FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/19/19

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

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

vs. Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Price: $10,800

Don't look now, but the hard-charging Cleveland Indians are only four games back in the AL Central race. That comeback has been built on some fantastic starting pitching, and it continues tonight with Shane Bieber.

Over the last 30 days, the Indians rank fourth in team ERA (3.82), and Bieber has been brilliant in 2019, posting a juicy 3.20 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), which is built on the strength of a 31.6% strikeout rate.

He's also been a ground-ball machine, evidenced by his stellar 33.4% fly-ball rate, and with Adalberto Mondesi out, Bieber and the Indians are heavy favorites (-260 moneyline) against the Kansas City Royals. Look for Bieber to post a big evening.

Mid-Priced Option

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

at Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Price: $8,500

Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, unbeknownst to many, has been one of baseball's best pitchers over the last six weeks. Dating back to May 28th, spanning seven starts and 42 1/3 innings pitched, the righty owns a sparkling 2.98 ERA and 27.8% strikeout rate.

Those numbers should shine a bit brighter when he tackles a Cincinnati Reds offense, who rank 13th in strikeout rate (23.3%) and 23rd in team wOBA (.307).

The one true watch-out here is the weather -- it's very hot and sticky across the Midwest, meaning the ball could be flying in Cincinnati. But given his recent run of form and the poor Reds offense, and Wainwright is worth the price.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

J.A. Happ, New York Yankees

vs. Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Price: $7,300

2019 hasn't been the best season so far for veteran southpaw J.A. Happ. Over 95 innings in the Bronx, the lefty has dipped in his strikeout rate to 19.1%, and his hard-hit rate has soared from 30.9% last season to 39.0% in 2019.

The good news is that he faces a Colorado Rockies offense that goes from dynamic at home to downright dreadful on the road. On the season they actually rank as the league's worst road team in terms of team wOBA (.277) and wRC+ (66), and they clock in second-worst in strikeout rate (27.9%).

Happ's primary challenge will be pitching deep enough in the game to qualify for a quality start -- in his last five turns, he has yet to crack 5 1/3 innings. If he can pitch a bit deeper against a poor road offense, Happ makes for a sneaky play with plenty of upside.

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.