FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 8/12/19

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

Zack Greinke, Houston Astros

at Chicago White Sox

FanDuel Price: $10,800

With only an eight-game main slate, there's not a bevy of high-priced options. That can make operating in the expensive tier a bit challenging, but with Zack Greinke in the mix, he makes the choice a fairly easy one.

Let's start with Greinke's opponent, the host Chicago White Sox, who are one of the league's most inept offenses and are still missing Yoan Moncada. They clock in fourth-worst in team strikeout rate (25.8%), second-worst in isolated power (.145, ISO), and fourth-worst in team wOBA (.300).

Those stats are a large reason Greinke boasts the lowest implied team total (3.65 runs), and he is a heavy moneyline favorite (-290), as well. If you're paying up on the mound, Greinke is the top expensive arm.

Mid-Priced Option

Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox

at Cleveland Indians

FanDuel Price: $8,900

The mid-tier is also a bit of a challenging one. There's only three hurlers priced between $8,000 and $8,900, and in peeking at our projections, there's a clear gap from Eduardo Rodriguez to Zach Plesac and Anthony DeSclafani.

While the Cleveland Indians, Rodriguez's opponent, have been strong as they have surged to the AL Central lead, they aren't exactly the 1927 Yankees against lefties. They've posted a .313 wOBA and .164 ISO in the split, ranking 22nd in both categories.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, has been one of the bright spots in Boston's rotation. He owns an 11.4% swinging-strike rate, currently the second-best mark of his career, a 30.2% hard-hit rate, and 34.3% fly-ball rate.

Rodriguez has averaged 32.6 FanDuel points this year, second-best on the slate, and seems to have a strong matchup on a tricky slate. If you're looking to pay down a bit from Greinke, E-Rod is a solid option.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Joey Lucchesi, San Diego Padres

vs. Tampa Bay Rays

FanDuel Price: $7,600

A phenomenon is starting to exist -- we want to target left-handed starters against the Tampa Bay Rays as they have been absolutely atrocious in this split.

So far in 2019, Tampa owns a .318 wOBA (19th), 26.2% strikeout rate (fourth-worst), .167 ISO (21st), and a 32.5% fly-ball rate (fourth-worst) against southpaws. That combination of metrics is not one that should install much fear in Joey Lucchesi of the San Diego Padres.

On the season, Lucchesi has been strong in his own right. He has recorded a 23.4% strikeout rate, and he boasts a solid batted-ball profile with a 35.0% hard-hit rate and 35.1% fly-ball rate. He also gets the benefit of pitching in a great home park this evening.

For a cheap option, consider Lucchesi.

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.