MLB

FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 6/4/19

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

Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

vs Chicago White Sox

FanDuel Price: $11,500

Can you hear that sound coming through your computer screen? That's my squeal of excitement when diving into a full main slate on tonight's docket, which gives us an opportunity to really nerd out on the pitching slate.

There are four pitchers that are priced above $10,000, and two stick out as super juicy options -- Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. I'm shying away from Snell for a few reasons -- since his 55 and 47 point FanDuel outings a few turns ago, Snell has yet to crack double-digits in strikeouts, and he hasn't reached seven innings pitched since his second turn of the year.

That pivots me to Strasburg, who's been beasting as of late. He's gone seven innings or more in his last three outings, he's struck out seven or more batters in seven of his last eight outings, and he has a dream matchup -- the Chicago White Sox strike out the third-most in the league (26.0%), leading to a potentially explosive output for the righty.

He's a pricey pick, but Strasburg could lead you to DFS glory tonight.

Mid-Priced Option

Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

vs San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $9,000

It's been a rocky road in 2019 for Noah Syndergaard, who admittedly hasn't posted his best numbers for the New York Mets this season.

This year in 12 starts, spanning 75 1/3 innings pitched, the traditional metrics have been kind of ugly -- a 4.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP certainly stick out as not the same old Thor that we are used to.

But here's where we can throw all of that out the window and think about rostering Thor -- the strikeout rate still remains strong (24.5%), and he faces a San Francisco Giants offense that ranks third worst in baseball in terms of team wOBA (.284).

Go back to the well with confidence with Syndergaard in tonight's mid-tier.

Low-Priced Option

Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies

at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $7,300

Among the pitchers priced under $8,000, there are 14 arms we can choose from, meaning the cheap offerings are bountiful tonight. One that seems to stick out from the pack is Jerad Eickhoff of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Casting aside the juggernaut offensive effort the San Diego Padres posted yesterday, this has been a bad offense in 2019. Their team wOBA of .301 clocks them in seventh-worst, they've got that swing-and-miss buzz we want to target with a league-leading 27.1% strikeout rate, and their 35.6% fly-ball rate has been pretty mediocre (17th).

In peeping our heat map, we can see that Eickhoff isn't at the top of the charts in terms of strikeout rate compared to his peers, but the solid matchup in a great park makes him a viable, cheap option to consider.

Contrarian Play

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

vs Minnesota Twins
FanDuel Price: $9,500

So the Minnesota Twins have been on quite the tear to start 2019, as evidence by their odds to win the World Series. Our models give the Twins a 7.0% chance to win it all, which puts them fourth in all of baseball, and FanDuel Sportsbook gives them the fourth-best odds (+700), as well.

While many thought they could usurp the Cleveland Indians atop the AL Central, I'm not sure many folks expected that on June 4th, they'd hold a 10.5-game lead over the presumptive favorites in the division.

The Twins have done this via a lot of home runs and the league's best offense in terms of team wOBA (.357), making Shane Bieber's task a tall one as he tries to slow down this lineup.

But ignoring Bieber against this juggernaut could be a bit silly. His floor remains high with the fourth-highest strikeout rate on the main slate, he's struck out 60 batters over his last seven starts, including 10 and 15 strikeout efforts. That means a high upside effort remains in play.

The Twins are a great offense that has limited their strikeouts this year (18.9%), but with Bieber's strong recent run and a solid implied team total of 4.25 runs, he could be an overlooked option that could differentiate your entries.



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.