We have eight games going tonight with a fairly weak pitching field to choose from. Aside from potential trades to watch out for, this slate is pretty cut and dry. I’ll give you my opinions on 10 of these guys to get you ready for tonight. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Top 5 Pitchers
1) Stephen Strasburg – WAS vs ARZ – $12,900 – Overall, I don’t LOVE this matchup for Strasburg, but with the options we have going tonight, he ends up landing as the top option. My gripe here is that it’s in a hitter friendly park in Chase Field in the heat that Strasburg LOVES to (not) pitch in so much. With that aside, the K potential is always so big for Strasburg that it’s hard to give him the total fade on a particular night. The Diamondbacks are certainly a team that Strasburg can rack up the strikeouts against, as they own the 5th highest K% in the league against righties at 23.3%. Strasburg has a solid 11.3 K/9 on the road this season, and I have no reason to believe he can’t make some magic happen tonight. That is of course, if he can get over the heat.
2) Danny Salazar – CLE vs. MIN – $10,400 – Salazar and the Indians are the heavy favorites on this Monday, as they play the Twins at home tonight. Salazar will face the Twins for the second time this season where he came away with a very odd start that game. Salazar lasted just 4.2 innings while allowing three runs on three hits with a 4:3 K:BB ratio. Salazar has been better on the road than he has at Progressive Field, but that is to be expected in such a hitter friendly ballpark. Also, when we talk about pitching “worse” at home, Salazar still owns a .275 wOBA with a .361 SLG. The look of the Twins has changed drastically since the trade of Eduardo Nunez and not for the better, as the Twins own a .317 wOBA against righties with a .324 OBP. Salazar should be a fine play tonight against this Twins offense.
3) Jimmy Nelson – MIL vs. SDP – $7,800 – Nelson intrigues me a lot tonight, and I think he could be in line for a solid start. If you look at his 10-game log, it doesn’t look very appealing, as he hasn’t been scoring in the double digits very often. However, this is a seriously depleted Padres team that strikes out a ton against righties and has lost the majority of their big bats. With the team that remains, the Padres have a K% of 24.6%, ranked second in the league. Add that in with their .290 wOBA against righties and a .380 SLG, and I truly don’t have anything that scares me here. Nelson is a sneaky play tonight in my opinion.
4) Chris Archer- TBR vs. KCR – $10,100 – Archer has spun two solid starts in a row now at the perfect time for the Rays with the trade deadline upon us. The question here will be if Archer is even on the team to make this start tonight. If he is, he has a favorable matchup against the Royals while pitching at home, where Archer has been his best this season. Pitching at Tropicana, Archer is averaging 21.8 FPPG in 10 starts with a 2.95 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a K/9 of 10.6. This Royals team has really been struggling at the plate since the All-Star break, as they’ve only been able to muster a .266 wOBA with a .284 OBP and a .316 SLG. The Royals are still a team that can be tough to strikeout, but a 20.7 K% is doable for Archer tonight.
5) Kyle Hendricks – CHC vs. MIA – $9,700 – Hendricks will face the Marlins for the second time this season and the first at home. He isn’t overly priced tonight, and he certainly has the potential for a fantastic game, as he’s been his best at home. In 11 home starts, Hendricks owns a 1.36 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP and averaging 21.9 FPPG. Hendricks is just a hair above a K/9 of 8 at Wrigley Field, but the Marlins have been a tough team to strike out. They only own a 18.8 K% against righties which ranks 26th in the league. I think this really brings down the potential for Hendricks tonight, as he only had five strikeouts in his first matchup against Miami.
6) Archie Bradley – ARZ vs. WAS– $8,000 – Bradley at $8,000 is what has the gears in my head going about this start. He hasn’t been fantastic by any means, but he does have some strikeout potential, and the Nationals aren’t exactly crushing right-handed pitching this season either. Coming into this game, the Nationals own a .312 wOBA against righties with a .319 OBP and a .408 SLG, topped off with a 19.9 K%. Bradley is coming off one of his best starts of the season on the road against the Brewers, scoring 25.6 points, so let’s see if he can carry some of the momentum to this start.
7) Marcus Stroman – TOR vs. HOU – $8,200 – Now we’ve entered the area of the article where you don’t really love the matchups, but ehhhh maybe we can squeeze something out of these guys. With this matchup, Stroman isn’t a big strikeout guy by any means, but the Astros certainly help pitchers out in this department. Owning the fourth highest K% against right-handed pitchers at 23.9%, Stroman could potentially have something here. The most strikeouts he’s had this season was nine against the Rays and eight against the Dodgers. It would be a stretch for him to reach this level again, but this is certainly a team you can do it against. With that being said, the Astros own a .323 wOBA with a .422 SLG against righties. So Stroman definitely isn’t the safest option.
8) Adam Conley – MIA vs. CHC – $8,000 – It could certainly be said that Conley is putting together a very respectable 2016 campaign. Coming into this game, Conley owns a 3.38 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP and averaging 15.7 FPPG. He draws a pretty tough matchup against the Cubs at home tonight, but these Cubbies haven’t been crushing at home either. Owning a .326 wOBA with a .407 SLG is lower than I expected, but not anything to write off either. Even though the Cubs hit lefties very well, Conley has the potential to sneak out a good game here as well. In the month of July, Conley owned a 1.82 ERA with a .278 wOBA and a K/9 of 8.1. I’m not counting on it, but he’s a good GPP play in my opinion.
9) Doug Fister – HOU vs. TOR – $6,600 – Fister has been such a tough pitcher to figure out this season; it’s driving me slightly insane. He doesn’t strike guys out very much at all, I mean I think that’s obvious from his 5.6 K/9 this season. Fister hasn’t surpassed six strikeouts in a game once this season, but has matched that six four times. Amazingly enough though, even without the high strikeouts, he’s been in the 20’s for fantasy points four times out of his last 10 starts! That’s quite a bargain for someone in the $6K range. This matchup against the Blue Jays is a tough one, but Fister has surprised many times this season. If you’re looking for a cheap GPP play, Fister could be an option.
10) Danny Duffy- KCR vs. TBR – $10,900 – Duffy is extremely overpriced in my opinion, and I don’t think I’d be inclined to grab him on a roster tonight. But, with the remaining pitchers we have going tonight, he at least makes number 10 on this list. Even though he’s facing the Rays, they have hit left-handed pitchers really well this season, owning a .338 wOBA with a .341 OBP and a .445 SLG. Duffy has most certainly had his flashes of brilliance this season, but I can’t pay just shy of $11K for a pitcher that is averaging 11 FPPG overall. If he was maybe $1,000 cheaper, we may have something here, I just think it’s too much to pay that price 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.