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
John Lackey ($9700) – I know it’s boring, but Lackey’s old man value is the safest play for me today, especially in my cash games. The Cardinals pitcher has a really solid matchup today with Jimmy Nelson who is struggling lately. He also faces a Milwaukee team that has missed expectations this year as well. Lackey does not have the elite strikeout upside we usually like in our cream of the crop players, but we only have a seven game slate tonight and a lot of pitcher’s with big question marks. Sometimes it pays to just lock up the points you are sure of and try to find another route to upside, maybe through your bats.
Lance McCullers ($9900)– Yes I think this both risky and slightly expensive, but the slate is very tough and he is one of the few guys with elite strike out potential. McCullers threw a clunker in his last start, but does have some double digit scoring games in his recent past with 20+ point upside. He has not given up many runs lately and he is still averaging over a strikeout per inning. The Rangers do have some big left-handed bats that profile to do well against him, but when he is on, he is tough to hit. On a short slate with limited options, he is definitely someone I would consider using here if I was going to pay up.
Middle of the Pack
Corey Kluber ($12300) – He has not pitched in two weeks and was just cleared by the medical staff. He also faces the Kansas City Royals who have been one of the toughest teams on pitchers all year. The Royals have a high batting average and the lowest strikeout rate in the league. Kluber is incredibly expensive and relies on a high strikeout rate himself to pay off that salary. Fresh off the DL and in a bad matchup, I can not see paying up for him today.
Hector Santiago ($8800) – Santiago has been solid all season, but this is a tough matchup for him. The Twins are much better against left-handed pitching, so it will not be an easy lineup to navigate for the youngster. While he is still going about six or seven innings per start, he also has seen his strike out numbers go down. He has only given up two runs in his last two outings, so he is pitching much better. The price is a problem for me as he has not been over 20 fantasy points in quite a few starts, which he would need to do in order to pay off this salary.
Yordano Ventura ($9500) – He had been hot and made a lot of sense to roll out there when he was in the $6000-$7000 range. At $9500 and fresh off two starts he failed to make it through 6, I am less likely to give him the nod. He has been able to raise the number of strike out he has lately, but it is coming at the expense of his innings per game. He has a high WHIP and ERA this year too, so he has allowed some negative events. Overall he has not been paying off a salary at this level except for that five game run before the last two clunkers. Even then, $9500 seems a little high.
Tommy Milone ($7800) – Milone is not a guy I would pay close to $8000 for under any circumstance. It just seems like it is way too expensive for him. He did have a recent gem that yielded a 30 fantasy point game, but for the most part he has struggled with returns between low single digits and mid teens in fantasy points. The Angels line up has been underwhelming most of the season and do not have a lot of guys who have good numbers against left-handed pitching. While this is not the worst matchup he has had all year, he normally does not strike out a lot of batters and that makes this tough to envision him reaching value, let alone anywhere near his ceiling.
Colby Lewis ($8000) – It is so tough to get a read on Lewis. After giving up 15 runs in 16 innings of work over three starts, he goes out and throws a complete game two hitter out of the blue. He does face a team with a huge strikeout rate against right-handed pitching here, but he has not been striking out a ton of guys lately either. Houston is a very hit or miss kind of team literally. They can pound out a dozen homeruns or go long stretches with high strikeout rates and low hit totals. Overall, it is tough to think Lewis repeats that last outing as there is no track record of that kind of success or it’s duplication in his game logs.
Jared Cosart ($4900) – Cosart threw a great game in his first start back against Washington, who he faces again today. He is being limited to a 90 pitch count from reports, so you can not expect him to go deep here. He has been putting up some 10-12 point games before his injury and had success last out against this lineup. I do not expect him to match that game, but he could be a serviceable 10-15 points for cheap if you need it.
Rest of the Field
Jimmy Nelson ($8500) – Lately Nelson has been really off. He has thrown up three of the worst starts of his career lately. The innings and strike outs are down, while the walks and runs allowed are up. In fact he has been negative or low single digits, in three of his last four attempts. It kills your roster to get a bad pitching performance from a guy over $8K. If that guy is pitching less innings, with less strike outs, and giving up more negative events, then he is an automatic stay away.
Chris Tillman ($5400) – Tillman has been horrible lately. 21 earned runs in his last 19 innings, never getting past 6, and giving up tons of baserunners is not a recipe for good fantasy production. If you look atthe game logs, you will see how bad he has been. In his last four starts, he is averaging 0.75 fantasy points. Tampa Bay does not have a great offense, but Tillman has a way of bringing out the best in every lineup, so I can not see him doing work in this one.
Tanner Roark ($4800) – Roark is not even throwing 70 pitches in his recent starts and not making it to the fifth inning. While he does not have a tough matchup here, you can not play a guy who does not get you enough innings to qualify for a win. Low innings, no win and not being a strikeout guy all mean you should pass on him today.
Matt Wisler ($4800) – The rookie has gotten rocked in his first big league action this season. He faces one of the best hitting teams in the league in this one too. While Toronto is better against left-handed pitching, they have been known to slug it against righties as well. The good news for him is that the game is not in the Rogers Centre. The bad news is, he still faces the Blue Jays and is a heavy underdog.
Matt Moore ($4800) – Moore is not himself. He has been only pitching like 5 innings or less and still getting rocked. Low innings and high runs allowed is not a positive combination. Baltimore has some big bats on top of that lineup too, so this should not be a solid start from a guy who has nothing but negative numbers and single digit scores lately.