FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 5/20/19

Mike Soroka has been brilliant so far this season, and he has a superb matchup against the light-hitting Giants. Is he the guy to plug into your pitcher spot today in MLB DFS?

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

at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $10,000

There are three priced-up hurlers on tonight's main slate who are each listed at or above $10,000, making for some tough decisions when filling our pitcher spot.

It feels like Chris Paddack can be crossed off immediately, especially in cash, as he has the toughest challenge in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who rank eighth in team wOBA (.332). That leaves us with the uber-expensive Patrick Corbin ($10,800) or the slightly cheaper Mike Soroka. Corbin faces off with the New York Mets (24.8% strikeout rate), and Soroka gets the San Francisco Giants (24.3%).

I'm going with Soroka. He faces a slightly poorer offense than Corbin does in terms of team wOBA (.285 versus .310) and fly-ball rate (32.8% versus 33.3%). Soroka also gets to throw in pitcher-friendly San Fran.

If you're looking to pay up at pitcher, Soroka seems like a safe bet, though he doesn't have Corbin's upside, which is reflected in our projections.

Mid-Priced Option

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs

vs Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $8,700

If you can stomach rostering the volatile Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs, tonight could be a good time to consider jumping back in the water.

While the Philadelphia Phillies played well over the weekend, sweeping the Colorado Rockies, this still is an offense we want to consider targeting with pitchers. The Phils rank middle of the pack in team wOBA (.318), seventh-worst in hard-hit rate (34.8%), and ninth-worst in fly-ball rate (34.7%).

Ranking third on the main slate with a 28.6% strikeout rate, Darvish is getting whiffs. He may be walking plenty of folks this season (17.2% walk rate), but his 33.3% strikeout rate over his last six starts leaves plenty of top-end upside. All in all, Darvish has some appeal for tourneys.

Low-Priced Option/Contrarian Play

Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

vs Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Price: $7,800

Sporting the fourth-lowest implied team total (3.69 runs), Brad Peacock could end up being the top scorer on the main slate tonight (our models have him ranked second, behind only Corbin). Let's lay out the reasons why.

While his 23.3% strikeout total may not blow you away, the Chicago White Sox, Peacock's opponent, strike out third-most in the league (25.5%). The Sox can hit the long ball, but their batted-ball profile is ugly. They have the seventh-worst fly-ball rate (34.1%), and they rank dead last in hard-hit rate (30.2%).

As a hefty moneyline favorite (-230), Peacock's chances of getting a win and quality start loom large, so if you are targeting some expensive hitters, Peacock may be the way to go.

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.