FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 9/20/21

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

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

At Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $9,300

The top-end of the main slate is interesting despite being a bit abbreviated with only seven games tonight. Robbie Ray almost always makes for a delightful play, but against a red-hot Tampa Bay Rays offense that ranks inside the top-10 over the last 30 days in nearly every offensive category, I'm moving away.

Some credence could go for Sean Manaea, but this is where we have to parse through season-long metrics versus more recent ones. The Seattle Mariners have turned things up as of late and took two of three from the Kansas City Royals this weekend.

On the other hand, the recent performance of the Los Angeles Angels bodes well for Framber Valdez in the top end of the pitching well. He's got an outstanding 69.2% ground-ball rate, and the Angels just cannot hit. In the last 30 days, they've logged a .282 wOBA with an unsightly .135 isolated power (ISO).

We peg Valdez as our third-best pitcher, and even though the salary is hard to get to, you should make him a priority.

Mid-Salaried Play

Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees

Vs. Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $8,500

If you can believe that a New York Yankees player can be overlooked, believe it -- Nestor Cortes has been one of baseball's best pitchers recently.

Since assuming a rotation spot, spanning 79 2/3 innings pitched, the southpaw has dazzled hitters for a 2.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 87 strikeouts. His last start against the Baltimore Orioles may have been his most impressive work, too. He fanned 11 and allowed only 5 hits over 6 1/3 innings.

And the Texas Rangers? They stink at the plate, logging a .313 wOBA and .135 ISO over the past 30 days. While they have cut down on the strikeouts (21.6%), with that atrocious plate approach, Cortes makes for an awesome play.

Mid-Salaried Play

Huascar Ynoa, Atlanta Braves

At Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Salary: $8,400

There's not one but two outstanding mid-priced plays worthy of your consideration, as Atlanta Braves starter Huascar Ynoa is also deserving of a solid look.

Over 77 1/3 innings pitched, Ynoa has been ballin'. He's recorded a 3.55 FIP and 27.7% strikeout rate, notching plenty of upside along the way.

And the matchup couldn't be any better. He faces a Arizona Diamondbacks team that's posted a .291 wOBA and .153 ISO over the past 30 days, strengthened further by a 25.0% strikeout rate.

All of this makes Ynoa a very solid opportunity in the mid range.

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.