FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 7/23/19

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

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies

at Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Price: $10,500

If you love loaded main slates, Tuesday is definitely your jam. There are a whopping 10 -- yes, 10 -- hurlers tonight that are priced at $9,000 or above. Ooh mama.

With that many good options, one that sticks out above the rest is Aaron Nola, who's been absolutely brilliant over his most recent stretch of starts. Over his last six outings, the right-hander, who struggled to start 2019, has produced an average of 46.2 FanDuel points per outing. Until his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he had recorded five consecutive quality starts.

And carry that success into a matchup against a Detroit Tigers team that swings and misses a bunch, Nola is even more appealing. The Tigers clock in second in team strikeout rate (26.3%), and they also rank second-worst in isolated power (.152, ISO) and team wOBA (.289).

There's many ways to make an effective pick in the upper tier tonight, but Nola seems to be the cream of the crop.

Mid-Priced Option

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs

at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Price: $8,500

With the Chicago Cubs having their NL Central lead trimmed down to only 1.5 games, they will hand the ball over to Yu Darvish to get them back on the winning track. Fortunately for them, he has pitched his best baseball of the season in his last two starts.

Over those outings, which have produced 12 scoreless innings, perhaps most important is that Darvish has walked only one batter. That's obviously a far cry from his season-long mark of an 10.8% walk rate, and he is still showing plenty of strikeout upside with a 27.3% mark this season, including a 12.2% swinging-strike rate.

While the San Francisco Giants have been better recently at the plate, they still rank third-worst in the league on offense in terms of team wOBA (.297).

Dial up Darvish, who ranks near the top of the heap with an implied allowed run total of only 3.72 runs, if you are trying to pivot away from the top-flight arms on the slate.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

vs. Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Price: $7,600

While the Arizona Diamondbacks have a pretty poor chance of catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead, as part of the wacky NL Wild Card race, they are squarely in the thick of things, sitting only 2.0 games out of a playoff spot.

They will hand the baseball tonight to Merrill Kelly, who could be primed for a big night. The right-hander may not seem like a standout option with an 18.9% strikeout rate this year, but he gets the benefit of facing an Baltimore Orioles squad that ranks 11th in strikeout rate (24.1%), eighth-worst in ISO (.164), and last in hard-hit rate (31.5%).

With the D-Backs installed as strong favorites, Kelly's implied allowed run total of 3.98 runs is a nice one to target, especially if you are in salary-saving mode. With a solid 9.6% swinging-strike rate, consider Kelly as a solid, cheaper option on the pitching slate 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.