Tonight is quite the unique slate for pitchers in my opinion. We have some really great mid-tier options to choose alongside some big stars. Let’s get you ready for tonight, and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Chris Sale – CHW vs SEA – $11,700 – In terms of pricing tonight, I don’t feel like anyone is outrageous, which is always a plus. Chris Sale gets the nod as my number one tonight in his matchup against the Mariners. For as good as they hit, the Mariners don’t exactly tear the house down when it comes to left-handed pitchers. On the season, Seattle owns a .319 wOBA against lefties with a .318 OBP and a .423 SLG. They don’t strikeout a ton against them with a 21.1 K%, but it’s high enough that I think Sale is the play. Sale has faced the Mariners once this season, and he was able to punch out six for a total of 26.4 fantasy points. Seven of the nine players on this Mariners team with at least 50 at-bats against lefties this season own a K% of 20% or higher with Franklin Gutierrez leading the way at 28.1%.
2) Justin Verlander – DET vs. LAA – $10,400 – I would never go as far to say that $10,400 is cheap, but it feels that way for Justin Verlander, doesn’t it? I think it’s fair to say that Verlander has been looking like his old self these past few months. The Tigers ace is averaging 26.5 FPPG over his last five starts with a 37:6 K:BB ratio. Tonight he takes on the Angels for the second time this season after pitching against them in Anaheim. In that start, Verlander lasted 7.1 innings allowing four runs on four hits with a 7:0 K:BB ratio. His stuff has been electric since the All-Star break, as he’s averaging just over 13 swings and misses per start. Truth be told, the Angels are still a tough team to strikeout, owning the lowest K% in the league since the ASB at 17.2%, but they aren’t exactly getting on base either. With a .310 wOBA and a .319 OBP, I think Verlander is in line for a solid start here.
3) David Phelps – MIA vs. SDP – $8,700 – This matchup and price tag just screams “VALUE” all the way to the high heavens. I mean you have David Phelps, who has strung two solid starts together in a row taking on this Padres team? I mean c’mon now! Am I putting too much stock into his last two starts? Potentially, but this matchup on paper is too good to pass up with his $8,700 price tag. Over his last two starts, Phelps has mowed down the Reds and Pirates, owning a 17:3 K:BB ratio in just 11.1 innings. Now he faces a team that is second in the league in K% against right-handed pitchers with a 24.7 K%, and I’m not supposed to love this? Believe it or not, Phelps has a 11.4 K/9 in his 54 appearances this season and a 7.5 as a starter in four starts. For him to return value, Phelps needs around 24 points to do so, which I think is completely doable. He’s my favorite SP2 on the night.
4) Felix Hernandez – SEA vs. CHW – $10,900 – I’m liking what I’m seeing from Felix Hernandez as of late, and tonight he gets a matchup against the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox don’t necessarily have anyone on this team that crushes right-handed pitching. I mean, looking at their player starts (minimum of 50 at-bats) the highest wOBA on this team is Jose Abreu with a .352 wOBA. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and all, but I’m not overly impressed that it leads the team. It should come as no surprise that the White Sox are dwelling near the bottom of the league in offense against righties with those numbers, as a .310 wOBA overall to go with a .312 OBP and a .407 SLG aren’t very impressive. They’re a somewhat tough team to strikeout, but Hernandez has been generating a lot more swings and misses as of late, reaching double digits in his last three starts.
5) Bartolo Colon – NYM vs. PHI – $7,600 – I always cringe about the thought of taking Colon. It’s nothing against his talent – I mean he’s what, 57 and still pitching well? But you can’t deny that he’s pitched extremely well against the Phillies this season, and tonight should be no different. In three starts against the Phils this season, Colon is averaging 18 FPPG in his 17.2 innings of work allowing seven runs (four earned) on 13 hits with a 15:3 K:BB ratio. The Phillies continue to be one of the worst hitting teams in the league with an OBP at .300 and a .310 wOBA overall against rightes. Truly, this is another “value city” pick in my opinion and one that will certainly ease the salary restrictions you may have by taking one of the big guns at pitcher tonight.
6) Drew Smyly – TBR vs. HOU– $8,900 – This start gives me the heebie-jeebies. I mean, on one end of the spectrum, Smyly has been pitching MUCH better as of late. In the second half of the season, he’s held opponents to a .280 wOBA with a .377 SLG and a .273 OBP. The Astros are always prime picking for strikeouts in a game, so one would think that maybe Smyly could pull out a gem here. On the other hand, the Astros are one of the best hitting teams against left-handed pitchers, owning a .353 wOBA with a .348 OBP and a .472 SLG. Just the thought of Jose Altuve coming up against Smyly makes me sick. As I’ve said though, if Smyly can continue this trend of pitching so well, he’s a nice cheap option that should be low owned. Potential, potential.
7) Steven Wright- BOS vs. KCR – $9,400 – One of my rules is usually to stay away from pitchers fresh of the disabled list. Hence, my low ranking of Steven Wright tonight. If I didn’t have my “rules” one could certainly argue that Wright is a fantastic start tonight against a team that is striking out a lot more lately and have been dead in the water since the All-Star break. All the signs point to a great start here for Wright, just as long as they don’t have him on any type of pitch count. I just can’t get past the dreaded “disabled-list start” as I like to call it.
8) Jeff Samardzija – SFG vs. ATL – $9,000 – I can’t figure out if this is based more off how terrible Samardzija has been as of late, or if I just flat out think the Braves can tag him for a second time this season. In his lone start against Atlanta, Samardzija allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings with a 4:2 K:BB ratio. Yes, the park shift certainly favors Samardzija, but I’ll also point out that his home/road splits are really quite similar. Matchup wise, this shouldn’t be a bad start for him, but his second-half has been dreadful thus far. In 42.1 innings, Samardzija is allowing a .321 wOBA with seven home runs and a 6.1 K/9. I think I’ll be looking elsewhere.
9) Corey Kluber – CLE vs. TEX – $11,000 – It’s hard to get overly excited about this start when Kluber is tasked with facing the Rangers at home, with the price tag of $11,000. Kluber faced this club once already this season and was hammered for six runs in seven innings with a 6:0 K:BB ratio. The Rangers have been one of the best hitting clubs at home this season, owning a .347 wOBA with a .346 OBP and a .469 SLG. Kluber has been worse on the road than he has at home, but we’re splitting hairs here when comparing those numbers, as they’re really close in comparison. I don’t think Kluber will get hammered in Texas, but I just can’t take him at this price with this matchup.
10) Mike Fiers – HOU vs. TBR – $8,000 – I feel as though this could end up being a sneaky start tonight for Fiers. He’s never usually your first, second, third or even 11th choice on a normal basis, but going against the Rays at home has me thinking. He’s one of the hardest pitchers to regularly predict, but he’s been looking decent as of late and his price tag won’t hurt at all. At home, Fiers owns a 7.2 K/9 while allowing just a .306 wOBA with a .425 SLG and a .291 OBP. The Rays continue to be one of the highest strikeout teams in the majors, owning a 23.1 K% against righties. I won’t go crazy with Fiers tonight, but he’s awfully enticing.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.