FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 7/25/18

With Manny Machado no longer in Baltimore, can David Price take advantage of a vulnerable Orioles offense tonight?

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

Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels

vs. Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $9,300

We have a small main slate tonight, with just four games, but there are still a few interesting pitching options to choose from. Tyler Skaggs headlines the upper-tier as his Angels play host to the White Sox as -213 favorites.

Skaggs checks into this one on quite a tear, as he has posted a 2.68 ERA with a 24.8% strikeout rate. The southpaw has recorded at least 40 FanDuel points in 5 of his last 7 outings, with all 7of those being quality starts.

We know at this point how much Chicago struggles offensively against righties, but they are actually just as bad against lefties. They have the second-highest strikeout rate (25.9%) and are bottom-10 in both ISO (20th) and wOBA (24th). Vegas isn't giving them much of a chance to breakthrough tonight either, as their 3.51 implied run total is the lowest on the slate by a substantial margin.

Skaggs is the clear cash play given that Charlie Morton is in Coors and David Price has to pitch in Camden Yards. He has the highest floor for cash games and a pretty high ceiling for tournaments, too.

Mid-Range Play

David Price, Boston Red Sox

at Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $9,000

David Price gets to face a team that we are going to want to pick on regularly over the last two months of the season: the Baltimore Orioles. After trading away their one true offensive threat in Manny Machado, the O's are going to really struggle to score runs the rest of the way. Tonight, Price has to navigate the hitter-friendly waters of Camden Yards, but he gets to do so with the Boston Red Sox sitting -166 favorites.

To this point in the season, Price has posted a 3.91 SIERA with a 24% strikeout rate. That's subpar for what he did in his prime, but he has found a groove of late, scoring 44 or more FanDuel points in 3 of his last 5 starts. The southpaw dominated Baltimore in his lone start against them this season, pitching a complete game with eight strikeouts and only two earned runs back on May 17th.

The Orioles have fared slightly better against lefties this year, but that isn't saying much. They definitely don't strike out as much (10th-lowest strikeout rate), but their ISO (25th) and wOBA (27th) ranks show that they aren't doing much with the contact they are making.

Price makes for an interesting pivot from Skaggs in GPPs, but the crazy weather on the east coast and the hitter's ballpark make me lukewarm on him for cash. He's shown upside in this matchup before, however, and can certainly twirl a gem again tonight.

Value Option

Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

vs. Boston Red Sox
FanDuel Price: $7,000

I'd advise you to avoid anyone in this tier tonight, but if you -- for some reason -- want big money to blow on the bats, Dylan Bundy could rack up a few punchouts in a tough matchup with the Red Sox.

The cash plays are found in the $9,000 range tonight, and the value options have way too many red flags to deploy even in tournaments. In Bundy's case, Boston is first or close to it in nearly every offensive category against right-handed pitching. The venue favors hitters, and Bundy hasn't even reached double-digits in FanDuel points in each of his last three starts.

The other value options on this small slate aren't even worth a look for their low quality, though. Also in Bundy's favor is his success against the Sox this season, striking out 21 and allowing only 5 earned runs over 19.2 innings (3 starts). Maybe we get some favorable pitching weather or a night off for Mookie Betts or J.D. Martinez. It would take a lot of stars aligning for me to feel good about playing Bundy tonight, but maybe he can recapture some of the magic he has had in his previous run-ins with the BoSox.

Contrarian Play

Charlie Morton, Houston Astros

at Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $9,500

You can basically copy and paste what I wrote yesterday about Gerrit Cole and use it today for Charlie Morton. Cole ending up being 6.83% owned in last night's contests, and, despite great outings from Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Berrios, he ended up being one of the best contrarian plays on the board.

Morton profiles similarly to Cole with his 31.2% strikeout rate and 3.29 SIERA, although he's failed to reach six innings in each of his last two starts. If he can keep the ball on the ground and rack up some punchouts, he definitely has a path to being the top play of the night in terms of raw scoring at the position.

Just like last night, it's no secret that the Rockies are a juggernaut at home offensively, but that is what makes Morton contrarian. With only four games to choose from, expect Morton to carry a bit more ownership than Cole did last night, but still be vastly under-owned as it relates to his skillset and the upside that comes with it.

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.