FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/28/19

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

Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins

at Chicago White Sox

FanDuel Price: $10,500

There are five mega-aces taking the ball tonight priced at $9,000 or above, and Jose Berrios seems to possess the most punch out of this group.

With Jacob deGrom squaring off with a tough Atlanta Braves team and Mike Clevinger returning from the injured list, Berrios may seem like an obvious choice on those merits alone. But his matchup with the Chicago White Sox makes things even juicier -- they rank third-worst in team strikeout rate (25.5%), possess very little pop (.152, ISO), and have a 32.1% hard-hit rate that ranks second-worst.

We've got Berrios pegged for the second-highest pitching projection on the slate, so if you're looking to spend up, the Minnesota Twins hurler is your man.

Mid-Priced Option

Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals

at Detroit Tigers

FanDuel Price: $8,400

In peeping the mid tier set of arms, this one truly comes down to a process of elimination among the grouping of $8,000 to $8,900.

Let's quickly run through the land mines here. Mike Soroka ($8,800) could make sense, but he is returning after taking a batted-ball last start. Merrill Kelly ($8,600) takes on a suddenly improving San Francisco Giants team, Hyun-jin Ryu ($8,500) heads to Coors, and homer-prone Mike Fiers ($8,300) and Chris Archer ($8,100) head to power-friendly parks.

That leaves us with Anibal Sanchez, but the matchup here is quite solid -- Sanchez faces a poor Detroit Tigers squad that ranks third-worst in team wOBA (.284) and ISO (.148), and second-worst in strikeout rate (26.1%).

Let's not ignore how strong Sanchez has been recently, either -- over his last five starts, he's recorded three quality starts spanning 29 1/3 innings, while logging a 2.46 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. To save some coin and possibly load up on Coors Field bats, Sanchez could be your guy.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds

vs Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Price: $7,400

If I told you there was a pitching option under $7,500 with plenty of upside potential, would that get you excited?

Sonny Gray fits that bill -- he tied for fourth in strikeout rate on the main slate (26.6%), and Cincinnati actually ranks outside of the top-10 in terms of park factor over the last three seasons.

The Chicago Cubs, Gray's opponent, are a strong offense, but they strike out at a decent clip (23.4%) while also ranking sixth-worst in fly-ball rate (33.8%).

He also has that juicy upside -- he's already posted 40-plus FanDuel points four times in 2019, so the big score is certainly available. While there's obviously some risk in this lower tier, rostering Gray could make for a big payoff.

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.