FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/7/20

Matthew Boyd is far from risk free, but a date with the Pirates makes him an appealing choice tonight. Which other hurlers should you check out?

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. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Priced Option

Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

At Milwaukee Brewers

FanDuel Price: $11,400

As someone who owned way too much Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians in season-long leagues in 2019, the sting still burns from his struggles.

But the great thing about DFS is that last year doesn't matter -- hell, last start doesn't matter. We can, however, dig that Bauer has been downright brilliant to start 2020. Over 13 1/3 innings pitched, Bauer has whiffed an absurd 20 hitters for a 42.5% strikeout rate.

The Milwaukee Brewers clock in only 23rd in team wOBA (.293), and their 27.1% strikeout rate makes them an easy target to attack. Fade Bauer at your own peril. He's the slate's top pitcher, per our model.

Mid-Priced Play

Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers

At Pittsburgh Pirates

FanDuel Price: $7,900

Matt Boyd has definitely been a guy who many season-long players were targeting this year. And if you did -- or if you rostered him for DFS -- you've been off to a rough start.

Boyd has been downright ugly to begin 2020 -- 10 innings, 15 hits, and 8 earned runs. But that could change tonight as he gets to face a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has been a major liability at the plate.They are among the league's worst in terms of wOBA (.253), strikeout rate (24.3%), and ISO (.121).

Boyd has always been able to get whiffs, and his 10.7% swinging-strike rate this year is solid. Consider him for your starting pitcher slot tonight.

Low-Priced Play

Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners

vs Colorado Rockies

FanDuel Price: $7,200

After a really rough first outing, Yusei Kikuchi of the Seattle Mariners was absolutely brilliant in his last turn. So should we expect the good version or the bad version of the southpaw tonight?

All signs point to the solid pitcher showing up. A quick primer on the Colorado Rockies, Kikuchi's opponent tonight -- they are terrible away from their friendly home confines. Last season, the Rox ranked last in the league in road batting average (.230), second-to-last in wOBA (.288) and third-worst in ISO (.158), all while striking out 26.9% of the time.

And Kikuchi is flashing a cutter this season that has been nasty -- for the brief 2020 season, he owns an unreal 14.5% swinging-strike rate. Maybe his gains will wind up being for real rather than small-sample noise.

Kikuchi brings plenty of risk tonight, especially against lefty killers Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, but if you want a cheap dart throw, you could do worse.

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.