FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 5/17/21

Just like in other sports, the focal point of your daily fantasy baseball lineups will be your high-salary studs. These guys take up by far the biggest chunk of your cap space, but they also offer the highest ceiling. And in the case of pitchers, the high-salary options typically come with the highest floors, too.

For hitters, we're looking for guys with big numbers, strong matchups, and with players around them that are likely to produce well, too, increasing our chances for runs and RBI. For pitchers, we want big strikeout numbers, while the ability to go deep in a game and pick up a win is also valuable.

With your high-salary picks playing such a big role in your lineup, you need to be right on these guys, so let's take a look at a few top-end options you can count on to anchor your lineup today.

High-Salaried Play
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

at Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $12,300

Mondays can lead to some funky slates, and with it not being super full tonight, today is no exception.

That makes right-hander Gerrit Cole the obvious choice at the top-end of today's slate. Cole's brilliance is well known and documented: Cole ranks in the 99th percentile in expected ERA and in the 97th percentile in strikeout rate this year.

His opponent tonight, the Texas Rangers, have really struggled at the plate. They clock in eighth-worst in team strikeout rate (26.2%) and have logged only a .150 isolated power (ISO) mark this season.

Our algorithm projects Cole for 46.7 FanDuel points, tops on the slate by 2.8 points. It's no surprise that the Rangers are implied for only 2.91 runs. Cole checks all the boxes.

Mid-Salaried Play
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves

vs. New York Mets
FanDuel Salary: $7,200

Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves has an interesting matchup tonight within the NL East division. While the New York Mets have been improving at the plate, both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil hit the Injured List on Monday.

That bodes pretty well for Fried, who has been solid in his return from the Injured List. While his 6.55 ERA may scare you off, he fired arguably his most impressive outing this season with a six-inning, one earned run allowed against the powerful Toronto Blue Jays offense.

In fact, in his past two starts, he's relied more on his fastball (55.3%, up from 46.7% prior), and in that small-but-relevant two-start sample, he has a 3.59 FIP.

Fried is a fine mid-range pick on this slate, and we project him for 23.6 FanDuel points. With those two big bats out of the lineup, he could be in line for more.

Low-Salaried Play
Adbert Alzolay, Chicago Cubs

vs. Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $6,800

Young Adbert Alzolay of the Chicago Cubs has quietly been pretty impressive.

He rocks a 29.3% strikeout rate paired with solid command -- he owns a tasty 5.7% walk rate and has really held opposing hitters in check over his first 32 2/3 innings pitched.

Tonight, he faces a Washington Nationals team will present a bit of a challenge -- they don't whiff a ton with a 22.4% strikeout rate, and their .315 wOBA has been solid.

We rank him fifth-best on the small slate tonight, so if you need a cheap option, peep Alzolay.

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.