We have a full 15 game slate tonight in what might be the deepest combination of pitchers this season. With so many aces on the mound tonight, I’ll help you navigate who I’m a fan of. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Jose Fernandez – MIA vs CIN – $13,400 – Going against a Reds team that owns a 22.3 K% against righties plays right into the wheelhouse of Fernandez tonight. If you haven’t heard, I’ll clue you in on a little secret, Fernandez strikes guys out, and he does it A LOT. Coming into this start, Fernandez owns a 13.1 K/9 on the season, which is two strikeouts higher than his career average. Fernandez is coming off the worst start of the season, against the Braves of all teams. In that start, he went five innings, allowing nine runs (six earned) on eight hits with a 8:1 K:BB ratio. While I can’t give a good reason for that poor start, Fernandez has been fantastic the majority of the season, averaging 25.5 FPPG. With the strikeout potential he possesses in this game, I would be hard pressed at fading him tonight.
2) Chris Sale – CHW vs. ATL – $13,500 – Sale and the White Sox check in as the heavy favorites in this game against the Braves according to the Vegas lines. Sale is barely the most expensive pitcher on this slate tonight, as he’s $100 more than Jose Fernandez at $13,500. Sale has been fantastic over his last four starts, averaging 27.1 FPPG while facing four legitimate teams. During that span, Sale faced the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Astros. While Sale may be pitching more to contact rather than grabbing strikeouts, it’s been working wonders for him. Sale owns an 8.8 K/9 on the season, which on a normal basis would be fine, but this is down from his career 10.1 that he normally owns. With the Braves being one of the worst offenses in the league against lefties, Sale has to be one of the top options for tonight. Coming into this game, the Braves own a .273 wOBA against lefties with a .293 OBP and a .325 SLG. Their K% has been going up against lefties as well with a 21.1 K%, making this start for Sale about as enticing as it gets. You’ll be paying an arm and a leg for him, but he should be worth it
3) Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs. NYM – $12,900 – Strasburg comes in as the third highest priced pitcher overall tonight and has a nice matchup on tap, making his third start of the season against the Mets. In his prior games against them, Strasburg pitched 12.2 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits with a fantastic 21:3 K:BB ratio. The Mets rank in the top 10 in K% against righties this season with a 22.4 K%, which ranks 10th in the league. Just like Fernandez, the sky is the limit I feel like when it comes to Strasburg and what he can put up points wise on a particular night. With the strikeout potential tonight and his past success against this Mets team, he’s a slight savings over Sale and Fernandez if that’s the route you want to go.
4) Jake Arrieta – CHC vs. PIT – $12,700 The past couple starts for Arrieta I’ve been completely off of him. He’s been extremely overpriced, as his salary has been over $13,000. In those two starts, he scored a combined 13.9 fantasy points against the Mets and the Reds. However for tonight, he faces a Pirates team that he’s faced twice and scored a combined 72.9 fantasy points. So yeah, to say he’s owned this team would be an understatement. I have him a bit lower on my rankings for the fact that I haven’t liked how he’s looked lately, especially since his walks are starting to creep back up again. Last month, Arrieta averaged four walks per start and that number has been creeping up each month this season. I think Arrieta has some great potential tonight, but we could also see what we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Tough spot for me on Arrieta tonight.
5) Corey Kluber – CLE vs. NYY – $11,000 – Amongst all the ace pitchers going tonight, Kluber feels like the best priced of the bunch. Checking in at just $11,000, Kluber will take on the Yankees at home in Progressive Field. He’s been pitching well at home this season, owning a 3.67 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and an 8.8 K/9. While the Yankees aren’t really hitting to this point, they don’t strike out much either. The Yankees own a 18.5 K% against righties this season, which ranks 26th in the league. So while I’m confident Kluber can pull off a good start here, I don’t think it will be a high scoring one. On a night with so many high priced pitchers, Kluber is a bit of a risk in terms of the value he can bring back, but the matchup is a decent one.
6) Noah Syndergaard – NYM vs. WAS – $10,800 – Honest to God, I’ve been wrestling with where I wanted to get Syndergaard on this list for tonight. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been fantastic this season and he deserves the praise he gets. However, I’m not a huge fan of him taking on the Nationals tonight. He’s faced this team twice this season and it’s come back with mixed results. In his first start, he was fantastic, pitching seven innings, allowing no runs on five hits with a 10:0 K:BB ratio. His last start against them, not so good. Three innings allowing five runs on even hits with a 5:3 K:BB ratio. The big difference here is that the Nationals are hitting much better than they were in their first start. Bryce Harper is hot at the plate again, Danny Espinosa is crushing the ball right now, it’s small differences but they can lead to a different game. Syndergaard is certainly priced well enough to be worth consideration, I’m just a bit weary on this start for him.
7) Cole Hamels – TEX vs. MIN – $9,800 – Admist all the high priced pitchers going tonight, we do have a few that are nicley priced and can 100% go overlooked. Hamels feels like one of those guys facing the Twins. Granted, his last start against the Twins may have left some sour tastes in our mouths and rightfully so. In that start, Hamels lasted four innings allowing five runs on 10 hits with a 3:3 K:BB ratio. I’m willing to chalk that one up to a bad day as prior to that start, Hamels haden’t allowed more than a single run in his previous four starts. The Twins strikeout at a decent clip against lefties, so Hamels certainly has some upside with his 8.7 K/9.
8) Michael Wacha – STL vs. MIL – $8,100 – Another sneaky play I like tonight is Wacha taking on the Brewers. Overall, I’d say it’s fair to assume that Wacha has been a disappointment this season. Owning a 4.38 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP is exactly the stellar numbers the Cardinals were hoping for. However, Wacha faces this Brewers team that he’s now seen twice this season with great results. In those two starts, Wacha has gone 11 innings allowing two runs on 13 hits with a 13:2 K:BB ratio. Wacha isn’t the biggest strikeout guy, but going against a team that leads the league in K% at 26% certainly brings some potential.
9) Daniel Mengden – OAK vs. HOU – $9,600 – The rookie has looked good since his June 11th callup to the big leagues. In five starts this season, Mengden owns a 3.48 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP and a K/9 of 9. He takes on the strikeout happy Astros tonight, which could make Mengden a nice money saver on the night. The Astros are starting to pick it up with their bats again as of late, bringing their wOBA against righties up to .325 with a .328 OBP and a .427 SLG. The strikeout potential is what’s drawing me to this start and as someone who will be overlooked in my opinion.
10) Scott Kazmir – LAD vs. SDP – $9,100 – I feel as though Kazmir may be a tad bit overpriced tonight, but I mean in the grand scheme of things, who isn’t? Kazmir will face the Padres for the third time this season with some mixed results. In two starts, Kazmir has pitched 11.2 innings allowing five runs on four hits with a 10:7 K:BB ratio. The obvious glaring stat here is the walks, as they’ve killed him in these games. If he can keep those down, we’re looking at a completely different game line here. Kazmir has been his best at home where this start takes place and could be a sneaky start tonight. The Padres strikeout at 23.7% against lefties this season which rank 6th in the league. Kazmir certainly has the stuff to make it happen, it’s just a matter of making it happen.
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.