DFS Starting Pitching: May 15th, 2018

15 May 2018 - 4:12pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 20 May 2018 - 1:14pm | Likes: 1 Like 

With thunderstorms predicted from late afternoon through the evening up and down most of the East coast, monitoring the latest weather is going to be crucial to putting together successful DFS lineups this evening. Right now it looks like Baltimore, Washington, New York and Boston are all potential landmines for tonight’s 14 game slate. And that’s unfortunate because this evening’s safest top tier option is likely to be Noah Syndergaard. Yes, Gerrit Cole has been absolutely lights out so far this season, but his matchup against the Angels is brutal, while Syndergaard faces a Blue Jays team that loses the DH and gets a park downgrade coming to the Big Apple. The Jays lineup also sets up a lot better against lefties than righties, and Syndergaard will own the platoon advantage against guys like Teoscar Hernandez and Josh Donaldson. Of the 28 teams playing this evening, only 6 have Vegas implied run totals of less than 4.0, and only Miami has a lower projected run total than Toronto. The Toronto bats have also been quiet of late, as over their last nine games the Jays are averaging less than 3 runs per contest and are in the midst of a ten game stretch in which they’ve scored more than four runs just twice, and in both cases they mounted just a 5 run effort. We know Syndergaard has massive K upside and provided this game plays clean there’s plenty of win equity here as well. Of the other three higher priced options this evening I’ve got no interest in Alex Wood. He faces a Marlins squad that’s hung around and made life miserable for plenty of good pitchers already this season. They don’t strike out a ton, and while the lineup is severely lacking in power, they have strung together enough hits in what should have been good matchups for pitchers, and generally been a nuisance despite not being a very good ballclub overall. Wood isn’t a guy that ever goes deep to start with, and he’ll need to to pay off his tag on most sites. Zack Greinke on the other hand, feels like the safest top option after Syndergaard, though there is a strong case for Gerrit Cole in tournaments. Greinke faces his former team, the Brewers, at home in a now “humidor aided” environment, which has led to far fewer runs so far this year. In fact, Chase Field is ranked 28th in comparative average runs scored per game in 2018. An injury riddled and ineffective Diamondbacks lineup could certainly be part of the equation here, but it’s hard not to think the new steps taken with the baseballs isn’t at least playing some role. While the Brewers are a middle of the pack ballclub when it comes to available strikeouts, Ryan Braun being scratched last night with back tightness, means there’s a strong chance the Brewers give him yet another day off today and Jonathan Villar and his 30%+ K rate will stay in the lineup. Other than Travis Shaw and Christian Yelich this is a very right-hand heavy Brewers team, and Greinke has been very good across his last three home starts, with the last two coming against very good Nationals and Astros lineups. He should be able to limit the damage here, do deep into the game, and rack up decent strikeout numbers.The challenge for him will be getting the W, as the Arizona bats that have managed to stay healthy have been bad and it now looks like the lone bright spot, A.J. Pollock, will miss some time. With respect to Cole, he’s certainly GPP viable, but the Angels offense will be a difficult test. They’ve already handed him his only loss of the season and his second lowest strikeout total (8) so know the risks going in. At his price tag you need elite production and I’m not sure this is a spot you can get it, as the Angels as a tema are presently striking out at the third lowest rate in baseball

No matter who you choose as an SP1, you’ll need to find value in the second pitcher slot tonight with so many good hitters in good spots on this slate. Below are the guys presently on my radar:

Trevor Williams: He doesn’t miss bats at all, which means the upside in the strikeout department is fairly limited. What he does do is induce a ton of soft contact. Going in pitcher friendly PNC Park he’s got a distinct advantage against a White Sox team that hasn’t shown much in the way of plate discipline and I expect him to be able to pitch deep into this game and be well positioned for the win.

Nick Pivetta: Pivetta is in a great spot against Baltimore, as he’s been very good against righties, allowing just a .252 wOBA on the season to righties. Baltimore doesn’t have a single scary bat coming from the left, unless you count Chris Davis, who looks like a shell of his former self and is hitting just .170 with 4 home runs on the season. The big fear here is that the game doesn’t play, which would be shame, as Pivetta would be one of the safest value options on the board.

Jack Flaherty: We don’t have a lot to go on with Flaherty, as he’s made two spot starts so far this season and spent most of the rest of his time in AAA, where he struck out 13 in his last start there. While he’s got swing and miss stuff, there’s certainly enough power, and particularly left-handed power in the Twins lineup that he’s far from a sure thing. The upside makes him a super attractive option, but I’m concerned that if we get an early cancellation in Baltimore then he makes the natural pivot off Pivetta at a similar price. For me, 10% or less owned Jack Flaherty is pretty interesting, but 20%+ owned Flaherty is much less so.

Eduardo Rodriguez: This is another weather game to watch, but we may have the benefit of Boston delaying the opening pitch until things clear, which should at least limit the chances of Rodriguez getting going only to be shut down a couple innings later. While he’s certainly got his work cut out for him against an Oakland team that boasts power up and down the lineup, the A’s are a far more dangerous lineup for right handed pitchers, with Jed Lowrie showing more power from the left and Matt Olson having the platoon advantage, while Kris Davis and Matt Chapman have been solid against both and Matt Joyce gives way to Jake Smolinski or Chad Pinder vs lefties-neither is as dangerous from a power perspective. He tends to throw a lot of pitches, but 6 innings with good strikeout numbers are definitely in play here.

Good luck tonight!

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