FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 7/25/22

Nailing the pitcher slot is the first step to having success in MLB DFS on FanDuel.

While it's possible to cash if you get a bad outing from a starter, it's markedly easier to do so when you get a good or excellent showing from your pitcher.

Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, salary, matchup, and park factors is the game within the game in MLB DFS. This piece is your home for a breakdown of the top pitching options each and every day. Let's dig in.

High-Salaried Play
Sean Manaea, San Diego Padres

At Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $9,900

We have a modest pitching slate to start the week, and Sean Manaea is one of the top options tonight.

There are no truly elite DFS pitchers tonight but a few really good ones. Max Fried ($10,500) is the highest-salaried option and has a decent matchup versus the Philadelphia Phillies, but I prefer Manaea tonight.

First off, Manaea is just a hair lower in salary, and when we want to pay up for a Los Angeles Dodgers stack tonight, we need all the savings we can find.

Manaea has a great matchup against the Detroit Tigers, who come in with a 21.7% strikeout rate versus left-handed pitchers, which is 19th in the league. On top of that, the Tigers also come in with a .111 ISO (29th), 100 wRC+ (20th), 34.2% fly-ball rate (23rd), and 24.8% (29th) hard-contact rate in this split.

They are among the worst offenses in the league, putting Manaea in a great spot. This season, he is rocking a 23.9% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate, 7.1% barrel rate, 3.94 xFIP, and 55.4% medium-contact rate. He comes in projected for 33.4 FanDuel points, which is only 0.3 lower than Fried.

High-Salaried Alternative
Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers

Vs. Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $10,200

Next up, let's take a look at Tony Gonsolin from the Dodgers.

Gonsolin and the Dodgers come in as big -320 home favorites against the Washington Nationals, which also presents a very favorable matchup. The Nationals aren't a good offense, but the one thing they do well is not striking out a ton. They have a 19.7% strikeout rate versus right-handed pitchers, which is the second-lowest in the league.

Outside of that, their offense isn't good. They are carrying a .131 ISO (26th), 94 wRC+ (21st), 33.9% fly-ball rate (26th), and 27.8% (26th) hard-contact rate. This is as easy of a matchup for Gonsolin as you could possibly imagine, but he is still a step behind Manaea due to the strikeout potential being a bit higher from the Tigers.

Gonsolin carries a 3.73 xFIP, 24.2% strikeout rate, and 6.7% walk rate while allowing 0.86 HR/9 and a 57.6% medium-contact rate.

GPP Dart
JT Brubaker, Pittsburgh Pirates

At Chicago Cubs
FanDuel Salary: $8,700

If you are looking for even more savings at pitcher, JT Brubaker is an option tonight.

Spending down at pitcher can always present a bit of risk, but the salary relief and potential point-per-dollar value are clear. When you spend up on a ton of hitters for your stacks, you can't always spend up for the top-tier pitchers.

This is where Brubaker comes into the fold tonight, a pitcher that ended the first half of the season in good form. Brubaker racked up five strikeouts or more in his last seven starts while allowing three earned runs or fewer in six of those outings. He now has a 23.0% strikeout rate, allowing 0.86 HR/9 and a 6.8% barrel rate, 43.0% fly-ball rate, 53.8% medium-contact rate, and 4.14 xFIP.

He brings all of this into a matchup against the Chicago Cubs, another average offense to target. They have a 99 wRC+ (15th), .141 ISO (22nd), 23.1% strikeout rate (10th), and 34.5% (24th) fly-ball rate. All of this gives Brubaker a projection of 28.9 FanDuel points, which is the fourth-highest on the slate.