All that matters in daily fantasy is the scoring. If you have the most points at the end of a given contest, you win - and it doesn't matter how you earn those points. Once they're in the bank, they're yours to keep.
That said, numbers don't necessarily tell the story when it comes to evaluating solid fantasy plays. A pitcher might miss his location by a quarter of an inch, and see that pitch wind up on the other side of the outfield wall for a grand slam. A hitter might make great contact with a fastball, only to have it get caught up in the wind and land in an outfielder's glove rather than in the bleachers.
Monty Andrews presents you with four pitchers who have been somewhat unlucky to date, making them terrific options for a bounceback at a salary that should be much friendlier than it was earlier in the season.
RHP Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
Samardzija is the poster boy for bad luck so far this season. Both his Fielding-Independent Pitching and his xFIP - two metrics that evaluate a pitcher's results independent of how his defense has performed - reveal a startling disconnect between his numbers and his actual performance; despite a 1-5 record and a 5.26 ERA, his FIP is just 3.12 while his xFIP is even better at 2.80.
What does this mean? Basically, Samardzija has been snake-bitten by subpar defense and a high opponent's BABIP (.343) - two factors that should improve over time. The veteran righty could do himself more favors by lowering his HR/FB rate (15.9 percent), but positive regression is coming - and soon. Take a chance on him in some of your tournament lineups next time out.
RHP Charlie Morton, Houston Astros
The gap between Morton's ERA through eight starts (3.97) and his FIP/xFIP (3.33/3.33) isn't nearly as pronounced as that of Samardzija, but it's still significant enough to monitor. Morton has made great strides in Houston, rocking an amazing 10.72 K/9 while giving up fewer than 0.8 home runs per nine innings so far this season.
Like Samardzija, the major issue with Morton is an inflated BABIP (.336) which should normalize before long. If it does - and if Morton can maintain most of his K/9 gains in the process - you could be looking at a fantasy ace in the making. Morton is looking like the real deal and can be rostered in all formats thanks in large part to his enormous strikeout potential.
RHP Josh Tomlin, Cleveland Indians
Tomlin is off to a dreadful start to the season, carrying a 6.86 ERA through is first eight outings. But he isn't entirely to blame for that inflated rate, as his FIP/xFIP (3.75/3.33) would suggest. Tomlin made a living in 2016 out of keeping the walks to a minimum, and he is doing the same thing this year (four walks in 40 2/3 innings) - but the home runs are a big problem.
Tomlin has already allowed six long balls in 2017, and surrendered a whopping 36 a season ago. A reduction in BABIP from .364 should help his ERA, but his ceiling is limited by a modest 7.1 K/9 rate and an inability to pitch deep into games. You might be better off limiting Tomlin's daily fantasy usage to only the most positive matchups - and beware the homers.
RHP Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright sports an unsightly 5.31 ERA through eight starts, well below his FIP (3.84) and xFIP (4.05). Yet, while Wainwright has certainly been flummoxed by an incredible .390 BABIP against - the worst rate of any qualifying starter - he also has himself to blame in part, as his 3.61 BB/9 rate is the highest of his career.
Add in a modest 7.7 K/9 rate, and can you really trust Wainwright in FanDuel? Probably not for the foreseeable future. Even if his BABIP returns to a more reasonable rate, there are too many other red flags. He won't rack up the Ks, and those walks can get him into trouble even if he's giving up fewer hits. Leave him unrostered.