FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/7/19
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?
Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
vs Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $11,200
There are five mega aces tonight, priced at $10,000 and above, and Gerrit Cole sticks out as the easy option atop this heap.
Cole clocks in second among main slate hurlers with a ridiculous 37.9% strikeout rate, a full 7.4% ahead of the next-most expensive option, Matt Boyd. Some DFS'ers may be scared off by only his four strikeouts in his last outing, but it's important to remember that he faced an Oakland Athletics squad that ranks 26th in team strikeout rate (20.1%).
Now, peep tonight's matchup against the Baltimore Orioles, who whiff 13th most (23.7%), and rank sixth-worst in team wOBA (.301). Fold in Houston's third-worst park factor over the last three seasons, and you have Cole primed for a monster evening.
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
vs Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Price: $9,400
Similar to Wednesday's main slate that was strangely stratified, tonight's has only five pitchers priced between $8,000-$9,900. Of that grouping of arms, Andrew Heaney seems most likely to explode for a big game on Friday.
With only two starts under his belt, Heaney may be a bit under the radar for some folks -- but he shouldn't be. Over 11 innings, he's racked up a silly 19 strikeouts, including 10 in his last start against the Seattle Mariners. It's a very small sample size, but he leads the main slate with a 43.9% strikeout rate.
Now, peep the fact that the Mariners, over the last 30 days, rank 20th in team wOBA (.311) with a whopping 25.8% strikeout rate. As heavy favorites (-176 moneyline), Heaney's implied team total of 3.97 runs allowed means Vegas likely believes in him as well.
To pivot down off of those hefty arms, peep Heaney.
Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds
at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $7,600
This is not Groundhog's Day, although it may feel like it -- just like Wednesday, the majority of arms are cheap. 18 pitchers are priced at $7,900 and below, so we need to operate smartly in this space and pick out a low-priced arm that could also provide some significant upside.
One option that could be in line for a sneaky night is Tyler Mahle of the Cincinnati Reds, who continues to post impressive numbers in his second major league season. This year Mahle has recorded a strong 26.4% strikeout rate, and his 4.26 ERA doesn't seem to stand out, but a 3.68 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) shows he's maybe pitched better than that ERA suggests.
Mahle's strong 32.4% ground-ball rate will be crucial, as Citizens Bank Park is second in home run factor over the last three seasons. And this is a Philly offense that will be missing Andrew McCutchen, and has been poor in the last month with a .305 wOBA (23rd) and 23.1% strikeout rate (12th-worst).
To pay up for some bats on tonight's large main slate, Mahle certainly deserves a look.
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.