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 #1
Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants
vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $11,100
This main slate has a unique mix of arms but only two have a salary above $10,000. Kevin Gausman has been incredible to start the year, and he faces the Boston Red Sox offense which admittedly hasn't been great to begin the year, but they have also been tough to strike out (21.6%).
That pivots me directly to the most expensive arm on today's main slate, Carlos Rodon. It's clearly been a small sample of 17 innings pitched, but his strikeout rate (44.6%) has been off the charts. It's supported by a career-best 16.8% swinging-strike rate paired with an equally high 34.3% CSW rate.
He makes the most sense to me on a very tough slate to choose today.
High-Salaried Play #2
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
at Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $9,500
Despite the exploits of Juan Soto, the Nats are one of only four teams that have recorded an ISO under .100 for the season (.099). Pair that with their eighth-worst team wOBA of .278, and it's clear that this offense is in struggle mode.
That's really all the opening a guy like Alcantara needs. His 25.7% CSW rate remains in line with career norms, even though his strikeout rate (19.7%) isn't on par with past seasons. Expect him to be in for a big evening.
Daulton Jeffries, Oakland Athletics
at San Francisco Giants
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Advanced metrics aren't going to lead you often to Jeffries, as he's sporting a 4.39 xFIP over 15 1/3 innings pitched so far.
Part of that mediocre mark is driven by a 14.8% strikeout rate. The good news is that his 27.1% CSW rate sits at a career-best level, so the punchouts could go up.
Batters are having a hard time squaring Jeffries up, too. He's logged a 29.8% hard-hit rate and 45.4% ground-ball rate, and he's allowed a microscopic 0.59 HR/9 rate.
The San Francisco Giants have a healthy 24.6% strikeout rate so far this season, and all of that makes Jeffries 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.