FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 7/10/18

Justin Verlander is the slate's top hurler for cash games, but which arms can you pivot 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

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Price: $11,800

Justin Verlander gets the nod as the top overall play tonight, slightly edging out Trevor Bauer due to matchups.

Verlander is one of the largest favorites on the board (-216), and his opponent -- the Oakland Athletics -- has a slate-low 2.98 implied run total. The Astros' hurler has put himself in the Cy Young conversation with a 9-4 record, 2.15 ERA and 154 strikeouts over 125.2 innings thus far. He saw teammate Gerrit Cole whiff 11 A's last night and has a good chance to match that total today.

Oakland's sixth-best ISO (1.78) shows they certainly have some pop in their lineup, but they are top-15 in terms of strikeout rate against righties (22.2%). Verlander was able to rack up seven strikeouts in seven innings last time he faced this club back in June, picking up the win in Oakland. Verlander really amps up the strikeouts at home, where he has recorded 12.2 punchouts per nine compared to just 9.74 per nine on the road.

Given the safety and upside, Verlander is the top play on the board in cash, and he's a fine option in tournaments, as well.

Mid-Range Play

Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers

at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $8,000

Rich Hill has been in great form since returning from injury and gets a pristine matchup tonight with the San Diego Padres.

The Dodgers' southpaw is still being carefully managed by skipper Dave Roberts -- he threw only 73 pitches in his last start versus Pittsburgh -- but hopefully he will be given a longer leash tonight. He's been a different pitcher in his last four starts, averaging 34.75 FanDuel points in that span despite eclipsing six innings only once.

The big draw here is the matchup with the Padres, who, despite being much better against lefties than righties (not saying much), still have many deficiencies in their profile. San Diego has the third-highest strikeout rate against lefties (24.9%) and ranks near the bottom in both OPS (24th) and wOBA (27th). Add in the fact that Petco Park is easily the best park for pitchers in baseball, and you have the makings of a gem from Hill.

With some high-end bats looking mighty fine tonight, Hill at least gives you something to think about with the $3,800 savings from Verlander. He's an adequate cash play and an elite tournament play, just don't be surprised if you are swearing at Dave Roberts by the end of the night.

Value Option

Enyel De Los Santos, Philadelphia Phillies

at New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $5,500

With a Coors Field game on the slate, it's always enticing to look at the minimum-salary pitchers in search of someone who is either badly mispriced or making their debut. We have a case of the latter tonight with Enyel De Los Santos making his first start for the Phillies.

The rookie has been on fire at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, registering a 1.89 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 87 strikeouts over 95.1 innings. Ranked as the Phillies' 11th-best prospect, De Los Santos gets a strong matchup tonight with a meddling New York Mets offense.

The Amazin' Mets have been anything but amazing recently as they have scored the second-fewest runs in the majors over the last two weeks. During that stretch, they have struck out at the fifth-highest clip (24.8%), and their team wOBA is the second-worst (.273). To say the Mets are ripe for the picking would be an understatement. De Los Santos also gets substantial park upgrade pitching at Citi Field rather than at home, as New York's ballpark really suppresses run production.

With seven offenses projected for at least five runs tonight, an interesting approach in tournaments could be going very cheap at pitcher and loading up on expensive hitters. While De Los Santos is certainly far from safe, his track record suggests he has the upside to put together a strong start in this spot.

Contrarian Play

Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks

at Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $8,800

If you want to really create some leverage in GPP contests, consider Patrick Corbin as the ultimate contrarian play tonight.

Corbin and the Arizona Diamondbacks travel into Coors Field, where things typically go south in a hurry for starting pitchers. Corbin may be an exception for this one, however, as he has posted a stellar 3.05 ERA and 31.5% strikeout rate so far in 2018. The effects of the thin air in Colorado can certainly be neutralized by high-strikeout pitchers, and Corbin fanned eight Rockies in his only previous start against them (albeit in Arizona).

For what it's worth, Corbin has been much better on the road (2.32 ERA) versus home (3.50 ERA) this year. I wouldn't look at Corbin's career marks at Coors Field (hint: it's not pretty), but that should again suppress his ownership even further.

The Rockies are projected for a healthy 5.59 runs tonight, so Corbin shouldn't see much ownership. If he can miss some bats and keep the ball on the ground, he has a chance to post a really solid outing at minimal ownership. He also could get completely blown up as he has in the past. Tread carefully here, but if you are feeling frisky, throw him into a tournament lineup and see if he can bring some of his magic into Coors Field.

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.