FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/16/19
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?
Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays
vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Price: $11,300
Aging arms like Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer seem to be like a fine wine and only getting better as they age. In his Age-35 season, Morton could be putting up perhaps the finest campaign of his career, and he could add to those totals tonight against a bad Detroit Tigers lineup.
Let's examine Morton's prowess so far this season -- covering 149 innings pitched, the 13-game winner has ripped off career-best marks in strikeout rate (30.4%), walk rate (7.1%), and swinging-strike rate (12.9%). And while it seems like every other pitcher in the league is struggling to keep the ball in the yard, Morton is pacing for a brilliant 0.72 home runs per nine (HR/9) innings pitched.
What makes him even more attractive is a matchup against the Tigers, who are fighting the Miami Marlins for the moniker of the league's worst offense. They rank in the bottom five in categories like strikeout rate (25.9%), wOBA (.290), and isolated power (.150, ISO).
He's certainly not a cheap option, but we have him pegged as easily the highest-scoring hurler of the night. Pay up and enjoy.
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
at Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Price: $7,800
Prior to getting bombed by the Cincinnati Reds last time out, Kyle Hendricks was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Spanning 10 starts and 64 2/3 innings, Hendricks logged a 2.79 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and averaged nearly 33 FanDuel points over that stretch.
Luckily, Hendricks faces an absolutely moribund offense in the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight. Since July 15th, the Pirates rank 24th in team wOBA (.306), 28th in ISO (.154), 27th in fly-ball rate (33.3%), and 24th in hard-hit rate (36.1%).
With one of the lowest implied team totals on the day at 4.15 runs, give Hendricks a long look. He may not fly up the charts in terms of strikeout rate, but he's a great mid-priced option to consider.
Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies
vs. San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $7,200
After making some significant strides in his last few turns, Vincent Velasquez of the Philadelphia Phillies was roughed up a bit in his last outing. That could lead to him being a very interesting play tonight against the San Diego Padres.
The league-leaders in terms of strikeout rate (26.1%), the Padres also rank pretty poorly in terms of team wOBA (.314, 22nd) and fly-ball rate (35.0%, 22nd). That makes them excellent to target.
And while that last turn was rough, he's been brilliant as a starter. Dating back to June 16th, Velasquez owns a 13.8% swinging-strike rate, including a 25.4% strikeout rate.
With a swing-and-miss friendly offense, consider the cheap Velasquez a decent option.
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.