FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 5/19/22

Mariners prospect George Kirby could be an interesting pivot off of the day's top arms. Who else should you start building your FanDuel lineup with?

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-Salary Play
Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks

at Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary: $10,600

There are only two high-salaried options on this three-game main slate, and I am taking Zac Gallen over Framber Valdez today.

For distinguishing purposes, it's really the poor Chicago Cubs offense that makes me want to go with Gallen. The Cubs are one of the league's worst offensive attacks in terms of wOBA (.305; 17th) and isolated power (ISO, .134; 19th). Plus, their 24.7% strikeout rate ranks them fifth-worst in the league.

Gallen, mind you, has been arguably one of the league's best pitchers this season. In 34 1/3 innings pitched this season, his 2.22 FIP is supported by gaudy peripherals -- such as a 27.1% strikeout rate, 7.1% barrel rate, and a 15.3% hard-hit rate.

We've got Gallen projected for 26.2 FanDuel points, which could end up being light on the day.

Mid-Salary Play
George Kirby, Seattle Mariners

at Boston Red Sox
FanDuel Salary: $8,500

I'll be very honest that this is a pretty tough slate to parse through, and normally speaking, George Kirby doesn't shine too brightly with only a 20.5% strikeout rate this season through his first 10 major league innings.

But with limited options on the slate today, I think Kirby is one of the only other relevant options worth mentioning besides the aforementioned Gallen. The Boston Red Sox have been pretty mediocre so far on offense this season, recording a .292 wOBA (10th-worst), a .129 ISO (8th-worst), and a 6.8% walk rate (2nd-worst).

However, due to the poor Boston offense, and the fact that Kirby does have a solid profile, he could be a solid play. He's yet to allow a home run this season, and his batted-ball profile (30.0% hard-hit rate) shows he's been hard to square up. A 27.6% CSW rate shows hitters really have had a hard time making contact. He's also got a pristine 2.6% walk rate.

His projection of 17.4 FanDuel points could be a little low given his opportunity and a solid matchup.

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.