FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 7/11/18
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?
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
vs. Texas Rangers
FanDuel Price: $12,600
Chris Sale has been virtually unhittable of late, and he is the top play on the main slate tonight. A jump in velocity has led to Sale posting the following strikeout totals over his last six outings: 10, 9, 11, 13, 11 and 12. He's been over 50 FanDuel points in each of those starts and is the closest thing to a lock at this point in the season.
Sale's 36.8% strikeout rate should hold firm facing the Rangers, as their 24.5% strikeout rate against southpaws is the second-highest in the American League. Vegas has Texas pegged for a slate-low 2.94 runs and the Red Sox are a huge -395 favorite in this one.
Sale does cost a pretty penny, so he represents an intriguing underweight option for tournament formats, but fade at your own risk. In cash games, he is the obvious play tonight.
Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $9,500
Maeda has been dominant in his last three starts, racking up 27 punchouts and allowing only 3 earned runs over 19.2 innings. He has struggled a bit on the road (his ERA is 1.10 higher away from Dodger Stadium), but the pitcher-friendly venue should help to neutralize his poor splits.
San Diego has had major issues with right-handed pitching this year, as evidenced by their league-worst wOBA (.286), ISO (.121) and OPS (.654) in that split. They also strike out at a 25.9% clip against righties, which is behind only the Phillies.
Maeda is a very interesting tournament play, and one that allows you to save over $3,000 from Chris Sale. While he doesn't quite possess Sale's ceiling tonight, he does have a chance to at least come close in this spot.
Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals
at Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $6,600
Luke Weaver is coming off of a gem in which he whiffed seven San Francisco Giants over eight innings while allowing only two earned runs. The frustrating thing with Weaver is he has had issues stringing together consecutive quality starts this year. He has just 5 quality starts in his 18 outings, and only 1 time this season has he had back-to-back quality starts. Perhaps he has turned a corner, however, as 2 of his last 3 appearances have produced at least 44 FanDuel points.
Tonight, Weaver gets to face another offense we love to pick on: the Chicago White Sox. The Sox have been abysmal against righties this year, recording the highest strikeout rate in the American League (25.6%) and ranking in the bottom-half of the majors in wOBA (24th) and ISO (17th). In an AL park, Weaver does miss out on facing the opposing pitcher tonight, but the Cardinals are a solid -138 favorites nonetheless.
We don't quite have the offensive matchups we had last night, but there is still a game at Coors (with an 11.5 over/under) and the Red Sox are close to a six-run implied total against Bartolo Colon. If Weaver can piece together another solid outing and your high-priced hitters produce, you will be sitting pretty in GPPs.
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $8,700
This really is a pretty loaded pitching slate, and a bunch of these guys in the mid-tier are going to go overlooked as most players spend up on Sale or scrape the bottom tier for values. One guy who really stands out as a sizable favorite (-161) with a great matchup is the Brewers' Freddy Peralta.
Peralta has really impressed in his first six starts, registering a 4-1 record with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Most importantly, he has been racking up strikeouts, as his 36.2% K rate trails only Chris Sale on tonight's slate. Looking at Peralta's numbers in the minors the last two seasons, he has been this good for a while. The strikeouts don't appear to be a mirage here, and there's no reason they shouldn't continue at a high rate tonight against the Marlins.
Speaking of the Fish, they have struggled against right-handed pitching this season, ranking near the bottom in ISO (27th) and wOBA (25th). They strike out at a 22.7% clip, which is the seventh-highest in the National League. Peralta also gets a park upgrade, escaping the friendly confines of Miller Park for the more pitcher-friendly Marlins Park.
The Milwaukee righty should be a forgotten man tonight with the plethora of pitching options available. He's eclipsed 60 FanDuel points twice already in six starts, so his ceiling is certainly legit. Give him a look in tournaments as a low-owned option that could pay huge dividends 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.