With a full slate of games Tuesday night, but only a few top options going, you’re going to need to pick your spots carefully when selecting your starting pitchers. Here are my ten favorites, ranked according to value at their price, not just projected points.

Top 5 Pitchers

RankPitcherTeamOppSalary
1Drew SmylyTBSEA$10,500
2Jon LesterChCSD$12,200
3Kevin GausmanBALMIN$8,200
4Adam ConleyMIAMIL$7,500
5 Masahiro TanakaNYYKC$9,800

Analysis

1)  Drew Smyly – TB @ Sea – $10,500 – – He earns the top spot tonight despite facing a Seattle offense that is much improved since last year. With 47 K’s in just under 40 innings, he is the type of left-handed pitcher that doesn’t just survive by keeping it away from hitters – he is throwing it past them. He is coming off one of his worse starts of the year, needing 93 pitches to get through five innings against the Dodgers, with only six K’s. The Mariners are only hitting .235 against southpaws this season and Smyly has been sharp in almost every start this season.

2) Jon Lester – ChC vs. SD – $12,200 – The second half of a devastating pair of aces at the top of the Cubs staff, he is starting today after his scheduled start last night was delayed by rain. He’s going to look to build on the 1.58 ERA and 1.05 WHIP he’s established through six starts, and he has been as consistent as they come early on. In five of six starts he’s scored 20+ DKFP, with three wins and a K/9 rate of 8.55. He has the offense behind him to win even on an off night, but he has earned every one of those victories, not giving up more than one earned run in any of them.

3) Kevin Gausman – Bal @ Min – $8,200 – – Even though Gausman has yet to earn a win, he has deserved better. He has gone progressively deeper in his games in each of his three outings, culminating in eight innings of shutout ball against the Yankees last time out, for which he was awarded a no-decision. With a K/9 ratio of only 6.6, but a K:BB rate of 14:3, he is pitching efficiently, and now he is getting the Twins, who strike out more and score less than just about any offense in the Majors. I love Gausman’s upside here, and I don’t see a lot of downside at all, making him a quality option in any format.

“Even if you’ve stayed away so far, it’s not too late to roster this young stud.”

4) Adam Conley – Mia vs. Mil – $7,500 – He is averaging a strikeout per inning so far this year, and he has gone five or more innings in every start. That includes 7.2 innings in Milwaukee just ten days ago, a game in which he allowed no hits and no runs, and struck out seven. He now has 17 or more fantasy points in four of his six starts, including three with over 25 DKFP. His price has finally made the jump from the mid$6,000 range to the mid-$7,000 range, and it’s not likely to go back down. Even if you’ve stayed away so far, it’s not too late to roster this young stud.

5) Masahiro Tanaka – NYY vs. KC – $9,800 – – He’s only 1-0, despite not having given up more than two runs in any start yet this year. He is working on a streak of four straight quality starts, including eight innings against the Orioles last time out, in which he game up five hits and no runs with seven punch-outs (no, that was not his one win). With a 2.29 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, you would expect a pitcher on this team to have a better W-L mark, but there just has been no run support for him whatsoever. The matchup with Kris Medlen and his ERA well north of 6.00 helps your confidence in the fact that he could actually earn a win with a good performance tonight, edging his fantasy value a little higher, valuable for a guy with 20+ DKFP in three of his last four anyway.


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6-10 Pitchers

RankPitcherTeamOppSalary
6Matt WislerATLPHI$7,900
7Jacob deGromNYMLAD$10,900
8Sean O'SullivanBOSOAK$5,100
9 Derek HollandTEXCWS$6,200
10 Cesar VargasSDChC$5,400

Analysis

6) Matt Wisler – ATL vs. PHI – $7,900 – The Phillies are just continuing to provide an excellent matchup for pitchers across the majors for another year. Wisler is coming off eight innings of one-hit baseball that resulted in 27.6 DKFP despite only four K’s. His weak spot this year has been the home run ball, with four of them allowed in his five starts, but Philadelphia might not be equipped to take advantage. They’re currently 26th in the league in long balls, with only 25 so far in 32 games. If he can get you 4-5 K’s, his WHIP of 0.90 shows an ability to get enough batters out quickly to go deep in this game and end up with the 20+ fantasy points you need for him to be a real value at this price.

7) Jacob deGrom – NYM @ LAD – $10,900 – The Dodgers’ offense has tailed off some since their hot start to the season, so deGrom will be looking to secure his fourth win of the year after suffering his first loss last time out. He has yet to go more than six innings in any game, which is limiting his upside somewhat – you might expect someone with a K/9 rate over 6.5 and three wins in four starts to be averaging more than 17.1 DK FP an outing. Until you see him improve on that ability to get deep into games, he is better served as a cash game option, as he has yet to top 25 fantasy points in a game – but a quality start with five or six K’s and a chance at the win is 100% reasonable to expect.

“He has been dominating Triple-A so far this this year, accumulating a 32:5 K:BB ratio…”

8) Sean O’Sullivan – BOS vs. OAK – $5,100 – – He has only thrown one inning so far on the young season, but tonight he is getting the nod to start, and against an offense in the bottom third of most productions categories. He has been dominating Triple-A so far this this year, accumulating a 32:5 K:BB ratio, and a WHIP under 1.0, and he will most likely go back there when Eduardo Rodriguez returns. You might as well take advantage of the low price before that happens, and this is a perfect time to do just that as they square off with an A’s team that in the bottom third in almost every offensive category.

#9) Derek Holland – TEX vs. CWS – $6,200 – – He got absolutely smashed by the Blue Jays in his last outing, ending up with an epic -24.4 DKFP after giving up 11 hits and 11 runs in under three innings. As a result, this is the cheapest he has been all season – by $1,500. That’s either a pitcher dropping off a cliff, or a blip that created instant value in his DFS price this time around. In his other five starts, his lowest fantasy output was 9.5 points, but three of the five came in at 17+.

#10) Cesar Vargas – SD @ CHC – $5,400 – You don’t love the pitcher he is facing (Lester), or the offense he has to try to shut down (#1 in runs scored so far on the year). But, two of his starts so far this year have come against St. Louis and Colorado, the second and third highest-scoring teams in the league, so he shouldn’t be intimidated. He has had three starts, pitching just over 16 innings and given up only two runs with twelve strikeouts. The nine walks in those performances were a bit more worrisome, but if he can limit those, he could definitely continue his trend of three straight 10+ DKFP games to open the season, definite value at this price.