FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 8/5/22
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.
Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners
vs. Los Angeles Angels
FanDuel Salary: $9,400
Sadly, Robbie Ray hasn't been the consistently dominant hurler he was en route to winning the 2021 American League Cy Young Award. Nevertheless, he could fool Seattle Mariners fans based on his dominance in home games.
According to FanGraphs, in 67 innings at home, he's had a 2.96 ERA, 3.13 xFIP, 0.96 WHIP, 5.7 percent walk rate, and 28.7 percent strikeout rate. Moreover, in 11 home starts, Ray has had 8 quality starts, striking out 10 and allowing only two earned runs in 5 and 2/3 innings in one of the outlier outings. So, Ray has been excellent at home.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Angels are punchless against lefties and playing out the string in another lost season. The Angels are 28th in wRC+ (82) against lefties and have struck out at a 24.3 percent clip. Additionally, they're 29th in wRC+ (71) over the last 30 days, fanning at an even more exploitable 25.3 percent rate.
As a result, Ray should treat the home crowd and FanDuel gamers who use him in their lineups to a delightful performance tonight.
High-Salaried GPP Pick
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox
at Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $10,900
It's wise to use Ray in cash games, passing on the salary savings to your lineup. However, Dylan Cease's elite ceiling is worth chasing in GPPs.
In 21 starts totaling 116 and 2/3 innings, Cease has had a 2.01 ERA, 3.02 xFIP, 1.17 WHIP, and 33.3 percent strikeout rate.
The flame-throwing righty is a strikeout machine. Cease has struck out at least seven batters in 15 of 21 starts, doing so in four of his last five. In addition, the matchup is great for Cease reaching his ceiling.
The Texas Rangers are tied for 22nd in wRC+ (94) and have the eighth-highest strikeout rate (23.5 percent) against righties this year.
Corey Kluber, Tampa Bay Rays
at Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $8,800
Corey Kluber is a rock-solid pitcher in the latter years of a brilliant career. This year, he has a 4.03 ERA, 3.84 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP, 3.7 percent walk rate, and 21.6 percent strikeout rate in 20 starts totaling 105 innings. So, obviously, Kluber's marks don't generate excitement. Still, they're decent -- and the Detroit Tigers are decidedly not decent.
The Tigers have looked more like kittens against righties this year. They're MLB's worst offense against right-handed pitchers, owning a 67 wRC+ and a 24.6 percent strikeout rate that Kluber can pick apart.
As a result, Kluber is primarily a matchup-based suggestion. Thankfully, the betting info is also good. The Tampa Bay Rays are commanding -205 favorites.
Gamers entering multiple GPP lineups should consider mixing Kluber in with Ray and Cease, albeit on a lower percentage of teams than them.
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.