FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/12/19

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

Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians

vs Minnesota Twins

FanDuel Price: $9,300

The original pick on today's slate was going with Stephen Strasburg against the Philadelphia Phillies, but those pesky 6:05 EST start gets us where the Nats righty isn't available to us.

While Gerrit Cole and his monster strikeout rate are tempting, facing the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park makes for an easy avoid, and we peg this game for a pretty high run total.

That moves us to Mike Clevinger of the Cleveland Indians, and over an abbreviated campaign, he has posted a silly 41.7% strikeout rate, which leads the main slate. Obviously, his opponent in the Minnesota Twins is a tough matchup, but Clevinger's high whiff rate makes him matchup proof.

With Minnesota's strikeout rate ticking up to 21.0% of the last 30 days, Clevinger makes for a strong play in the high tier grouping.

Mid-Priced Option

Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins

vs New York Mets

FanDuel Price: $8,000

There are five arms priced in the $8,000 to $8,900 range, leaving us with a decent stable of options to choose from. The lowest in that group, Caleb Smith, is the one that sticks way out as an arm we want to own.

In his first start back from the Injured List prior to the All-Star break, Smith held down a potent Atlanta Braves offense, striking out six batters and grabbing both a quality start in a win. This season, Smith has become very fantasy relevant with a 31.1% strikeout rate, and the southpaw has limited his free passes to a mark of 7.4%.

While they were looking to jump back into the NL East race, the New York Mets have hampered themselves with a poor offense, ranking 17th in team wOBA (.321) and a 22.8% strikeout rate. Their 33.0% fly-ball rate (fifth-worst) doesn't instill a lot of fear, either.

If you want to spend down a touch to roster some bats in Denver or New York, peep Smith.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres

vs Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Price: $5,600

If you want to pivot way down on pitching and roster some high-priced bats tonight -- a viable strategy with fiver over/unders cracking 10 runs or more tonight -- Dinelson Lamet makes for a very interesting option to consider.

Making only his second start of the season against a potent Atlanta Braves offense, the right-hander could be a bit of an unknown quantity as folks are making up their lineups. But here is what we do know -- Lamet fanned seven in his first start over five innings, and don't ignore that it came against a very strong Los Angeles Dodgers offense.

While there will still be ups and downs with anyone coming off of major surgery, Lamet has been strong in his 24 minor league innings in 2019, striking out 33 batters in those innings.

Factor in San Diego's PetCo Park, which ranks 18th in park factor and 22nd in home run factor over the last three years, and Lamet makes for a very sneaky play tonight.

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.