FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 7/1/22

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

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers

at Pittsburgh Pirates
FanDuel Salary: $10,900

Corbin Burnes hasn't skipped a beat while defending his 2021 National League Cy Young Award.

According to FanGraphs, out of 64 qualified starters this year, Burnes is seventh in ERA (2.41), third in xFIP (2.77), second in SIERA (2.69), tied for third in WHIP (0.92), and third in strikeout rate (32.4 percent). The talented righty has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

He'll have a chance to strut his stuff in a mouthwatering matchup tonight. The Pittsburgh Pirates are a bottom-five offense against righties (86 wRC+). In addition, they've struck out at the fourth-highest rate (25.2 percent) against them. So obviously, Burnes' elite bat-missing ability will work well against the Buccos.

Finally, the betting info is what FanDuel gamers will love to see. The Milwaukee Brewers are -198 to win, and the game's total is only 7.5 runs, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Burnes is the clear-cut top option in cash games and has the upside to power teams to the top of tournaments.

GPP Pivot

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros

vs. Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $9,100

It's unlikely Burnes struggles tonight. Still, there's room for more than one starting pitcher to shine tonight, and additionally, Cristian Javier might at a more cap-friendly salary.

The righty has made the most of the Houston Astros moving him into their rotation. In 10 starts spanning 51 and 1/3 innings, he's had a 3.33 ERA, 3.73 SIERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 29.9 percent strikeout rate. Javier's 10.3 percent walk rate and 4.16 xFIP point to some risk for using him.

Nevertheless, his high strikeout rate is built for GPPs. He also has a tremendous matchup for reaching his strikeout ceiling.

The Los Angeles Angels have the highest strikeout rate (26.1 percent) against right-handed pitchers this year. They also have a 106 wRC+, making their top-heavy lineup a potentially dangerous one. As a result, Javier is only a GPP consideration.

GPP Dart

Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants

vs. Chicago White Sox
FanDuel Salary: $7,600

Thankfully, the bargain bin isn't bereft of quality pitching options. Alex Cobb's 5.48 ERA in 10 starts isn't going to generate excitement. Still, it appears to be essentially the product of bad luck.

Cobb's 2.34 Expected ERA (xERA), 2.70 xFIP, and 2.95 SIERA are all elite marks. Something has to give for him soon.

Further, Cobb's 26.5 percent strikeout rate is a fantasy-friendly mark. So, why can't tonight be the night his ERA estimators win out in a good matchup? The Chicago White Sox are 29th in wRC+ (89) against right-handed pitchers this season.

Beyond the matchup, Cobb's betting info is also encouraging. The San Francisco Giants are -146, and the game's total is only 7.5 runs at pitcher-friendly Oracle Park.

If Cobb pitches to his underlying stats, he can smash value at his tiny salary.

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.