FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 5/17/19

Jon Gray gets out of the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field, and that makes him an appealing option, especially with 17 whiffs over the last two games. What other pitchers should we 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 Option

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $12,000

It's a fulllllll main slate, and these become incredibly fun to parse through. Tonight, we get to examine five hurlers topping $9,000 and make up our high-priced options.

If we just examine the super-expensive aces, Gerrit Cole ($10,500) and Max Scherzer ($10,800) become stay aways for me given that they have extremely difficult matchups -- in a rematch of last year's ALCS, Cole heads to Boston, and Scherzer faces a resurgent Chicago Cubs offense.

That leaves us with Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who faces a plum opportunity in Miami. deGrom easily sports the lowest implied team total at 2.72 runs, and he clocks in with a second-best mark on the slate in terms of strikeouts at 33.0%.

He's also locked into what numberFire deems as the third-best park in terms of Park Factor, and the Marlins rank dead-last in team wOBA (.261).

All this means is to pay up for the Mets ace and don't look back.

Mid-Priced Option

Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $8,200

Yup, I'm jumping back in on the Jon Gray-wagon, so buyer beware that the wheels fall off quickly.

Gray seems to be rocking some consistent metrics with past seasons -- his 25.1% strikeout rate showcases his tantalizing upside, and his 12.3% swinging-strike rate is tied for a career-best mark.

Fortunately, Gray also gets out of Denver, and it's against an offense that hasn't been firing on all cylinders. The 2019 Philadelphia Phillies clock in 17th in team wOBA (.316), 20th in isolated power (ISO, .162), and fifth-worst in hard-hit rate (33.4%).

Gray ranks fifth on the slate in strikeout rate (25.1%) after removing openers Jose Leclerc and Ryne Stanek, so consider the up-and-down starter as a decent option.

Low-Priced Option

Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

at Cleveland Indians
FanDuel Price: $6,800

Similar to placing your trust in Gray, Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles and his 5.31 ERA don't seem like an obvious choice for DFS purposes. A deeper dive, though, reveals he hasn't been all that poor, and facing a poor Cleveland Indians offense, he could be in a prime spot tonight.

Bundy's 4.55 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is being supplanted by a very strong 27.8% hard-hit rate and solid 22.9% strikeout rate, which give us a solid floor for tonight's start. Now let's layer in the Indians, who rank sixth-worst in team wOBA (.292) and ninth-highest in strikeout rate (25.1%).

Make no mistake that any time you are rostering someone like Dylan Bundy, there's an inherent risk here. However, there are some signs that the arrow could be pointing up for a positive Bundy start.

Contrarian Play

Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds

vs Los Angeles Dodgers
FanDuel Price: $7,500

There's plenty of reasons to be fearful of the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers -- it ranks fourth in team wOBA (.339), rank sixth in ISO (.198), and strike out the fifth-least (20.4%).

But Cincinnati Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani is no ordinary arm -- while the Reds haven't popped off to the start in 2019 that they had hoped for, they cannot blame this Reds arm. DeSclafani has posted a 26.4% strikeout rate so far this year, including a beautiful 10.6% swinging-strike rate.

While he remains an underdog tonight (+118), DeSclafani could be in a decent spot to steal a win, as opposing starter Rich Hill has struggled this year with only a 21.2% strikeout rate and a 4.61 xFIP in 15 innings. Peep DeSclafani as a sure to be a low-owned option.

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.