FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 6/12/18
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?
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
vs. Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $9,500
This lines up as a strange slate in that there isn't any one "ace" who stands out as a must play. What we do have on the higher end of the salary spectrum, though, are a couple of high-floor plays with pretty good matchups.
Miles Mikolas deserves consideration in a home matchup against the Padres, but we're siding with Aaron Nola as the top play tonight. Nola has been outstanding for the Philadelphia Phillies, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and a solid 24.8% strikeout rate. He has been a model of consistency, racking up 10 quality starts in his last 11 outings.
The Rockies have the lowest run total on the board (3.20) and the Phillies are -147 favorites in this one. Colorado's offense unsurprisingly isn't the same away from Coors Field, as they rank in the bottom half of the majors in road wOBA (25th), ISO (20th) and strikeout rate (19th lowest).
Given Vegas' lean and Nola's recent form, he is the top play tonight. Saving a few bucks down to Mikolas ($9,300) isn't a terrible play, but you can find the extra $200 and gain some upside by deploying Nola.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox
at Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $8,500
Eduardo Rodriguez is piecing together a solid campaign, as he is 7-1 with a 3.68 ERA thus far. His walk rate (7.5%) is the lowest it's been in three seasons, and his 27.6% strikeout rate is a career-high.
Rodriguez gets the revenge narrative against the Baltimore Orioles, who he started his career with from 2010 to 2014 before being traded to the Red Sox. The Orioles are struggling, to say the least, and especially offensively. They sport the American League's third-highest strikeout rate (24.5%) and the lowest team wOBA (.289). Baltimore has scored more than 4 runs in just 1 of their past 15 games.
Camden Yards often inflates implied run totals, and that is what is happening tonight. The O's are projected for 4.3 runs, which provides value on the under given the stat above. Rodriguez already has two starts against the Orioles this year, and in 11.2 innings he has allowed only 1 earned run while punching out 15.
There's value everywhere on the Red Sox side in this one. E-Rod comes in at a decent price, the Orioles are putrid, Boston is -169 on the moneyline, and the Baltimore run total is higher than it should be. For our purposes, fire up Rodriguez with confidence, especially in tournaments.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $7,500
Circling back to the peculiarity of this slate, the value tier is very thin, though it is littered in terms of volume. There are a staggering 23 pitchers at $8,000 or below, and not one of them jumps off the page as a tremendous value play. It's real simple in cash tonight --- play Nola or Mikolas and enjoy the stable floor. In tournaments, however, we have to differentiate ourselves somehow and look for hidden upside.
Jon Gray fits that bill, as he can rack up strikeouts in bunches, and his descriptive metrics don't exactly line up with his predictive stats. Gray has always been a hard guy to figure out, as he is one of the rare breed who pitches much better at home in Coors Field than on the road. His 25.7% strikeout rate is nice, but his 5.66 ERA and 1.51 WHIP certainly cause some pause. However, if you look closer Gray has a solid 3.47 SIERA (a full two runs below his ERA), suggesting he has been hit with some tough luck.
The Phillies have the highest strikeout rate in the majors (25.8%) and their .303 wOBA ranks just 24th. The stars are aligning for a low-owned ceiling game for Gray tonight. Take a chance on the Rockies' hurler in GPP's, and load up elsewhere tonight.
Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
vs. New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $9,000
Mike Foltynewicz was a guy we used to like to pick on, but boy have times changed. The Braves' righty has a stellar 2.31 ERA so far, and his 28.7% strikeout rate is easily a career-best. His 10.7% walk rate and 3.70 SIERA are certainly a bit alarming, but the guy has allowed 2 earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 13 starts.
The Mets provide a relatively neutral matchup for strikeouts (14th-highest strikeout rate), but their .298 team wOBA is the fourth-lowest in all of baseball. Atlanta checks in as -145 favorites in this one, so Folty should be in line for a victory if he stays true to form.
Foltynewicz figures to get lost in the shuffle in terms of ownership among those in the $9,000 range tonight. You can expect Nola, Mikolas and even Lance McCullers to garner a lot of attention, leaving Foltynewicz as a contrarian asset with a ton of upside.
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.