FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/14/19
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 Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $12,000
15-game main slates are tons of fun, and this one is loaded with some fantastic pitching options at the top end, with five pitchers priced at $10,000 or above.
In that grouping, the lowest three options all have some serious concerns -- Kyle Hendricks has possibly been the best pitcher in this crew, winning his last six decisions, but he faces a very difficult Los Angeles Dodgers offense this evening. The same is true for Lucas Giolito, who takes aim at a New York Yankees offense that doesn't swing and miss much (22.8%). And Blake Snell faces the toughest team in baseball to strike out in the Los Angeles Angels (16.8%).
That brings us to Gerrit Cole, who may have the best matchup of the day against the Toronto Blue Jays. They strike out a bunch (7th, 24.6%), and Cole clocks in second-best on the main slate in strikeout rate.
He's certainly pricey, but with three straight quality starts and some high-end upside, peep Cole if you are willing to spend up.
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
at Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Price: $8,900
Well, it's true, and Heaney has been magnificent since starting his 2019 season. It's only three starts, so that strikeout pace is unlikely to continue, but you can't ignore how strong he has been either.
His opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays, also provide plenty of swing-and-miss juiciness, clocking in eighth in the league with a 24.4% strikeout rate, and are third-worst with a 31.7% fly-ball rate.
Now keep in mind one caveat here -- as Heaney continues to round himself into form, he has yet to go longer than six innings pitched in any start this season. Buyer beware, but upside does exist here.
Chris Bassitt, Oakland Athletics
vs Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Price: $7,500
It's easy to take a quick peek at Chris Bassitt's last four starts, where he has averaged only 18.50 FanDuel points, and scratch your head in potentially rostering him. In that time span, the righty has recorded only one win and one quality start.
But context is always key, and Bassitt has faced some of baseball's most challenging offenses, including the Texas Rangers (league-best 42.6% hard-hit rate), the Houston Astros (third-best team wOBA of .341), and the Los Angeles Angels (league-low 16.8% strikeout rate).
Bassitt has shined overall this season by bumping up his strikeout rate to 24.0% and limiting hard contact to only 29.9%. That will be critical against a Seattle Mariners team that strikes out at a 25.2% clip (fourth-highest), and is fifth-worst in hard-hit rate (34.9%).
All that adds up to Bassitt pegged for some major value, giving you a cheap pitching option that could rack up plenty of points.
Nick Pivetta, Philadelphia Phillies
at Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Price: $7,900
But Pivetta's recent run of form provides some hope that he could make for an interesting pivot play. Since returning from the minors, Pivetta has notched back-to-back quality starts, including a complete game effort in his last time out.
Bolstering his solid production is his stellar 28.7% fly-ball rate and juicy 10.4% swinging-strike rate. With that swinging-strike rate, his low 22.3% strikeout rate could be on the rise in the near future.
With 49 and 52 FanDuel point efforts in his last two outings, Pivetta makes for a sneaky option to employ while facing a Braves squad that ranks fourth-worst in fly-ball rate at 33.4%.
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.