WATCH: THE CASE FOR MATT HARVEY TONIGHT
We have a full 15-game slate set to start at 7:05 PM EST, and there are only two pitchers that hit five digits in salary (Kershaw and Cueto). This leaves us with some nice options and gives us an opportunity for some nice roster construction. Let’s get to it!
1. Rick Porcello – BOS vs TB – $9,700
After a mediocre start to the year, Porcello has begun to resemble the pitcher that won the AL Cy Young last season. He has scored at least 20 DKFP in four consecutive games. He has also been fairly consistent this season with six quality starts in seven games. The Rays are a good offense to target for right-handed pitchers. They are middle of the road with a .323 .wOBA against righties, but they strike out in 25.9% of their at-bats, which is the most in baseball. Porcello is generally not thought of as a high strikeout pitcher, but he does have the third highest strikeout rate of any pitcher on the slate.
2. Danny Duffy – KC vs BAL – $8,600
Duffy hasn’t been bad this year, but his strikeout rate has dipped dramatically from 25.7% to 16.0%. However, Duffy’s peripheral stats imply that his strikeout rate should bounce back. He has an 11.5% swinging strike rate, which is not only well above league average, it is also higher than his career rate of 9.5%. It is reasonable to expect him to strike out close to a batter an inning going forward. The Orioles are striking out in 25% of their at-bats against left-handed pitching, which is the fifth most in baseball. This is more reason to believe that Duffy could be in line for a big strikeout night.
3. Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ COL – $11,300
Rarely will there be a day that Kershaw pitches that he won’t be my number one option. However, a trip to Coors will knock Clayton down in my pitcher rankings. I expect him to be fairly low owned in tournaments tonight. I think most will remember Kershaw getting knocked around in his first outing at Coors this year. However, in the three years prior to this season, Kershaw was 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA. He also struck out 10.17 hitters per nine innings at Coors while allowing just a .194 batting average against. It is possible Kershaw’s last start in Colorado was more of an outlier than what we should expect. Kershaw also comes with a discounted price tag while pitching in Coors, which adds to the appeal. The Rockies also have the third highest strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season.
UPDATE: The PHI @ WAS game has been POSTPONED.
4. Tanner Roark – WAS vs PHI – $8,800
I think Roark is a safe pitching option for tonight. He has made two starts against the Phillies this year and has scored at least 15 DKFP in each of those starts. Roark also made five starts against Philadelphia last year and scored at least 20 DKFP in each of those starts. This makes him a strong cash game target. Roark has had an ERA under three in both seasons that he was primarily a starting pitcher. He doesn’t generate many swings and misses, but he does an excellent job of limiting hard contact – he has a career .271 BABIP. Just 24.4% of contact against him are hard hit balls. This is a very elite rate for a starting pitcher.
5. Matt Harvey – NYM @ MIL – $6,900
Harvey is strictly a GPP play tonight. He has not been very good this season, but there is reason to believe that he has some talent left in his arm. He still has plus velocity with an average fastball of 94.3 MPH and a slider that averages 88.6 MPH. I think most of Harvey’s issues have stemmed from off-the-field problems that have carried over to his on-field performance. Harvey was recently suspended and admitted to being immature and not being dedicated enough to his team. The time off could allow Harvey to refocus himself to be better prepared for games. This is an extremely cheap price tag for somebody with the ability of Harvey.
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