FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/5/19

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

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

vs Philadelphia Phillies

FanDuel Price: $10,700

As the Atlanta Braves threaten to run away with the NL East title, the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies look to hold serve, and Jacob deGrom has the task of slowing down the Philadelphia offense tonight.

While the Phillies have appeared on the verge of a breakout in 2019, they seem to have yet to hit their stride, ranking only 19th in team wOBA on the year (.318). And what gets scarier are some advanced metrics on the team -- they land in the middle of the back in terms of fly-ball rate (36.0%) and hard-hit rate (37.4%), and their .176 isolated power (ISO) mark (19th) showcases their mediocrity.

They also leave the comforts of home -- their park ranks second in home run factor over the last three season, while New York clocks in 21st. With the righty-ace whiffing seven or more batters in his last six starts, he makes for a premium play.

Mid-Priced Option

Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees

at Tampa Bay Rays

FanDuel Price: $8,000

Ignore London.

After 50 runs were scored in a small two-game set across the pond, including one where Masahiro Tanaka and Rick Porcello were absolutely torched for a combined 12 first inning runs, you may be scared off from owning the New York Yankees pitcher. Don't make that mistake.

Just two starts before that, Tanaka threw an absolute gem against the Rays, whiffing 10 in a complete game shut out. And it appears that Tanaka may just have something figure out with Tampa Bay:

For what it's worth, the Tanaka matchup is appealing simply because this is a struggling offense. The Rays rank only 21st in ISO (.169), eighth in strikeout rate (24.3%), and third-worst in fly-ball rate (32.6%).

It may be hard to look past that horrific last outing, but roster Tanaka with confidence.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays

vs New York Yankees
FanDuel Price: $7,100

While he may not have racked up a ton of strikeouts in his major league debut, Brendan McKay was still out there stealing souls:

Now it's clear that the young southpaw has his work cut out for him against one of the league's elite offenses. But, it's not an offense that is without warts, either.

New York is outstanding against righties, but against lefties, they clock in only 22nd in team wOBA (.304), and their strikeout rate ballots to 25.2%, good for eighth-worst in the league. Their fly-ball rate tumbles all the way down to 34.6% (19th).

With an absurd 18.2% swinging-strike rate in his first turn, the strikeouts are likely coming -- and it could be tonight against the Yankees.

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.