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
Jordan Zimmerman vs. Atlanta Braves ($10200) – Zimmerman gets the nod as top dog today on this short slate. He has a friendly matchup against the Braves in a good pitcher’s park. He goes opposite Matt Wisler who has been giving up a ton of runs, so he should get the support and he has actually pitched pretty well lately. In his last six games, Zimmerman has gone just over six innings in each with about 6 strikeouts and limited the damage to about a hit per inning and 3 or less runs per game. Those numbers are by no means lights out, but they are more than good enough to make him the top option on a weak slate like this. He has flashed 20 and 30 fantasy point upside recently, which is what he will need here in order to pay off the salary. He has pitched deeper into his games than most of the other options available to you today and he has one of the softer matchups. You can try to go away from him if you want, but on a five game slate with some bad pitching, I think he is going to be very highly used and probably one of the top two scorers.
Francisco Liriano vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($11300) – This is a very ugly slate for pitching and I do not want to even use Liriano here, but he feels like the only guys who can be used here. Liriano vs. Jungman probably matches the two best pitchers on the day and I like Liriano a tad bit more, so he gets the top spot by default. Milwaukee does not have a stellar offense and they are not great against left-handed pitching. Guys like Braun have really good numbers, but there is not much else outside of him. Liriano has also not been great recently, despite great numbers so far this season. He has not gone past 7 or struck out more than 6 in any start except one over his last ten games. On a slate with more options there is no way he would be the cream of the crop, but on a slate with only five games like this, we can not be too picky. I do not think he reaches great upside value at the price here, but he is the best option to look at and may be the day’s high scorer.
Middle of the Pack
Taylor Jungmann vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($10200) – I put Jungmann here for two main reasons. The first is that I like Liriano and the bats behind him for a win more than I like Jungmann’s bats behind him to get to Liriano. The second reason is that while Jungmann is the guy with the best chance to throw up a huge score in a good game, he is also less certain than Liriano to be able to do so. Jungmann has alternated 20-30 point performances with scores of 5 or below. When he is on, he is nearly unhittable and when he isn’t he tends to get rocked. While the upside potential makes him a good GPP option, the inconsistency makes him someone to avoid. The Pirates have been hitting well lately and get a park bump here, so I am less likely to think Jungmann has a good game. While I would lean Liriano for cash, Jungmann does have merit for a tournament option today.
Edinson Volquez vs. Detroit Tigers ($9100) – Volquez lacks elite strikeout potential, which means he lacks elite upside for fantasy purposes. He has been better with this lately though and does have a good matchup opposite a guy who is likely to get shelled. Volquez has been a useful pitcher in real life and a solid, yet unspectacular performer in fantasy. He tends to go six or seven innings while giving up a run or two here and there. He has limited the damage, which is good as he never gives up the huge numbers, but he also does not really put up huge fantasy scores. On a short slate with limited options though, he is one of the guys you may have to consider. I like him for a 2 to 2.5 point per thousand performance, even against a solid offense like Detroit, but as far as tournaments go, he will likely not give you the most bang for the buck.
Rest of the Field
Chris Rusin vs. San Francisco Giants ($4700) – Rusin threw a gem at home against the Padres a few games back, but has struggled since. The left-hander has allowed over a .300 batting average to both sides of the plate this year and pitches at home in Coors field for this one. The Giants have not been as good against left-handed pitching this year, but it is still Coors field against a weaker pitcher. This is not the best spot to run him out there and the discounted price does not change my mind on it.
Colin Rea vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6000) – Rea has only had four big league starts and has not really shown much upside in them. He never makes it past the fifth inning, never had more than four Ks, has allowed at least a hit per inning, and has given up at least 2 runs or more per start. At a price of $6000, it will be tough for him to reach value if he does no go deeper or up his strikeout totals. The Dodgers have struggled a little recently, but they do have enough nice bats to make him work and that could spell trouble for Rea.
Matt Latos vs. San Diego Padres ($7300) – The Dodgers are going to give Latos another try as a starter and my question is why?In his last three starts he has failed to make it through five innings in any of them. In fact in his last 13 innings of work, he has given up 18 hits, 5 walks, and 13 runs. Those numbers are pretty bad, but his saving grace is that he does have some strikeout upside and he does face a weak offense in a good pitchers park. Still, based off his recent form and his high price, there really is not much upside here.
Matt Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals ($4500) – Boyd has been pitching deeper into games, but still only going about five innings. He picks up 4 or 5 strikeouts along the way, about 1.5 hits and walks per inning and a couple of runs. He faces one of the worst matchups for pitchers in the league. The Royals do not strike out often, they put the ball in play, and they make pitchers work. There is really no upside for Boyd, even with the cheap price. Maybe he can reach 12-14 points, but on a short slate, I doubt that is enough to get it done.
Matt Wisler vs. Washington Nationals ($4900) – Wisler is a big prospect who the Braves had big plans for. He has disappointed so far in his short time in the majors. Wisler has actually been bad to both sides of the plate, with lefties doing much better. The saving grace for him may be that the two big left-handed bats in that lineup are both likely out. Bryce Harper left yesterday’s game with some kind of groin injury and Span had already been in and out of the lineup. Wisler has struggled to even reach double digits lately, so at any price over $3000, he is not really even a consideration.
Ryan Vogelsong vs. Colorado Rockies ($5200) – He was banished to the bullpen and somehow is back in the rotation. In his last two starts, he has gone a total of 8 innings with 14 hits, 7 walks, 7 earned runs and only 5 strike outs. He struggles with left-handed batters, he struggles with giving up homeruns and he will struggle with the fact he is pitching today in the best hitter’s park . I he is not going to have many positive scoring events, he won’t be able to counter the negatives which are likely to be high.