FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 5/29/18

Red-hot Kenta Maeda is the top cash-game play for his home matchup with the Phillies. Which pitchers can you turn to 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

Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers

vs. Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $9,300

Kenta Maeda checks in as the safest upper-tier arm on the slate tonight, getting a slight nod over Charlie Morton

We have been hesitant to use Maeda this year, especially in cash, due to manager Dave Roberts' proclivity to yank this starters early in games. Roberts has loosened the reins a bit recently, however, as Maeda has been able to make it to 8.0 and 6.2 innings pitched in his last two starts.

The Dodgers' right-hander boasts some pretty great numbers on the season, as his 30.8% strikeout rate and 3.38 ERA are both career bests. His SIERA (3.12) and xFIP (2.94) are even better, so the hot start doesn't appear to be a mirage.

The Phillies have the fourth-highest strikeout rate in the majors (25.3%), and that number jumps up to second in all of baseball against right-handers (26.4%). Philadelphia's .292 road wOBA also ranks a lowly 24th in the majors.

With the plus matchup and the Phillies having the lowest implied total on the board (3.05), Maeda is the safest bet to rack up a dominant start tonight.

Mid-Range Play

Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres

vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $8,400

The second-lowest total of the night (3.15 runs) belongs to the Miami Marlins for their matchup against Tyson Ross.

Ross has battled through injuries that past few seasons, and he's now living up to some of the hype that has surrounded him since he was a young prospect. The big righty has a stellar 3.13 ERA through 10 starts with a respectable 25.4% strikeout rate and a .208 opponent batting average. The workhorse has pitched at least six innings in all but one of his starts this year.

The Padres' hurler gets a very solid matchup in the best pitcher's park in all of baseball. The Marlins' offense ranks 28th with a .282 road wOBA, and their .118 road ISO ranks dead last. Ross should have no problem keeping the ball in the park, and the strikeouts should be there, too, as Miami has the eighth-highest strikeout rate on the road (24.8%).

With a Coors Field game on the slate, it may be wise to save a few bucks and spend down at pitcher. If that's the route you take, you should feel comfortable with Ross in the middle tier.

Value Option

Dan Straily, Miami Marlins

at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $7,000

On the other side of the Padres-Marlins tilt is a value option who will probably go overlooked but could provide some upside in tournaments. Dan Straily gets the league's worst offense, according to most metrics, and like Tyson Ross, he gets the advantage of pitching in the spacious confines of Petco Park. If we like Ross in this matchup, it makes sense to like Straily, as well.

Straily has had three consecutive respectable outings after starting his season with two stinkers following injury. He has always been able to strike out guys at a reasonable clip, but this year his strikeout rate sits at just 17.0%, which would be a career-low mark by a wide margin. Straily should be able to get some whiffs tonight in San Diego, as the Padres own baseball's worst strikeout rate (26.2%).

Even though the Marlins are pretty big underdogs (+156), Vegas has the Padres scoring only 3.9 runs, which is actually the fifth-lowest on the board. Paying down to Straily makes a Coors stack fit comfortably, which may be the way to go in GPPs.

Contrarian Play

Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

vs. Washington Nationals
FanDuel Price: $9,000

Dylan Bundy is coming off an absolute gem in his last outing, as he whiffed 14 White Sox in a complete-game effort. Bundy has flashed newfound upside in terms of his strikeouts as his current 29.0% strikeout rate is a vast improvement from his first two big league seasons (21.8% in 2017 and 21.9% in 2016).

Unfortunately for Bundy, the Orioles are the worst team and baseball, but Baltimore is actually favored (-117) tonight against the Nationals. Bundy figures to be very contrarian given the matchup against a formidable Washington offense that also gains the designated hitter.

On a slate where upside is hard to find, it may be a sound strategy to chase one of the ceilings of these mid-tier pitchers. Bundy has shown that his upside is just as high or higher than anyone's on tonight's slate. Fire him up as a sweet GPP play.

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.