FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 6/10/22

Aaron Ashby's upside and salary relief make him a target for tonight's slate. Who else should we anchor our lineups with?

Pitchers lay the foundation for daily fantasy baseball teams. So it's not coincidental they have the highest salaries in FanDuel contests. Of course, it's possible to overcome a bad outing from a starter, but it's markedly easier to cash in contests with a good or excellent start.

Simply nailing your pitcher can cover up for a miss or two among your hitter selections. Thankfully, pitchers are less volatile to project than their hitting counterparts. First, pitcher skills such as walk rate and strikeout rate help separate the genuinely talented pitchers from their lesser peers. In addition, park factors and the offensive strength of the opponent are integral considerations for picking your FanDuel pitchers.

Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, park factors, opponent, and accounting for their salary is the game within the game on FanDuel. This piece is your home for my favorite pitcher picks for FanDuel's main slate every day. So, let's get to today's top hurlers.

High-Salaried Play

Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Guardians

vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $9,800

This year, Triston McKenzie has settled in as a reliable hurler for the Cleveland Guardians. Further, he's been especially good lately. In McKenzie's last six turns, he's had five quality starts. Moreover, according to FanGraphs, in 41 innings, he's had a 2.85 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 6.6 percent walk rate, and 21.2 percent strikeout rate.

McKenzie is unlikely to slow his roll against the hapless Oakland Athletics. According to FanGraphs, the A's are the second-worst offense against righties with a 71 wRC+. They've also struck out regularly, punching out at a 24.4 percent clip.

Yet, it gets better. Over the last 14 days, they've been the worst offense (65 wRC+).

McKenzie and the Guardians are, predictably, favorites. Per FanDuel Sportsbook, the Guardians are -166, and the game's total is a pitcher-friendly 7.5 runs. As a result, McKenzie is the safest pitcher of those highlighted in this space.

Mid-Salaried Play

Aaron Ashby, Milwaukee Brewers

at Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $8,600

Aaron Ashby is a high-upside alternative to McKenzie and also frees up a valuable extra $1,200 salary to invest in the offense. The Milwaukee Brewers have used Ashby in the bullpen and rotation. Now, he's settling into a groove as a starter.

In his last three starts, he's had a 2.55 ERA, 1.61 xFIP, 1.13 WHIP, 6.8 percent walk rate, 35.1 percent strikeout rate, and 36.6 CSW.

The young lefty has been on a strikeout heater, punching out 21 of the 49 batters he's faced in his previous two turns. Tonight, Ashby has a plus draw against the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals are a bottom-10 offense against southpaws. This year, they're 21st in wRC+ (92) versus lefties. Finally, the Beermakers are -174 favorites, adding to the comfort level of using Ashby in any game type tonight.

Low-Salaried GPP Dart

Roansy Contreras, Pittsburgh Pirates

at Atlanta Braves
FanDuel Salary: $7,500

Roansy Contreras is the riskiest pitcher of the suggested options. But, thankfully, he has substantial upside as well. The rookie righty had a taste of big-league coffee in a start last year and the bullpen this season before putting the finishing touches on his development in Triple-A.

Contreras has responded well to his handling, excelling in three starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates since he was summoned from the minors.

In his three starts, Contreras has had a 1.15 ERA, 3.43 xFIP, 1.09 WHIP, 25.0 percent strikeout rate, and 29.5 CSW. Not only is using Contreras a stellar move because of his excellent numbers starting but also because the Atlanta Braves strike out a ton against righties. In fact, their 26.2 percent strikeout rate is the highest mark by 1.2 percentage points.

Conteras is a boom-or-bust pick tonight. Still, the bar for providing value is low, and the cap space he frees up for stacking elite offenses adds to the appeal of taking a risk. So, don't be afraid to take a chance on Contreras in GPPs tonight.

Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.