FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 7/28/22
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
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Vs Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $11,100
Shohei Ohtani is one of two top-shelf pitchers on tonight's slate.
He's been absolutely brilliant on the bump this season. He's logged a career-best 35.9% strikeout rate with only a 6.2% walk rate. Hitters haven't made much loud contact against him, either, recording a 24.7% hard-hit rate on the year.
He should roll in a date with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers have been a pretty average (to put it nicely) offense this season. Their .305 wOBA and 23.1% strikeout rate showcases an offense that we shouldn't be scared of.
Both Ohtani and this next dude are leaps and bounds ahead of the field today, per our model.
High-Salary Play #2
Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
at Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $10,700
Checking in as our number-two arm of the night, Zack Wheeler is easy to love in this matchup and is at a salary $400 less than Ohtani's.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates weren't a team we picked on a lot in DFS because they didn't strike out much. Well, that's changed quite a bit this season. They rank second-worst in the league with a 25.6% strikeout rate, and their .288 wOBA and .146 isolated power (ISO) are pretty poor marks.
The $400 difference in Ohtani and Wheeler can be big on a slate with two high-salary stacks in monster spots, and Wheeler has just as of a ceiling as Ohtani does.
Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants
Vs Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary: $8,400
With a Coors game and the Toronto Blue Jays facing a bad pitcher, it's not a bad slate to roll with a low-salary hurler -- you'll just need Ohtani and/or Wheeler not to go nuts.
Alex Wood is facing the Chicago Cubs. Chicago is a pretty meh offense this season -- they strike out a good bit (23.0%) and provide little in the way of pop at the plate (.153 ISO).
Wood's 4.21 ERA masks some solid underlying metrics, including a 3.13 xFIP. He's struck out 24.3% of hitters with only a 5.8% walk rate, and he's allowed a tiny 23.5% hard-hit rate.
There's certainly risk in using anyone other than Ohtani or Wheeler on the bump. But if you're dying to load up on big-time bats, Wood is a decent dart throw.
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.