FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 9/11/18
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?
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $11,800
Sometimes, it's OK not to overthink things, which is why if you're going to spend big money on a starting pitcher, the surest one to give you the type of lights-out performance you expect for the money is the likely NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.
We all know how amazing deGrom has been this season, with an MLB-leading ERA of 1.68 and a Skill Interactive ERA (SIERA) of 2.90 that ranks 5th in baseball. His swinging strike percentage of 15.1% is 4th-best, his strikeout-rate of 31.3% ranks 7th, and the .202 average he is allowing opposing hitters is 8th-best in the league. He's also the first pitcher since 1913 to allow three runs or fewer in 25 straight starts, so you know what you're getting with him on the bump.
deGrom is opposing a Miami Marlins team against whom he has a 3.23 ERA in three starts this season, with a 22-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19 innings of work. Miami is the worst hitting team in baseball, with a team wOBA of .292 and an isolated power (ISO) of .121 that both rank last. There's not much to think about here. The best pitcher in baseball is going up against the worst offense in baseball, resulting in FanDuel's highest point projection of anyone on tonight's slate (45.9).
Hyun-jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
at Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $9,000
Hyun-jin Ryu has made only 11 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, but boy has the left-hander been dominant in virtually every one of them. Ryu has a 2.16 ERA, a 2.87 FIP and a SIERA of 3.10 in 58.1 innings of work this season, striking out 10.34 batters per nine with a strikeout rate of 28.8% and a walk-rate of only 5.2%. Opponents are hitting a meager .218 against him, and he's managed to stifle both left-handed and right-handed hitters this season with an identical .269 wOBA against each.
Ryu is going up against a decent offensive club in the Cincinnati Reds, who come into the game with the 9th-highest team wOBA in baseball this season (.322) and the 5th-best mark against southpaws in baseball this season (.332). The Reds also perform well at home, with a .330 wOBA at Great American Ballpark, the 8th-best home wOBA in baseball.
However, this is one of those situations where the pitcher has been so hot, it makes sense to ride his arm. He's projected to score 39.9 FanDuel points tonight, the second-highest total on tonight's slate. Trust the dominance of Ryu, who has only allowed at least three earned runs in two of his 11 starts this season.
Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners
vs. San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $7,200
Marco Gonzales will be making his first start since August 22 as he returns from the disabled list due to a neck strain tonight. Gonzales entered August with a 3.37 ERA, which was the lowest on the Mariners' staff, but as his neck started to bother him more, he put up a 10.35 ERA in four starts last month before hitting the DL. That ballooned his ERA to 4.32 this year, but his 3.53 FIP and 3.81 SIERA tell you the's been better than that. He's not a strikeout artist (21.1% K-rate this season), and so he won't pile up the whiffs, but he doesn't give up homers (0.99 HR/9) and pitches at Safeco Field in Seattle, the 4th-friendliest environment for pitchers in baseball.
Gonzales is also going up against a San Diego Padres offense that plays as if they're holding the wrong ends of the bats, sometimes. Only the Marlins have a worse team wOBA (.293) than the Padres, with a team ISO (.145) that is 25th out of 30 teams in baseball. Their .303 team wOBA against southpaws is just 22nd in baseball as well.
Gonzales' implied total of 3.36 is among the lowest among tonight's starting pitchers, and his FanDuel projected point total of 36.8 is 3rd-most on this evening's slate, making him a good bet among tonight's more cost-friendly options.
Sonny Gray, New York Yankees
at Minnesota Twins
FanDuel Price: $6,900
This has been a season to forget for Sonny Gray, owner of a 4.96 ERA and a 4.29 SIERA in 123.1 innings this season. He was bumped out of the starting rotation last month, but is getting a spot start tonight against the Minnesota Twins, and there are a few reasons to like Gray this evening.
Gray will be pitching in Minnesota, which is a pretty neutral park as far as offense is concerned (the 18th-friendliest run-scoring environment in baseball this year). He has also been a more effective pitcher on the road this season (3.09 ERA in 64.0 innings) compared to at Yankee Stadium (6.98 ERA in 59.1 innings), with a strikeout rate of 26.8% on the road compared to 15.7% at home.
If you're looking for a guy no one else is going to start who can give you five or six innings of quality pitching with some strikeouts thrown in against a weak-hitting opponent, Gray is your main man this evening.
John Stolnis is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, John Stolnis also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JStolnis. 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.