FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 4/29/19

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?

High-Priced Option

Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves

vs San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $9,200

Three guys are priced above $9,000 tonight, and there's some interesting choices in this range.

The cheapest of the three, Mike Soroka is an intriguing options against a San Diego Padres offense that has struggled in 2019. They rank second-highest in strikeout rate (26.8%) and haven't been swinging the bat well (.294 wOBA). For his part, Soroka has pitched to a superb 26.5% strikeout rate and 11.1% swinging-strike rate through a tiny sample of 10 2/3 frames.

A top-shelf prospect, Soroka could fly under the radar a bit today if those wanting to pay up opt for Justin Verlander or Patrick Corbin. But there's reason to want to pivot away from those two.

Verlander, the priciest option, at $11,400, is an animal but faces perhaps the stiffest test. The Minnesota Twins come into this one leading the league in team wOBA (.355), and they strike out the third-least (19.3%). Corbin is taking on a St. Louis Cardinals team that strikes out the seventh-least (21.5%), and their .344 team wOBA clocks in seventh-best.

Soroka's matchup is so good, and when you combine that with the stiff tests for Corbin and Verlander, it makes a lot of sense to save a little coin and go with Soroka.

Mid-Priced Option

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

vs Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $8,600

Could you guess that the Cincinnati Reds have the lowest batting average in the league entering tonight (.209)? Well, they do, and with Zack Wheeler's recent run of form, he's one we need to consider rostering at the pitcher spot.

The Reds were a popular pick this year to improve on their 2018 record, but an inflated 24.8% strikeout rate combined with a .282 team wOBA (fourth-worst) has made them an easy target for DFS purposes.

After a bumpy start to begin the 2019 campaign, the New York Mets' righty has been brilliant. Despite an ugly 4.85 ERA and 1.35 WHIP to start the season, Wheeler, over his last two starts, has whiffed 16 batters over 14 innings. He's fresh off a seven-inning, 11-strikeout performance last week and is allowing a measly 26.3% hard-hit rate this season.

There's some fun hitting spots tonight, and dropping down in price to Wheeler gives you the chance to tap into some of the night's top offenses.

Low-Priced Option/Contrarian Play

Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers

vs Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $6,400

Parsing through tonight's main slate, there's not a lot of great options at the bottom of the pitching heap. Zach Davies has been doing Zach Davies things -- he's not missing bats, but he's finding a way to get outs. Rostering a low-strikeout pitcher is always scary, and that's Davies as the right-hander owns only a 6.3% swinging-strike rate and 16.8% strikeout rate.

But a home date with the Colorado Rockies puts him on the radar.

Not only has this Rockies lineup been bad outside of Denver (fourth-worst road wOBA .269), they have been awful everywhere to start the year. They rank just 21st in team wOBA (.303), and they provide some swing-and-miss ability with a team strikeout rate of 25.0% this season.

Davies' batted-ball profile has been strong, giving up a 32.5% hard-hit rate and 32.1% fly-ball rate in 2019. If he can continue to limit hard contact, he can turn in a good showing tonight, though it's not the best slate to pay down on the bump.

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.