FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/9/21

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
Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves

Vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Salary: $10,000

There are some tricky arms on the main slate and that starts with the rookie, Alek Manoah ($10,300), who is the most expensive pitcher but doesn't have a long track record to go on. Blake Snell won't be pitching tonight due to illness. Taijuan Walker has been consistent but isn't a big strikeout pitcher. All of that leaves but one option that certainly stands out, Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves.

Since mid-May, Morton has been truly dominant on the mound. Spanning 53 innings, he's logged a 3.20 xFIP and a 29.6% strikeout rate. In that time span, he's whiffed seven or more batters in six of those nine starts.

The matchup is a fantastic one for Morton since he is going up against the Miami Marlins, who are still, not a good offense. They've logged a wRC+ of 91 in the last two weeks, along with a 25.5% strikeout rate, giving you all of the confidence to pay up for Morton tonight.

Mid-Salaried Play
Cole Irvin, Oakland Athletics

At Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $8,000

Cole Irvin has been an impressive rookie, despite the usual ups and downs for young players. In the midst of a recent hot streak, he makes a lot of sense.

Let's start by examining Irvin's opponent tonight, the Texas Rangers -- certainly big names like Adolis Garcia and Joey Gallo, but the offense overall has struggled. In the last 14 days, it's hit for only an 89 wRC+ mark, including an elevated 25.5% strikeout rate.

Irvin projects for a fantastic value (3.56x), and if he continues his run of outstanding command (only a 4.5% walk rate), he could provide immense upside.

Low-Salaried Play
Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins

Vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $7,300

It's been a bit of a rocky season for Kenta Maeda of the Minnesota Twins -- but has his recent prowess showed he may be on track?

In his most recent outing, Maeda dominated for 6 scoreless innings, whiffing 10 batters and allowing only 2 hits. Over his last four starts from when he returned from the Injured List, he's thrown 20 innings, recording a 3.47 FIP and a 28.4% strikeout rate.

The Detroit Tigers? They've been better at the dish recently, but this is still with warts -- it has logged a 26.4% strikeout in the last two weeks, including a wRC+ mark of 91. Target Maeda tonight if you need a cheaper arm.

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.