WATCH: PITCHER TO CONSIDER – FELIX HERNANDEZ
Let’s get right to my top-five pitching targets ahead of tonight’s 15-game MLB slate.
1. Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs CIN – $11,700
Strasburg has been a bit of a disappointment in his last couple outings, but I don’t think this is cause for concern. He has struggled with giving up homers in his last two starts, but he has 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings, so clearly he is still generating plenty of swings and misses. Strasburg has always been known as one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball and his 12.1% swing strike rate this year is his best mark since his rookie year. He has some bizarre splits this season, evidenced by him 2.61 road ERA and 4.15 ERA at home. For his career, Strasburg has had a significantly better home ERA, so he is likely to positive regression while pitching in Washington.
2. Chris Archer – TB vs BAL – $12,500
Although he struggles with his command at times, Chris Archer has as much DFS upside as any pitcher in baseball. He has gone over 30 DKFP in three of his last eight outings. The key to his upside has been a career best 11.17 strikeouts per nine innings, which is the best mark of his career. Archer will also be pitching at Tropicana Field, where he as a 3.18 career ERA. He also offers a to of security while pitching in Tampa Bay. Archer has scored at least 15 DKFP in every home start this season. While many people may think of the Orioles as a strong offensive team, the reality is that they just haven’t been this season. Against right-handed pitching, Baltimore is 18th in baseball with a .318 wOBA. They also have the ninth highest strikeout rate in the league at 22.9%. Archer has yet to score under 20 DKFP against American League East rivals when pitching at home in 2017.
3. Alex Wood – LAD vs COL – $9,600
Despite the great aces available on the slate, Alex Wood has had the most success this year of any pitcher going tonight. Wood leads all National League starters with in both ERA and FIP this season. The only reason he isn’t higher on the list is because the Dodgers don’t often let him work too deep into games. They have one of the best bullpens in baseball, so they tend to not stretch out their starters for longer than necessary. This limits his upside a bit, but Wood has still been able to rack up fantasy points this year. He has scored at least 17 DKFP in eight consecutive starts and has scored as many as 34.45 DKFP over this stretch. The Rockies offense has scored a lot of runs this year, but most of this has been due to the effects of Coors Field. When adjusting for park factors, the Rockies have just a 92 wRC+ against left-handed pitching while striking out at a 23.6% clip.
4. Michael Fulmer – DET @ SD – $8,300
Fulmer is arguably the safest option on the slate with a plus matchup against the Padres. Fulmer is going to be getting boosts from a few areas. The first is just a bump from pitching tonight in the National League. Fulmer benefits from getting to face a pitcher as opposed to a DH. He also benefits from a park upgrade, as Petco Park is a more favorable pitchers park than Comerica is. Finally, Fulmer gets the largest bump from playing the Padres who allow the most fantasy points to pitchers of any team in baseball. They are the lowest scoring team in the league and strikeout at the second highest rate at 25.4%. Fulmer has a lot of success on the road this season. While pitching away from Detroit, he has scored at least 16 DKFP in five of his six outings.
5. Felix Hernandez – SEA vs HOU – $5,900
King Felix enters tonight as one of the best value plays on the slate. This is an incredibly cheap price for a pitcher of his ability. Even though the Astros have one of the top offenses in baseball, Hernandez is usable since he needs just 11.8 DKFP to meet salary expectations. When he faced off against Houston earlier this season, Hernandez finished with 16.25 DKFP. George Springer also had to leave yesterday’s game after being hit by a pitch, so there is a good chance he will miss tonight’s game. This will be Hernandez’ first start in two months do to a shoulder injury, so there is some risk in rostering him. However, he was able to pitch six innings in his last rehab start, so he shouldn’t be on too tight of a pitch restriction. This is likely to be the last chance to roster him at such a cheap price tag.
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.