FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/16/21

Kevin Gausman has been an absolute delight on the mound this season, but is he worth paying up for tonight?

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

Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants

At St. Louis Cardinals
FanDuel Salary: $10,600

Can anyone give me the rationale as to why Kevin Gausman isn't in the NL Cy Young conversation?

Dude has been absolutely ballin' this season -- while many were perhaps unbelievers prior to the year, he has set them on the straight and narrow. Spanning 114 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander has racked up 133 strikeouts, as well as a 1.73 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.

The matchup is a fantastic one for Gausman since he is going up against the St. Louis Cardinals, who are horrendous at the dish. The Cards offer little in the form of resistance at the plate, recording a wRC+ mark of 88 this season. While Kyle Hendricks -- who is 10-1 since May 1st and is facing a lowly Arizona Diamondbacks offense -- will get a lot of consideration, if you can afford Gausman, he should be well worth it.

Mid-Salaried Play

Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves

Vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Salary: $8,900

DFS is a funny little game -- in his last start, Charlie Morton was a $10,000 starter. And he was brilliant in that last outing, spanning seven scoreless innings with seven whiffs. And today? He's over $1,000 cheaper against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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 7 of 10 starts.

Tampa is a pretty mediocre offense -- they clock in 16th in team wOBA, and they strike out far too often with a 26.8% strikeout rate. With that swing and miss upside, Morton could end up being the top hurler on today's slate.

Low-Salaried Play

Chris Flexen, Seattle Mariners

At Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $7,000

With a Coors Field game on tap, including the Dodgers there, we may want to roster some of these expensive bats, and to do that, we need to find a cheap pitcher.

One arm that is intriguing is Chris Flexen of the Seattle Mariners -- and he's been brilliant as of late. Over the last month, he's logged a 1.82 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 24 2/3 innings pitched, keeping the Seattle Mariners afloat in the divisional race.

Now, make no mistake about it -- the Los Angeles Angels are a good offense, and that could be a challenge. While Mike Trout is not back yet, this offense still clocks in at seventh overall in wOBA (.327). It certainly is not a matchup without flaws, but it could provide the opportunity to roster some big bats.

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.