Below you’ll find DFS and streamer rankings. I classified the pitchers by category and they’re ranked from best to worst in each category. I didn’t write about all the pitchers, but I chose the best options available. You’ll find the pitcher’s name, the DraftKings salary and where the game is being played.
The rankings are slanted toward a GPP, but the write-ups provide (hopefully) the information necessary to fill out a double-up lineup. My approach to ranking pitchers is broken into three parts.
- How good is the pitcher? This may sound overly simplistic but I’ll never use a pitcher unless I believe he has a high likelihood he can get outs consistently. I use three statistics primarily to evaluate a pitcher: strikeout rate, hard hit rate and hit distribution (ground balls and fly balls). Strikeouts are not the end all, be all because there are different expectations based on the pitchers salary. Strikeouts are very important, but they need to evaluated and rooted in the second part.
- What is the pitcher’s salary? There different point expectation levels for each salary range. A pitcher with five digits implies he is going to provide 27-plus points (usually with a lot of strikeouts) and the likelihood of that are high. A pitcher below $7,000 means expectations should be lowered. Therefore, expect 10-14 points with the expectation he could score in the single digits. When evaluating a pitcher below $7,000 I’m looking for a quality start with moderate strikeouts (4-5) over 6-plus innings. The reason why is these pitchers may not have the ceiling as the pricier pitchers, but they may the higher ROI potential. By that I mean, if a $6,500 pitcher provides 19 points that’s better than a $11,000 pitcher providing 27 points because the ROI (return on investment) is better. Or in other words, you’re making more points per dollar spent.
- Who is the pitcher playing and where is the game? Everyone uses Coors as an example as a place where to not choose a pitcher, but let’s take it a little further. Obviously you don’t want a pitcher pitching in Coors, but what about a fly ball pitcher in Milwaukee? I’m not using a fly ball pitcher in that ballpark because the likelihood of home run is higher than in another ballpark like Oakland or Minnesota. The initial team statistics I look at is wOBA and hard hit rate against the handedness pitcher. These statistics quickly provide insight into how effective the offense is. It’s very important to take these statistics into context because players may have been injured and come back into the lineup. The next team statistic is strikeout and hit distribution against the handedness pitcher. For example, if a team hits a lot of ground balls, the pitcher generates a lot of ground balls and is only priced $6,500 odds are I’m going to use him.
Kevin Gausman: $4,300 – ATL
Of all the pitchers today Gausman has the best raw stuff. He has not pitched very well as a starter, but he’s facing a bad offense and the price point is low enough I will take a chance on him. Even if he scores 15 points he will provide a high ROI.
Chris Hestson: $9,500 – @MIL
I love Heston against the Brewers. Heston struggles against lefties but does well against righties. The Brewers will probably only use three lefties, which bodes well for Heston.
Lance Lynn: $11,100 – CIN
Since coming off the DL, in six starts, Lynn has a 2.25 ERA, 1.083 WHIP and a 28.8 percent strikeout rate. In fact, he has six or more strikeouts in all but one of those starts. Lynn has looked great but I don’t see the upside to warrant the high price point. The Reds have the sixth lowest strikeout rate against righties so I don’t see a lot of strikeouts tonight. However, he is the safest pitcher tonight because the Reds have the fourth lowest hard hit rate against righties so I do not see very many extra base hits.
Anibal Sanchez: $10,200 – @TB
A lot of fantasy owners have Sanchez as their number one starting pitcher today because the Rays offense is inept and he has a great chance to win the game. I like Sanchez too because he’s pitched much better than his 4.29 ERA would indicate. His hard rate ranks in the top 25 percent among qualified starting pitchers. Of all the pitchers going tonight he has the second highest probability to provide a quality start.
Kyle Hendricks: $8,200 – COL
There’s an adage for some fantasy owners is to never take hitters the first day after leaving Colorado. For the year he has given up four earned runs or more in seven out of 19 starts. Also, he’s only averaging 5.2 innings per start. So, if you use him you probably will not get a lot of innings and has a good chance of blowing up.
Robbie Ray: $8,000 – @SEA
I can see Ray performing well tonight because he is a fly ball pitcher and is pitching in a big ballpark. However, the Mariners offense is difficult to peg. They lead the majors in hard hit rate and have the eighth highest ground ball rate, but they are only are 21st in wOBA. I can see him finishing the night as a top 3-4 pitcher, but I can also see him getting lit up as Nelson Cruz and Mark Trumbo take him deep.
Edison Volquez: $8,600 – @CLE
Even though the Indians are a fairly average offense against righties I’m not confident about using Volquez despite the 3.15 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. The biggest reason why is I do not believe he’s a good enough pitcher for the salary. For a pitcher with an ERA that low I would expect the hard hit rate to be low, but it’s the opposite. In fact he ranks in the bottom 25 percent among qualified starting pitchers in hard hit rate.
Cody Anderson: $8,100 – KC
I wrote a full write-up on Anderson here. I love him as real life pitcher, but not in DFS terms because the strikeouts will not be there.
Jorge De La Rosa: $7,700 – @CHC
Some fantasy owners may want to use De La Rosa because he has a 1.93 ERA and 1.098 WHIP on the road this year (in six starts). However, in his last 39 starts on the road (including this year’s data) he has a 4.19 ERA and 1.327 WHIP. I’m not using him because the walk rate is 11.6 percent.
Ivan Nova: $6,600 – @TEX
Similar to Cody Anderson, Nova doesn’t provide the strikeout potential for me to use him in a GPP.
Alex Wood: $7,100 – @BAL
I’ve always said Wood’s future role will be as a dominant reliever because he relies on deception to get outs, which isn’t effective in the long term as a starter.
Mike Montgomery: $7,300 – ARI
I wrote an extensive write-up on Montgomery on July 2 and I said I wasn’t buying him as a starting pitcher. Since I wrote the piece he has a 6.98 ERA and 1.862 WHIP.
John Danks: $6,100 – @BOS
Some fantasy owners may want to use Danks because he has a 2.25 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in his last four starts, but I’m still staying away because he’s still not very good. Example, he has a 4.86 ERA and 1.453 WHIP in his previous 46 starts.