With a full slate of games on Tuesday, and plenty of top pitching options available, we’ll need to dig in to find our studs and sleepers. Here are the ten pitchers I like most for the night, ranked according to value at their price, not just projected fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Jason Hammel – CHC vs. MIL – $10,900 – My favorite pick of the night in terms of value, Hammel will be pitching the second leg of a double-header for the Cubs today. He has an ERA of 1.99 at home this season, and in five starts since the All-Star break he is 5-0 with a 1.16 ERA and 27 K’s in 31 innings. He is capable of getting deep into the game against anyone, and tonight is facing the team leading the majors in strikeouts for the year. At a discount of $2,000 over the most expensive options, Hammel could serve very well as an anchor for your team in the SP1 slot.
2) Jameson Taillon – PIT @ SF – $9,100 – The Pirates rookie has continued to excel, and he’s now through ten starts on the year. His 2.85 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, combined with a K/9 rate of 7.05, have made him a valuable fantasy contributor already. He now has six straight quality starts and throws in the mid-90’s, giving him consistent upside of 20+ fantasy points on any given night. Facing a Giants offense that has continued to struggle of late (slugging just .372 since the break), I like his chances of delivering almost 3x fantasy value.
3) Marco Estrada – TOR @ NYY – $9,700 – Estrada has faced the Yankees twice this season, both back in May, and both wins for the Blue Jays. He totaled 15 innings in the two outings, and gave up just three runs. His recent performances (combined with the continued ineptitude of the Yankee’s offense) don’t give any indication that the performance will slip this time around. He has been up over 19 DK fantasy points in three of his last seven starts, against offenses like the Astros, the Orioles and a road start against the Rockies. The Blue Jays offense is capable of getting him plenty of run support in this one, and the combination of his own consistency, the offense supporting him and the matchup make him a solid choice as your top starting pitcher tonight.
4) Justin Verlander – DET vs. KC – $12,900 – In a game that features two of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now, separated by only $200 in salary, I am leaning towards the guy with the better matchup on paper if I have to choose just one. Verlander is coming off a stretch of six straight quality starts, and really eight solid outings in a row. He has gone 5-0 over that stretch for the Tigers, and he has struck out 63 batters in in 55.2 innings over that same span. One of those games was against these Royals, for reference, and he went seven innings, giving up four hits and one earned run while striking out ten.
5) Braden Shipley – ARI vs. NYM – $7,400 – On a night with a bunch of quality pitching options, the dilemma for many is not which top option to start, but how to fit two top options into the same lineup. Shipley could provide some nice production and some budget relief at the same time here. He’s facing a Mets lineup near the bottom of the league in every offensive category that also strikes out a bunch (975 on the year, good for 9th-most in the Majors). Shipley has had three straight quality starts, and has been over 20 DK fantasy points twice in that span, including a seven-inning, three-hit shutout with seven K’s against this same Mets team just five days ago. All of this, for me, makes it clear he is a solid candidate to return 3x value at his price, something that is just a lot easier for a player to do when they don’t account for 20%+ of your overall budget.
6) Corey Kluber – CLE vs. CWS – $11,400 – He is now 3-0 in his last three starts, and he has lowered his ERA and WHIP to 3.21 and 1.01 in the process. Generally speaking this season, his K/9 rate is down compared to his career numbers, but the upside is still there, as evidenced by the fact that he had at least seven K’s in five straight games prior to his last outing against the Angels. This White Sox team is about middle of the pack in terms of total K’s, but their lack of firepower could allow Kluber to get deep into this one, giving himself plenty of opportunities to pile up some fantasy points while taking a run at a fourth straight victory.
7) Blake Snell – TB vs. SD – $8,700 – Another pitcher who has been performing well lately and who is getting a boost by facing a team that allows well more than its fair share of strikeouts, always important for increasing both the floor and the ceiling of a fantasy option. So far through 11 starts Snell has a K/9 rate of 9.21, and his brutal outing against the Blue Jays last time out might keep down his ownership % down, making him a solid play in a larger tournament. His WHIP of 1.52 demonstrates that he has a long way to go still, and suggests that his 3.18 ERA might be a bit fortuitous, but I don’t know if the Padres are the offense that are going to make him pay for every mistake.
8) Danny Duffy – KC @ DET – $12,700 – Love Duffy, but whereas Verlander’s last outing in this matchup was exemplary, Duffy got touched up for four runs when he faced the Tigers back in mid-July. If you are looking for value, it’s hard to find it at this price no matter how good someone has been, which is what pushes him a bit further down this list for me.
9) Ervin Santana – MIN @ ATL – $9,000 – All of a sudden Santana is making hitters miss again. His K/9 rate since the beginning of July is 6.97, and most recently, he sat down eight Rays en route to 6.1 solid innings and the win in his last outing. He started off this year struggling mightily, but he is not that guy any longer, having not given up more than three runs since June 14th, recording quality starts in eight of ten games since then. His price tag does not reflect a pitcher throwing like this for the whole year, so you can take advantage of the fact that some early-season woes are bringing down his price because those issues seem to be firmly in the rear-view mirror.
10) Jamie Garcia – STL @ HOU – $9,300 – Garcia is someone who doesn’t miss many bats on a regular basis. This obviously limits his upside, but Houston might actually mitigate that problem somewhat with their propensity for taking a free-swinging approach at the plate. Garcia is coming off two-straight eight-inning wins, against Atlanta and Cincinnati, where he has been incredibly efficient, not even getting to 90 total pitches in either contest. If he can hammer the zone like that against this Astros club, it should make him worth the price tag tonight.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.