With a 13 game slate on tap for tonight, we have some interesting pitching options. I’ll break down my top 10 pitchers here, based on the value I see.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Michael Fulmer – DET vs TBR – $10,900 – Fulmer to me feels like one of the best all around options on this slate. He’s been having a fantastic first season for the Tigers, sporting a 2.40 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP with an overall K/9 of 8.4. No matter how you slice it, this Rays lineup is really, REALLY bad. Against right-handed pitching this season, the Rays own a .304 wOBA with a .297 OBP and a .410 SLG. The most enticing part about this start for Fulmer, is the amount the Rays are striking out. With a K% of 24.9%, Fulmer should be able to grab a bunch of strikeouts in this game and cruise to a solid score tonight. This will be the second time Fulmer takes on this Rays club, where he scored 36.8 points. In that start, Fulmer pitched seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with a 11:1 K:BB ratio. At just $10,900, Fulmer looks to be my number one tonight.
2) Johnny Cueto – SFG vs. ARZ – $12,100 – Cueto comes into tonight as the most expensive pitcher on this slate taking on the Diamondbacks. This will be the third start for Cueto against this team this season where he’s seen some good success. In those starts, Cueto has gone 14 innings allowing five runs on 16 hits with a 12:2 K:BB ratio. The 16 hits are certainly a concern, but Cueto has been able to limit the damage in those two games. Cueto has been just as good on the road as he has been at home this season, posting nearly identical stats with his 2.17 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the road. Cueto should be a safe option tonight.
3) Julio Teheran – ATL vs. MIA – $11,700 – I remember earlier this season for me, I’d say Teheran on the slate, check who he was facing and stack that team. Teheran has REALLY turned his season around. After sporting a 4.60 ERA in April, Teheran has gone on to post 1.38 in May and a 1.91 in June. Tonight he takes on the Marlins, who own a .319 wOBA against righties this season with a .331 OBP and a .405 SLG with a modest 18.7 K%. That K% is what’s pushing Teheran down to the three spot for me. A good chunk of the scoring comes from the strikeouts, so without a slam-dunk in that department tonight, Teheran may not score as high as some would think. I believe he’s in a good spot here, just not the best.
The Cubs own a 22.5 K pct, which ranks 8th in the league
4) Jacob deGrom – NYM vs. CHC – $10,300 This slate as a whole is quite underwhelming for pitching. On a normal night if we had other options, I don’t think I would have deGrom as high as he is; however, tonight is an exception. deGrom will take on a good hitting Cubs team that owns a .333 wOBA against righties with a .345 OBP and a .427 SLG. Those aren’t exactly numbers you want to be pitching against. Their strikeout potential is a bit high, so that gives me some hope here. The Cubs own a 22.5 K%, which ranks 8th in the league. deGrom owns a fantastic 10.4 K/9 at Citi Field this season, which is a massive number compared to his 6.3 on the road. This isn’t the safest start, but deGrom and his talent may be able to pull out a good on here.
5) Jason Hammel – CHC vs. NYM – $9,300 – Hammel is not a bad pitcher by any means; he’s just not a great fantasy pitcher. With a 2.58 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, you’d expect this pitcher to average more than 14.1 FPPG, but that’s what we have with Hammel. He’s been slightly better on the road than he has at home, averaging 16.1 FPPG in 10 starts with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. The problem is, Hammel doesn’t possess a lot of strikeouts, owning a 7.2 K/9 on the road. The Mets do have the potential to strikeout, owning the 5th highest K% at home at 23.8%. However, we have yet to see Hammel grab more than eight strikeouts this season.
6) Steven Wright – BOS vs. LAA – $10,100 – Seems a bit concerning that I have, arguably, Boston’s best starter ranked 6th on the night, right? Especially when you consider that the Angels aren’t exactly throwing out a lineup to strike fear into you. However, what has me hung up is how little this Angels team strikes out, especially when they’re on the road. Coming into this start, the Angels own a 16.1 K% on the road, which is the lowest out of any other team. The hitting isn’t great, but if the strikeouts aren’t going to come along for Wright, what’s going to give him a decent score tonight? Overall, great matchup for Wright, just may not add up points-wise.
7) Ian Kennedy – KCR vs. PHI – $8,800 – I’m not a big fan of Kennedy. I am a big fan of any pitcher that goes against the Phillies though. Coming into this start, Kennedy owns a 3.96 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP and averaging 16.6 FPPG. They’re certainly decent numbers, but I always feel Kennedy is one mistake away from imploding. He is coming off his best start of the season against the Astros, where Kennedy pitched seven innings allowing one run on three hits with a 11:1 K:BB ratio. Going up against a similar offense, he may be able to pull out another impressive start here. If anything, his price won’t kill you, and he has a good matchup on tap. Believe me, on this slate, you can do much worse.
. . . Garcia also threw his best start of the season against this same Brewers team
8) Jaime Garica – STL vs. MIL – $7,900 – I’m finding it really hard to trust Garica lately. I mean, this is a guy who is averaging 8.6 FPPG over his last five starts. One of those starts that didn’t go well was against the Brewers, who he faces again tonight. However, Garcia also threw his best start of the season against this same Brewers team. In that start, Garcia threw a complete one hit shutout with a 13:1 K:BB ratio for 54.1 points. Regardless of how he’s been pitching, if you can stifle an offense like that, you may have something in the tank for them tonight. He’s not a safe play, but again, his price tag won’t kill you.
9) Martin Perez – TEX vs. MIN – $5,900 – Perez is another classic example of a pitcher that is great in baseball, but it doesn’t translate well into fantasy. Perez will take on a Twins team that has the second highest K% against lefties at 24.7%. Problem here is, Perez doesn’t strike out really anyone. Owning a 4.3 K/9 on the season, Perez has reached seven strikeouts once this season and six twice. He’s even gone seven starts this season with two or less (twice with zero) strikeouts in a game. So while he may have a good start tonight against the Twins, it’s hard to rely on a big score for him. At $5,900, he’s not a bad pick. Just keep the expectations low.
10) Drew Smyly – TBR vs. DET – $8,500 – It’s crazy to see how fast Smyly has seen his season fall. This is a pitcher who was priced at $11,500 in the middle of May and now sits at $8,500 tonight. We have a bit of a “revenge game” on our hands here, as Smyly was traded to the Rays in a deal for David Price two years ago. I feel as though Smyly may have some potential here, but he’s been so inconsistent that he’s hard to trust. The Tigers hit lefties well, owning a .330 wOBA, but they also have a decent 21.1 K%. For as bad as Smyly has been, he still owns a 10 K/9 on the season.
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.