FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 5/14/19

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

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

vs Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $11,400

Yesterday was a shortened main slate with only six contests. How about we wet your whistle with a 12-game monster?

Today's slate includes four aces priced at or above $10,000, and that's the tier we want to start with first.

Chris Paddack ($10,000) faces the terrifying Los Angeles Dodgers (fourth in team wOBA at .340, third in hard-hit rate at 41.8%), so he's out for me. That leaves Sale, Clayton Kershaw ($10,200) and Caleb Smith ($10,700) as other options to consider. Sale is the pick to click for me.

Over his last four contests, a span of 26 innings, Sale is sporting a whopping 41.6% strikeout rate with only a 5.9% walk rate, and opposing batters have been limited to a 26.5% hard-hit rate. Those early-season ailments -- whatever they were -- seem to be in the past. Sale looks to be back.

His upside is too hard to ignore, particularly against a Colorado Rockies lineup that hasn't been good this year, making Sale worth his hefty price tag.

Mid-Priced Option

Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $9,800

We have six arms priced between $8,000 and $9,900 tonight, and if you want to make your pitching selection from this group, it's an interesting one to say the least.

At the top end of this cluster is Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays, and there are a lot of reasons to be bullish on his prospects this evening. The Miami Marlins are putrid offensively, ranking ninth in strikeout rate (25.0%), last in team wOBA (.263), last in fly-ball rate (30.6%), and last in park factor over the last three years. Matchups don't get much better than this.

It's no surprise that Miami sports one of the lowest implied totals on the day (3.11), so if you want to pivot down from the super expensive arms, peep Morton.

Low-Priced Option

Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers

at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $7,900

The Milwaukee Brewers are #blessed with a plethora of fantastic young hurlers, and although guys like Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes may have garnered the majority of the Spring Training hype, Brandon Woodruff might be the best of the bunch.

Coming off of a sparkling six-inning, four-hit, nine-strikeout performance, Woodruff has shown to be a very viable starting pitching option. So far in 42 1/3 innings, he owns a 29.7% strikeout rate, including an 11.7% swinging-strike rate.

Like Peralta yesterday, Woodruff takes aim at an offensively-challenged Philadelphia Phillies team that holds a mediocre 34.5% fly-ball rate (23rd) and 33.6% hard-hit rate (26th).

While it seems inevitable that the Phillies pick up the pace soon, Woodruff makes for an interesting cheap pitching options while Philly is struggling.

Contrarian Play

Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals

vs Texas Rangers
FanDuel Price: $7,600

Led by veterans Shin-Soo Choo and left-for-dead Hunter Pence, the Texas Rangers are one of baseball's biggest offensive surprises, clocking in seventh in team wOBA (.331).

While the Kansas City Royals are onlt 14-27 so far this season, Danny Duffy is certainly not to blame, and he's rolling right now. He's averaged 38.0 FanDuel points per game in his last two starts, allowing only three earned runs over 12 2/3 innings pitched.

A look at Duffy's batted-ball profile reveals he's been pretty hard to square up this year, posting a 28.8% hard-hit rate and 32.7% fly-ball rate. And while his upside is somewhat capped by a 16.7% strikeout rate, the Rangers provide their own relief here as they rank sixth in strikeout rate at 25.7%, making Duffy an interesting GPP play.

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.