FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/30/19

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 Tampa Bay Rays

FanDuel Price: $10,600

That man Shane Bieber has been filthy all year for the Cleveland Indians, and he will get to add to an epic season against the Tampa Bay Rays as both teams try and stay in the wild card hunt.

Bieber has upped his game in 2019, logging a 30.8% strikeout rate while maintaining his impeccable control and command with a 5.2% walk rate. Bieber's 14.2% swinging-strike rate, up from 11.7% a year ago, ranks him ninth-among all qualified starters.

But perhaps Bieber's strongest quality is his consistency -- he's struck out six or more batters in every start dating back to June 15th, and he's recorded quality starts in 12 of those 14 outings.

If you can afford to spend up at the pitching slot, Bieber is your guy.

Mid-Priced Option

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

at Philadelphia Phillies

FanDuel Price: $8,800

The Zack Wheeler hype drain was a fully stocked locomotive this offseason, and peeking at his results, which showcase a 4.46 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 155 1/3 innings pitched, you've definitely been burned in season-long formats by this man.

He's stumbled in his last few starts against a tough Atlanta Braves offense, but he's been pretty impressive since the All-Star break, notching a 10.1% swinging-strike rate, 5.2% walk rate, and 3.87 FIP. That's the beauty of this game called DFS.

Facing the Phillies in Philadelphia -- which ranks 10th in park factor and 6th in home run factor according to ESPN -- could be a tall task, but Wheeler makes for a solid mid-priced play.

Low-Priced Play

Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals

vs. Miami Marlins

FanDuel Price: $7,700

Veteran Anibal Sanchez has a lot of positive qualities, but his strikeout rate is not one of them. Sanchez has recorded only a 19.5% strikeout rate and 10.1% swinging-strike rate this year. For DFS contests, that's normally not someone who we would want to target.

But when you are facing the Miami Marlins and their putrid offense, that goes out the window. Battling the Detroit Tigers for the league's worst offense, the squad from Miami presently ranks last in team wOBA (.286), ISO (.129), and fly-ball rate (29.1%).

To entice you a bit more on Sanchez, he's presently a heavy favorite (-260), and he's fired six or more innings in nine of his last 13 starts, putting him in a decent shot for the double dip of a quality start and a win.

For a bit of a salary saving option, peep Sanchez.

Contrarian Play

Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds

at St. Louis Cardinals

FanDuel Price: $9,600

My 2019 fantasy season was going to live or die based on the exploits of Trevor Bauer. As you can guess, I've mostly died.

While he has whiffed plenty of batters this season, striking out 217 hitters so far, Bauer has also recorded negative FanDuel points in two of his last three outings. His last, against a Pittsburgh Pirates offense that's not overly one to fear, was even more of a head scratcher.

And while he faces a St. Louis Cardinals offense that has surged to the top of the standings, it doesn't come with strong advanced peripherals. Over the last 30 days, they have clocked in with a 35.9% fly-ball rate (13th), 22.7% strikeout rate (13th-worst), .161 ISO (8th-worst), and .423 slugging percentage (9th-worst).

This is absolutely a risky play given his recent performance, but some major upside lurks if you can stomach the volatility.

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.