This pitching slate is full of conflicting opportunities. Plenty of pitchers have great match-ups but are pitching in bad ballparks, or good match-ups in bad ballparks, with no pitcher really projecting 100% confidence in their situation tonight.
With that being said, Taijuan Walker ($9,000) could make for an interesting play tonight. The knock against him here is that he doesn’t strike out a lot of batters at only 7.0 K/9 for this young season. Other than that, he’s got a lot of positives going for him. He’s posted a 56.4% GB rate which is 5th best on this slate and will take on the Houston Astros who strike out more often than any team on the slate. The Astros will have to travel about from Houston which cost them a 0.22 difference in wOBA last season and will head to one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the league, Safeco Park. Safeco surrendered 20% less runs and 16% less HRs than the league average last season.
Chris Archer ($10,300) is the GPP play of choice tonight. It’s been a rough start for the Rays ace who is sporting an 0-4 record and a combined 19 DraftKings points over his last three starts. He faces a tough Baltimore offense tonight who knocked him around for six runs on ten hits just two weeks ago. Despite all that, Archer hasn’t been “that” bad. He’s still earned the highest K/9 on this slate (yes, even more than Syndergaard) at a ridiculous 13.27. His 2.95 xFIP is five best on the slate, indicating that he is running significantly below expectation and his numbers should regress to the mean. This game will be played in the friendly confines of Tropicana Field that allowed 32% less runs than the league average last season, the second most pitcher friendly park in the league by that metric. Expect his ownership to be low with other top aces, who have been pitching better, on the slate.
The value option that I prefer is Drew Pomeranz ($6,600) who has been filthy so far this season. His 12.74 K/9 this season is behind only Archer and Syndergaard. He’s averaging 25.9 DraftKings points per game this season and will travel to San Francisco to take on the Giants tonight. I don’t love this matchup with the Giants, but it’s hard to overlook the strikeout ability and excellent ballpark at this price.
I’m looking to pick on Julio Teheran tonight and get some exposure to the Boston Red Sox. Teheran has had little to offer this season as he’s tallied a 17.4% K Rate which is the fourth lowest on the slate. He’s also failing to record ground ball outs and it touting a 42.3% FB rate which is the third highest on the slate. That’s a really bad combination and recipe for homers. The Sox are never a contrarian play, but could be tonight as they travel to a National League ballpark. Many owners may opt to fade Boston, but I find it difficult to pass up the team that has scored the 7th most runs and has the 7th best wOBA in such a good match-up.
Another sneaky stack would be the Toronto Blue Jays. They will battle White Sox ace, Chris Sale, and the Blue Jays certainly haven’t lived up to their lofty fantasy expectations this season. While Sale is a high strikeout pitcher, he’s still giving up 35.9% FBs, which is the 9th highest on this slate. Despite the early struggles this season, the Jays were a dominant force against LHP last season, earning the league’s highest wOBA by a significant margin. They are essentially “match-up proof”. It will be so easy to stack the Coors game and avoid Sale, that you can get the Jays at a low ownership and excellent pricing. NOTE: Chris Sale was scratched for Monday’s start, and the Blue Jays will face Miguel Gonzalez. A supremely better matchup and the Jays hitters are priced to face Sale. Expect them to be higher owned than previously stated.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis and news as starting lineups are released! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.