FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 7/27/20

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 today's main slate?

High-Priced Option

Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves

At Tampa Bay Rays

FanDuel Price: $8,000

Knowing that Mondays can be a bit of a tricky slate due to limited options, combined with some early games not on the main slate, and postponement of two games due to COVID-19 concerns, we are parsing through some not-so-stellar options at the top end.

One option to consider is Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays, but as we saw in Sunday Night Baseball, that Atlanta Braves offense is starting to cook. That pivots us over to Mike Foltynewicz of Atlanta, and this is no walk in the park either.

The good thing is that the Rays have shown a propensity to swing-and-miss the ball, and they particularly struggled a season ago against fastball (24th in wOBA) and slider-heavy pitchers.

This certainly isn’t an easy decision, but consider a cheaper Folty in his 2020 debut.

Mid-Priced Option

Josh James, Houston Astros

vs. Seattle Mariners

FanDuel Price: $6,700

Your eyes are not deceiving you – on this slate, a $6,700 pitcher is truly a mid-priced option, and Josh James could be in the elite tier of pitchers.

The only reason James probably isn’t the best starting pitching option across the board is his limited availability – he may not even get to 100 pitches tonight, and teammate Zack Greinke was held to 60 pitches (partially due to ineffectiveness).

However, the matchup is juicy for sure. Seattle ranks 23rd in team wOBA against the fastball and also showed poor efforts against the slider. We project him as the top-scoring pitcher of the night, and the Houston Astros are heavy favorites tonight. Take a long look at James.

Low-Priced Play

Adrian Houser, Milwaukee Brewers

At Pittsburgh Pirates

FanDuel Price: $6,000

This is an absolute, bargain basement, cheap play for tonight, and the Milwaukee Brewers will try to kick off a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a win.

The Buccos rank only 26th in team wOBA against the fastball, and the benefit that Adrian Houser gets is pitching in a neutral-to-pitcher friendly park like Pittsburgh (1.006 in-park factor, .906 in home run factor).

The Pirates are a right-handed heavy lineup, so that works to Houser’s advantage, as he struggled against left-handed hitters last season. Assuming it’s limited to the key regulars (Bryan Reynolds, Adam Frazier, and Josh Bell), that’s a big boost for Houser, who allowed a .467 slugging percentage and 11.1% walk rate in this split.

Houser makes for a great, cheap option 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.