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
Josh Tomlin ($10800) – Tomlin has been awesome in his eight starts since the call up, but he has a horrible match up here against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals have one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league and one of the higher batting averages. they have been one of the worst match up for a starter all season long. Tomlin has been averaging over 20 fantasy points per game and has flashed upside around 30. The key to this start for me is what kind of lineup the Royals throw out there. They clinched two days back and ran a skeleton line up on Friday with most of the regulars sitting. If they do that again here, I could easily argue Tomlin should be in the cream of the crop section. Keep an eye on what they do and make the adjustment accordingly depending on the lineup strength. I like Tomlin, but if the starters are in and a low strikeout total is probable, then the price here is too expensive to use him in a tournament.
Felix Hernandez ($11100) – It’s a pretty weak slate for pitching and Felix is easily the most talented pitcher on the mound today. He did leave his last start early with some elbow stiffness, but reports are that he feels good and he was given an extra day of rest to be ready for this start. He faces an Angels line up that has really not lived up to expectations outside of Mike Trout this season. Pujouls is the only other bat that has done well against right-handed pitching and he has fallen off as the season has worn on. $11100 is a very steep price to pay, but he is one of the few guys who has flashed 30+ point upside. In a match up that favors him based on the splits, he could return the top score on the day, so he is one of the top options. He may or may not reach value, but the strikeouts alone should be enough to give him a nice floor and make him one of the better options to roll out there.
Middle of the Pack
Andrew Heaney ($7500) – The Seattle Mariners have not done all that well against left-handed pitching and despite the recent drop off from Heaney, he is at home and profiles well against this group of bats. The Mariners bats have underperformed all season and left-handers have put up some big games against them. He does have a tough match up going opposite Felix Hernandez, but he has returned at least 2 points per thousand in some of his recent starts based on his price today and has flashed the 20-25 point upside that would make him a great option on the value scale. He is not a huge strikeout guy, but he has been going about 6 innings per start and has limited the opposition to a 1.15 WHIP and an ERA of only 3.30. For a price of $7500 and with two starts of 20 fantasy points in his last four, he makes some sense as a probable low owned play who could return you a big upside.
Kris Medlin ($5000) – Medlin has been really solid on a points per dollar basis lately. He faces an Indians team that does have a few guys who hit right-handed pitching well, but at this price, he does not need to throw a gem. Medlin tends to go about 6 innings with 4 strikeouts and only 1-2 runs allowed per game. While those numbers are not sexy, they are consistent and right around his value for the price. Medlin is really cheap as well, so using him opens up your roster to some high priced players and that is where he really adds value. If he can get you a decent start and allow you to roster a couple more studs, it’s worth it to take the low ceiling and high floor and be happy with what he gives you in cash or a tournament.
Julio Teheran ($8200) – Teheran had a very disappointing season, although he has started to pitch a little better as of late. His main problem has been the inability to get out left-handed bats, which is a tough stat for him against a Miami team that can roll out quite a few of them. Teheran has allowed an average of around .300 to southpaws this season and guys like Bour, Dietrich, Yellich, and Gordon are all left-handed bats near the top of that order. He has a good chance for a win against Justin Nicolino here and has thrown up a few numbers in the 20s lately which would be great value here. He is in a good pitcher’s park and the $8200 price tag is reasonable, so he makes some sense to take a look at in this match up.
Tyler Duffey ($9200) – Duffey has been awesome lately with three stud starts in a row. In his last 20 innings he has only allowed 16 hits, 4 walks, and 3 earned runs while striking out 22. He does face a pretty solid lineup here in Detroit, on the road, and with a huge price increase from the $6-7K range he was in during his last three turns. He has 79 fantasy points in his last three starts, which includes a 25 fantasy point performance against this Detroit team last time out. That game was at home though, and teams usually do much better the second time seeing a pitcher in such a short window, so I’m not confident he can repeat that performance despite the good run he is on lately. The price jump means he will need to throw a gem in order to return upside and I just do not see that happening again here with his price being over $9K. He does face Alfredo Simon who has struggled this year, so he may benefit from the win bonus in this one if he can keep Detroit from going off.
Jeremy Hellickson ($6200)– Hellickson is not a great pitcher, but he is serviceable and has a lot going for him in this match up. He faces a weak hitting team in the Padres and gets a park bump facing them in a very friendly park in San Diego. He is a big favorite here against a very weak pitcher in Erlin, so he has the probable win as well. He has averaged 5 innings, 4 hits, and under two walks and runs per game while striking out about 4. There is not a huge upside to using him, but if he repeats those recent numbers he should return solid value for a guy at $6200 and be a useful cheap option with a pretty safe floor in a good spot.
Brett Anderson ($5800) – It’s never a good feeling to take a pitcher in Coors, but Anderson could return decent value here. The Rockies really struggle against left-handed pitching and Anderson’s price is cheap enough that he could pay it off. He has returned 18 or more points in 3 of his last 5 starts, which would pay this off, but he has also thrown up some clunkers in between which makes this a risky play only to try in a tournament. The lack of consistency is what should scare you from using him in cash, but he does have a good match up against Kyle Kendrick who his lineup profiles well against. With the probable win and the fact he has the splits advantage against this Rockies team, he could wind up being a useful piece to a winning roster here.
Jamie Garcia ($9600) – Garcia was very good to start the year and many would say he was pitching well above his head in those games. He has since come back down to earth and lately has struggled to get anywhere near even two points per thousand of cost. The Brewers do have some nice right-handed bats that hit left-handed pitching well, so I do not see him dominating this line up. He would need to dominate them at the price in order to really pay off his value. While he is likely to win against the overmatched rookie, he is not likely to throw up 25-30 fantasy points and be a top scoring option overall or on the value scale.
Rest of the Field
Alfredo Simon ($5400) – Simon has really struggled this season and his ERA is now sitting at about 5 and a half. He has been real bad lately with some horrid starts over his last 3 games. In 16 innings he has allowed 30 hits, 7 walks, and 16 runs. His best start of the bunch was actually against this same Twins team when he went 6 innings with 8 hits and only 3 runs allowed. Minnesota has a few nice bats n the top of that line up that hit right-handed pitching pretty well. Simon is at home, so that helps him a little, but he has been so bad this year that I have little faith in him. He only managed 13 fantasy points the last time these teams met and remember that was his BEST start in his last few games.
Justin Nicolino ($4300) – Nicolino has been horrible lately. In his last three starts, he has returned a 7 and two negative numbers. In his last 16 innings he has given up 22 hits, 4 walks, 15 earned runs and only struck out 6. He has not gone past 6 in any of those either, so there is no upside or floor. Even if he pitches a shut out, the lack of innings and Ks will keep his score low. I know the price is only $4300, but that is still too expensive for a guy who is just as likely to lose you points with a negative number.
Kyle Kendrick ($4200) – Kendrick faces a Dodgers team that has hit right-handed pitching well and is getting a park bump with the switch to Coors. He has been horrible at home this year and especially lately. His ceiling is five innings with only a few runs allowed. In fact, his high score over his last five home starts is 8 fantasy points and his average is under 3. At$4200, the upside of that is still way short of where it needs to be and the chance for a negative downside is too great to even take the risk.
Tyler Wagner ($4400) – Wagner made his debut last time out and finished with a negative fantasy score as he struggled thorough 3 innings of work. He has a tough match up against the Cardinals here, so I doubt things get much better. He is very likely to not go further than five innings, if he even gets that far in this one. Even at $4400, there is no upside to using him if he can no go deeper into the game as the innings and strikeouts are not going to give him enough value, even if he puts up zeros.
Robbie Erlin ($4600) – Erlin made his first start last week and was rocked. That was a start in Coors field though so you can somewhat excuse it. What is less excusable is the 5.60 ERA he had in AAA before that start. He faces an Arizona offense that has been really solid all season and has put up some runs. The park switch as he heads back to his home field at Petco Park is a positive for him, but even at this low price, it would take a very good and surprising start out of him to make value. It would be a complete turn around that I just do not see happening here.