The baseball season is almost two months old and daily fantasy players are not only getting a good feel for which pitchers are for real, but which teams represent good DFS matchups.
Monty Andrews breaks down the best options at the starting pitcher position for each day this week:
Tuesday - LHP Chris Sale, Red Sox (at White Sox)
Sale's streak of double-digit strikeout games might be over, but he's always a terrific bet to start a new one. The hard-throwing lefty hasn't lost in more than a month, and shouldn't have much trouble taming a White Sox lineup that ranks in the middle of the pack in strikeout rate, but enters the week sitting dead last in walk rate. Sale's 101:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio is absolutely obscene, and makes him a no-doubt selection in all formats no matter how high his salary is - and trust us, it'll be exorbitant.
Wednesday - RHP Max Scherzer, Nationals (at Giants)
Daily fantasy players have plenty of decent options on this slate, but most come with question marks. James Paxton had a terrific start to the season, but hasn't pitched since May 2. Chris Archer has elite-level upside, but is pitching at Arlington and is prone to blowups. Carlos Martinez has started to come around, but has still allowed three or more runs in five of his last seven starts. That leaves Scherzer, who is coming off a 13-K performance and faces a Giants lineup that has underwhelmed all season.
Thursday - RHP Corey Kluber, Indians (vs. Athletics)
Ideally, you would be better off avoiding pitchers coming off long disabled list layoffs, even hurlers as great as Kluber. Yet, despite the Indians ace having gone nearly a month between starts, the Thursday slate is a lean one - and Kluber has a plus matchup against an Athletics lineup playing in a cross-country afternoon game while entering the week with a 24-percent strikeout rate - fourth-highest in baseball. Kluber might not be a great tournament option, but should have a solid cash-game floor.
Friday - LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (at Brewers)
Those who rolled with Kershaw last time out are probably still stunned at what transpired. The perennial Cy Young candidate was roughed up for four runs on 11 hits over just 4 1/3 innings, including three home runs - as many as he had surrendered in his previous nine starts combined. Look for Kershaw to bounce back with a vengeance, and should be aided by a Brewers roster that boasts the third-highest K rate in the majors. Kershaw should be safe to play in all formats.
Saturday - RHP Carlos Carrasco, Indians (at Royals)
Carrasco has hit some bumps in the road of late, but remains a top-flight strikeout option who can pitch deep into games. He bounced back from consecutive rough starts last time out, limiting Oakland to just two runs on four hits while striking out seven over seven effective innings. We know all about Kansas City's struggles at the plate, and those should be exacerbated Saturday when they face one of the most unheralded starters in the American League.
Sunday - RHP Ariel Miranda, Mariners (vs. Rays)
This choice is a little more obscure than most, but you can make a strong case that Miranda has the best opportunity to return major value on this slate. The 28-year-old has racked up 21 strikeouts in 17 innings over his last three starts entering the week, while limiting opponents to just four runs over that span. The Rays continue to be the easiest team in the majors to strike out, and Miranda will also have the benefit of home-field advantage. What's more, he'll come at a discount compared to the top options.