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?
Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres
at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary: $9,700
The lowest combined implied over/under sits out west in an NL West matchup between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants, sitting at a very low 7.5 runs.
Yu Darvish takes the ball for his second start of the season, and he was brilliant in his first effort -- he spun six no-hit innings, whiffing three in the process. While it's a very small sample size, San Francisco sports a healthy 25.7% strikeout rate on the year.
Expect Darvish, who we have ranked as a top-3 arm, to have a big evening.
Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels
vs. Miami Marlins
FanDuel Salary: $8,400
Darvish was the mid-range play on Opening Day and no-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks for six scoreless innings, so we are going to take a spin on this carousel for some fun yet again.
Patrick Sandoval takes the ball for the Los Angeles Angels for his first start of the season, and we are hoping he can replicate his same success from a season ago. The lefty showcased a beautiful changeup on his way to a 25.3% strikeout rate a season ago over 143 innings pitched.
With the Marlins sporting a paltry implied team of 4.08 runs, Sandoval is a must-start in a fairly soft matchup.
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Dodgers
at Minnesota Twins
FanDuel Salary: $7,500
I am a big believer that as ferocious as this Los Angeles Dodgers offense is, we want to back pitching on this team often. That puts Andrew Heaney into consideration here.
The lefty makes for a volatile play, which isn't a bad place to be in for lower-salaried options. Over 129 2/3 innings last year, he struck out 26.9% of batters, including a 12.5% swinging-strike rate.
Now we do need to bear witness to the greatness of Byron Buxton (he's on fire to start the season), and Heaney will need to pitch around him. But, for a lower-salaried option, Heaney could go off against a Minnesota Twins team that has struck out fifth-most in the majors on the young season.
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.