With a full slate of MLB games on tap for Tuesday night, and several enticing pitching options on the hill, you have some important choices to make. Here are the ten guys I like most for the night, ranked according to value at their price, not just total projected fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Jose Fernandez – MIA @ CHC – $12,700 – Any time a guy with a K/9 rate of 13.17 is facing one of the top-scoring offenses in the league, you know you have some decisions to make. This is a tricky call, because the issue here is matchup – the Cubs have a potent offense, and if they get to him, they could manage to cut his outing off a bit earlier than usual. However, the Cubs also fall comfortably inside the top-ten in most strikeouts allowed, so if he can manage to get deep in the game, the upside is definitely still very real. And if a relatively small sample size can help get you more comfortable with the pick, he has faced Cubs’ hitters a total of only 43 times in his career, but in those plate appearances, they are hitting just .154 against him, with only a single extra base hit.
2) Carlos Carrasco – CLE vs. MIN – $10,500 – On a night with a bunch of top options going, the main purpose of this is going to be to try to give you a framework to help you decide which of these guys – all relatively expensive – you should focus on for your lineup. Carrasco gets near the top for me because, at this price, he is not so prohibitively expensive that he requires you to go too deep into the available options for your SP2, while still allowing you room to spend on some hitters. Plus, the matchup with the Twins leads me to believe the chances are he improves on his K/9 rate – already up over 8.0 – in this one.
3) Yu Darvish – TEX @ BAL – $11,000 – Darvish, for me, is someone I hope I can land in a position where his ownership % levels are not overly high, because some players will overrate the matchup. The Orioles are in first place in the AL-East still, but they have dropped five of their last six and are slugging just .337 since the All-Star break (third worst in the league). In his six starts this season, Darvish has a 3.09 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, numbers he has only improved on over his last two, quality starts against Oakland and Kansas City. With the way this offense is playing, performances like that will place him in the running for a win every time out, something that can add to both a pitcher’s consistency and upside.
4) Madison Bumgarner – SF @ PHI – $13,000 – You have to be considering him whenever he’s an option. With his 2.09 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, to go along with 170 K’s in 150 innings, the potential is always there for him to give all his owners a gem. He has more upside than anyone on this list, a good argument for making him #1 overall, but he also has fewer than 20 DK fantasy points in four of his last seven starts, which counts as downside at this price tag.
5) Gerrit Cole – PIT @ ATL – $9,000 – You always have to consider the guy facing Atlanta, right? And when that guy is coming off a complete-game effort against the Mariners in which he gave up only three hits and one run, you should maybe give him a little extra consideration. Before that start against Seattle, Cole had another quality start against the Phillies, as he looked to bounce back from a rough outing against the Nationals (four runs and seven hits in just four innings). It looks as if he is back now, and if he can summon the same kind of stuff he showed last time out, he should have no issue stymieing the worst offense in the majors.
6) Zach Davies – MIL @ SD – $9,900 – Davies doesn’t get the huge price tag because he doesn’t have the big strikeout totals to make someone a dominant fantasy option. However, facing a Padres team that is second in the majors in total K’s on the season, he should be able to reach the high end of his potential there, maybe grabbing six or seven punch outs for you tonight. Combine that upside with the consistency of four straight quality starts, and you have someone you could consider for your lineup in any format contest.
7) Adam Wainwright – STL @ CIN – $8,100 – With all the top options available this evening, there has to be a place for some of these more mid-range priced players as well. And Wainwright could be just the kind of guy to consider, not too expensive, and not likely to be the guy who ruins your night, either. Prior to his last outing, he had been on a run of four straight quality starts, a stretch in which he averaged 28.55 fantasy points. He had games with eight and nine strikeouts over that span, and with 30+ point upside. He could be the perfect complement to a Fernandez or Bumgarner in a larger GPP format this evening.
8) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY @ NYM – $9,700 – Tanaka is just not an exciting pick. He probably doesn’t have 30 point upside, but against an offense like the Mets, his floor likely hovers right around 20, the same ballpark as someone like Bumgarner, without busting your budget. That, for me, makes him a strong consideration in cash games in particular. The Mets have an OBP hovering around .300 all season long, making a pitcher like Tanaka, with a K:BB ratio inside the top ten in the league (4.00), a problematic matchup for them.
9) David Price – BOS @ SEA – $9,600 – Price has been up and down all season long, and now he’s getting a matchup with an overachieving offense. However, over his career, Price has limited these hitters to a .236 average and a .273 OBP, racking up 50 K’s against just nine walks in over 230 plate appearances. Coming off eight innings of shutout ball against the Angels in Los Angeles, Price will be looking to cap this West Coast swing off on a high note with another strong performance in Seattle tonight.
10) Sean Manaea – OAK @ LAA – $7,400 – The young left-hander has 75 K’s in 86.2 innings this season, giving him plenty of upside. Despite the glaring 4.57 ERA and 1.29 WHIP you’ll see next to his name, his ERA was exactly 3.13 in both June and July (eight total starts). Much of his struggles came early in the year, and for a 24-year-old pitcher, that’s not entirely out of the ordinary. The Angels have been hitting lately, and especially against lefties, or he would find himself higher on this list right now. Keep an eye on him for his next few upcoming starts as well.
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.