FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/31/18
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?
Luis Severino, New York Yankees
vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Price: $10,600
Let me say that again: The Yankees are a -366 favorite. We haven't seen a number like that in quite some time. With Severino rekindling his strikeout ability (eight whiffs in three of his last four), we have the perfect recipe for a lock-button play. One concern with the right-hander is that he has failed to eclipse six innings pitched in all but one of his last nine starts, but he should be able to cruise in this spot and pitch deeper than he has been.
The Tigers are league-average in strikeout rate against righties (14th), but they are bottom-five in both ISO (27th) and wOBA (29th). They are projected for a slate-low 2.84 runs here, as Severino has been a full run better at Yankee Stadium (2.73 ERA) than on the road (3.77 ERA).
Severino is a lock for cash games at this price and with the favorable matchup. However, there are a few other upper-tier arms in good spots, so going underweight on him in tournaments is certainly a viable strategy.
Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox
at Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $7,400
The White Sox lead the American League with a 25.5% strikeout rate against righties, and they have a void in their lineup with Jose Abreu on the disabled list. Vegas has them pegged for just around four runs here (4.07), despite favorable hitting conditions and a solid park for offense.
Eovaldi has been touched up for 14 runs over his last 17 innings, but the strikeout upside at this price point is very appealing. His 3.82 SIERA shows he has been better overall than his recent numbers indicate.
Eovaldi is an interesting mid-tier play tonight who should also check in at relatively low ownership. As we've seen with this White Sox team repeatedly, they are prone to giving up ceiling games to opposing pitchers. Fire him up in tournaments if you want to load up on the expensive bats.
Andrew Suarez, San Francisco Giants
vs. New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $7,200
There's not much separating the mid-tier from the value tier tonight, as Andrew Suarez is just $200 cheaper than Eovaldi. Coming off of a 46-point FanDuel performance against the Rangers, the southpaw has a great chance to post a similar output in this spot.
Suarez has a modest 20.6% strikeout rate with a 3.89 SIERA for the year, but the appeal here is more about the matchup than his individual skill set. The Mets have an NL-worst 24.9% strikeout rate against lefties, along with the 28th-ranked ISO (.124), and they have to navigate an extreme pitcher's park in AT&T Park as well.
Suarez may actually end up being one of the best point-per-dollar plays on the board tonight. He doesn't need to do much to pay off this price tag, and the matchup surely is in his favor in this spot.
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $10,000
On the other side of the Mets/Giants tilt is one of the hottest pitchers in the league, and one who may go overlooked on this huge 15-game slate.
Zack Wheeler has been great lately, posting at least 43 FanDuel points in six of his last seven starts. For the season, his strikeout rate is a very average 23.6%, but that number has jumped up to 26.4% over his last five starts. His 1.09 ERA over that stretch includes four wins, and he's won seven straight decisions overall.
While Wheeler has dominated over the last month, the Giants' offense has continued to struggle. They have the third-highest strikeout rate in that span (24.5%), and are league-worst in ISO (0.96), wOBA (.257) and wRC+ (60). There simply is no better matchup than San Francisco at this point in the season, and they just lost Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Yankees.
The way Wheeler has pitched recently, he would be extremely popular on any other slate. In projecting him to be a contrarian play tonight, you should have heavy interest here in GPP contests, and I can't argue if you want to use him in cash as well.
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.