FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/26/19
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?
Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $10,200
Tonight's main slate is a little more reasonable at the top end, with only five pitchers topping $9,000. With Zack Wheeler returning from injury, Mike Soroka traveling to homer-happy Citizens Bank Park, and Lance Lynn traveling to take on the surging Oakland Athletics, that really leaves us deciding between the two most expensive arms in Hyun-jin Ryu ($10,800) and Zack Greinke.
The matchup alone, facing the poor Miami Marlins offense, is enough to give the right-hander the nod. The Fish clock in with easily one of the league's worst offense, ranking last in team wOBA (.281), isolated power (ISO; .122), and providing plenty of strikeout upside with a team mark of 24.4%.
Greinke, meanwhile, continues to defy logic, racking up great numbers despite diminishing velocity. Over 135 innings this season, the veteran has posted a 23.7% strikeout rate and strong 3.84 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). For some major top end upside, and the pitcher we project for the most points on the day, Greinke is your man.
Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $8,200
The San Francisco Giants are in a bit of a pickle. Not really primed to win the World Series, they suddenly find themselves smack dab in the middle of a push for a Wild Card spot. They can thank (or blame) right-hander Jeff Samardzija for this resurgence.
This year over 110 1/3 innings pitched, Samardzija has recorded a bounce-back 20.7% strikeout rate, significantly up from last year's low-water mark of 14.3%. He's also surged his way to a solid 9.2% swinging-strike rate, and he's really been at his best recently. Since July 1st he's averaged 39.5 FanDuel points per game with a 2.70 ERA, and 0.82 WHIP.
And let's not forget at the start of this stretch, he dominated tonight's opponent, the San Diego Padres. He dealt eight innings and gave up just two earned runs in the win. With the home club rocking a 26.0% strikeout rate this season (third-worst), Samardzija makes for a very strong value in the middle tier.
Jose Urquidy, Houston Astros
at St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Price: $7,500
With the St. Louis Cardinals surging their way to a first place tie in the NL Central, this three game set in St. Louis suddenly bears a lot of weight between these two playoff teams. And with the Birds sending ace Jack Flaherty to the mound, the Houston Astros and Jose Urquidy aren't heavy favorites like they are most nights.
For some unfamiliar with the unproven hurler, peep his last start against the Texas Rangers -- a dominant seven inning, nine strikeout, 55 point outburst. Now, to be fair, the Cardinals don't whiff a ton -- they clock in 20th in the league with a 22.4% strikeout rate, so the strikeouts could be harder to come by.
Here's where this gets juicy -- the Cardinals are terrible offensively. They rank 23rd in team wOBA (.310) and ISO (.166), and their park leans towards a pitcher-friendly atmosphere. This is also projected to be a low-scoring affair, so we shouldn't ignore Urquidy's implied allow run total of 4.25 runs (sixth-best).
If you are looking to pivot down for a salary-saving options and roster some big bats, consider the 'Stros youngster.
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.