The baseball season is 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 James Paxton, Mariners (vs. Twins)
Paxton made a triumphant return from the disabled list last time out, tossing 5 1/3 shutout innings with six strikeouts in a victory over the Colorado Rockies. The Twins represent a significant challenge as one of the top offensive teams in the American League, but Paxton has been red-hot this season, not allowing a run in five of his seven starts; opponents have no more than four hits in any of those outings. Roll with Paxton as the safest and highest-upside play on an otherwise hum-drum slate.
Wednesday - RHP Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks (vs. Padres)
This might seem like lunacy, opting for Greinke ahead of both Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw, who duel in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon. But while Kershaw has been nearly impossible to score against at home, if any team is capable of doing some damage, it's the powerhouse Nationals. Pivoting away from the highly-owned Kershaw might not be a bad large-field tourney strategy, and Greinke has pitched rather well this season. He should breeze to a win against the dismal Padres.
Thursday - RHP Lance McCullers Jr., Astros (at Royals)
McCullers reminds daily fantasy players of Chris Sale from a couple of years back; Sale would rack up the strikeouts, but needed to throw a lot of pitches and would often be out of the game after five or six innings. McCullers has failed to go longer than six frames in any of his previous five starts, but has allowed only five runs over that span while fanning 31 batters over 27 1/3 innings in that span. His upside is capped by sky-high pitch counts, but he's a very safe bet in cash games against the reeling Royals offense.
Friday - LHP Chris Sale, Red Sox (vs. Tigers)
The aforementioned Sale pitched more to contact last season in an attempt to last longer into games. And while it certainly worked, his strikeout total dipped. Suffice to say he's learned how to do both so far in 2017, leading the majors in both strikeouts and innings pitched entering the week. Detroit comes into the week with the 12th-highest K rate in the league, and while active members of the Tigers roster have taken Sale deep 16 times, he remains the best daily fantasy play among pitchers on this slate.
Saturday - RHP Carlos Martinez, Cardinals (vs. Phillies)
Martinez is in a legitimate groove as the season extends into June, having posted eight consecutive quality starts to drop his ERA below 3.00. He has been particularly dominant at home, boasting a 2.19 ERA and a .182 opponent batting average in seven starts. The Phillies had an historically dreadful May, and had dropped five road games in a row entering Monday's action. Martinez is good enough to be a fixture on both your cash game and tournament rosters.
Sunday - LHP Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks (vs. Brewers)
Looking for a little weekend excitement? Slot Ray into your FanDuel lineups. The electrifying southpaw is on quite the roll, having limited foes to zero runs and eight hits over his previous three starts, fanning 25 while walking just three over that span. That comes on the heels of a rough stretch in which he was tagged for 19 runs over 30 innings in his five prior outings. With the Brewers coming into Monday with the second-highest K rate in baseball (25.5 percent), Ray's floor is high even despite a higher price tag.