WATCH: IMPACT PLAYER – JEFF HOFFMAN
On this Thursday night, Major League Baseball has seven games on the schedule with some teams getting an early start to their weekend series while others are wrapping up their series started earlier this week. As you prepare your fantasy lineups for tonight, here are the top pitchers that you should consider:
1. Chris Sale – BOS @ PHI – $14,100
Sale is crazy expensive since he stands clearly above the other pitchers in play for tonight. He costs over $5K more than the second-most expensive option, but he could still be a popular option since he has been so good for Boston this year and has a great matchup against the Phillies.
In his first year in Boston, Sale is 8-2 with a 2.97 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He has struck out 126 batters in 91 innings although he hasn’t had a double-digit strikeout game in any of his last four starts. He has allowed at least three runs in each of those starts as well. While he hasn’t been in the best form even his “down” starts are good from a fantasy perspective because he brings plenty of strikeouts while piling up innings. He has at least 22 DKFP in 12 of his 13 starts this year, so the risk of a total bust is low while the upside is sky-high against the struggling Phillies.
2. Jordan Montgomery – COL vs. SF – $7,500
While the Yankees’ bats have gotten most of the attention this season for good reason, they’ve gotten good starting pitching from veterans like CC Sabathia and young starters like Montgomery. In his first 11 starts in the Majors, Montgomery is 4-4 with a 3.55 ERA. He has been even more dialed in lately, though, allowing two runs or fewer in four straight starts.
In those four starts, the lefty has struck out 24 batters in 24 innings with a stellar 1.50 ERA. He gets the start tonight on the road in Oakland, but his numbers have actually been better away from Yankee Stadium. With the Bronx Bombers lineup rolling along, he has a good shot at another win tonight if he can continue his outstanding recent form.
3. Jeff Hoffman – COL vs. SF – $7,500
Hoffman would have been second on this list except for one thing: Coors Field. The 24-year-old has been outstanding in his four starts for the Rockies going 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27 innings. He has allowed one run in each of his last three starts while holding opponents to just 10 hits in 20.1 innings and reaching the seventh inning in each start.
Those three starts all did come on the road, though, with elevation not being a factor. In his only Coors start of the season, he gave up three runs on six hits to the Dodgers but still earned the win. There’s always increased risk when rolling with a starting pitcher in Denver, but I think Hoffman has shown enough to be worth a look especially since he’ll face a Giants’ offense that has struggled most of the season.
4. Gio González – WAS @ NYM – $9,000
González is the second-most expensive play behind only Chris Sale. In his 13 starts this season, González is 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA. He hasn’t been able to pitch deep into games due to pitch count concerns, but his strikeout numbers have been solid with 74 in his 80.1 innings. He struck out six the last time he faced New York when he held them to one run on two hits in 6.1 innings.
The only reason Gio isn’t higher on this list is that he has struggled in road games (4-1, 4.38 ERA) and in night games (3-1, 4.25 ERA). Since this game is tonight and on the road, his risk factor jumps up a bit especially since the Mets come into the series having won five of their last six after scoring 18 runs in a three-game set with Chicago.
5. Sonny Gray – OAK vs. NYY– $7,700
Gray is a boom-or-bust flier to check out under $8K tonight as he and the A’s face the Yankees. The matchup is a brutal one given the way the Yankees have been rolling, but Gray has shown some signs he could be returning to elite form.
He struck out 10 Rays in a no-decision in his last start allowing nine hits and five runs (only two earned) over six innings. Gray posted 23.5 DKFP in that start giving him at least 23 DKFP in three of his last five outings. His best start during that span was a 37.4 DKFP performance against the Marlins when he struck out 11 and allowed just one run on three hits through seven. Overall, Gray is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA, but he is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA at home. He hasn’t been the most consistent since starting his season after a DL stint, but he does have a very high ceiling even facing the red-hot Yankees.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is <span Z.Thompson) 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.