FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/24/20

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

vs. Kansas City Royals

FanDuel Price: $10,200

As Opening Day kicks off (well, the real full slate Opening Day), Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians is projected easily as the highest scoring starting pitcher on the day at 40.5 FanDuel points.

Bieber was a breakout candidate in 2019, firing a 30.1% strikeout rate over 214 1/3 innings pitched with a gorgeous 14.7% swinging-strikeout rate. Those numbers look even better with Cleveland pegged as heavy favorites, and our models give them a 70.7% chance of taking tonight’s contest.

These chances get even better as Bieber attacks a Kansas City Royals' offense that will be missing Hunter Dozier due to COVID-19, rendering a largely toothless attack from 2019 that ranked fourth-worst in baseball in terms of team wOBA (.302) and struck out 23.1% of the time.

If you can afford him, spend up for Bieber.

Mid-Priced Option

Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers

vs. Colorado Rockies

FanDuel Price: $8,300

Lance Lynn takes the bump for the Texas Rangers tonight, christening their brand-new storage locker baseball field which should be a bit more pitcher-friendly.

While that remains largely speculative in nature, what isn’t a stretch is how poor Lynn’s opponent, the Colorado Rockies, have been on the road historically. In 2019, the Rox posted the second-worst wOBA (.288) and a ridiculous 26.9% strikeout rate.

While the contest has an over/under of 9.0 runs, expect it to be a bit more low scoring in this new climate-controlled environment.

Low-Priced Play

Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox

vs. Baltimore Orioles

FanDuel Price: $7,100

There’s a few reasons to get excited about Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox tonight – and perhaps one of the largest is Boston’s massive status as a favorite (-225) against the Baltimore Orioles.

While Baltimore may not be a strong team, it gets even scarier for the O’s with Opening Day starter John Means shelved tonight and southpaw Tommy Milone taking the ball. For a refresher on Milone, over 111 2/3 innings pitched, the lefty recorded only a 5.00 FIP and a paltry 20.8% strikeout rate and 44.8% fly-ball rate.

While the Red Sox lost Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they are a strong team offensively against lefties. Most can remember that J.D. Martinez and his whopping .539 wOBA against lefties, but Xander Bogaerts (.374) and Christian Vazquez (.365) were second and third, respectively, on the team against lefties. This should help put Eovaldi in line for the win and thus, a few extra FanDuel points.

Without adding major off-season bats and Trey Mancini lost for the season, the sixth-worst Orioles (.308) make a prime target for Eovaldi.

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.