We have a lot of big names taking the mound tonight, so let’s break down who I think you should be considering. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Jose Fernandez – MIN vs NYM – $12,700 – Fernandez is extremely expensive tonight, but against a team he’s essentially dominated three times already this season, I have to give him a go. Fernandez hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a single start against the Mets this season, to go with a 26:5 K:BB ratio in 19 innings. That’s good enough for a 12.2 K/9 on the season against this team. It was also encouraging to see Fernandez get back on track in his last start against the Royals, where he pitched seven innings allowing no runs on six hits with a 9:2 K:BB ratio. If Fernandez can pull out another start like he has three times already, he should come close to returning value.
2) Carlos Martinez – STL vs. MIL – $10,300 – Martinez hasn’t been as dominant as he was earlier in this season, where sported a 1.31 ERA in the month of June to go with a .236 wOBA, but he’s pitching well enough to get the job done. Fresh off two stellar starts against the Astros and Mets, Martinez faces a Brewers team that he’s dominated twice already this season. In those two starts, Martinez has allowed just one run in 13 innings with a 19:5 K:BB ratio. As always with the Brewers, the K potential is high, owning a 25.4 K%, which leads the league.
3) Jake Arrieta – CHC vs. PIT – $12,300 – Aside from one start where he allowed six runs against the Pirates, in four starts, Arrieta is averaging 26.9 fantasy points with a K/9 of 11. Arrieta has been looking more like his old self lately, even with his high walk total. The four game sample since, along with the poor offensive numbers the Pirates possess against righties puts Arrieta in a good spot. My only gripe here is that I feel as though Arrieta may not return value on his extremely high price tag, as his $12,300 salary hit is a big one.
4) Rick Porcello – BOS vs. TBR – $11,800 – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, no one has been as consistent as Rick Porcello as of late. Porcello has scored at least 20 fantasy points in 9 of his last 10 starts and hasn’t allowed more than four runs in all but one of those starts. He faces the Tampa Bay Rays at home, where Porcello has been his best. In 13 starts at Fenway Park, he’s averaging 20.4 FPPG with a .285 wOBA, a .372 SLG and a .285 OBP. Porcello isn’t a big strikeout guy, but he does own a 9.7 K/9 against the Rays in four starts this season while averaging 25.1 FPPG. This Rays offense hits righties fairly well with a .316 wOBA, but they also strikeout a ton with a 23.7 K%. Consider Porcello as usual, but just be aware of how expensive he is, hence only ranked 4th tonight.
5) Yu Darvish – TEX vs. SEA – $10,900 – This is a tough spot for Darvish tonight in my opinion. The Mariners are a good hitting team against right-handed pitching, owning a .328 wOBA with a .435 SLG and a .765 OPS. They are fairly tough to strike out with a 19.8 K%, which is 26th in the league. Darvish has faced this team once already this season and was only able to grab five strikeouts in that game. Obviously, that’s not the best way to look at it, but I like the other options going tonight, and I think I can say that passing on Darvish is a bit easier than usual. In the same breath, the ceiling for Darvish is always sky high and his price isn’t terrible. Ranked fifth is a perfect spot for him tonight.
6) Tanner Roark – WAS vs. PHI– $8,300 – I think a lot of people overvalue Roark as a FANTASY pitcher. In real world baseball, he’s fantastic. I mean how can you deny a pitcher that owns a 2.99 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP and averages 17 FPPG? My biggest issue is the lack of strikeouts. Over his past 10 games, Roark has reached six strikeouts twice, and it makes sense figuring his overall K/9 sits at 7.1. Besides his 15 K performance against the Twins (where did that come from?), Roark hovers around the 4-5 range on a normal basis. On paper, he has a VERY favorable matchup tonight against the Phillies, but his ceiling is very limited. He’s priced perfectly for this matchup, so I have no issues taking him, I just can’t expect a 20+ performance from him.
7) Matt Shoemaker – LAA vs. CIN – $7,200 – “Is Matt Shoemaker at home tonight? He is? I’m in!” That’s essentially the mentality I have when it comes to taking him. At LAA Stadium, Shoemaker is averaging 21.4 FPPG compared to the 11.4 on the road. Shoemaker owns a .285 wOBA at home with a .375 SLG and a .284 OBP. He faces the Reds tonight, who are mediocre at best against righties with a .312 wOBA and a .412 SLG. The 21.1 K% is in the middle of the league, which does give some potential to Shoemaker in this start, as he owns a much higher K/9 at home at 9.9. His price is fantastic for this start, and if it wasn’t for some of the big names going tonight, he’d be ranked much higher.
8) Matt Boyd – DET vs. CHW – $6,700 – I like this start for Boyd as he’s pitching at Comerica Park, where he’s been much better than on the road. At home, Boyd owns a .285 wOBA with a .357 SLG and a K/9 of 7.5. The White Sox aren’t a great offense by any means, but they do hit left-handed pitchers fairly well, owning a .326 wOBA with a .327 OBP and a .432 SLG. Boyd has his issues against right-handed batters, but he’s been almost light out against lefties. The White Sox do have a few in their lineup, but not enough to make Boyd a must play in my opinion. For his price, he’s certainly worth a look.
9) Jon Gray – COL vs. LAD – $6,800 – I’m usually not a big fan of taking a pitcher at Coors Field, but I can make an exception for tonight. I’m not thrilled with the matchup, but Gray has shown flashes of brilliance, even at Coors Field before. This will be the fourth time that Gray has faced this Dodgers team, with two of those starts coming at home. They came with mixed results, as Gray pitched a total of 10 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with a 16:2 K:BB ratio. The majority of that damage came in the first game, which was also the first of his season. His second start was MUCH more encouraging, and it makes him a reasonable consideration tonight.
10) Dan Straily – CIN vs. LAA – $9,100 – I don’t hate this matchup for Straily, I just always worry about the lack of K upside when facing the Angels. At $9,100, I find it hard to believe that Straily would return value tonight against a team that has the lowest K% in the league against righties at 16.1%. Straily hasn’t been a big strikeout guy to begin with, coming into this start with a K/9 of 7.3. All that aside, this is a decent matchup for him with the park shift certainly in his favor. He’s a good GPP option in my opinion but nothing more than that.
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.