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    Starting Pitchers (04/27/16)

    By Mark Dankenbring
    Starting Pitchers to build around in MLB DFS.

    If you've played any daily fantasy baseball over the first few weeks, you most likely realized that the starting pitcher you chose to run for the night is usually the deciding factor in determining whether you ended up in the money or not. It can be a stressful choice night in and night out, so this article is designed to eliminate that stress for you through the weekend. Let's dive into it.

    Wednesday – Jake Arrieta (RHP, Chicago Cubs)

    It's hard to find a negative statistic about Jake Arrieta over the past couple seasons. The man has truly been an untouchable machine. Therefore, it's no surprise he's at the top of the list for starters on Wednesday. Arrieta is coming off a no-hitter thrown against the Cincinnati Reds last Thursday night, and will pitch against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday at Wrigley. The Brewers come into the game with a bottom-five offense in the league, and are second worst in the majors in percentage of at bats ending in strikeouts at 26%. It seems as if this is another perfect opportunity for Arrieta to wow viewers and put on a clinic.

    If you're worried about a letdown after Arrieta's no-hitter, don't be. After Arrieta's no-hitter last fall against the Dodgers, he responded with a start where he only allowed four hits over eight innings pitched, including seven strikeouts. Also, Arrieta's ERA continued to drop after his no-hitter, reducing itself from 2.11 to 1.77. Don't expect anything to alter Arrieta's success against the Brewers, and make sure you include him in your lineup, no matter how expensive.

    Thursday – Clay Buchholz (RHP, Boston Red Sox)

    You might be surprised to see Buchholz's name on this list after he's started the year 0-2 with a 6.33 ERA, but Buchholz has the best matchup by far on Thursday. Buchholz will be looking for his first win of 2016 against the slug-less Atlanta Braves at Fenway. The Braves come into this week as the team with the fewest runs scored in baseball, a laughable 3 home runs in 19 games, and a team slugging percentage of .283. Yikes.

    Not only does Buchholz get to face the worst offense in the league, but he showed some promising signs in his last start against Houston. Buchholz could've ended the night going six strong with only one earned and six strikeouts, but made one major mistake that Colby Rasmus hit into the seats for a grand slam. Look for Buchholz to put one in the win column Thursday and do so in style, racking up innings and strikeouts against a team who has struggled to make any noise at the plate so far this year.

    Friday – Francisco Liriano (LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

    Liriano is in line to start Friday at home against the Reds after a few rough starts on the road. He'll be eager to step back onto his home mound at PNC Park after shutting out the Cardinals there on Opening Day this year. The Reds come into the week playing better baseball than most expected, but are still relatively weak on the offensive side. Also, Liriano has good numbers against Reds' hitters in his career, with Brandon Phillips holding the most success against him. Other than that, Liriano has handled the Reds, and we should expect the same from him Friday night at home.

    Saturday – Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, Detroit Tigers)

    Zimmermann has had a scorching start to 2016, beginning 4-0 while only allowing one earned run over 26 innings pitched. Zimmermann will face a Twins team at Target Field who hasn't started the year very strongly offensively. They strike out as a team over 24% of the time, which is bad enough to land them in the bottom five in all of baseball. The Twins are also batting a lackluster .236 against right handed pitching this year, which is promising for Zimmermann.

    Zimmermann comes into Saturday's game having never faced the Twins before in his career, offering him the advantage of hitters not being comfortable with him on the bump. Look for him to easily maneuver his way through the Twins lineup where Joe Mauer stands as the only one consistently hitting for them.

    Sunday – Noah Syndergaard (RHP, New York Mets)

    This is pretty much a no brainer. If Syndergaard is starting, he should find a way into your lineup. Thor has started off the season allowing only five earned runs over his first four starts, accumulating 38 strikeouts, and punching out over 36% of the batters he faces. He's shown that his stuff is straight out of a video game, hitting 100 mph on his fastball and throwing a slider that hovers around 93 mph. Pretty impressive.

    The Giants do come in with a solid offense, and almost get a park upgrade coming from San Fran to Citi Field. However, it's hard to see many hitters figuring out a pitcher with a combination of velocity and movement that few have seen before. Look for Syndergaard to put on another show in the Big Apple and silence the Giants' bats while racking up the Ks.

    Hopefully these pitchers will prove to be essential to your lineups over the next few days. In order to create the best lineups possible around them, be sure to check out our Optimizer each and every night. Also, in order to avoid using hitters facing these aces, click the filter of no pitcher vs. batter to ensure you give your lineup the best chance to succeed.

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