It’s a holiday weekend, so let’s get right to the pitcher rankings.
1. Jacob deGrom – NYM vs PHI – $12,500
There are a lot of top-notch options tonight, but deGrom takes the cake as the best of the best. After a slight downtick in performance, deGrom has responded with three consecutive games of at least 31 DKFP. He should be able to keep the momentum going with a strong matchup against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies. Their .338 winning percentage is easily the worst in baseball. They are also 28th in baseball with a .300 wOBA against right-handed pitching while striking out 23.5% of the time, which is the sixth-highest rate in the league. DeGrom is also striking out a career-best 10.48 hitters per nine innings due to a 14.4% swinging strike rate. His strikeout prowess combined with the Phillies’ strikeout rate gives him a lot of upside.
2. Robbie Ray – ARI vs COL – $10,300
Of all the pitchers on the slate, I believe that Ray has the greatest upside. He isn’t quite as safe as Wood or deGrom due to the ballpark he is pitching in, but this is a deceptively easy matchup. Many people might look at the run totals put up by the Rockies and their record to conclude that this is a good offense, but in reality, they aren’t. When adjusting for park factors the Rockies’ offense grades out as very weak. Against left-handed pitching, they have an 83 wRC+, which is 25th in baseball. They also have a 24.2% strikeout rate against lefties, which is the league’s eighth highest rate. The Rockies do not hit the ball well away from the homer-happy Coors Field. On the road, they have an 81 wRC+, which makes them the third worst road offense in baseball.
3. Alex Wood – LAD @ SD – $11,700
As good as that Clayton Kershaw guy is, he isn’t leading the Dodgers rotation in ERA or FIP. Those honors go to Alex Wood, who is sporting a 1.86 ERA and a 2.12 FIP this season. He also comes into today with an incredibly high floor. He has scored at 17 DKFP in nine consecutive starts and has scored at least 26 DKFP in five of his last seven starts. Wood is posting a couple of insane rates this season. He has a 66.7% ground ball rate and he has a 23.6% hard contact rating; these are the best hard contact and ground ball rates for any starting pitcher. Wood is going to be matched up against the Padres, who allow the most fantasy points to pitchers of any team in baseball. They have the league’s worst .wOBA against left-handed pitching and have a 25.3% strike out rate.
4. Lance McCullers – HOU vs NYY – $8,800
McCullers is a really interesting play tonight. On the surface, this would appear to be a bad matchup since the Yankees have one of the best offenses in baseball. However, the Yankees are far from being at full strength. They recently placed Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday and Tyler Austin on the disabled list. They called up one of their top prospects, Dustin Fowler to fill the void of their injured veteran and he suffered a terrible injury in the first inning of his first major league game. He is not expected to return until the end of next season. As if this wasn’t enough reason to downgrade the Bronx Bombers, they played a late game against the White Sox last night due to a three-hour rain delay. They spent all night flying to Houston and are likely to be extremely fatigued. McCullers has been elite this year with a 29.4% strikeout rate and a 2.53 ERA. He should be able to take advantage of a beat down Yankees’ squad.
5. Marco Estrada – TOR vs BOS – $7,100
I am going to say something that is not going to make the people of Boston happy, this Red Sox offense is overrated. Each and every night Boston has one of the highest implied run totals, yet they have just a 95 wRC+ for the season. They are five percent below league average production. Estrada hasn’t been great this year, but he is striking out a career-best 9.98 hitters per nine innings, which offsets some of the runs he has been allowing. He needs just 14.2 DKFP to meet salary expectations, which he has accomplished in nine of his last 14 starts. Don’t avoid this Red Sox offense due to the name on the front of their jerseys. This isn’t the same vaunted offense from the days of Big Papi.
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.