FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 9/28/18
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. Each day we will highlight a starter to consider from each pricing tier, and we'll also look at one contrarian play for tournaments. Who should you consider on tonight's main slate?
Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
at San Diego Padres
FanDuel Price: $10,600
Heading into free agency, no pitcher has done more for himself this year than Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin. Coming into tonight, he's made 32 starts and pitched 195 innings, striking out 11.17 batters per nine innings (K/9) while walking just 2.17 (BB/9), with a strikeout rate of 31.0% that ranks 7th among qualified MLB pitchers. His excellent 3.23 ERA doesn't even tell the story of how well he's pitched, as he has a FIP of 2.47 and a Skill Interactive ERA (SIERA) of 2.89 and an excellent 1.78-to-1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.
He's going up against a San Diego Padres team that is inept offensively, with the 2nd-highest strikeout rate in baseball this season (25.2%), a .293 wOBA that is 3rd-worst, and a .145 isolated power (ISO) that is 4th-worst. San Diego also struggles against left-handers, with a team wOBA of .298 that is 24th out of 30 MLB teams.
Corbin comes into tonight with the 2nd-best implied total on the slate at 3.24, thanks in large part to playing the game at Petco Park, with a Park Factor of 0.838 that is tied for the best pitching environment in baseball this season.
Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves
at Philadelphia Phillies
FanDuel Price: $9,600
Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz is finishing up what is easily the finest year of his career, coming into his series against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 2.88 ERA, 3.46 FIP and a SIERA of 3.86. He's been a strikeout machine this year, whiffing 26.5% of hitters, way up from last year's 20.7%, and tonight he has the 5th-lowest implied total on the slate (4.10).
Foltynewicz has also owned the Phillies this season, and there's no reason to think that won't continue. In five starts against Philadelphia he has a 2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings of work, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 31-to-12. Phils hitters have just a .610 OPS against him, and the Phillies as a whole have been struggling mightily over the last 30 days, with a team wOBA of .298 that is 21st in baseball, as well as the league's 3rd-highest strikeout rate (24.6%).
Yes, the Braves are playing in Philly, which plays as a park favorable to hitters (Park Factor of 1.035), but Folty has dominated the Phillies in every outing this year. Expect more of the same tonight.
Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays
vs Toronto Blue Jays
FanDuel Price: $6,900
Tyler Glasnow has been inconsistent since joining the Tampa Bay Rays in a midseason deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but in his last three outings, he's pitched deep and performed well, with a 2.37 ERA and a 15-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19.0 innings. On the season he's sporting a 4.23 ERA and a 3.85 FIP, with a dramatic increase in his strikeout rate (28.7%) from last year (18.4%). Of all the pitchers going this evening, that 28.7% K-rate ranks 3rd, so if it's strikeouts you're looking for at a low cost, it would appear Glasnow is your guy.
He'll be facing a Toronto Blue Jays team that isn't what it used to be, and doesn't perform nearly as well on the road (.310 wOBA, 16th in MLB) as it does at home (.326 wOBA, 10th in MLB). Toronto's 22.7% strikeout rate is 10th-highest in the Majors, and their .295 team on-base percentage over the last 30 days ranks 23rd.
Glasnow comes into tonight with an implied total of 3.35, 3rd-best on the evening slate. He's your best low-cost option tonight, by far.
J.A. Happ, New York Yankees
at Boston Red Sox
FanDuel Price: $9,900
Since joining the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, J.A. Happ has been one of the most consistent starters in the game. In 10 starts he has a 2.34 ERA in 57.2 innings, with a strikeout-to-walk rate of 56-to-14. But even given that, it seems insane to start Happ against the Boston Red Sox, perhaps the best offense in baseball this season.
Yes, Boston has a team wOBA of .339 that is tops in baseball. Yes, they have scored more runs than anyone, have the highest slugging percentage (.453), and have a lineup up-and-down that can kill you. But in what is admittedly a small sample size, Happ has a 0.54 ERA in three starts (16.2 innings) against the Red Sox this year, with a 22-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio against them this season.
There are probably not many players using Happ tonight against Boston, so if you believe in his track record against Boston and that he's got one more good start in him with the Yankees before the postseason, he's a great contrarian play this evening.
John Stolnis is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, John Stolnis also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JStolnis. 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.