FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 4/21/22

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

Carlos Carrasco, New York Mets

vs. San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary: $10,100

On today's main slate, we have three options on FanDuel salaried at $9,500 or higher -- Dylan Cease ($10,300), Carlos Carrasco ($10,100), and Kevin Gausman ($9,900).

Cease faces an AL Central foe in the Cleveland Guardians -- who we all predicted would be second-best in wOBA, eighth in ISO, and one of the hardest teams in baseball to strike out, right?

Gausman takes on the Red Sox, and while they haven't been firing on all cylinders yet, they are still clearly a lineup that's more than capable. They do still rank 13th in isolated power (ISO).

So, Cookie Carrasco stands out to me. It's early, but he's struck out a third of all batters this season, and he has by far the best matchup of the bunch. The San Francisco Giants rank 15th in team weighted on-base average (wOBA), but they strike out the fifth-most in baseball (25.6%) thus far.

He makes the most sense to me on a very tough slate to choose today.

Mid-Salaried Play

Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees

at Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $7,800

This small main slate, starting with some mid-day games, always leads to some difficult choices to fill out your roster. The starting pitching position is especially difficult today.

Jordan Montgomery is a mid-range play that we can get behind. The Detroit Tigers, Montgomery's opponent, have been pretty brutal at the dish. Not only are they missing middle-of-the-lineup mainstay Javier Baez, but they clock in sixth-worst in team wOBA (.283) with him, also adding a pretty rank .101 ISO and a hefty 25.1% strikeout rate.

We need to be attacking this team on the daily.

While Montgomery has struggled a little bit to start the season (16.2% strikeout rate), the batted-ball metrics have been a delight. He's posted a 22.2% hard-hit rate and 30.8% fly-ball rate.

We project Montgomery for a 3.73 value score today, so he seems like a pretty strong play.

Contrarian Play

Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics

Vs. Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $7,600

To be very clear, the low-salaried options are terrible tonight. But uniquely, there are two middle options that are primed for a big day. Let's go with middle starting pitcher number two, Paul Blackburn, of the Oakland Athletics.

Blackburn is a sinker-ball expert that recorded a struggling 16.6% strikeout rate a season ago. However, early returns on the 2022 season are encouraging. He's traded off fastballs for sliders (around 10%) and he's whiffed 26.3% of batters so far this year. The righty has always exhibited outstanding command and control, and this season is no different (2.6% walk rate).

Blackburn's opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, have been disgusting at the plate this season. Peep some of these numbers -- a .274 wOBA (fourth-worst), .115 ISO (sixth-worst), and a 27.7% strikeout rate (second-worst). Woof.

All of that makes Blackburn a great play.

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.