FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/20/21

Walker Buehler has been a stud in 2021, and he's got a solid matchup tonight. What other plays are on tap?

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

Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers

Vs. New York Mets
FanDuel Salary: $11,600

In one of the best seasons in the National League, perhaps a bit overshadowed, Walker Buehler has been truly outstanding in 2021.

We project him as the top scoring arm on the main slate Friday, and for good reason -- the dude has been ballin'. Over 154 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander sports a juicy 42.6% ground-ball rate, including a 27.0% strikeout rate. While many hurlers have struggled with the big fly this year, he's allowed only 0.81 HR/9.

In fact, at 3.39 runs, the Mets have a tiny implied run total, according to numberFire's Matchup Heat Map. With Buehler projected for over 40 points today, far and away the high score of the night, there's a good reason to roster him.

Mid-Salaried Play

Lance McCullers, Houston Astros

Vs. Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Salary: $8,500

While the Seattle Mariners have improved a bit at the dish recently, they still haven't been great -- they rank in the bottom third in terms of strikeout rate and team wOBA.

That makes Lance McCullers of the Houston Astros a saucy play -- his 27.7% strikeout rate is rock-solid, and he's allowed only 0.71 HR/9 this season. He's also posted a 29.8% hard-hit rate -- one of the best marks of his career.

We actually project McCullers as the second highest scorer of the day, making him a potentially outstanding play.

Low-Salaried Play

Elieser Hernandez, Miami Marlins

At Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Salary: $6,800

This one is certainly not for the faint of heart -- the Cincinnati Reds, Elieser Hernandez's opponent, has been incredibly white hot at the dish, logging a .361 wOBA in the last month.

But in a really small sample size (12 2/3 innings), Hernandez has more than held his own. He's been absurd, walking one batter, while marrying that with a 26.5% strikeout rate. He's also limited hard hits to only 29.4%.

If you are looking for a pivot, and one that could pop, peep Hernandez.

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.