FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 6/22/21

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-Salaried Play
Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

Vs. Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $11,400

For Tuesday's main slate, there are two monster options at the top end of the pool who are likely to garner the majority of the attention -- Zack Wheeler and Gerrit Cole ($11,000).

The challenge with rostering Cole is that his matchup appears to be one that's a bit tougher. The Kansas City Royals, his opposition, carry the second-lowest strikeout rate (21.8%). That dings Cole's upside a bit. Wheeler is up against the Washington Nationals, who own a 23.1% strikeout rate and are striking out at a 24.4% clip the last two weeks.

Wheeler has been excellent in 2021, sporting a 3.01 SIERA and 31.6% strikeout rate. While Cole is obviously a stud, too, and you can make a case for Lucas Giolito against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wheeler is where I'm going at the top of today's pitching slate.

Mid-Salaried Play
Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco Giants

At Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $7,900

One of the league's biggest surprises in 2021 has been the brilliance of Anthony DeSclafani. Unleashed in the San Francisco Giants' rotation, Tony Disco has been outstanding. Spanning 80 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander owns sparkling marks of a 3.01 ERA and 3.51 FIP. That's playable.

He's not only generated quite a few swings and misses, as evidenced by his 10.5% swinging-strike rate, but when hitters do make contact, they are pounding it into the ground as DeSclafani boasts a juicy 47.8% ground-ball rate.

The Los Angeles Angels, Disco's opponent, are certainly a solid offense, but the righty has all the makings of being a solid play at a reasonable salary.

Low-Salaried Play

Chris Flexen, Seattle Mariners

Vs. Colorado Rockies
FanDuel Salary: $6,900

This season has been a strange one for the Seattle Mariners. Holding their own in the AL West despite a moribund offense, the M's called up mega prospect Jarred Kelenic in hopes of bolstering their lineup -- and he flopped.

But now, they are starting to get some solid pitching performances, and Chris Flexen has been a big help. Over the last month, a stretch of 28 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander has fanned 27 batters and sports a sub-3.00 ERA.

He's got a dream home matchup today versus the Colorado Rockies, who rank dead last in road wOBA (.254). No other team has a road wOBA worse than .276. On top of that, the Rox have the second-worst strikeout rate in the split (27.0%). So, yeah, it's a good matchup for Flexen.

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.