DFS/Streamer Picks for Monday

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Pitcher Rankings

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.

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Fantasy Baseall Starting Pitcher Rankings: Week 16

The match ups and data you see below were pulled Friday morning. The data is for the 2015 season. Please be aware the match ups are subject to change. If you have any questions about the rankings hit me up Twitter @MattCommins

These are rankings for the entire week so I give the edge to a lot of fantasy pitchers who pitch twice. Also, the rankings are based on traditional 5×5 categories. I also provide write-ups for a few pitchers. My hope is after you read them you have a better understanding of why I ranked them.

 

Chris Tillman continues to look great. I wrote a few days ago Tillman is back to the pitcher he was the previous three seasons at Baseball Professor.

After watching Aaron Nola’s Major League debut I could not have been more impressed. He can throw all three pitches for strikes and he can also throw any of them out of the zone to generate swings and misses. The biggest worry about Nola is the fastball velocity declined dramatically after the fourth inning, going from 92-93 mph to 89-90. Its only one start so I’m not putting a lot of stock into that yet. From a fantasy perspective it’s going to be difficult to earn wins, but he’s going to be at least an average contributor in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts the rest of the year.

In eight starts this year Taylor Jungmann has only allowed more than two earned runs once … and that start was in Colorado. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he has been really good at generating ground balls and a lot of weak contact. His hard hit rate is so low he ranks in the top 20 percent among qualified pitchers. With the trade of Aramis Ramirez it looks as though the Brewers have begun selling off some of their players, which will make it harder to earn victories. However, if you’re looking for quality starts Jungmann is your man.

Mike Bolsinger is very similar to Chris Heston in that they’re solid pitchers, but struggle against left handed hitters. The Angels’ best hitters are righties, which makes Bolsinger a sneaky stream option in formats as shallow as 10-team mixed leagues. Heston has a good matchup against the Brewers, but he finishes the week in Texas and I do not believe it’s going to go well. If you’re in a deeper mixed league you probably have to start him; if he gives up 3-4 earned runs I would be happy.

Jose Fernanez has pitched great so far and if you own him you’re going to continue to use him. What I will (continue to) say is pitchers in their first year back from a TJ are going to be unpredictable with their command and will be subject to blow up starts. Example, just look at Matt Harvey’s 2015 season.

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DFS/Streamer Picks for Friday

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. *when I wrote this the Nationals, Giants and Red Sox did not name their starting pitcher for Friday.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Pitcher Rankings

Noah Syndagaard: $9,300 – @STL

I’ve been saying for a few weeks Syndagaard has been underpriced and now the salary jumps, but he’s still underpriced. His hard hit rate is 11 percent, which is the second lowest among qualified starting pitchers. The strikeout rate is tenth best and the walk rate is the 21st best. The offense probably won’t score many runs, but you’re getting a quality start with a strikeout per inning.

Sonny Gray: $9,600 – MIN

Other than Clayton Kershaw, Gray may be the safest pitcher. By that mean, the odds of him providing 17-20 points is extremely high.

Clayton Kershaw: $13,600 – @WSH

Quick question: who is the Nationals second best hitter currently on the 25 man roster? Yunel Escobar? Danny Espinosa? My initial impression of Kershaw’s salary was it was too high, but in fact it could be priced just right. If you remove the first two games of the year he has a 2.52 ERA, 0.949 WHIP with a 33.6 percent strikeout rate and 5.1 percent walk rate. At his price point he’s better cash game play, but he should be almost a lock to a 27-plus point performance. However, at his price point he needs to score in the 30s.

Jose Fernandez: $10,200 – PHI

Fernandez has been great in first two starts back, but like with Matt Harvey there is going to be inconsistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fernandez puts up the most points, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies light him up like they did to Michael Pineda.

Drew Hutchison: $6,700 – TB

I wrote a full write-up on Hutchison here. If he’s ever going to be startable in a GPP then this is the matchup. The Rays have the fourth lowest hard hit average and fifth lowest wOBA. What’s funny is Hutchison has actually been better against lefties than righties this year, which has been due the lack of effectiveness of the slider. Since 2014 he’s been a much better pitcher at home than on the road: 3.63 ERA and 1.162 WHIP at home compared to 5.63 ERA and 1.475 WHIP on the road.

Lance Lynn: $9,200 – NYM

Even though he’s had four starts from coming off the DL with forearm tightness, I’m still worried he may not finish the game. At this point in the year most starting pitchers are not 100 percent, but it’s something I cannot ignore with Lynn. He currently has a 1.287 WHIP and 2.90 ERA. The WHIP tells me he’s been lucky with the ERA. I’m concerned about the fly ball tendencies and the fact the Mets have the fifth highest fly ball rate against righties. Even though the Mets offense is below average there’s a good chance Lynn allows a home run.

Trevor Bauer: $8,500 – @CIN

Against righties, the Reds have the third lowest hard hit rate and the 16th best wOBA. They also have the sixth lowest strikeout rate and 12th best walk rate. At any time Bauer could score the most points of any pitcher, but based on the Reds team statistics the upside for Bauer is limited.

Ubaldo Jimenez: $7,600 – DET

Despite the narrative being bandied about in the media, Jimenez has actually improved his command and he has the lowest walk rate of his career (7.7 percent). The walk rate still puts him in the bottom 25 percent among qualified starting pitchers, but since his strikeout rate is in the top 25 percent (23.4 percent) and the ground ball rate is average Jimenez has value. This is an example where looking at the team statistics is futile because Miguel Cabrera is out and he’s been replaced with a below average player. The best Tigers hitters don’t have major platoon splits so this game is going to be a tossup.

Collin McHugh: $7,700 – TEX

My initial impression of McHugh was he would be an easy pass because the Rangers are very left handed and therefore, mash righties. However, McHugh has been better against lefties than righties; .275 wOBA compared to .295 respectively. Since the blowup start against the Mariners on June 13, he has been very good: 3.15 ERA, 1.107 WHIP with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate. Despite all the numbers McHugh is only a roto play at this point. If he was priced the $6,000s I would take a shot in a GPP.

Robbie Ray: $5,900 – SF

Ray could be nice value because the Giants lineup could have as many as four lefties in the lineup. Ray does very well against lefties, but he allows a lot of hard contact against righties. Depending on the lineup I would stack the Giants righties against Ray. If the Giants have four lefties in the lineup Ray may be worth a gamble in a GPP format.

Anibal Sanchez: $8,200 – BAL

Sanchez has similar strikeout and walk rate numbers as Ubaldo Jimenez. He also has just as good of a chance of winning the ballgame too. The Tigers offense may be marginally better than the Orioles, but the Orioles bullpen is better. Therefore, Sanchez is overpriced.

James Shields: $9,100 – COL

Shields has a 4.01 ERA pitching in one of the best pitcher ballparks in the majors and one of the divisions for pitching. A big part of that is the 17.9 percent HR/FB rate, but if you watch him pitch this isn’t the same guy as a year or two ago. The Rockies’ offense struggles on the road, but he’s given up four or more runs in six of his 19 starts; also, he’s given up 1 or less earned runs only five times. Sonny Gray has given up four or more earned runs twice and has allowed 1 or less runs ten times (out of 18 starts) … and he’s done that pitching in the AL. Therefore, he’s highly unpredictable and is priced too high.

Jake Odorizzi: $8,700 – @TOR

Odorizzi is a start in roto formats, but for DFS. He’s a fly ball pitcher, pitching in one of the best home run ballparks in the majors.

Mike Montgomery: $6,400 – @NYY

I wrote an extensive write-up on Montgomery here. Needless to say I’m not a believer in the talent level. Specifically, he’s a real life number five starting pitcher on a below average team. His best role would be in relief as lefty specialist.

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