FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 8/20/19

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

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

at New York Mets

FanDuel Price: $11,000

While he may be "just" the second-most expensive arm on the main slate, Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians is projected as our top-scoring hurler of the night.

Bieber has been outstanding in 2019. Part of the love for Bieber is underscored not only by his high ceiling but also his tremendously high floor. Dating back to June 15th, he has whiffed six or more batters in every single start, and he's hit six or more innings pitched in 10 of his last 12 turns.

And while the New York Mets, Bieber's opponent, have improved as of late, they are still a pretty mediocre offense in terms of isolated power (.181, ISO), fly-ball rate (34.2%), and hard-hit rate (34.9%), the latter of which ranks 27th.

Clayton Kershaw, the most expensive arm, is certainly another great top-tier option for his date with the Toronto Blue Jays, but Bieber can match the floor and ceiling of the Los Angeles Dodgers' star lefty.

Mid-Priced Option

Aaron Sanchez, Houston Astros

vs. Detroit Tigers

FanDuel Price: $8,500

After an impressive first two starts in which he yielded a combined three hits and one earned run over 11 innings, Aaron Sanchez was brought back to reality a bit with a rocky outing in his last turn. So which Sanchez is here to stay?

Let's bet on the former -- at least for today. Sanchez is up against the Detroit Tigers, who are absolutely dreadful at the plate. They lead the league in team strikeout rate (26.4%), and they also own the dubious distinction of ranking next to last in all of slugging percentage (.386), OPS (.660), and team wOBA (.289).

The 'Stros continue to work their magic with pitchers as Sanchez has recorded hefty single-game swinging-strike rates of 11.1% and 13.0% prior to his dud last time out.

For a medium priced arm with what appears for a great chance at a victory (-280 moneyline), Sanchez is a nice mid-priced play today.

Low-Priced/Contrarian Play

Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta Braves

vs. Miami Marlins

FanDuel Price: $7,800

There are a lot of land mines among the lower priced arms tonight, and Dallas Keuchel certainly carries his own risk, as well. While he was brilliant his last start out, he was bombed by this same Miami Marlins team two starts ago for 10 hits and eight earned runs over 3 2/3 innings pitched.

But don't forget that the Miami offense is a horrible one. Where the aforementioned Tigers clock in second-worst in many categories, Miami is the one lineup that's worse in those stats. The Marlins sit last in team wOBA (.284), ISO (.126), and fly-ball rate (29.4%).

Never known as a big swing-and-miss guy, Keuchel has upped his strikeout rate to 18.9% this season along with continuing his high level of ground balls (58.1% rate). For a more cost affordable option in a great spot, Keuchel is definitely worthy of consideration, and with Cole Hamels being $7,300 in a nice matchup with the New York Giants, Keuchel isn't likely to see too much ownership.

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.