We have an 11 game slate to kick off our week with five pitchers priced at $10K or above tonight. Weather is also going to be a factor, which could dramatically change how this slate is approached. I’ll give my top 10 pitchers for tonight (weather not factoring in) and get you set. As always, you can find me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
#1) Max Scherzer – WAS vs SFG – $13,600– “Ugh, Steve is going with the most expensive pitcher on the night, I could have told you that!” That’s what I imagine what you, the reader, is thinking when you open up this article. I get it, it’s an easy cop out, but I genuinely like this matchup for Scherzer, even with the perceived low strikeout total. Yes, the Giants are a VERY tough team to strikeout, in fact they own the second lowest K% in the league against righties at 16.8%. However, I did some digging and came to this conclusion. The Giants have struck out ten times or more just 13 times this season. One thing has been consistent though, and that is it’s almost ALWAYS against high strikeout pitchers. That group includes Clayton Kershaw, Robbie Ray, Chris Archer, and Jake Arrieta. Scherzer comes into this game with a K/9 of 11 and pitching in cozy AT&T Park. Not only do I think Scherzer is capable of a solid game, I think it’s very likely that he can rack up some strikeouts in this one as well.
#2) Steven Matz – NYM vs. COL – $8,500 – -I like how Matz is priced for this matchup against the Rockies at home. Citi Field is a far cry from Coors Field and I think this opens up the possibility for a solid start from Matz. He’s been a bit inconsistent lately and I am certainly taking that into consideration, but the Rockies have been downright terrible on the road. Coming into this matchup, the Rockies own the second lowest wOBA in the league at .291. Think about that.. the only team that owns a worst wOBA in the LEAGUE than the Rockies is the Atlanta Braves. The Rockies also have a .294 OBP and a .380 SLG, not to mention their 23.6 K% which is fifth in the league. Matz owns an 8.9 K/9 at home, so he’s certainly capable of reaching that seven or eight strikeout mark. For his price and his matchup, he’s one of my favorite options.
#3) Kenta Maeda – LAD vs. ARZ – $10,200 – – This will be the fourth time that Maeda has faced the Diamondbacks this season with some mixed results. In 15.2 innings, Maeda has allowed seven runs on 18 hits with a 15:3 K:BB ratio against the D-Backs. Overall, Maeda has been a having a solid season, even though I feel like he’s a bit overpriced at $10,200. My biggest issue has been the fact that Maeda doesn’t go very deep into games. Maeda has only made the seventh inning twice this season and has never seen an inning more. Overall, Maeda is averaging just around six innings per start. While he’s been able to grab some solid scores during his short appearances, it would really take a solid game to return value on the night. All in all, if you’re a fan of Maeda, I get it and it makes sense. As a player who looks at getting value back on what I roster, I’m not the biggest fan, but with what feels like a lack of solid options tonight, Maeda easily slides into the number three spot.
#4) Jose Quintana- CHW vs. MIN – $10,600 – The Twins have been pretty solid against left-handed pitchers this season, but they take a big blow starting tonight as they traded away one of their best hitters in Eduardo Nunez. With that, the Twins lose their leadoff man and someone who owned a .356 wOBA against lefties. Even without Nunez, the Twins have a team .336 wOBA against lefties with a .336 OBP and a .447 SLG. Guys like Miguel Sano are a big reason for that. Quintana will be facing the Twins for the fourth time this season where he’s averaging 21.5 FPPG against them with an 18.5 fantasy point per game average. While Quintana has been good against the Twins, he hasn’t exactly blown them away at any point either. I think he is perfectly capable of a solid game here again tonight, but I’m not expecting a 25-point performance either.
#5) Marco Estrada – TOR vs. BAL – $9,400 – – Another matchup tonight against teams that are familiar with each other with the Blue Jays taking on the Orioles. This will be the third time Estrada has matched up against the Orioles, and in that matchup he’s pitched 11 innings allowing four runs on 10 hits with a 17:8 K:BB ratio. Estrada has had some issues with the walks this season, owning a 3.2 BB/9 to go with his 8.3 K/9. The Orioles have not looked like the same team since the All-Star break, owning a league low .268 wOBA with a .271 OBP and a .342 SLG. I can see the Orioles coming back to form at some point, but taking advantage of them seems to be the right move right now.
#6) Jake Odorizzi – TBR vs. NYY – $8,200 – I actually debated putting Odorizzi higher (but I won’t because you’re reading this and I didn’t) but I do like this spot for him. The Yankees are just not a good team and they can’t hit anyone at this point. Coming into this game, the Yankees own a .305 wOBA against righties with a .308 OBP and a .397 SLG. Odorizzi has been up and down all season, but has been better at home than on the road. The only issue I do have is that the Yankees aren’t striking out a ton, which is saving them from being almost an automatic team to target against. Odorizzi has only reached double-digit strikeouts once this season against the Blue Jays and nine once against the Mariners. In the lone start against the Yankees, Odorizzi only managed six on the night. It’s not a bad start any means and personally I’ll be looking at Odorizzi tonight, I just have my expectations in check.
#7) Vince Velasquez – PHI vs. ATL – $9,700 – – Believe it or not, the Braves have actually been hitting well since the All-Star break. I know this may seem strange, but I have the numbers to prove that. Since we returned in the second half, the Braves own a .318 wOBA, ranked eighth, with a .335 OBP and a .395 SLG. Not too shabby for a team that was ranked near the basement in every offensive category in the first half. On the other hand, I don’t hate this start for Velasquez, even though I think he’s a bit overpriced. Velasquez hasn’t been very good on the road, but overall he has some solid numbers. I’m not completely convinced this is how the Braves will be hitting going forward, so I’d be willing to get Velasquez in a lineup tonight, but only in GPPs.
#8) Junior Guerra – MIL vs. PIT – $8,400 – – Guerra is quietly posting a nice season for the Brewers. Coming into this start, he owns a 2.85 ERA in 15 starts with 80 strikeouts, a 1.09 WHIP and averages 18.3 FPPG. He faces the Pirates for the second time in the past two weeks and he had a great game against them the first time, grabbing 17.9 fantasy points in six innings of two run ball with a 6:3 K:BB ratio. The Pirates are a good team against righties, so I’m a bit skeptical that Guerra can replicate his first start against them.
#9) Steven Brault – PIT vs. MIL – $4,100 – – It’s always risky to take a kid coming up from the minors to make a start, but the stars could align here tonight for the top prospect, Brault. He takes on a Brewers team that isn’t horrible against left-handed pitching with a .320 wOBA, but they strikeout a TON and that is a strength for Brault. In the minors this season, Brault owns an 11.8 K/9 in 10 starts and faces a Brewers team that has the highest K% against lefties at 24.7%. I could certainly rank Brault higher because of this matchup, but I think it’s only fair to keep the expectations reasonable. For what it’s worth though, grabbing Brault at just $4,100 could end up being the steal of the night.
#10) Tyler Chatwood- COL vs. NYM – $7,100 – – Chatwood is very fairly priced, maybe even cheaper than he should be against the Mets tonight. At a very friendly $7,100, Chatwood brings his road success to Citi Field tonight. On the road this season, Chatwood is averaging 19 FPPG with a 1.30 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP with a K/9 of 5.3. That right there is the reason for him being lower than you may expect on this list. Even on the road his K/9 doesn’t really improve, taking a very small bump up to 6.3. That being said, he’s not going to kill your salary cap tonight and his matchup isn’t the worst. The Mets own a .308 wOBA against righties with a 22.5 K%, which makes Chatwood a viable option on this slate tonight.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.