MLB Sim Sports Picks for 7/1/20 on FanDuel

Ketel Marte is in a good matchup on a simulated DFS slate where we'll have the salary to afford him. Who else stands out on FanDuel?

Now that we know the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees will face off later this month to help open the COVID-19-shortened MLB season, it's time to start preparing.

That game will feature Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer, the two pitchers ranked first and third, respectively, in strikeout rank among starters last season. Strikeouts are a key focus for us in daily fantasy baseball, and we're getting thrown back into the fire in a big way.

Thankfully, FanDuel is offering us a little tuneup with today's simulated MLB DFS slate. Cole and Scherzer aren't on the table, but 7 of the 20 starters finished last year with a strikeout rate of 29.0% or higher, and several others were a hair below that. We wanted a little practice before Cole v. Scherzer, and we got it in a big way.

Here's the rundown of the starters sorted by their FanDuel salary. The individual stats are from starts they made in 2019, and the opposing numbers are based on current active rosters against that pitcher's handedness last year.

Pitcher Salary Opponent SIERA Strikeout % Walk % Opp. K % Opp. wRC+
Jacob deGrom $12,000 SFG 3.29 31.7% 5.5% 24.0% 89
Walker Buehler $11,200 CIN 3.50 29.2% 5.0% 24.3% 95
Stephen Strasburg $10,800 STL 3.49 29.9% 6.7% 23.6% 94
Shane Bieber $10,000 HOU 3.36 30.2% 4.7% 16.3% 129
Aaron Nola $9,600 SDP 4.14 26.9% 9.4% 25.0% 88
Trevor Bauer $9,300 LOS 4.14 27.8% 9.0% 20.2% 122
Tyler Glasnow $8,800 LAA 3.18 33.0% 6.1% 20.3% 109
Matthew Boyd $8,600 MIN 3.61 30.2% 6.4% 20.4% 123
Josh Lindblom $8,300 CHC -- -- -- 23.5% 108
Chris Paddack $8,100 PHI 3.83 26.9% 5.5% 24.5% 90
Robbie Ray $7,900 KAN 4.02 31.5% 11.2% 21.7% 88
Kyle Hendricks $7,700 MIL 4.38 20.6% 4.4% 22.8% 102
Lance Lynn $7,500 ATL 3.83 28.1% 6.7% 22.4% 100
Julio Teheran $7,300 TAM 5.11 21.5% 11.0% 24.3% 99
Jake Odorizzi $7,000 DET 4.14 27.1% 8.1% 25.6% 82
Dakota Hudson $6,600 WAS 5.06 18.0% 11.3% 21.5% 97
Mike Foltynewicz $6,400 TEX 4.71 21.4% 7.5% 25.5% 89
Jakob Junis $6,300 ARI 4.63 21.3% 7.5% 21.7% 97
Johnny Cueto $6,200 NYM 5.49 19.4% 13.4% 21.5% 109
Josh James $5,800 CLE -- -- -- 22.1% 96

With so many high-strikeout pitchers available, we don't necessarily have to pay top dollar to get a high-upside arm. That allows Lance Lynn ($7,500) to check in as the top pitcher of the night.

Lynn isn't as big of an ace as guys like Jacob deGrom ($12,000) and Walker Buehler ($11,200), but he does have two things we like. He gets strikeouts (28.1% rate last year) and pitches deep into games. His matchup with the Atlanta Braves isn't super easy, but Lynn is cheap, and they strike out 22.4% of the time against righties. This is a spot where you can take the discount and look Lynn's direction.

Outside of Lynn, we can also save a bit with Robbie Ray ($7,900). Ray is always frightening, but he's facing the Kansas City Royals. Their active roster had just an 8.1% walk rate against lefties, pushing their wRC+ to 88. With no entry fees to be paid and a top-heavy payout structure, Ray's risk is less daunting, making him a quality alternative to Lynn.

If you find enough value hitters to pay up at pitcher, then deGrom is obviously an elite option against the San Francisco Giants. deGrom's 31.7% strikeout rate last year is second-highest on the slate, and the Giants have one of the lower wRC+'s. Toss in their 24.0% strikeout rate, and deGrom becomes worthy of that $12,000 salary, even with good value options at our disposal.

Thanks to Lynn and Ray, we can be free with our stacks and target whichever team stands out most. That's going to lead us to the Arizona Diamondbacks against Jakob Junis.

Junis is one of just two pitchers on the slate to finish 2019 with an ERA higher than 5.00 as a starter, and it came with a 4.63 SIERA. His middling strikeout and walk numbers should allow the Diamondbacks to put the ball in play often. David Peralta ($2,800) and Kole Calhoun ($2,400) stand out as value plays, ideally allowing you to find the salary to lock in Ketel Marte ($3,700).

The second stack is facing the other pitcher who finished with an ERA higher than 5.00 last year. That's the New York Mets against Johnny Cueto.

Cueto's struggles were in a small sample of four starts, but he's also on the road, in his age-34 season, and projected at a 4.22 ERA by numberFire. That's enough to bump up the Mets. Here, Jeff McNeil ($2,700) and Michael Conforto ($2,600) are the value plays who will allow you to pluck Pete Alonso ($3,700) and Brandon Nimmo ($3,300).

If you're looking to ride the lightning and soak up some risk, you should check out the Minnesota Twins in their matchup with Matthew Boyd. The Twins are skilled at avoiding strikeouts, and Boyd is prone to dingers when he can't get batters to whiff. They're definitely volatile, but with the thump of Nelson Cruz ($3,600), Miguel Sano ($3,400), and Josh Donaldson ($3,400), that risk comes with plentiful upside. It's also Cruz's 40th birthday, so we'll have to cross our fingers and hope the simulations are wont to stroll down narrative street.

The author of this article has no involvement with the MLB Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of tonight’s contest.