FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 8/29/22

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

Corbin Burnes, Brewers ($11,100)

Burnes is the night's best hurler, and he'll likely be super chalky in a matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, an offense that boasts a slate-low 2.87 implied total.

Despite Burnes being the chalk, it looks like a night to just suck it up and play him. He sports a 31.4% strikeout rate and offers sky-high upside against a Pirates offense that is 28th in wOBA (.278) over the last 30 days with the 5th-highest strikeout rate (24.9%) in that span.

We project Burnes for a slate-leading 43.9 FanDuel points, 6.4 more than anyone else.

Of course, you can find reasons to fade Burnes if you want to. He's faced Pittsburgh three times this season and posted a massive FanDuel score in only one of the outings, going for 22, 40 and 55 FanDuel points in the three starts. If Burnes is merely good and not great tonight, there are other guys on this slate who could match his output, and all of them except one come at a big salary discount.

But all in all, Burnes is by far the best on-paper option out there.

Tournament Options

Carlos Rodon, Giants ($11,000)

Rodon profiles as a sweet GPP target.

Salaried just $100 less than Burnes, Rodon won't see nearly as high of a draft percentage -- and he shouldn't given his difficult matchup with the San Diego Padres. But we know Rodon has as much upside as anyone if he's dialed in, and I like the thought of getting him at a low draft percentage.

Rodon's 32.1% strikeout rate leads the slate, and he's gone for at least 52 FanDuel points in three of his last five starts, with spike games of 58 and 61 points in that span. While Rodon has absolutely benefitted from a cake schedule of late, he torched the Padres for a 70 burger back on July 9th, so he can do it against top-shelf foes.

San Diego's 3.37 implied total is the second-lowest, so oddsmakers are into Rodon tonight.

We project the San Francisco Giants' left-hander for 37.5 FanDuel points, and he's an enticing pivot off the Burnes chalk.

Frankie Montas, Yankees ($9,100)

I think a majority of the people who fade Burnes will drop down to Montas, but Burnes' draft percentage should still dwarf Montas'.

Montas hasn't hit the ground running with the New York Yankees. But it's a small sample, and he has faced a really tough stretch of opponents, getting the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays.

Over a much larger sample with the Oakland Athletics, Montas spun his way to a 3.41 SIERA and 25.8% strikeout rate, and the Los Angeles Angels will be his easiest matchup yet since being dealt to the Bronx. The Halos' active roster is 22nd in wOBA (.309) this year with the highest strikeout rate (25.5%). LA's 3.50 implied total is the third-lowest of the night.

In a great matchup and getting a park-factor bump in Anaheim, Montas projects for 33.3 FanDuel points, per our model. The $2,000 salary drop from Burnes is awfully appealing, although we still rate Burnes as a better point-per-dollar play.

Low-Salary Play

Brayan Bello, Red Sox ($6,000)

If you're deviating from the three aforementioned pitchers, then you're willing to get a little weird. Why not get super weird?

Bello's 7.36 ERA is mostly due to bad luck. He isn't helping himself with an 11.1% walk rate through his first 22 MLB innings, but he checks some other boxes, posting a 3.76 SIERA and 67.6% ground-ball rate. He's been the victim of a comically high .472 BABIP. That just can't last.

For $6,000, you can get a pitcher due for some positive regression, and he's a guy who was electric at Triple-A, recording a 33.8% strikeout rate and 15.9% swinging-strike rate across 58 2/3 frames.

The Minnesota Twins are a stout offense, but they're just 18th in wOBA (.292) over the last 14 days.

While I don't know if I can stomach Bello, he's at least worth a little consideration at his clearance-rack salary.

Quick Mound Visits:
Jose Berrios ($8,500): Has gone for 34, 54, -9 and -1 FanDuel points over his last four, perfectly summarizing who he's been in 2022. Has the ability to go off against the Cubs if Good Berrios shows up. A fine pivot off Montas.
Ranger Suarez ($9,400): Another viable pivot off Montas. Better of late with a 24.2% strikeout rate and 3.34 xFIP across his past five starts. Diamondbacks have an attackable 3.70 implied total.