FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 8/18/22

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
Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres

Vs Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $10,600

While it's wildly irrelevant for DFS purposes, Yu Darvish often gets a knock for being an oft-injured starter who we can't count on. After a successful 166 1/3-inning season in 2021 and in the midst of a beautiful 2022 campaign so far (140 1/3 innings), I think we can put those concerns to rest.

Darvish clearly has that dawg in him. He's fanned 25.0% of batters with only a 4.8% walk rate. In the second half, he's upped his strikeout rate to 31.8%.

Darvish is facing a Washington Nationals offense with the league's lowest strikeout rate, but we would be remiss to ignore their ugly .304 wOBA and .127 ISO. The Nats' 2.85 implied total is a slate-low number.

With a salary $1,400 less than this next guy's and projected for the top score of the night, according to our model, Darvish is a stellar play.

High-Salary Play #2
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

Vs. Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Salary: $12,000

I'm going to try make a case why, even at a massive $12,000 salary, Jacob deGrom makes a lot of sense.

In general, we almost never want to drop this kind of coin on a pitcher who is still building up his pitch count in a return from injury. DeGOAT is the exception. Take a look at his last outing (58 FanDuel points) and the one prior (53 points against these same Atlanta Braves).

DeGrom is so lethal that he can rack up a ton of fantasy points on a short leash.

While Atlanta is certainly a potent attack, their strikeout rate of 24.5% is the third-highest in all of baseball.

DeGrom is worth finding room for in your lineups.

Value Play
Josh Winckowski, Boston Red Sox

At Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $7,000

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Josh Winckowski of the Boston Red Sox could be an interesting play if you are loaded up with high-salary hitters.

The Pittsburgh Pirates -- his opponent tonight -- are exactly the kind of offense we want to pick on. They strike out at the second-highest clip in baseball (25.6%), and their .141 ISO and .286 wOBA are bottom-five marks in the league. Yikes.

I'm not trying to fool you into thinking Winckowski has some glowing profile. His 13.9% strikeout rate is downright putrid, but his 25.6% CSW rate portends that more punchouts could be on the horizon.

He is at least worth having on the radar as someone you possibly mix in for GPPs. But, admittedly, Darvish and deGrom are well clear of the field 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.