FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 5/24/19
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?
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
at Cleveland Indians
FanDuel Price: $11,200
One of the things that makes me the happiest is a monster main slate, and tonight certainly fits the bill. We have a massive 14-gamer on tap for tonight, which means a beautiful plethora of pitching options at all tiers.
Let's examine the pricey arms first, which features a four-pack of starters at $10,000 or more. Chris Sale and his current run of insanity (four consecutive double-digit strikeout efforts and a whopping 51 whiffs over that time frame) can't be ignored, but facing the nasty Houston Astros offense makes him a stay away for me.
In this expensive grouping, Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays stands out. After two shaky starts off the injured list where he didn't surpass four innings pitched in either outing, Snellzilla has struck out a whopping 30 batters in his last three starts.
He also faces a Cleveland Indians team that ranks middle-of-the-pack in strikeout rate (24.1%) but clock in with the sixth-worst in team wOBA (.292). Combining all of those factors together, paying up for Snell makes a lot of sense.
Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $8,700
There are only four real pitching options in the mid-tier (priced between $8,000 and $9,900), which makes for an interesting choice if you want to dip your toe in here. Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks certainly has volatility in his pitching profile, but the strikeout upside paired with a weak opponent makes him for an obvious choice.
Let's start with the San Francisco Giants, an absolutely putrid offensive attack. They trail only the Miami Marlins from being the worst offense in the league in team wOBA (.280), in addition to striking out at a 24.5% clip with the 11th-worst in hard-hit rate (36.5%) and fifth-worst in fly-ball rate (33.0%). That's a lot of numbers to say this team stinks at hitting.
Ray has struck out six or more batters five straight outings, giving him a decent floor, and he ranks third on the slate in strikeout rate at 29.5%. Peep the lefty as a salary-saving option from the top-tier dudes.
Low-Priced Option/Contrarian Play
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels
vs Texas Rangers
FanDuel Price: $7,600
While there are a lot of pitchers to consider tonight, there's a pile of arms that are priced at $7,900 and below on the main slate -- 20, in fact. That means a low-priced pitcher is likely to be a contrarian one, too, as ownership should be pretty spread out.
Griffin Canning's filthy 89 mph slider to Vlad Jr. pic.twitter.com/uqpAU7Gzp2
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) May 1, 2019
Here's why Canning could be a bit off the radar -- he faces the Texas Rangers, who lead the league in hard-hit rate (44.3%) and rank third in team wOBA (.344). But here's why you shouldn't be scared -- they rank eighth in team strikeout rate (24.8%) and have the 10th-lowest fly-ball rate (35.0%).
Despite being a rookie, Canning ranks sixth on tonight's main slate in strikeout rate (24.6%). Consider the righty as a viable option, both to save some coin and get plenty of upside.
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.