FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 7/14/22

Framber Valdez has been brilliant this season, and he's got a spicy matchup tonight. Which other pitchers should we think about?

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 where 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 #1
Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

at Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $10,300

While Corbin Burnes ($11,300) and Carlos Rodon ($10,900) are headliners on this main slate, they both have tougher matchups and are going up against one another, reducing the chances of either one earning a W.

Instead, I'm cooking with Framber Valdez, who is projected to be one of the top arms of the day, according to our model.

To show you the utterly ridiculous consistency of Valdez, he has allowed more than three earned runs exactly one time this season. Valdez boasts a silly 67% ground-ball rate this year, helping him to allowing just 0.50 HR/9. He's logged an average 21.8% strikeout rate, but he's truly limited hard contact with a 28.1% hard-hit rate.

And the Los Angeles Angels have been woeful at the dish. Their 26.5% strikeout rate is by far the worst in the league, and their .302 wOBA is a pretty lowly mark, too.

All of this leads me to rostering the lefty in plenty of lineups tonight.

High-Salary Play #2

Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees

vs. Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Salary: $9,900

It hasn't exactly been smooth sledding for Nestor Cortes, who was a likely shoo-in as an All-Star selection until he hit the skids six starts ago. Over that time frame, he's been pummeled by the long ball (2.83 HR/9) and has a 4.82 FIP. The strikeouts have been somewhat mediocre (21.8%), but the walk rate has remained stellar (5.6%).

One thing Cortes has been solid at is limiting hard contact, posting a 29.7% hard-hit rate. That bodes well against a poor Cincinnati Reds offense, who checks in with bottom of the barrel marks, including a .303 wOBA, .140 ISO, and 24.0% strikeout rate.

For a top flight option that could save you a little coin, peep Cortes.

Mid-Salary Play

Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Guardians

vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $9,300

One of the best options on the day is Triston McKenzie of the Cleveland Guardians, who faces a truly horrific Detroit Tigers team.

Detroit has been downright dreadful at the plate. Their .277 wOBA ranks second-worst, their .105 ISO is the league's worst mark, and their 23.4% strikeout rate is also not something to brag about.

McKenzie has been solid this season, but he hasn't exactly been topping the charts. His 22.9% strikeout rate has been just ok, and his 1.54 HR/9 has been pretty average at best.

However, given this delightful matchup and McKenzie's past prowess, I am firing him up tonight.

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.