FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 4/25/18

Clayton Kershaw finds himself in a tier of his own for tonight's main slate. What alternatives can we consider in tournaments?

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

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $11,400

Clayton Kershaw has a lot of things working in his favor tonight. Just as with Kenta Maeda last night, he gets to face the struggling Miami Marlins offense. He also comes into this contest in good form, registering a 2.45 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through five starts this season. He is kind of in a tier by himself, as the second-most expensive pitcher (Zach Greinke) is a full $2,200 cheaper.

The Dodgers have the largest Vegas moneyline on the slate tonight at -341. When a pitcher -- especially one of Kershaw's caliber -- is that big of a favorite, it's hard to look elsewhere. And the Marlins' 2.54 implied run total says the same.

Kershaw has only won one of his starts so far this season, but look for him to get win number two tonight. He is a no-brainer plug-and-play in all formats.

Mid-Range Play

Jake Arrieta, Philadelphia Phillies

vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Price: $8,800

Jameson Taillon would have been the preferred play in the mid-tier tonight but he got flipped with Chad Kuhl to start Game 1 of today's doubleheader versus the Tigers. A good pivot off of Taillon in this price range is Jake Arrieta in a matchup against the Diamondbacks.

Arrieta was masterful in his last start, tossing 7 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts against the Pirates. Despite being in a park that we typically don't use pitchers in, Citizens Bank was the site of the right-hander's great start. His first two starts were mediocre, so this outing hopefully suggested that Arrieta has settled into his new role in Philadelphia.

Despite being in the middle-of-the-pack in terms of run production, the Diamondbacks have the fifth-most strikeouts as a team in the National League. Arrieta checks in as a very solid option mid-range option that is sure to be largely ignored in favor of Kershaw at the top.

Value Option

Jacob Faria, Tampa Bay Rays

at Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $5,900

Jacob Faria was the recommended value play in this space yesterday, but the Rays were rained out in Baltimore. The same applies today -- he is too cheap and headlines Wednesday's low-cost options.

Faria gets a matchup with the Baltimore Orioles, which has been one to exploit pitchers against through the first month of the season. On top of the O's striking out more than any other team in the American League, and getting minimal production from anyone not named Manny Machado, they are now without regulars Trey Mancini (Mancini did pinch-hit on Monday), Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham. This was not a very good lineup with everybody healthy, and it's only gotten worse since.

Faria has posted two consecutive solid outings after getting blown up for 8 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on April 7th. In his other three starts, he has allowed only one earned run in each. Tonight's venue, Camden Yards, can be a dangerous place for pitchers, but the Orioles haven't had much success at home or on the road.

At $5,900, Faria presents some needed savings on a slate where we want to spend on some higher-priced bats.

Contrarian Play

Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox

at Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $7,100

Eduardo Rodriguez is sure to go under-the-radar tonight and is a fine option in GPPs.

E-Rod has been very impressive thus far, recording a 30.3% strikeout rate to go along with a 23.1% hard-hit rate. While the Blue Jays will score some runs (sixth-most in the AL), they will also strike out a bunch (fifth-most in the AL).

Toronto's Rogers Centre is a hitter's park -- ranking seventh in park factor -- but if Rodriguez is able to generate a ton of swings-and-misses -- as he as done thus far -- the ballpark isn't as much of an influence. The southpaw has historically been better away from home, though, allowing 0.82 fewer earned runs per game on the road.

Rodriguez has GPP-winning upside at a fraction of the cost, and at much lower ownership than the arms in the higher pricing tier.

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.