FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 8/8/22

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.

Top of the Heap

Chris Bassitt, Mets ($10,400)

There is a clear big three on this slate. Bassitt tops our projections and has a strong case to be the night's number-one pitcher.

The owner of a 3.56 SIERA and 24.3% strikeout rate, Bassitt should be able to take advantage of a soft matchup with the Cincinnati Reds, a team that is 24th in wOBA for the season and dealt away some key sticks at the trade deadline.

Cincy has a 3.39 implied total, the third-lowest, and Bassitt's projection of 37.4 FanDuel points is 4.3 points clear of the field.

Blake Snell, Padres ($9,400)

You can also make a case for Snell as the number-one guy.

Snell is certainly rolling right now. He's been in a groove over his past six starts, racking up 49 punchouts in 31 2/3 innings in that time while recording a 2.80 xFIP. We know how good he can be when he's on, and he's been on.

However, I just have trouble getting excited to use someone as volatile as Snell when it looks like he'll be popular, and it's not like a matchup with the San Francisco Giants is all that easy, although the Giants are showing a listless 3.29 implied total. San Fran's active roster has a .313 wOBA against lefties, which ranks right in the middle of the pack.

Snell is who he is -- we're all familiar. On a larger slate, he might slip through the cracks in this kind of matchup, and that would intrigue me. On this slate, he might be the most popular hurler. If draft percentage projections around the industry have Snell being chalk, I'll be underweight. If Bassitt or this next guy are expected to be the popular plays, Snell will be more enticing to me.

We have Snell generating 33.1 FanDuel points, the second-most.

Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks ($9,600)

If I make just one lineup, Gallen will be the dude in my pitcher slot.

The matchup is a great one against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh's active roster is 26th in wOBA (.293) versus righties with the 4th-highest strikeout rate (24.2%) in the split. The Pirates' 3.25 implied total is the night's lowest.

Gallen is typically a better real-life pitcher than DFS option due to a lack of strikeouts. He has just a 23.3% strikeout rate and 9.2% swinging-strike rate on the season. But his 3.74 SIERA is a quality mark, and Gallen has more strikeout upside than usual tonight due to the matchup.

If you prefer Snell or Bassitt, I get it. Bassitt's salary isn't that hard to get to, and Snell has a higher ceiling than Gallen does. I just love the matchup and think Gallen could be in for a spike game. We project him to total 29.5 FanDuel points.

Low-Salary Play/Tournament Option

Yusei Kikuchi, Blue Jays ($7,700)

The three aforementioned pitchers should account for a huge chunk of the draft percentage at pitcher tonight, so using anyone else will be contrarian.

Kikuchi is my favorite of the rest. I say that with almost no conviction, though, and he's definitely a few notches below those guys.

A matchup with the Baltimore Orioles is a big reason to be into Kikuchi. Against lefties, the Orioles' active roster is 26th in wOBA (.293) with the highest strikeout rate (26.0%). Kikuchi has the swing-and-miss juice to be able to capitalize, registering a 25.5% strikeout rate and 12.6% swinging-strike rate.

On the flip side, Kikuchi has struggled with walks (13.0% walk rate) and dingers (1.82 homer per nine), so he's got plenty of warts in his profile.

I don't think I'll go here much -- if at all -- but if you're desperate to either be different or save salary on the bump, Kikuchi isn't a terrible dart throw.

Quick Mound Visits:
Logan Gilbert ($9,500): Brutal matchup against the Yankees. Was blasted for three homers and six earned runs last week in the Bronx with a 2.2% swinging-strike rate in that game. I'll pass.
Alex Wood ($8,400): Owns a 26.0% strikeout rate across his last six starts. Padres aren't as lethal against lefties, but it's still a bad matchup.
Keegan Thompson ($8,000): Viable dart throw against a weakened Nats offense at a wind-blowing-in Wrigley. Possibly a better low-salary dart than Kikuchi is.