FanDuel Pitching Primer: Tuesday 8/16/22

All-Star Nestor Cortes has been brilliant in 2022, and he has a great matchup tonight. Which other pitching options should we consider targeting?

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
Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners

At Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $10,300

Winning the AL West is probably out of the picture, but the Seattle Mariners are chasing down a wild card spot. They'll need to keep pace tonight with a win against the Los Angeles Angels, and Robbie Ray is a great option to turn to.

The reason we love Ray for DFS purposes on Tuesday is that the Angels rank in the league's bottom five in team wOBA, isolated power (ISO), and strikeout rate -- and they lead the league in strikeout rate (26.1%).

Ray has been really strong this season following up his AL Cy Young campaign. He's struck out 28.0% of batters, posting a 41.0% ground-ball rate, and allowed a 32.8% hard-hit rate.

Considering there are so many top arms like Brandon Woodruff, Dylan Cease, and Alek Manoah, it's easy to get tempted by other plays. But with Woodruff and Cease in tough matchups, and Manoah coming down to earth in the second half with a 4.03 ERA, Ray is your best bet.

We project Ray as the top arm on the day (36.1 FanDuel points).

High-Salary Play #2
Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees

Vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Salary: $10,400

The New York Yankees will turn the ball to Nasty Nestor Cortes to try and stop the backslide, and hopefully the southpaw can deliver.

The Tampa Bay Rays have really struggled at the plate this season. They rank in the bottom third in team wOBA (.303), strikeout rate (24.0%), and ISO (.139).

Over Cortes' 118 innings pitched in 2022, he's been really damn solid, posting a 3.33 FIP, 26.8% strikeout rate, and 28.3% hard-hit rate.

This is a monster main slate with six arms at $10,000 or above, and it looks like Cortes is primed for a big night.

Mid-Salary Play
Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs

At Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $9,700

If you want a bit of a unique pivot play, Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs could make for an interesting option.

Look, Steele has been red hot as of late, but he probably won't see a ton of attention thanks to a Washington Nationals team that does not strikeout a ton (19.7%). Against lefties, they've upheld that mark at a rate of 19.5%, too.

Here's the good news. They aren't hitting the ball particularly well, either. Against lefties like Steele this year, they own a .303 wOBA and 91 wRC+.

In the second half of this season, Steele has been downright filth. He's logged a 1.40 ERA, and he's posted a 24.1% K-BB% rate. All of this means he could make for a unique and slightly lower-salaried option on Tuesday.

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.