The baseball season is more than a month old and daily fantasy players have a pretty good idea of which pitchers are for real and which ones aren't living up to their DFS price tags. Here are the top DFS pitching options for the coming week:
Tuesday - RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays (vs. Braves)
Estrada has been underrated for the entirety of his tenure with Toronto, but has emerged as one of the top value plays in daily fantasy. He'll never carry the price tag of a Stephen Strasburg or a Dallas Keuchel - two other pitchers starting Tuesday - and Estrada is only playable in all-day contests, which significantly hampers his usability. But if you're playing the entire schedule, you need him in all of your lineups. The Braves enter the week having scored the fourth-fewest runs in the National League, and Estrada is averaging better than a strikeout per inning this season.
Wednesday - RHP Michael Pineda, Yankees (at Royals)
Two things are certain: There's little chance that Pineda continues being this dominant all season, and there are equally remote odds that the Royals slog along with the fewest runs scored in the league. That said, you need to continue exploiting both trends in this matchup, which pits a hard-throwing right-hander with a WHIP below 1.00 against a Royals lineup that enters the week batting just .226 for the season. Pineda is too homer-prone to trust in cash games - he has already allowed eight long balls - but he's a terrific tournament option due to his enormous upside.
Thursday - LHP Chris Sale, Red Sox (at Athletics)
The Oakland offense is struggling to get untracked, entering Monday with the second-lowest run total in the American League. That total isn't likely to grow by much on Thursday night, with Sale and his major league-leading 85 strikeouts coming to town. Sale is looking as dominant as he has at any point in his career, having recorded 10 or more strikeouts in seven consecutive games. And while he has allowed nine runs over his previous three starts, he has also limited opponents to just nine hits over that span. He'll cost you dearly, but you won't find a better pitching option on this slate.
Friday - RHP Carlos Martinez, Cardinals (vs. Giants)
On a slate with few high-end options, Martinez should be the most sought-after starter on the majority of slates. Martinez has held opponents to three or fewer runs in each of his last four starts, striking out a batter per inning over that stretch. The Giants enter the week with a league-worst 73 wOBA on the season, and their .122 ISO also ranks them dead last out of 30 teams. Martinez will be a popular choice, so you might want to consider rolling with more of a contrarian option in large-field tournaments - but if you're hunting for cash-game success, he needs to be on your roster.
Saturday - RHP Jacob DeGrom, Mets (vs. Angels)
Some of the sheen has come off DeGrom's sensational start to the season, with the hard-throwing righty having given up 12 runs over 17 innings in his last three starts. But the strikeouts remain healthy - and if he can keep the home runs in check after allowing seven over his past four starts, he'll find himself in a positive matchup against a visiting Angels roster that ranks on the periphery of the bottom third in the league in wOBA. He's prone to an occasional blow-up, so you're taking a risk in cash games, but he's worth a shot in tournaments as a high-upside play at home.
Sunday - RHP Yu Darvish, Rangers (at Tigers)
Darvish has been a little erratic through his first eight starts of the season; walks and home runs have been a problem at times, and he has just 11 strikeouts combined over his previous two appearances. But he's still one of the top pitching options in baseball, and gets a date with a free-swinging Tigers team that has the eighth-highest strikeout rate entering the week. Darvish is a high-pitch-count threat every time he takes the mound, but he can do a lot of damage even in six innings. Fire him up in all formats, though he'll only be eligible in late and full-game slates with this game going Sunday night.