FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 4/10/18

There are a ton of good pitching options on tonight's main slate. Who should you roll with?

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Each day we will highlight a starter to consider from each pricing tier, and we'll also look at one contrarian play for tournaments.

Who should you consider on tonight's main slate?

High-Priced Stud

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

vs. New York Yankees
FanDuel Price: $11,000

We have four aces on deck tonight in Chris Sale, Luis Severino, Stephen Strasburg and Jacob deGrom. While an argument could made for any of the four, the safest play resides with Sale.

The Boston Red Sox southpaw has arguably the toughest matchup of the four high-end arms, squaring off with the Bronx Bombers of New York. Sale did go 0-3 in five starts versus the Yankees last season, but look for his fortunes to turn around in 2018.

Sale carries an impressive 37.5% strikeout rate into his third start of the season. As we know, the sluggers in the middle of the Yankees' order carry massive power, but they also have the propensity to strike out. Giancarlo Stanton already has two games this season with five strikeouts. Aaron Judge has whiffed once every 2.9 at-bats. Gary Sanchez is putting the bat on the ball, but he is only 2 for 32 so far. The matchup isn't as scary as it may seem.

You can't go wrong by anchoring your teams with Sale, even in a rivalry game within the division versus the Yanks.

Mid-Range Play

Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

vs. Milwaukee Brewers
FanDuel Price: $8,700

The middle tier is also strong tonight, and while there are many places to go if you're not spending up, Carlos Martinez offers the highest ceiling of this group.

Car-Mart is coming off a dominant performance versus the Milwaukee Brewers in which the St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander struck out 10 in 8.1 scoreless innings of work. His opponent tonight? Those very same Brewers, except this time at home in Busch Stadium.

The Brewers are a feast-or-famine offense that relies on the long ball but is prone to striking out in bunches. They have not found their power stroke yet, connecting for only nine home runs thus far. They also lead the National League in strikeouts as a team, fanning 95 times through 10 games.

It's hard not to go back to the well here. If you are landing in the middle tier tonight, upside is critical, and no one offers more upside in this range than Martinez.

Value Option

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

at Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Price: $6,200

My, how the mighty have fallen. Mike Foltynewicz, Brent Suter and Andrew Cashner all cost more than Felix Hernandez on FanDuel.

Hernandez admittedly has reinvented himself as a strike-throwing and ground-ball-inducing innings eater. Gone are the days where he is annually flirting with 300 strikeouts for the Seattle Mariners. It's just not going to happen anymore. He missed only 7 bats with swinging strikes on 87 pitches in his last outing versus the San Francisco Giants.

The good news with King Felix is he posted a very useful 5.1 innings in his first start of the year versus the Cleveland Indians, registering four punchouts in the process. Hernandez will likely fall somewhere in the middle of that outing and his previous start, in which he was blasted for three home runs and eight earned runs total.

While it's not likely that many will land in this tier due to the top-heavy arms on this slate, Hernandez can post a solid line, and, most importantly, allow you to spend up on some big bats.

Contrarian Play

Jacob deGrom

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $9,600

It is tough to say what is truly going to be contrarian on this slate, with the night's top-four pitchers all separated by very little in terms of skill and matchup. Sale should garner considerable ownership, as should Strasburg and, to a lesser degree, Severino.

Of the other 3 aces on the slate besides Sale, Jacob deGrom stands out as a superior play due to his ability as well as the matchup against the Miami Marlins.

The New York Mets' hurler is off to a hot start, fanning 12 batters in 11.2 innings of work while winning both of his outings thus far. He has scored 41 and 40 FanDuel points in his two starts against the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, but he possesses an even higher ceiling tonight versus the Marlins.

The Marlins offense ranks 24th in runs scored, 26th in OPS and has struck out the 10th-most times as a team. It doesn't get much better than that in terms of matchup. Although the weather is hot in Miami and the roof has been open in Marlins Park, Miami's home still ranks in the bottom half of the league in park factor.

If you want to zig while the field zags, consider deGrom as a great contrarian play tonight.

Drew Crawford is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Drew Crawford also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username squid0308. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.