Picking pitchers in DFS is the most important part of the game as they routinely generate the most points. I'm going to try and aid in that picking process with some arms I like. I won't have a set number because it will vary day-to-day and it won't be a guaranteed everyday thing because sometimes the slate just isn't appealing enough to give firm recommendations. That doesn't mean I'll necessarily pass on playing, just that I don't want to offer some tepid endorsements that I'm not even all that comfortable with using myself.
Generally, I'll try to include at least one lower level pick, too. I'll be using DraftKings pricing so this will usually be someone who checks in at $8,000 or less.
Jacob deGrom ($12,100) NYM at TB – There is a load of ace arms available tonight so I'm sure some will be on guys like ClaytonKershaw and Jose Fernandez. I'm choosing to save a few bucks with JdG in Tampa Bay. While you may not associate the Rays as an awful offense like you do the Braves (who Fernandez faces), they're arguably worse. Their 91 wRC+ vs. righties this year is a shade above Atlanta's 89, but the Rays strike out 22% of the time to just 17% for the Braves making them a better candidate for a big pitcher score than the contact-heavy (albeit often weak contact) Braves.
deGrom has shown that last year was no fluke and instead just a precursor of things to come as he's been better across the board this year. deGrom opened the season with a 0.93 ERA in his first three starts before a small blip during which he posted a 5.64 ERA in four starts and had many ready to jump off the bandwagon (seriously, it sounds crazy now, but there was legitimate panic over JdG after those four starts). Since then he has simply posted a 1.47 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 91.7 IP with 98 Ks and no more than 3 ER in any of the 13 starts.
Andrew Heaney ($8,300) LAA v. BAL – Heaney is a former blue-chip prospect starting to make good on his pedigree with seven great starts since his call-up. He hasn't allowed more than 2 ER in any of the outings and his 1.97 ERA is actually a season-high. The Orioles offense has a reputation for being high-quality, but that simply isn't the case this year when you look at the results, especially against lefties. They sit 20th in wRC+ at 90 and their 22% K rate is 10th, giving Heaney a shot at matching his season-high of seven strikeouts or at least reaching the five he has averaged in each start thus far.
Aaron Nola ($6,000) PHI at SD – Even though this is the most expensive Nola has been at DK since coming up, it still feels light. The top prospect has been solid in all three of his MLB outings thus far and gets another favorable opponent in a very favorable venue. If there has been a flaw in his game, it's been homers as he's allowed four in the three outings, but they haven't been overly damaging as he's maintained a 3.38 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in the 18.7 IP of work.
His strikeout rate is a solid 21% and he's generating enough swings-and-misses to sustain a rate even a couple of ticks higher. With a quarter of his flyballs leaving the yard thus far, I think the HRs are more of a fluke than a problem. The anemic SD offense makes this is an even juicier matchup to exploit and Nola helps you save money if you opt for one of the seven arms at $10,000+ tonight.