FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 4/22/19

In a slate devoid of big names, Jake Arrieta is poised to bring home a big score. Which other options should you consider?

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?

High-Priced Stud

Jake Arrieta, Philadelphia Phillies

at New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $9,200

Is the tier really a high-priced one when there's no one above $10,000? That's the dynamic on tonight's 10-game main slate, where there's a plethora of middling options but not quite as many in the elite ace group.

Matt Boyd ($9,400) has been magnificent to start the year, but he squares off with a potent Boston Red Sox offense that's picking up steam and doesn't strike out a lot (21.4%). Joe Musgrove ($9,000) has also been excellent to begin the year, but he faces an Arizona Diamondbacks team that also doesn't whiff a ton (23.4%).

That leaves Jake Arrieta of the Philadelphia Phillies, who has been unbelievable in 2019. In 28 innings spanning four starts, the righty owns a 2.25 ERA and 33.3% fly-ball rate to begin the season.

Arrieta's whiffs are down (16.4% strikeout rate), but he faces a Mets squad that has the highest strikeout rate (24.0%) among the top three pitchers, so roll with him if you're paying up at the position tonight.

Mid-Priced Option

Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals

at Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Price: $8,500

Half of tonight's main slate sits between $7,000 and $8,500. Navigating the middle tier is going to be tricky, but the Kansas City Royals' Brad Keller stands out from the rest of the pack.

The right-handed starter has been strong to begin 2019. He may only rock a 20.2% strikeout rate on the season, but a 32.5% hard-hit rate and 27.7% fly-ball rate showcase a batted-ball profile that's been effective in limiting damage from opposing hitters.

Want more? Keller's opponent tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays, rank seventh in strikeout rate (25.9%), so the upside is there to be had.

The Rays can smack righties around (117 wRC+ this year), so there's certainly some volatility in the play. But for a chance at some serious upside, peep Keller.

Low-Priced Option

Tyler Anderson, Colorado Rockies

vs Washington Nationals
FanDuel Price: $5,700

It's not often you see five arms priced at $6,000 or lower, but that's the nature of tonight's main slate. There's definitely a glob of starting pitching tonight, but if you want to foray into the cheap area and spend up on hitting, Tyler Anderson of the Colorado Rockies appears to be your man.

Fresh off on an Injured List stint, the Rockies southpaw should be under-owned as he attacks a Washington Nationals lineup in Denver. Ignoring Anderson simply because he is making a home start seems to be at your own peril, because in 2018 -- spanning 95 1/3 innings -- Anderson held his own with a 22.3% strikeout rate and 4.13 xFIP.

For some extra juice in play here, the Nats haven't been so adept against lefties in 2019, whiffing 27.6% of the time (sixth-worst). If you're trying to find a super cheap option with some potential for ace-like results, Anderson makes a lot of sense.

Contrarian Play

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

vs Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Price: $8,400

What a fall from the elite. Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox is priced down to $8,400, but for good reason. Sale has been absolutely abysmal to start 2019, with an 8.50 ERA and a 16.7% strikeout rate.

Tonight could signal a turning point in his season, however, as Sale looks ready to roast a Detroit Tigers offense that has been downright putrid. They clock in fourth-worst in team wOBA (.277) and eighth-worst in strikeout rate (25.6%) as a club.

Sale could be slowly rounding into form this year, and his 12.9% swinging-strike rate last time out shows he could be on track for a dominating performance this evening.

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.