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
Felix Hernandez vs. Oakland Athletics ($10700) – It has not been a year to remember for King Felix, but he seems to have righted the ship in his last start. He threw up 30 fantasy points in a solid performance against this same Athletics team he faces today. Oakland’s bats have really struggled and even though this game moves from Seattle to Oakland for the rematch, that’s actually a neutral to positive park for Felix. When he is on, he is one of the game’s best. Against a team that has struggled to score runs and with the left-handed bats like Vogt and Reddick struggling, I think he should be able to keep them off balance again here today. Seattle should be able to get to Chavez as well, so he also should be in line for a win, which would help him not only make value, but reach near his ceiling.
Bartolo Colon vs. Miami Marlins ($8000) – Bartolo is a tough guy to get a read on, but when he is pitching well, he can be awesome. After a shaky patch in the middle of the season, he seems to have righted the ship. He has thrown two recent gems against a red hot Phillies offense in the last two weeks. He is back to going 7 or 8 innings and striking out about a batter per inning or more. Throw out the Coors field start and he has not allowed more than one run in five consecutive starts now. That is a tough feat to do for any pitcher. He pitches in Miami which is a pitcher friendly park, has a hot offense behind him, and is very reasonably priced at only $8K. Miami has not been hitting it well recently or all season really, so the upside is huge and the floor is pretty safe with Colon.
Middle of the Pack
Danny Salazaar vs. Detroit Tigers ($11400) – Salazaar is a beast. He has not allowed either handedness of batters to hit over .220 against him this year. He has been going about seven innings per start and striking out over a batter per inning while limiting the damage and keeping his WHIP just a tad above 1. Those numbers will be tested today against a very good hitting Detroit team that has a lower strikeout rate and one of the highest batting averages in the league as a team. I expect a good start from Salazaar, but can not put him in the cream of the crop section with such a tough matchup and a high price.
Lancce McCullers vs, Minnesota Twins ($9200) – McCullers was a tough luck loser last out in the same matchup with Ervin Santana. He has been awesome this year though, so I will give him another chance at it. Minnesota has not been great against right-handed pitching this year. They have a low team average and a decent strikeout rate. McCullers is a high K guy with an average of over 9 per 9 this season. He has gotten in trouble lately as his WHIP has risen. He had one horrendous start where he failed to get out of the first which really killed his numbers, yet he still has a respectable 3.27 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He has actually been much better than that in most of his starts, so it’s a sneaky good spot. I like him more for cash as he has not really shown the ability to get deep enough into games to give you a 30+ fantasy point return recently. If he had, I might have put him in the cream of the crop section. As it stands though, I like him much better as a cash game option.
Derek Holland vs. Los Angeles Angels ($7200) – Derek Holland threw an absolute gem last time out. He took on a Baltimore team that has some nice bats and held them scoreless on his way to an 11 strikeout complete game. This is not the norm for Holland, so temper the expectations going forward. Still he is not the worst option ever either at only $7200. He is very inconsistent and has been throughout his career. He threw 116 pitches in that complete game, so I would expect him to be a little short and probably not get as deep in his return trip here. He has a solid matchup as the Angels have not hit the ball well recently and have a lineup that does not profile well against left-handed pitching. They also do not strike out much, so if he does not go deep and does not get the Ks, he may not have the upside we are looking for today. He has reached 20 and 40 in two of his previous starts though, so there is upside for him at the price.
Shelby Miller vs. Washington Nationals ($9400) – Miller has been a very solid starter and makes a good cash game option here. He faces a Nationals team that has the fifth highest strikeout rate and a bottom half batting average. He plays in a good pitcher’s park in Washington here, and faces a righty dominant lineup he profiles well against. My problem with Miller is his lack of upside. At almost $10K, he is likely to wind up around 20 points on the day based off of his recent stats. A stat line of seven innings with 6 or 7 Ks and a few runs allowed is probably what he will give you. If he can limit the hits, walks, and runs and get over 20 than he will really return good value, but Miller is more a safe cash game guy who has a solid floor a little over two points er thousand of cost.
Tyson Ross vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($10300) – Tyson Ross is starting to pitch much better, but the price point for using him seems way too high. The Dodgers bats have really cooled off and pitching in San Diego is definitely favorable to Ross, but he would need to throw up about 27-30 points to really make sense in this spot. He has pitched well in his last two games, but he still struggles to get past seven innings, especially when he is dialing up the strikeout numbers as he has recently. The high Ks create a nice floor, which is needed since the innings limit is not being reached. The problem is he will need to keep throwing up zero’s in order to make value and I am not sure he can do that. The Dodgers have struggled, but they will roll out a lot of left-handed bats which have given Ross some trouble. I think he makes a safe 20 point play for cash games, but at over $10K, he is too expensive for me to consider in tournaments.
Danny Duffy vs, Chicago White Sox ($5500) – Duffy is not a guy who has tons of upside, so he makes little sense for tournament play. I’m not a huge fan of going cheap at starting pitcher in cash, but there is merit to it here. Chicago is not a high powered offense and Duffy is at home in a good pitcher’s park where he has been solid. A 15-18 point effort is about his norm and likely here as well. At a cost of only $5500, that is pretty good bang for the buck. He is not a high strikeout guy and does not really go deep into games, so there is little chance for a huge upside, but he should be able to limit damage and be in line for a win here. If you absolutely have to have some high priced bats, he is not the worst route to take in order to make it all fit.
Brad Hand vs. New York Mets ($4600) – I like Hand at this price here today. He has been going deeper into games with an average of 7 innings over his last few starts. Now that does not sound amazing, but remember he is $4600 which is a price usually reserved for guys who likely don’t make it into the sixth. He is at home in a friendly pitchers park as well, so that is a plus too. He is a left-handed pitcher, which the Mets do not usually kill. It’s a tougher matchup based on the numbers for Grandy, Murphy, Cespedes, and Conforto who have all been carrying this offense lately. Hand is prone to the blow up sometimes, but if he can get you five Ks over seven and not get absolutely tattooed for a dozen runs, then he will give you 15-20 points which is great value for $4600. I would not dream of rolling him out in cash, but that does make some sense for a tournament to link with a high end pitcher and get some big bats.
Jesse Chavez vs. Seattle Mariners ($7000) – Chavez has been erratic. He has throw up some nice 20 point games and followed them up with some horrendous performances that earned him negative numbers. If Nelson Cruz is out, he gets a weakened Mariners lineup, but will have some trouble with the lefties like Cano, Seager, and Smith. Chavez is not a guy who will make any of my cash rosters here, but he definitely has the ability to throw 7 or 8 innings with a few Ks and limit the damage against a weakened Mariners team. He will be low owned as he goes opposite Felix and has some merit as a GPP play.
Alex Wood vs. San Diego Padres ($8400) – Wood is always too expensive for me to roster and this matchup is no exception. the guy gets 12-18 points in most of his recent starts, so paying $8400 for that is crazy. San Diego is a good pitchers park and Wood has some strikeout upside, but he also struggles to keep the walks, hits, and runs down. He only goes about 6 innings with five strikeouts and gives up about 3 runs per turn. None of that screams big upside. He is consistent in that middle teens fantasy production range though, so as a cash option I guess it is fine, but I would rather spend up for some studs or take one of the cheaper options who can also do that before I roll Wood into my lineups in any format.
Ervin Santana vs. Houston Astros ($5300) – Please pay attention so I do not get hate mail here. Ervin Santana has three negative numbers in his last five starts. He also has a 15 fantasy point game which is good value at this price and a 35 fantasy point game last out which is insane value. Normally I would dismiss the outlier, but it came against this same opponent. I am not expecting a repeat of that, but he could get you 15-20 points and be a great value. Teams do usually hit a guy better the second time around ad the game is in Houston, not Minnesota this time. While I do not expect a repeat, if you wanted to roll him in a tournament, I can see why you would choose to do so. Just do not use him in cash and send me twitter hate saying I told you to do that. It’s way too volatile a play to use him there.
Rest of the Field
Jose Quintana vs. Kansas City Royals ($7900) – Quintana has lacked upside recently and today is not the day to turn that around. The Royals are the toughest team to target against in the league. They have a low strikeout rate, high number of pitches per at-bat and always put the ball into play. Quintana has struggled with right-handed bats this year and the Royals righties like Cain and Zobrist have been hot. Quinatana has been returning a lot of mid teens numbers in much better matchups recently, so in a tough one I am very concerned with his numbers.
Jered Weaver vs. Texas Rangers ($5800) – Weaver is back to being bad Weaver after mixing in a few decent starts. He struggles with left-handed bats and still has very little life left on his pitches. The Texas team he faces hits weak right-handed pitching well with a lot of left-handed bats in the lineup, so it’s not an easy spot. The price is enticing at below $6K, but he has not made it to the seventh in six straight starts and has allowed 14 total runs in his last two. I’d much rather stack against him then use him today.
Chad Bettis vs. San Francisco Giants ($6400) – Do not let that one great start against the Diamondbacks at home fool you. Bettis is normally a 6 inning guy with about 4 strikeout potential. Add in the park factor of Coors and those numbers are not enough upside to hold up when you start adding in the negative events. The Giants hit right-handed pitching pretty well and I do not see Bettis shutting them down. They are a smart patient team that will make him work and have him out with a high pitch count before the seventh. I never play pitches in Coors anyway, but if people want to read his game logs and think he is an option, let them make that mistake.
Alfredo Simon vs. Cleveland Indians ($5600) – This is the most insane game log I have looked at all year. Negative numbers in the last two starts, a 35 fantasy point performance, followed by a 1.3 point performance and another negative number. Simon has been bad this year. He has been worse to left-handed batters as well and Cleveland has a few of those like Kipnis and Brantley towards the top of the order. Simon has an ERA over five, has been lit up uite a bit, and does not profile well here. Throw in the fact he goes opposite Salazaar who has been dominant lately and this is a tough spot to expect anything out of him. With four games in his last five that have yielded 1.3 fantasy points or less, there is little upside to consider with him here.
Jake Peavy vs. Colorado Rockies ($5100) – Peavy will not make any of my rosters here. He is struggling to get past 6 innings. His strikeouts are down to about 7 per 9 lately, and did I mention he pitches in Coors today. He has struggled with left-handed bats and the Rockies are full of them. Peavy is not the guy he once was and this ballpark is death to pitchers. I can not even make an upside case for him here, so be smart and just stay away.