Below you’ll find DFS and streamer rankings for the night games. 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.
Noah Syndergaard: $10,200 – @BAL
I have no idea why Syndergaard costs $1,400 less than what Jacob deGrom cost yesterday because they’re almost as good in regards to skillset and the matchup is the same. The ballpark is scary, but Syndergaard allows less hard contact and more ground balls than deGrom.
Jon Lester: $9,900 – DET
If you remove the month of April Lester has a 2.69 ERA, 1.113 WHIP with a 25 percent strikeout rate. The Tigers offense has continued to hit lefties even after Miguel Cabrera went on the DL, but since the game is in the NL they are going to be without (most likely) Victor Martinez. I love Lester much more if Martinez is not in the lineup.
Ubaldo Jimenez: $7,400 – NYM
You’re rolling the dice any time you use Jimenez, but the Mets offense is OBP challenged and Jimenez’s walk rate is only 6.7 percent in his last 12 starts. I don’t expect a lot of batters on base so there’s higher possibility he’ll have a great game.
Jeff Samardzija: $6,800 – @LAA
In the past month, against righties, the Angels have the third lowest hard hit rate and fourth lowest walk rate. In Samardzija’s last three starts he’s allowed 22 earned runs (in 15.1 innings) so he’s definitely struggled. During that time frame the BABIP is .330 and his HR/FB rate is 22.7 percent. Samardzija is a better pitcher than this and eventually he’ll improve.
Dallas Keuchel: $11,400 – TB
Keuchel has been the biggest surprise pitcher this year, but he’s “struggled” of late. In his last seven starts he has a 3.23 ERA and 1.162 WHIP. Against lefties, the Rays have the sixth highest wOBA and second lowest ground ball rate. Keuchel makes his living generating ground balls so something has to give.
Jaime Garcia: $10,300 – @SF
Since coming off the DL Garcia has a 1.37 ERA, 0.949 WHIP with a 11 percent walk rate. I usually avoid high walk pitchers, but he’s generating a lot of weak contact and ground balls. The reason why I’m not high on Garcia is I don’t see a lot of strikeouts.
Corey Kluber: $11,200 – @BOS
At home, against righties, the Red Sox have the sixth highest wOBA, sixth lowest hard hit rate and second lowest strikeout rate. Kluber can strikeout 10-plus at any moment, but there is more downside than you think.
Nathan Karns: $7,700 – @HOU
Karns, in his last 11 starts, has a 3.18 ERA and 1.251 WHIP with a 25.1 percent strikeout rate. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s rankings the Astros, since the All-Star Break have the 21st highest strikeout rate.
Robbie Ray: $6,600 – @PIT
I loved Ray this past Friday and I got burned. He’s a much better pitcher on the road, but the Pirates have the third highest hard rate against lefties for the year.
Daniel Norris: $5,100 – @CHC
Norris has a great matchup. A National League game against the third highest strikeout rate tam in the majors. However, Norris’ command has continued to be very loose. It’s hard to trust Norris, but at his price point he’s very tempting.
Jered Weaver: $6,100 – CWS
Weaver has looked good since coming off the DL. He’s allowing a ton of weak contact, albeit fly ball contact, but the White Sox, against righties, have the second lowest fly ball rate. Also, the White Sox have the second lowest hard hit rate so it looks like Weaver, if he’s allowed to throw 100-plus pitches, could provide a high positive ROI.
Stephen Strasburg: $9,100 – @COL
Strasburg has looked great since coming off the DL, but I can’t use him in Colorado.
Matt Cain: $4,800 – @STL
Since coming off the DL Cain has allowed four or more earned runs in six of his eight starts.