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
NONE – Jake Odorizzi has the flu and will not start. There is not one pitcher on this entire slate that you can not make a case against. Every one of them either has a tough matchup, a rough start to the season, or is not likely to pitch deep enough into the game to return value. There is not one guy who stands out above any of the others as a safe choice.
Middle of the Pack
Chase Whitely vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5000) – He has two starts so far this season. He averages six innings pitched, six hits, and 5.5 strikeouts. He also has only walked one batter and only allowed one run so far. Baltimore has some big bats in the lineup and this game will take place in the hitter friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Whiteley is the -125 favorite in this one though, so with what he has done it makes sense to use him at that price.
Joe Kelly vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($4900) – This guy is one of the few who has even flashed a high upside for his strikeouts. The problem is he also allows a ton of runs, a ton of hits, and barely averages six innings per start. Plus he has to go up to Toronto and pitch in the hitter friendly Rogers Centre against the team tied for the most runs scored in MLB against right handed pitching. Still, his upside for the strikeouts at this price makes him an option, thus proving how bad the pitching is on this slate.
Bruce Chen vs. Minnesota Twins ($4400) – Chen has been dominate to start the year. He has 23 strikeouts to only 3 walks and a 1.74 ERA in AAA. That’s right, one of the best pitchers on today’s slate is making his first big league start of the season in this one. His price is incredibly cheap and given that lack of positive options, he is in play. The Twins have the seventh best batting average and are tied for the most runs scored against left-handed pitching, so this is no cakewalk. They are also fourth in strikeouts to left-handers though, so Chen has K potential and upside off of it at this price.
Wei-Yin Chen vs. New York Yankees ($6800) – Chen is a lefty facing a lefty heavy Yankees lineup which gives him a slight boost. Lefties in Yankee Stadium are also tough, because they limit the shots headed out to the short porch in right field. Chen is a guy who averages about 5.2 IP, 4.4 hits, just shy of two runs, and about 4 strikeouts per game. Those are not great numbers, but they have been consistent. Chen does not have much upside as a road dog, but he’s better than many of the other options.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Kansas City Royals ($8600) – Sanchez is one of the more talented pitchers on the hill for Saturday’s early games, but he is also taking on one of the league’s best offenses. Kansas City is a fantasy pitchers worst nightmare. They hardly ever strike out, they always put the ball in play, and they have the highest batting average of any team in MLB. Sanchez has been pitching into the seventh inning often, so he does give you length, but will likely fall short in the strikeout category as many of those who came before him did as well. Sanchez has an ERA over 5, so he is prone to giving up runs as well. High run allowed and low strikeouts are not the recipe for fantasy success. Still he was able to put up close to 20 DK points last time he faced these Royals. On most days that would be noting to get excited about for $8600, but the pitching today is so bad, he may even be a cash game option amongst this bunch.
Phil Hughes vs. Cleveland Indians ($8100) – The third most expensive pitcher on this putrid slate has averaged a slight tick over six innings per game. His WHIP is 1.33, his ERA over 5, he rarely gets more than 4 strikeouts per start and he has allowed 8 homeruns so far this season already. Not to mention the Indians already knocked him around for 8 hits and four runs in under seven innings of work in April. The best endorsement I can give him is the rest of the options are worse.
Rest of the Field
Julio Teheran vs. Washington Nationals ($9000) – Teheran finally had a solid start in his last outing, but there is no way to justify paying this price on him. He has not made it past six innings yet this season, so he is not giving you longevity. He had his season high of six strikeouts in his last start, but the Nationals are fourth in the league in that category, so he may equal that number on Saturday. He pitched against Washington 10 days ago and they lit him up for seven runs on ten hits as he was chased midway through the fifth and finished with only 8 DK points. It’s a bad matchup against a team who already knocked him around and the asking price is pretty high, so he has a lot to overcome in order to pay himself off here.
Doug Fister vs. Atlanta Braves ($7300) – Fister has only 14 strikeouts in 31 innings while not making it through the sixth so far in any start. If you are not pitching deep into a game and are not striking anyone out, than you have no upside for fantasy. The Braves have been hot lately and that lefty heavy lineup could give Fister some fits. His price is way too high to justify with all those negatives mentioned.
Drew Hutchinson vs. Boston Red Sox ($6300) – Hutchinson has alternated some good and bad starts so far this season. Yet the worst of those starts came against the Red Sox team who pounded him out after only four innings and left him with a -11 DK score. This time the Red Sox bats get a park bump as they switch the venue to Toronto. Hutchinson has failed to make it out of the fourth inning in four of his six starts, so the chance for a blowup is higher than the odds of a quality start for him.
Ross Detwiler vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($5400) – Through his first four starts, Detwiler had a combined DK score of 1.7 points or an average of 0.4 per start. He somehow rebounded in his fifth start with a gem and a DK score of 24 to raise his per game average to just under 5 points. He has a 6.57 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP, and only 17 strikeouts in 24 innings of early season work. The Rays offense has struggled, but Detwiler is not likely to throw a second gem in a row based on the numbers he has put up over his career.
Jeremy Guthrie vs. Detroit Tigers ($4700) – The good news for him is that the Tigers do not have any real threats as left-handed batters, which is what he struggles with the most. The bad news is they are still one of the top five teams in almost every offensive category against right-handed pitching and he has a bad history against them. The run line here is high at 8.5 and he is a big +140 underdog, so Vegas expects him to get lit up again. His non-existent strikeout numbers with a high probability of a lot of runs does not bode well for his chances.