FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/18/21

Robbie Ray has surged to new heights in 2021, and he is a great play on Friday against the Orioles. Which other pitchers should you consider?

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. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Salaried Play
Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays

At Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $11,000

There are some good choices at the top end of the pitcher pool, but there are some land mines here, too. Corbin Burnes is normally an easy choice, but with some recent struggles and heading to Coors, he isn't someone I'll go to tonight. Carlos Rodon is in a similar boat, taking on a Houston Astros team that thrives versus lefties. Trevor Bauer is in an OK spot versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he's permitted 10 earned runs across his past three starts.

For my money, I am rostering Robbie Ray. He's locked into a sweet matchup with the Baltimore Orioles, who rank 24th in wRC+ (92). While the O's do a decent job of controlling their strikeouts (23.9%), their .155 isolated power (ISO) makes them a tantalizing option to target.

Ray is having an outstanding campaign, with his 3.05 SIERA and 6.3% walk rate both representing career-best clips, and he's still getting plenty of punchouts with a 32.1% strikeout rate and 16.5% swinging-strike rate.

Ray is where I'll be going at the top end of the pitching player pool.

Mid-Salaried Play
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins

At Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary: $8,700

With only two wins to his name this season, Pablo Lopez probably isn't getting the recognition he deserves, and that is a major mistake.

Lopez is in the midst of arguably the best season of his career. He's posted a 3.42 FIP and 24.5% strikeout rate over 78 innings pitched, and he's done a solid job limiting hard contact with a 32.4% hard-hit rate.

Tonight he is taking on a Chicago Cubs offense that has been pretty bad of late, putting up a .265 wOBA and 30.5% strikeout rate over the last seven days.

Lopez is a worthwhile option in the mid-range.

Low-Salaried Play

Zach Davies, Chicago Cubs

Vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Salary: $7,000

The Cubs overhauled their starting rotation quite a bit this offseason, and when Zach Davies got off to a rough start, it wasn't looking too rosy.

However, Davies has been excellent as of late. He had one of his best starts of the year last time out, firing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals. Over his last 44 1/3 innings, he's logged a 1.83 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.

The matchup is there against a meh Miami Marlins offense, but Davies' lack of strikeouts lowers his ceiling in DFS. Still, if you're wanting to get a lot of exposure to Coors, Davies isn't a bad low-salary 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.