FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 4/9/19
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?
vs Minnesota Twins
FanDuel Price: $12,200
When a slate is this packed with aces, it's hard to make a bad choice at the top. In looking at each of the pitchers above $10,000 on the main slate, Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Aaron Nola all make for excellent choices, but I'm riding with Jacob deGrom.
First, let's discuss why the others may not make the most sense.
Cole ($10,900) can save you a few bucks, but he faces a New York Yankees team that is striking out at only a 22.7% clip. Similar to Cole, Strasburg has a tough matchup with a potent Philadelphia Phillies squad that is striking out at just a 21.0% clip. It seems like a tough time to roster Nola, who's been bounced around the yard in his first two starts -- spanning nine innings, he's recorded a 7.00 ERA while struggling with his command (18.0% walk rate). So while the Nationals make for a juicy option with their 27.3% strikeout rate, but Nola is a bit scary for me.
That leaves deGrom. The Minnesota Twins are certainly no pushover as they are striking out at the fifth-lowest clip in the game (20.1%), but deGrom has been absolutely silly with a 50.0% strikeout rate this year, fresh off of a 14-strikeout performance in his last start. He is the most expensive of the true aces, but I'm placing my bet with the former NL Cy Young Award winner.
vs Texas Rangers
FanDuel Price: $9,300
With such a heavy slate of expensive aces, I'm taking the liberty to slide Zack Greinke into the mid-tier grouping, and he's definitely worth consideration at a bit cheaper price point.
After a rough first outing for the Arizona Diamondbacks' ace, he rebounded in fine form with 10 strikeouts over six innings against the San Diego Padres. He faces a Texas Rangers team that ranks 10th in team wOBA so far (.335), but they also swing and miss a ton, too, with a 26.4% strikeout rate.
Greinke may continue to see his velocity decline, but he's holding steady early this year with a decent 9.8% swinging-strike rate. Pitching in pitcher-friendly Chase Field (19th in home run factor in 2018), he's definitely worth your consideration on Tuesday.
Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins
at New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $7,000
Getting a win may be a tough gig for Kyle Gibson as he locks horns with deGrom, but he makes for a really interesting option.
Early in his career, Gibson eschewed the strikeout, never breaking the 20-percent-strikeout barrier in any of his first five seasons. That all changed last year, when the Minnesota Twins' starter logged a 21.7% strikeout rate and a career-best 11.5% swinging-strike rate.
Building off last season's success, Gibson could benefit from facing a strikeout-friendly Mets lineup, which clocks in with the fourth-worst strikeout rate in baseball in 2019 (27.7%). Gibson has only one start to his name this year, but look for him to potentially bounce back in a good spot against the Mets.
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
at Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $6,000
Tasked with a start in Denver against the Colorado Rockies, Max Fried makes the contrarian-play list, the second night in a row we'll chat about an Atlanta hurler here. Teammate Julio Teheran spun a few scoreless innings last night before falling apart, and Fried checks some boxes.
The strikeout-heavy Rockies (24.3% strikeout rate) are a bit of a MASH unit so far with injuries to Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon. Fried has also been pretty solid this season -- while it's still early, Fried buzzed the Chicago Cubs in his first start, lasting six innings while striking out five and allowing only one hit.
Fried makes for an interesting, low-owned option who many players will likely be staying away from. If you're filling out multiple lineups tonight, toss him in one.
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.