WATCH: MARCUS STROMAN’S UPSIDE AGAINST THE RED SOX
Here are my top-five pitchers for tonight’s 15-game slate:
1. Max Scherzer – WAS @ ATL – $12,800
Scherzer was one of the top pitchers in the league last year with an average of 25.83 DKFP per game, and he has started this year showing CY Young form. He has scored at least 25 DKFP in both of his starts this season. Last year, Scherzer made five starts against the Braves and averaged 20.48 DKFP per game. There is some concern with Scherzer’s matchup, however. The issue is not the potency of the Braves offense, but rather that they strike out at a low clip (19.5% K-rate in 2017 so far). While this may limit the upside of Scherzer a bit, he has shown the ability to strike out anybody. He leads baseball in strikeouts over the last five seasons and is working on his sixth consecutive year with double-digit strikeouts per nine innings.
2. Yu Darvish – TEX @ OAK – $10,700
For his price, Darvish is my favorite pitcher on the slate. Darvish has similar upside to Scherzer, but can be had for $2,100 less. He is also coming off of a dominant outing where he pitched seven shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against the Angels; he finished with 35.55 DKFP, which is more points than Scherzer has scored in any of his outings this season. Darvish led the American league in strikeouts per nine innings last season. He also has a plus matchup against Oakland, which has been unable to generate much offense this season. They are ranked 28th in baseball with a .302 .wOBA. Darvish pitched against them earlier this season and gave up just one run in six innings of work.
3. Michael Fulmer – DET @ TB – $8,900
Last year Michael Fulmer was the AL Rookie of the Year. Usually we can look forward to a big leap in players’ performance in their second season. So far Fulmer has seen a drop in his ERA and a bump in his strikeout percentage, so the signs have been positive. He dominated the Rays in his two starts against them last season. He averaged 37.35 DKFP per game and had a stringy 0.64 ERA. Pitching against the Rays really increases the upside of Fulmer. Against right-handed pitching they strike out an MLB-worst 28.4 percent of the time. The Rays also have a slightly below average .308 .wOBA against righties, which is 20th in baseball.
4. Luis Severino – NYY vs CHW – $6,500
Severino is a former top prospect who really struggled last season. He lost his job in the starting rotation and was moved to a bullpen role. He also had to make a couple trips back down to the minor leagues. Severino bounced back this year in spring training and won a job in the Yankees’ rotation. He has improved this season with a 2.76 FIP and is striking out 12.75 batters per nine innings. One thing we know for sure is that Severino has A+ stuff. His fastball is averaging 96.7 MPH and he has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. He is coming off the best start of his career with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. He finished with 34.15 DKFP. Severino has potential for a huge outing against the White Sox weak offense. They are 28th in the big leagues with a .273 .wOBA against right-handed pitching this season.
5. Brett Anderson – CHC vs MIL – $6,600
Anderson has been really solid to start the year. He has a 0.84 ERA across his two starts. The one issue with him is that he has not been allowed to pitch deep into games. He has not pitched six full innings yet this year. It is worth noting that he was injured most of last year and finished the season as a reliever. He will likely be allowed to go deeper into games as the season progresses. When healthy, Anderson has been a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Due to his cheap price, he only needs about 13 DKFP to pay off his salary. The Cubs opened as the biggest favorites on the slate, which makes Anderson likely to pick up four points for a win. He has scored at least 15 DKFP in each of his starts in 2017.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.