FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 5/10/19

Luis Castillo has been great to start the season, and he's blessed with another gorgeous matchup. Which other options should be on our radar?

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

Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds

at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $10,500

Let's take a bit of a different approach as we examine the pitching slate for tonight, as there are five true studs priced $9,500 on what really is the upper echelon of hurlers.

Justin Verlander ($11,300) and Tyler Glasnow ($10,700) have been excellent to start 2019, but there's some land mines in these matchups. Verlander faces the Texas Rangers, one of baseball's bigger surprises with a nasty lineup. They rank sixth in baseball in team wOBA (.337).

Despite a maligned lineup due to injury, Glasnow faces a New York Yankees team that's not too shabby, clocking in ninth in team wOBA (.332).

For those reasons, I'm pivoting over to Luis Castillo, who has re-discovered his gorgeous change-up in 2019:

Castillo is tied for a slate-best 30.3% strikeout rate, and he's got the built in benefit of facing an awful San Francisco Giants lineup that ranks third-worst in baseball with a .281 wOBA, striking out 23.8% of the time.

Factor in Castillo's implied run total allowed of 3.48 runs (sixth best), and he seems like a fantastic top-of-the slate option.

Mid-Priced Option

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

vs Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $9,200

Perhaps the only thing that could make Zack Wheeler even more enticing tonight is if this game were taking place in South Beach. Alas, we aren't getting that lucky, but facing a poor Miami Marlins squad while Wheeler looks like he's returning to form, and he's a very solid option for pitchers under $9,500.

After two ugly turns to start 2019, Wheeler has been brilliant in his last five outings. Covering those 33 innings, the righty has posted a 3.20 xFIP, 27.9% strikeout rate, 26.1% hard-hit rate, and 29.4% fly-ball rate.

Let's add to that good run of form by noting that the Marlins are dead last in baseball in team wOBA (.264) and fly-ball rate (30.9%), all while striking out 24.8% of the time.

Combining a dude that's been a beast with an offense that really struggles, it's no surprise that Wheeler sports the lowest allowed implied run total on the slate (2.99 runs), making him a phenomenal pitcher in the mid-range.

Low-Priced Option

Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins

at New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $7,200

Staying in the same game, Zack Wheeler isn't the only pitcher we should consider in this consistent. Quietly, the Miami Marlins are developing a very solid staff, and Pablo Lopez is a big part of that equation.

Despite being +170 on the moneyline, Lopez has an implied allowed run total of only 4.02 runs, and that's because of his serious pitching arsenal at his disposal.

Lopez owns plenty of swing-and-miss ability, whiffing 25.0% of hitters on the season, including an 11.5% swinging-strike rate. Now peep the Mets and their 33.1% fly-ball rate (fifth-worst), and 25.4% strikeout rate (seventh-worst) and we are cookin' with gas.

If you're looking to load up on bats in Denver tonight, Lopez makes for a solid play.

Contrarian Play

German Marquez, Colorado Rockies

vs San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $7,900

After going to the Coors Field well once this week, let's see if it pops again with German Marquez of the Colorado Rockies.

It's worth noting that home and road Marquez are completely different animals. For his career, which are nearly equally distributed from an innings pitched perspective, Marquez sports a .297 wOBA and 3.46 road ERA, while he's logged a .341 wOBA and 4.66 home ERA. With tonight's matchup in Denver, that's not good.

But, let's hold that thought while we consider his opponent tonight, the San Diego Padres. Despite their offseason investment in Manny Machado, the Friars rank ninth-worst in team wOBA (.299), and they've logged the third-highest strikeout rate this year (26.5%).

Perhaps a trip to the Rockies will help jump start their offense, but San Diego has struggled mightily at the dish this season. The heart of San Diego's lineup also bats right-handed, including Machado, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Wil Myers and whoever starts between Austin Hedges or Francisco Mejia. Marquez posted a .255 wOBA and 35.0% strikeout rate in that split last year, making him a sneaky play for tournaments.

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.