With a full slate of action on Tuesday night, and a couple of the top arms in baseball on the mound, do you spend big on your ace? How cheap does that mean you need to go for your second pitcher? Here are the ten options I like best ranked according to the value they’ll bring at their price, not just according to projected total fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Carlos Rodon – CWS vs. PHI – $8,600 – I love Rodon at this price. He has a slightly higher ERA and WHIP at home this year, but Philly is not the kind of lineup to take advantage of every hittable ball he throws. In fact, for an offense that is already in the bottom five in the league in production overall, their numbers dip a remarkable amount when facing lefties. (For example, their slugging % dropping by almost .050 points)
2) Jaime Garcia – STL vs. NYM – $9,100 – The reasoning for picking Garcia is strong, he is facing the Mets and has a surging offense backing him up. In his last outing against a bottom-five offense – the Braves, ten days ago – he went eight innings for the win and racked up 11 K’s.
3) Jake Arrieta – CHC @ SD – $12,500 – Going against a Padres offense near the bottom of the league in OBP and near the top in strikeouts, Arrieta should have no problem bouncing back after a couple of tough outings. He hasn’t gotten into the sixth in either of his last two starts, or struck out more than six, but he should be able to reverse both of those trends here.
4) Madison Bumgarner – SF @ LAD – $13,100 – As always here, the value of picking a player this expensive is the comfort of knowing that you have strong upside. There is a chance he comes through with that 50+ point outing that you really just don’t want to be on the other side of. But the Dodgers have been a different offense of late, slugging .475 since the break (up more than .080 points compared to the first half of the season), so this is not a slam-dunk outing for MadBum.
5) Jon Gray – COL @ MIL – $7,400 – To be able to grab a Rockies pitcher on the road is almost always a way to grab some potential value. With Gray, you are looking at a pitcher with a K/9 rate of 9.38 who is facing the team that leads the majors in total strikeouts. Yes, it is true that he hasn’t gone more than five innings since July 27th, but that’s why he costs $7,400.
6) Joe Musgrove – HOU @ PIT – $7,500 – He now has four starts for the Astros this season – one good, two great and most recently one terrible. But despite giving up three home runs to the Orioles in 5.1 innings, he still has a 1.10 WHIP through 23.2 innings so far. He had two quality starts that translated into a 1-1 record for him so far, and not only has he struck out basically a batter per innings, he has the stellar 23:3 K:BB rate that turns good stuff into great starts. As with anyone less than a month into a career there is plenty of risk, but if his peripherals are any indication, this price tag is only going up from here.
7) Yordano Ventura – KC @ MIA – $8,100 – He has come out and looked fantastic in each of his last three outings, allowing five runs on 14 hits with 20 K’s in 20 innings of work. Going back even a bit further, he is sitting on a 3.00 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break, with 39 strikeouts in just 45 innings. If he can avoid giving out free passes to the Marlins hitters, he should be able to survive deep into a game against an offense that lacks the pop to chase him early if he is hammering the strike zone.
8) Kevin Gausman – BAL vs. WAS – $7,800 – I recommended Gausman last time out and he rewarded us with 6.2 innings and eight K’s for the win against the Astros. Granted, the matchup is not quite as good with the Nationals scoring more and striking out less, but Gausman remains a solid play at home where, through nine starts, he holds an ERA and WHIP of 2.73 and 1.06, respectively (much better than his road numbers).
9) Clay Buchholtz – BOS @ TB – $4,000 – I almost hate to even write his name, but the price is that low. While Buchholtz has been nothing short of terrible for most of the year, this is a player who has shown us a 3.26 ERA over 18 starts as recently as 2015. He is coming off a start five days ago against Detroit in which he went 6.0 innings, gave up six hits, one run and no walks and came away with a no decision for a total of 13 fantasy points. But the thing is, 13 points counts as value when a guy is this cheap.
10) Kenta Maeda – LAD vs. SF – $9,000 – This is a game where both offenses could struggle and both pitchers could be very effective, but it is just hard for Maeda to return value at this price when he consistently fails to pitch into the seventh inning ( He’s actually averaging only about 5.2 innings per start so far on the year).
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.