but I just can’t justify this $8.5 K price. It won’t be long when I won’t have a problem paying this kind of a salary for Kennedy, but not now. I need to see some consistency off the injury.
13) Mike Leake @ Pittsburgh Pirates ($7,700) – Leake continues to surprise me, managing to get fantasy points any way he can, but the home runs he’s allowing of late are a bit of a concern. The Pirates have hit Leake decently well in the past too, so I’m not terribly confident in Leake at Pittsburgh. You could do worse, but I know you could do better.
14) Mike Foltynewicz vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($6,000) – For the price, I think Foltynewicz can handle the Phillies’ hitters enough to be worth $6 K. This will be Folty’s second start after being called-up last week. Look for a six-inning game from Folty, along with some good K totals.
15) Alfredo Simon @ Chicago White Sox ($5,300) – Does Simon bounce back after being tagged for 6 ER last time out? I expect him to, even though it was pretty ugly. Simon is an investment worth taking at this price, since I like a 15-point day for the $5.3 K spent.
16) Ubaldo Jimenez @ New York Mets ($7,300) – Jimenez’ numbers on the season have been outstanding, and the Mets hitters that have faced Jimenez over their careers haven’t done well at all. Jimenez has had two great starts and two not-so-great starts on the year, so Jimenez is more of an upside-pick for a mid-range price.
17) Tom Koehler @ Washington Nationals ($6,000) – Heading into Washington isn’t exactly a favorable factor for a pitcher. Koehler is also a bit too rich for me here to give him any real consideration at all. I know he has managed to give a double-digit FPPG average with a 4.74 ERA on the year, but I’ll take a pass. You’d be much better off jumping up to Heston in this price range.
18) Roenis Elias @ Los Angeles Angels ($7,500) – Elias has been striking out hitters, so his fantasy numbers aren’t too bad considering to this point. He’s filling in admirably for Hisashi Iwakuma, but I’d rather see you take risk elsewhere. Elias isn’t quite worthy.
19) Carlos Frias @ Milwaukee Brewers ($4,300) – Frias is a risk worth taking and a perfect option to pair with a Max Scherzer-type pitcher for a Studs-and-Duds lineup. Frias gets his first start on the road this season, but he can take care of business in Milwaukee even if he’s only filling-in for a short bit. Frias has pitched extremely well over the start of the year.
Rest of the Field
20) Justin Masterson vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($6,400) – Don’t buy into Masterson, who gives me no reason to believe he’ll put together even a 15-point night. That’s just too much to ask for right now, with his inconsistencies and far too many walks given.
21) CC Sabathia @ Toronto Blue Jays ($7,100) – There’s nothing I can really say to get you to roster Sabathia. The price is bad and Sabathia’s skills are just slippin’ away. Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh, but I see far too much risk with Sabathia on Wednesday in Toronto.
22) Tyler Matzek vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($5,600) – Matzek isn’t getting very deep into games, and he’s walking way too many hitters at this point, so it would behoove you to stay clear here. Matzek is only averaging five innings a start.
23) Wily Peralta vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6,900) – Peralta is going to be a wonderful pitcher for years to come, but he’s too easy to hit right now and he’s giving up too many free passes. The Dodgers lineup will take advantage here.
24) Colby Lewis @ Houston Astros ($6,400) – Lewis put together a very nice start last time out, nabbing lucky owners 27.1 fantasy points. I don’t hate Lewis on Wednesday, although I do worry about him in Houston with the Astros smacking an MLB league-leading 40 home runs. You might want to be careful if considering Lewis.
25) Josh Collmenter @ Colorado Rockies ($5,900) – With two 30-plus fantasy point games over his last three starts, Collmenter sort of grabs your attention; however, considering the Coors Field pitching venue I’m going to put this one aside. Move along.
26) Samuel Deduno vs. Texas Rangers ($4,000) – Even entering the game as a starter, Deduno will likely be limited on the innings he pitches in taking on his second start of the year. Don’t waste your time here, you just won’t get enough out of him.
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