Tuesday evening’s schedule is a full slate, with several usable options at pitcher, but no one who jumps off the page. You might not have to contend with real high ownership percentages concentrated in just a few pitchers, which can present challenges and opportunities. In an attempt to help you narrow down your choices, here are the ten pitchers I like most, ranked according to value at their price, not just total projected points.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Chris Tillman – Bal vs. Col – $8,200 – – The Rockies’ team slugging % drops from .524 at home (and .455 overall) to just .385 on the road. This is not a team to fear when they are traveling. Tillman, for his part, is working on a run of four straight games in which he has gone exactly seven innings and given up exactly one run – all for the victory, running his record to 14-2 for the first-place Orioles. Over that stretch, he is averaging just north of 22 DraftKings Fantasy Points (DKFP) per outing, up from his season average of just around 17 DKFP – and that bump does not seem to be reflected in his price. He doesn’t have the strikeout potential of Salazar, but for this price, I am perfectly fine with him headlining my starting pitching duo tonight.
#2) Kyle Hendricks – ChC @ CWS – $10,900 – – At 9-6, you might actually expect to see his record sitting a little better than it is, considering he is pitching with one of the best offenses in baseball supporting him and comes into the game with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. But his luck seems to be turning around as of late, as he comes into this one on a run of earning a W in four straight. He is looking to make it five in a row on the heels of 6.1 shutout innings against the Mets.
#3) Danny Salazar – Cle vs. Was – $9,500 – – The only number that really matters when it comes to Salazar’s fantasy value right now is his 10.10 K/9 rate (125 strikeouts in 111.1 innings). He had to skip the All-Star game with some elbow soreness, but looked sharp in his last outing against the Royals, going 6.2 innings with seven punchouts on 104 pitches. If he avoids trouble and goes deep in the game, he is likely the #1 option for the night, so the upside is real and even if he does get touched for a few runs, the strikeout ability keeps his floor elevated as well.
#4) Tom Koehler – Mia vs. Phi – $6,400 – – This pick here is all about recent performance. Koehler is a guy who has been marginally better at home all season long, recording lower numbers in ERA, WHIP and BAA while at home. Playing in Miami tonight, he is also coming off a road game against this same Phillies team, in which he went eight innings and gave up just two hits while recording five strikeouts. A marginal improvement on those numbers due to being at home would make him the best value on the board, so clearly based on this ranking I am not expecting quite the same performance, but a quality start and a chance at the win is not at all unreasonable to expect, making $6,400 a solid value.
#5) Felix Hernandez – Sea @ Pit – $8,600 – – People might want to shy away from Felix in just his second start back from injury, considering he gave up five runs on ten hits in his first game back. But three of those runs came on a home run in the first, after which he settled down nicely. He threw 72% of his pitches for strikes, and will look to build on that outing tonight in Pittsburgh. If he continues to trend in the right direction and stays healthy this is likely the cheapest you’ll be able to roster him for the rest of the season.
#6) Marcus Stroman – Tor vs. SD – $8,400 – – He has definitely had his ups and downs this season, coming into the game with an ERA of 4.90, but he has gone eight innings in two of his last three starts, wins against Arizona and Kansas City, in which he has given up a total of three runs while recording 12 K’s and just one walk. The rub, of course, is the 4.2 inning 6-run showing wedged between those two against the A’s. But with a matchup against San Diego on tap, the potential is there for him to avoid the trouble inning, get deep into the game and rack up more than his fair share of K’s against the team with the second most in the majors.
#7) Steven Wright – Bos vs. Det – $10,700 – – I like Wright a lot tonight, but the hefty price tag has moved him down the list a bit based on value, considering his mediocre strikeout numbers so far this season. He has made up for that with his 12 wins with an average of more than six innings thrown per start. He is getting deep into games consistently and on a team that can score in bunches at any given moment, that is putting him in a position to succeed on a consistent basis, making him a solid choice.
#8) Doug Fister – Hou vs. NYY – $7,600 – – The Yankees don’t strike out much, but Fister doesn’t rely on the K for his fantasy value, so the key here is whether he can get enough pitches over the plate to stay in the game long enough to give himself a shot at the win. The Yankees have been slugging just .348 since the break, bottom five in the league, so throwing strikes shouldn’t be too dangerous here and Fister has been able to do just that this season, recording 11 quality starts out of his last 15 tries and piling up a 9-3 record over that span.
#9) Ervin Santana – Min vs. Atl – $7,800 – – Yes, of course, part of it is nothing but matchup. You don’t need me to tell you the Braves offense is bad. Santana has recorded quality starts in four of his last six appearances, and went 5+ innings without giving up more than three runs in both of the other two as well. He has been turning in consistent performances all season long, with an unimpressive K-rate but an ability to at least chew up a few innings when his turn comes up. The downside is that the Twins’ offense isn’t much better, so even if Santana has another quality start tonight that doesn’t guarantee him anything.
#10) Chris Archer – TB vs. LAD – $8,700 – – I don’t love the matchup here, facing a Dodgers team that has been slugging .450 since the break collectively, but Archer has too much upside to ignore on a night when the quality pitching options thin out pretty quickly. With a K/9 rate of 10.72 and an average of almost six innings pitched per outing, he is putting himself in a position to rack up fantasy points even on nights where he is not putting his team in a position to win (like his 17.7 DKFP outing against Boston just prior to the break – four runs in six innings, but nine K’s as well). I like him more in a GPP format than a cash game, but a live arm always has some value.
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.