FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 8/6/19
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 Wheeler, New York Mets
FanDuel Price: $10,700
Owning Zack Wheeler in both season-long and DFS play this year has been an exercise in befuddlement. He is dominant in one start and inexplicably shelled in the next.
The good news is that the peripherals have been very strong throughout the entire season. Over 131 1/3 innings pitched, Wheeler's 4.45 ERA isn't all that sexy, but a 26.0% strikeout rate, improved 6.1% walk rate, and tidy 10.7% swinging-strike rate are all things we can get behind.
We have Wheeler projected as the highest-scoring pitcher on the main slate, and it's influenced by his matchup against the Miami Marlins, who clock in as the league's worst offense in team wOBA (.282) and isolated power (.125). Spend up for Wheeler, and reap the rewards.
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Price: $8,500
Jon Lester is an arm who continues to defy all advanced metrics. He doesn't possess the flashiest strikeout rate (22.5%), and his hard-hit rate (39.6%) is a little ugly. But he continues to churn through innings, and some small tweaks to his arsenal has proven to make him a valuable commodity.
On the season, Lester has noticeably driven his ground-ball rate up to 44.0%, which is back in line with career norms and well above last season's 37.7% mark. It also helps that his walk rate, long an issue for the southpaw, has dropped down to a strong 5.1%, which is in line for a career-best clip.
Outside of his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, Lester has been a workhorse in terms of pitching deep into ball games. He's gone six or more innings in five of his last six starts, and his lone blemish was an outing of 5 2/3 innings.
If you are looking to roster a high-floor arm for tonight's main slate, peep Lester.
Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres
at Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Price: $6,500
While he is yet to register a win over his first five outings, that's perhaps the lone ugly mark on his resume. He's whiffed 29.1% of batters over his first 23 frames, allowing a mere 31.7% hard-hit rate. And his 14.0% swinging-strike rate is also a pretty tasty mark.
His opponent, the Seattle Mariners, could be the most enticing part of this entire matchup. Over the last 30 days, the M's have struck out a whopping 26.9% of the time, checking in as one of the league's worst offenses with a .304 team wOBA (25th) and 32.5% hard-hit rate (28th) in that span.
If spending down at the pitcher slot is your jam, take a long look at Lamet.
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.