Fantasy daily notes for April 18
< APR 17 | APR 18 | APR 19 >
NOTES | PITCHERS | HITTERS
Starting pitcher rankings for Apr 18
GSPitcherOPPERA /
WHIP
76F. Hernandez,
RHP, Sea
Tex2.14 /
0.92
71J. DeGrom,
RHP, NYM
Mia2.69 /
1.14
70C. Sale,
LHP, CWS
@Det2.17 /
0.97
63M. Tanaka,
RHP, NYY
@TB2.77 /
1.06
62Z. Greinke,
RHP, LAD
Col2.71 /
1.15
61A. Wood,
LHP, Atl
@Tor2.78 /
1.14
61T. Ross,
RHP, SD
@ChC2.81 /
1.21
61A. Sanchez,
RHP, Det
CWS3.43 /
1.10
60J. Zimmermann,
RHP, Wsh
Phi2.66 /
1.07
58H. Bailey,
RHP, Cin
@StL3.71 /
1.23
57D. Keuchel,
LHP, Hou
LAA2.92 /
1.18
55C. Buchholz,
RHP, Bos
Bal5.34 /
1.39
55M. Latos,
RHP, Mia
@NYM3.25 /
1.15
53C. Martinez,
RHP, StL
Cin4.03 /
1.41
53Y. Ventura,
RHP, KC
Oak3.20 /
1.30
52P. Hughes,
RHP, Min
Cle3.52 /
1.13
51C. Tillman,
RHP, Bal
@Bos3.34 /
1.23
51J. Hahn,
RHP, Oak
@KC3.07 /
1.21
51K. Hendricks,
RHP, ChC
SD2.46 /
1.08
50J. Odorizzi,
RHP, TB
NYY4.13 /
1.28
49C. Wilson,
LHP, LAA
@Hou4.51 /
1.45
48C. Heston,
RHP, SF
Ari5.06 /
1.69
48K. Lohse,
RHP, Mil
@Pit3.54 /
1.15
46A. Harang,
RHP, Phi
@Wsh3.57 /
1.40
46T. House,
LHP, Cle
@Min3.35 /
1.32
45V. Worley,
RHP, Pit
Mil2.85 /
1.21
45R. Dickey,
RHP, Tor
Atl3.71 /
1.23
42C. Lewis,
RHP, Tex
@Sea5.18 /
1.52
41R. De La Rosa,
RHP, Ari
@SF4.43 /
1.49
38J. Lyles,
RHP, Col
@LAD4.33 /
1.37
GS: The pitcher's projected "Game Score," from Bill James' original formula, which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A Game Score of 50 typically is typically regarded a quality start; anything over 70 is exceptional, anything under 30 poor. An asterisk notes that the game score has been adjusted by the analyst. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.

Saturdays are always full slates, so you never have to worry about a shortage of options. Whether you prefer cash games or GPPs or are simply looking for a couple of capable streaming options in standard leagues, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Sometimes, though, having too many quality options only makes putting a lineup together more difficult, so we'll highlight some of the more noteworthy choices below.

Elite

Not surprisingly, Felix Hernandez tops Saturday's rankings with a projected Game Score of 76. He gets a home start at Safeco Field, where he posted a 2.07 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 17 starts in 2014, and is facing a Texas Rangers team that sports a .210 batting average (27th in baseball) and .625 OPS (26th) in the early going. There are other reasonable cash game options in this tier, but none is in as good a spot as King Felix. Yes, he's pricey, but that high price tag comes with a certain level of safety (and upside) that can't be found elsewhere.

In terms of pure upside, Chris Sale can go toe-to-toe with Felix. It's his matchup on the road against the Detroit Tigers, however, that knocks him behind the Mariners ace. After all, the Tigers' offense is crushing right now, averaging six runs per game (second best in baseball) through nine games. Granted, a pitcher of Sale's caliber is pretty much matchup-proof, and his 1.97 ERA in eight starts against Detroit the past two seasons should ease any concerns. However, given the matchup and park advantage, Felix gets the slight edge between the two.

Jacob deGrom actually grades out slightly higher than Sale on Saturday. While his home matchup against the Miami Marlins is more favorable, he doesn't warrant the same level of trust in cash games because he doesn't have Sale's track record. That said, the Mets right-hander did whiff more than a batter per inning last season and has looked sharp in the early going, allowing just two runs in 12 1/3 innings, so if you're having trouble fitting Hernandez or Sale under the cap, deGrom's price figures to be a little more reasonable.

Solid

Under different circumstances, Zack Greinke and Masahiro Tanaka could crack the elite tier. Greinke gets a home start against the Colorado Rockies, which would've been very favorable last year. In 2014, the Rockies were one of the worst road teams in baseball, sporting a .286 wOBA that ranked fourth worst in the majors. This year, however, the Rockies have been rolling on the road, with a .348 wOBA that ranks in the top three. Sure, we're dealing with small sample sizes, but the Rockies' lineup, which includes a healthy Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado, looks awfully dangerous right now, making Greinke a bit less desirable in cash games.

Tanaka, meanwhile, hasn't made it past the fifth inning in either of his first two starts and hasn't looked like the same pitcher from last year, pre-elbow injury. The Tampa Bay Rays' offense is pretty non-threatening, but Tanaka is looking more like a GPP play right now than a guy to trust in cash games.

If you're looking for a high-upside play that won't cost as much as the elite options, Tyson Ross is a name to consider. His start comes on the road against the Chicago Cubs, meaning he doesn't get the Petco Park advantage, but Wrigley Field in April is a bit more friendly to pitchers than it is in June and July. The Cubs' lineup has enough thunder to make Ross pay if he's not hitting his spots, but there's also a lot of swing-and-miss in that young lineup. After whiffing a batter per inning in 2014, we know the Padres right-hander has the stuff to take advantage.

Many DFS players will be shying away from Jordan Zimmermann after the Boston Red Sox blasted him for eight runs (seven earned) in just 2 1/3 innings his last time out, but Saturday's home start against the Philadelphia Phillies is the perfect spot for him to get back on track. The Phillies' lineup has, not surprisingly, been among the worst in the majors this season, averaging less than 2.5 runs per game, and there's no reason to expect much improvement (the team batted Jeff Francoeur cleanup on Thursday, for crying out loud). Look for Zimmermann, who holds a 2.36 ERA in his past seven starts against the Phillies, to right the ship Saturday.

Streamers

Carlos Martinez's ownership percentage has gone up 24 percent during the past week, but he's still a free agent in roughly 62 percent of leagues, making him a very nice streaming option Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals right-hander actually faced the Reds in Cincinnati his last time out, and allowed just two runs in six innings while striking out eight. And this time he gets the start at Busch Stadium, a much more pitcher-friendly venue. Given that the Reds have struck out 23.5 percent of the time this season, which ranks in the bottom five in baseball, we could see another nice strikeout total from Martinez on Saturday.

Kyle Lohse has yet a secure a quality start in two outings this season, but the veteran right-hander is still a relatively safe bet when it comes to streaming starters. He has, after all, posted ERAs of 3.54 or lower in four consecutive seasons, and owns a 6-0 K/BB ratio on the young season. It won't take much for Lohse to get back on track against a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is hitting .207 this season (third worst in baseball) along with a 25.3 percent strikeout rate (second worst). He's available in 95 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

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