FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 4/2/19
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 today's main slate?
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
vs Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $10,000
While he struggled in his first start this season, Snell takes aim at a Colorado offense that historically struggles outside of Denver. A season ago, the Rockies posted a road batting average of .225 (down 62 percentage points) with a .289 wOBA (down 73 percentage points) and .144 ISO (down 71 percentage points).
It seems like 2019 is starting off the same way. In five road tilts, the Rockies have scored 16 total runs, rank sixth-worst in team wOBA (.266), and have struck out at a 24.6% clip.
While pitchers the quality of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale are always in play, this is a prime spot for Snell. We project Snell for the fourth-most FanDuel points on the slate and have him as the best point-per-dollar play among the four hurlers priced at $10,000 or above.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
vs San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $9,200
It wasn't expected to be a banner year for the San Francisco Giants offensively, but in a small sample to begin the year, they have been miserable. So far, they rank fifth-worst in team wOBA (.250), seventh-worst in strikeout rate (27.2%), and seventh-worst in ISO (.113).
It's not a good offense.
That all bodes well for Hyun-jin Ryu, who we have lined up for 42.9 FanDuel points, second-most on the day, trailing only Scherzer. Ryu was brilliant in his opening turn, firing six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks in a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It's also worth noting Ryu's notable home-road splits as he pitches at home again for this start. A year ago, the lefty rocked 1.15 ERA, 2.84 xFIP, and .229 wOBA at Dodger Stadium, so consider him a very solid option at a cheaper price point tonight. And given the wealth of top-shelf aces on this slate, Ryu could go a bit under-owned in GPPs.
Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
vs Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $7,400
Make no bones about it -- Marcus Stroman really struggled a season ago for the Toronto Blue Jays. After fantastic 2016 and 2017 campaigns, when the Jays righty topped 200 innings pitched in each season with sub-4.00 skill-interactive ERAs (SIERA), Stroman stepped back a bit with only 102 1/3 innings and a paltry 9.1% swinging-strike rate.
It's only one start -- and it came against a bad offense -- but Stroman showcased he may be returning to the pitcher of old this year. Against the Detroit Tigers, Stroman fired seven innings, allowing only two hits, no runs, and a 13.8% swinging-strike rate in that first outing.
That lines up well against an Orioles team that ranks 18th in team wOBA (.294), strikes out at a 27.2% clip, and a year ago, ranked fifth-worst in the league with a .299 wOBA.
A pivot to cheap pitching can be a strong GPP play if you hit on the right guy, especially on this slate, and Stroman may be that dude tonight.
Zach Eflin, Philadelphia Phillies
at Washington Nationals
FanDuel Price: $7,800
Locking horns with Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals, a win may seem unlikely for the underdog Philadelphia Phillies (+178), and Zach Eflin gets the challenge of taming this quality Philly offense.
But could there be some value here?
Early on, it looks like the Nats are an offense worth targeting. On the season, they have struck out the third-most in the league (31.9%), which gives plenty of strikeout upside for Eflin.
The Phillies' righty generates plenty of strikeout buzz on his own. A year ago, over 128 innings, he recorded a 10.3% swinging-strike rate and 22.5% strikeout rate. Despite being locked in to a potentially tight, low-scoring affair, he makes for an interesting contrarian play and is sure to see pretty low ownership on this slate.
Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. 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.