FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 5/5/22

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

Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays

at Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Salary: $10,100

The main slate today has some unique opportunities, but Shane McClanahan stands far out above the rest of the options.

The young lefty has been absolutely brilliant so far for Tampa, sporting a 39.3% strikeout rate. If that weren't enough, not only has he been impossible to make contact with, but his 56.1% ground-ball rate limits all kinds of damage. It's unsurprising that he owns a 2.87 xERA that matches nicely to his 3.00 ERA, and his 29.8% hard-hit rate showcases that when he does give up contact, he's tough to barrel.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners are a tough opponent to strike out, recording a 21.2% strikeout rate, and they also have a double-digit walk rate. Their .312 wOBA puts them smack dab in the middle in the league, and their .144 isolated power (ISO) ranks 14th overall.

They certainly won't be a pushover, but compared to the other high-salaried option, Logan Webb ($10,300), who faces the St. Louis Cardinals with a sub-20% strikeout rate, McClanahan's matchup seems far better.

All of this makes this Tampa Bay Rays stud a top-flight pick.

Value Play #1

Chris Archer, Minnesota Twins

at Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $7,300

If you want to get a bit spicy, especially for some leverage in tournament play, Chris Archer of the Minnesota Twins makes for an intriguing pivot that we need to consider.

Archer takes on a Baltimore Orioles offense that's been staggeringly bad. They rank at the bottom of the league with a 25.3% strikeout rate, .101 ISO, and .285 wOBA. Their offense is scaring no one in any matchup.

Archer has been solid so far this season. His 4.89 xFIP shows he's maybe been a bit lucky compared to the 2.93 ERA he sports, but he's done a solid job limiting hard contact with a 32.6% hard-hit rate. His 21.2% strikeout rate has been unspectacular, but his 25.9% career mark shows there's room for growth.

If Archer can limit his free passes, which currently sit at 13.6% this season, he could do well against a bad Orioles offense.

Value Play #2

Jose Urquidy, Houston Astros

vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $6,800

One of the best plays of the day from a return on investment perspective is Jose Urquidy of the Houston Astros. Let's dive into why our model projects him for a 3.68x ROI.

While the Detroit Tigers do welcome Javier Baez back into the fold, they have been struggling at the plate this year. Their 24.9% strikeout rate (sixth-worst), .089 ISO (worst), and .282 wOBA (fourth-worst) all showcase an inept offensive attack.

Urquidy gets overlooked due to a below-average strikeout rate (15.1%), but the righty has plenty of things going for him, which include a minuscule 3.5% walk rate, 24.8% CSW rate, and a career 31.6% hard-hit rate. At such a low salary, Urquidy could make for a tremendous opportunity.


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.