FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 7/29/19

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

Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins

vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Price: $9,400

Do people really fathom how good this Miami Marlins team could be with healthy hitters like Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton in the fold? It's a veritable juggernaut, as the pitcher's they are rolling out on a daily basis are impressive, and that starts with staff ace Caleb Smith.

Since returning from an injury, dude has been absolutely balling as of late. Covering his last four starts, he has recorded quality starts in three of them and he hasn't dipped below 30 FanDuel points in any of those outings. Smith has kept up his juicy strikeout rate as well -- he has whiffed six or more hitters in every outing.

With that slate-best 31.0% strikeout rate on the season, he attacks a Arizona Diamondbacks offense, in a great home park, and he has the lowest implied allowed run total on the day. If you are looking to spend up at the pitcher slot, peep Smith.

Mid-Priced Option

Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals

vs. Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $8,400

It's been an ugly year for the Kansas City Royals, who have recorded only 40 wins on the season. But they shouldn't be blaming starter Brad Keller, who's been absolutely brilliant as of late, and he has a very solid matchup tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays.

It may surprise you that Keller is the fifth-most expensive hurler on the main slate, but he's averaging 45.3 FanDuel points over his last three starts. While the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox aren't exactly the modern day Murderer's Row, he did shut down an impressive Atlanta Braves offense in his last start, firing seven shutout innings en route to his third straight quality start and win.

The Blue Jays aren't exactly an offense firing on all cylinders, either -- they rank fourth-worst in team wOBA (.301), and their 24.3% strikeout rate places them just inside the top-10 (ninth). Look for Keller to keep up his impressive run of form tonight at home.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks

at Miami Marlins
FanDuel Price: $7,800

After a rough start against a very poor Baltimore Orioles offense, Merrill Kelly looks to rebound against the Miami Marlins in South Florida. If he can regain his recent form, it could be a big scoring night for the right-hander.

Prior to that rough outing, Kelly had been brilliant over his last five turns, throwing 29 innings with 24 strikeouts and three quality starts in the mix. And while some players may be scared off of that poor outing, couple his strong form with a poor Marlins offense and Kelly could be a gem.

This is one of the worst offenses in baseball, by nearly any and every statistical measure -- they are lapping the field, and not in a good way, in fly-ball rate (28.9%). wOBA (.282), walk rate (6.3%), and isolated power (.124, ISO), and they rank eighth-worst in team strikeout rate (24.3%).

Kelly has the second-lowest implied allowed team total (3.79) on the evening, so despite only a 19.1% strikeout rate on the season, he makes for a great low cost option to consider.

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.