MLB daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Tuesday

Last Tuesday was a gold mine for starters. We aren't quite as rich in options this Tuesday, but there are still some lockdown aces to rely upon, as well as some appealing hitting situations. Let's take a look at Tuesday's rankings.



Sure, Chris Sale has experienced a sharp drop in strikeouts from last year's obscene 11.8 per nine. But the tradeoff has been a measure of efficiency that has him averaging 7.7 innings per start (including three CGs) which has paired with the surging White Sox offense to give him a win in every start. He's averaging 30 points per start at DraftKings and hasn't dropped below 20 in any single start. He averaged 22 PPG last year and had 10 starts under 20 points. Wins aren't guaranteed, but he is regularly mitigating one of the biggest variables in getting them: the bullpen. And let's not pretend he isn't getting strikeouts. He has fewer than six in just one start. Sale is about as automatic as Clayton Kershaw when it comes to setting a DFS lineup.

Stephen Strasburg had a start a year ago today (May 23) and was trounced for six runs (five earned) in just 3.7 innings against the Phillies, running his ERA to 6.50 through his first nine starts. Flash forward a year and we're getting the best of Stras: He has gone at least six innings in every outing, has four outings with double-digit K's and is averaging 26 PPG at DraftKings and 48 at FanDuel. The only two times he allowed more than three earned runs in a start saw him still go seven and log 10-plus strikeouts. In short, he has been excellent. He gets the Mets for the second straight start after a 6 IP/1 ER/10 K demolition of them last Thursday. The data suggests there isn't much difference in that second outing, so I wouldn't worry about going to the well with Stras.

Speaking of back-to-back starts against the same team, Jeff Samardzija gets another go at the San Diego Padres after decimating them for eight innings of three-hit ball with one run allowed and eight strikeouts. Weirdly, they are the only team to really run Shark up this year, popping him for five earned in 5.7 innings on April 27, though he salvaged it a bit with seven punchouts. He has been one of the game's best starters since then: 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 29 K's and 9-to-7 K-to-BB ratio in 31.7 IP. If you need to save a few bucks for some hitters you really like and can't quite afford Sale or Strasburg, go with Shark.

It's only two starts, but it feels like we're out of the woods with David Price. A mechanical fix suggested by Dustin Pedroia has yielded immediate results with just three earned runs allowed in 14 innings along with 17 strikeouts and two walks. Additionally, the Rockies have started their yearly decline in road performance, especially against lefties. They can usually hold up on the road through April before the Coors Effect starts to take hold. They posted a 1.014 OPS against lefties on the road in April, but they've sunk to .219 in May.


That 4.58 ERA might have you feeling like Justin Verlander hasn't been very good this year, but the struggles are confined to two awful starts (7 ER v. PIT and at CLE; 48 percent of his 29 season ER). He's a point shy of three straight 30-point efforts at DraftKings, including a trip to Baltimore and home start against Texas -- two strong offenses. He only fanned two batters in each of those dud starts, but outside of that, he has a 10.2 K/9 in his other seven starts. For as good as their record is, the Phillies' offense remains anemic, sitting 28th in OPS against righties (.656).

Jimmy Nelson has finally cut into his platoon split with strong results. His OPS against lefties is down to .686 compared to a career .813 mark. His strikeout and walk rates are actually both a tick worse than last year, but he's allowing fewer hits and getting deeper into games. In the long term, his .239 BABIP is almost sure to rise, but this matchup against the Braves is unlikely to be the beginning of such regression.

Spot Starters and Streamers

Chris Tillman has some viable changes supporting his excellent work through nine starts, but his biggest appeal is usually the fact that he comes cheaply. DraftKings has adjusted to his early success with a $10,700 price tag, fifth-highest on the board. I consider myself a Tillman backer, but at that price, make the sacrifice on a hitter or two and go for Sale/Strasburg, or even Samardzija, who is only $1,000 more and at home against a far more inept offense than the Astros (who are actually about league average against righties).

Jason Hammel is off to another great start, but I'm not sure he's much more than a contrarian play as he heads into St. Louis on Tuesday. The Cardinals offense has been tops against righties (.849 OPS) and while he did run up a 6 IP/1 ER/6 K in Busch Stadium earlier this year, it feels like an unnecessary risk for a primary lineup.


I'm just not a Josh Tomlin guy. I realize he's now on a 17-start run with a 3.23 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, but he's still a home run machine with 1.7 HR/9 in the same span. A homer-friendly environment like U.S. Cellular is unlikely to help that and while he isn't directly facing Sale, his teammates are -- and that will make it difficult for him to pull a win, which is essential given his modest 6.3 K/9 rate. Honestly, you should sell him in season-long, too. If a few more hits start falling in, his ERA will be over 4.00 in a heartbeat.

Julio Teheran is quietly having a nice season after a tough 2015, but it's tough to back him in DFS. His price is up there because of a sharp 2.73 ERA/1.11 WHIP combo, but he's averaging just 17 PPG thanks to a solid-but-unspectacular strikeout rate and disastrous team context that has yielded just one win.

I probably don't need to tell you this, but just in case I'll make the PSA that I'm laying off Matt Harvey until we see some improvement. This is another instance where season-long and DFS diverge because I wouldn't be averse to a buy-low play in season-long leagues, but even at the discounted rate in DFS, I'm uninterested right now.


The Red Sox were originally going to get Chris Rusin from the Rockies, but he was forced into long relief duty when Jordan Lyles failed to complete three innings in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon. As a result, Boston will now take swings against Jorge De La Rosa. You're going to pay up to get in on this juggernaut offense, but only a couple guys are north of $5,000 at DK, so you can still afford an ace with two or three Red Sox bats.

The Mariners are a sneaky-solid offense this year, sitting 11th in OPS against righties. They ran up Kendall Graveman for 10 hits earlier this month and a Robinson Cano-Kyle Seager-Leonys Martin combo is affordable and carries strong power-speed upside. Don't sleep on finagling Nelson Cruz or Franklin Gutierrez into your lineup, though, as Graveman has actually been 100 points worse against righties this year at .950 OPS.

Jeremy Hellickson has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this year with three game scores at 70 or better and three others below 35. Two of the 70s were against the Reds and he's still be less-than-stellar when he runs into a good offense. The Tigers are a game under .500 and sit fourth place in the division, but it's not the offense's fault. They are fifth in OPS against righties with the usual suspects dominating (Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez, and Ian Kinsler) while getting Nick Castellanos has essentially covered the fact that Justin Upton is off to a terrible start. Don't sleep on Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a cheap backstop if he draws the start over James McCann. Hellickson has a 123-point platoon split this year favoring lefties.

The numbers point to some huge platoon splits for the Angels, White Sox and Marlins. The lefties all draw just a 1 rating, but 9, 9, and 7, respectively, for the right-handed batters. Mike Trout is obvious for the Angels, but consider Yunel Escobar and C.J. Cron as well. Jose Abreu is favorably priced at DraftKings as he labors a bit through 43 games, while Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie, and Avisail Garcia also carry strong HR potential to take advantage of Tomlin's reverse platoon split. Jake Odorizzi also has a sharp reverse platoon split, bringing Marcell Ozuna, Martin Prado and even a struggling Giancarlo Stanton into focus if you use the full day slate (they play at 11:10 a.m. Central).

Most likely to go yard: Hanley Ramirez likely doesn't get used as often as he used to with 1B-only eligibility and the depth of that position, but he's healthy and hitting well this year, especially against lefties. With Jorge De La Rosa taking to the mound Tuesday, this is a perfect spot for Ramirez to go yard. JDLR has a 1.054 OPS against righties this year and Ramirez has a 1.121 OPS against lefties this year. Sign me up.

Most likely to swipe a bag: Kolten Wong. The Cardinals aren't a running team overall, but Miguel Montero is just 1-for-16 at nabbing baserunners this year, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them take advantage of this deficiency. Wong has been punchless this year, but his .339 OBP is a career-high and he's an inexpensive 2B who will help you afford these big arms and huge Red Sox bats.