With a full slate of games Tuesday night, there are plenty of pitchers to choose from, including a few elite options. These are the ten pitchers I like most tonight, ranked according to value at their price, not just total projected fantasy points.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Cole Hamels – TEX vs. SEA – $11,500 – It’s possible that he is getting the Mariners at the right time, having lost six of their last seven and scoring more than three runs in a game only once over that span. And now they have yet another matchup with one of the league’s best arms in Hamels, who has elevated himself into the thick of the AL Cy Young race. He has 167 strikeouts in 168.1 innings on the year, giving him as much upside as anyone, and the 1.59 ERA and 1.02 WHIP since the break indicate a level of safety you’re not getting anywhere else either. For a $2K savings over Scherzer, he is my number one option tonight to anchor my lineup, in any format contest.
2) Kyle Hendricks – CHC vs. PIT – $10,800 – He has the best ERA in the majors at 2.19, now having gone 17 straight starts without giving up more than three runs. He beat the Pirates the one time he faced them earlier in the year, giving up just one run in six innings, and his most recent run of quality starts is now up to five, starting with a complete-game shutout of the Marlins on August 1, and ending with a six-inning victory over the Padres last week. His 7.99 K/9 rate gives him plenty of upside, making him a solid choice in any type of contest tonight.
3) Max Scherzer – WAS @ PHI – $13,600 – When you are this far and away the most expensive pitcher on the board, it is hard to have the most value. The most upside, sure, especially in this matchup. He has been over 30 DK fantasy points three times in his last five outings, after all. And while he might need to get you 35+ to be a value at this price, if he does and he’s the only one to do it, he could be a worthwhile pick. Coming off maybe his best game of the year, a 10-K eight-inning shutout performance against the Orioles, he will look to continue that momentum tonight.
4) Drew Pomeranz – BOS vs. TB – $11,600 – The Pomeranz era in Boston did not start out looking promising, with him giving up 12 runs in his first 14.1 innings. But in the five outings since then he has performed admirably, netting 31 strikeouts in just 30 innings with a 2.40 ERA. He is just coming off a game in Tampa Bay five days ago in which he totaled 11 punch outs in just six innings, but got tagged with the loss despite giving up just two runs on seven hits. Anything close to a repeat of that kind of effort could get him to that 30+ point threshold tonight as well, making him another play, like Scherzer, with lots of upside and the potential to actually return value as well.
5) Adam Wainwright – STL @ MIL – $6,900 – Wainwright’s K/9 rate of 7.03 isn’t Earth-shattering, but it does demonstrate that he is capable of missing bats now and then, which makes the Brewers the perfect matchup. He should be able to realize the high end of his strikeout potential as long as he can get deep enough in the game. He has been less effective on the road this year, so he certainly isn’t the safest option, but if he can find the strike zone consistently, he could prove to be a great source of upside on the cheap on a night where you are bound to be facing off against lineups with such a wide array of quality options.
6) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY @ KC – $10,600 – Tanaka is now 11-4 for a team that has been hovering around .500 all season long, and he is not getting talked about like one of the great fantasy options out there. However, he has now scored 24.8 or more fantasy points in four straight starts, and he has done it with pinpoint accuracy. He has issued just one walk over 27.2 innings in that four-game stretch, compared to 30 strikeouts. He has just been ruthlessly efficient, never needing much more than 100 pitches to get his team well-positioned for a win, and he’ll look to continue that trend against a Royals lineup with the fewest walks taken in the league so far on the year, with just 308 (Philly is second to last, with 329). For me, he is the perfect ace to headline a cash-game roster for tonight’s contests.
7) Seth Lugo – NYM vs. MIA – $4,100 – It just makes sense to look at these super deep options if you’re searching for value because they need to do so much less to be worth the price. But they are this cheap, typically for a reason – they’re not that good. So the downside is limited only by the mercy of their manager. But Lugo has looked solid in his last two starts for the Mets, and he is drawing a reasonable matchup, making him, for me, the only guy tonight in the bottom third of the price chart I am even seriously considering. He has thrown 11.2 innings in those two starts, giving up three runs. His last outing was five innings of shutout ball against the Cardinals, on 82 pitches. And that gives him the “upside” of 15+ fantasy points, making him one of the best values on the board in my opinion.
8) Collin McHugh – HOU vs. OAK – $6,000 – The fact is, he has 141 K’s in 142 innings. At this price, you just don’t find that too often. And he has gone at least five frames in four of his last five, and tonight he draws an Oakland lineup that is slugging just .335 over the past week and was right at the bottom of the league in runs scored this month. He has given up 23 home runs, so the play here is assuming that the A’s just don’t have the pop to take advantage of his weaknesses, turning him into a solid option in a cash game, with a little bit of upside.
9) Jake Odorizzi – TB @ BOS – $7,400 – We were treated to this same Pomeranz-Odorizzi matchup last week, and for a $3K discount, Odorizzi was the guy who came out on top in that one. He threw seven innings and gave up just one run, and while it could be different in Fenway, it’s at least worth mentioning about a player who does this little damage to your budget. That was only the most recent in a run of three straight quality starts, all wins, including six innings of one-run ball against another high powered offense in the Rangers. He is looking to make it four in a row tonight.
10) Johnny Cueto – SF vs. ARI – $11,200 – He is not an easy guy to rank tonight – yes, he has an ERA of 2.86 and a WHIP of 1.08 on the year, but on the other hand, those numbers are 3.91 and 1.31 since the All-Star Break. However, this is going to be his fourth start against the Diamondbacks this season, and he has gone seven innings in each, earning two victories. Those wins came early in the year, and the Giants offense might not be capable of bailing him out like they did last time tonight. Take all that together and he looks to be someone you are going to have a hard time relying on to get you more than 2x his price in return tonight. For the money, that might not be worth it.
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.