FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 9/12/22

When searching for tournament alternatives, Chris Bassitt makes a ton of sense as a heavy home favorite. Which arms should you consider rostering on Monday?

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

Spencer Strider, Braves ($10,400)

There's zero doubt as to who Monday's top arm is.

The only hurler in baseball with a claim to pitching at its top level besides Jacob deGrom is this mustachioed, wide-legged monster in Atlanta.

Since the trade deadline, Strider has spun a 1.80 xFIP and posted an astronomical 40.1% strikeout rate. He's really limited hard contact in that span (27.8% hard-hit rate allowed), which is an improvement from what plagued him earlier in the season.

Strider also draws the Giants on this slate, and they're arguably the best matchup for a righty on it. In that same post-deadline timeframe, S.F. has just a 90 wRC+ against righties, and they've struck out 24.2% of the time (sixth-highest in MLB). This ambient temperature for this game will also be in the 50s at first pitch, so the cool weather is a huge bump to its arms on both sides.

Even in a negative matchup, Strider would be on the menu for a full slate. Considering the smaller slate and positive outlook, he's the clear top dog for cash games.

Tournament Options

Chris Bassitt, Mets ($10,000)

As can happen in any one-game baseball sample, Strider could get blown up despite the pristine matchup. Thankfully, there are a couple of places to pivot in tournaments.

Chris Bassitt doesn't have near the strikeout juice Strider does. He's got just a 19.0% punchout rate in this same post-deadline time frame. While he did collect 10 punchies against the lowly Pirates, he also only struck out 1 batter against Colorado three starts ago. The strikeout volume isn't nearly as consistent for him.

Still, he profiles to be in a good spot at Citi Field tonight. The visiting Cubs have a similarly-low wRC+ (94) as the Giants, and their strikeout rate (23.9%) is just a touch lower than San Francisco's.

The Mets' offense is also in a much better spot to score than the Braves, boasting a 5.19 implied team total. The visitors are coming back at just 2.89, which definitely vaults Bassitt into the mix on Monday's slate so long as the rain stays away.

Tyler Anderson, Dodgers ($9,500)

I'm forgoing the slate's top-salaried pitcher in favor of Anderson because the Arizona Diamondbacks are to left-handers what the Detroit Tigers are to righties.

Arizona has struggled to hit southpaws all year, and it hasn't gotten any better since parting with a couple of sticks at the deadline. Since then, they've got an ugly team .603 OPS against lefties, and it's come with a minuscule .113 ISO. Outside of Christian Walker, there just aren't a lot of fear-imposing hitters in the lineup.

The D-Backs have also started to whiff a lot. They've got a 25.0% strikeout rate against lefties in this time, which is something Anderson definitely will need help with compared to his peers. Anderson has just a 19.0% strikeout rate himself.

Anderson is right in line with Framber Valdez as a low strikeout pitcher, but Valdez's salary is much higher. Rostering the Dodgers' lefty would be a play on Strider's potential misfortune combined with a higher-salaried stack that won't get much attention.

Low-Salary Play

Mike Minor, Reds ($7,600)

Without a high-salaried stack in a smash spot, it feels unnecessary to go into the bargain bin, but you potentially can -- if you're daring.

Minor's 2022 hasn't been good. His 5.70 ERA oversells his struggle just a bit. After all, he's got a 4.79 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) that's much more manageable. However, with an 8.2% swinging-strike rate, he's not the type of pitcher who profiles to secure enough whiffs to be viable in daily fantasy.

However, this is all about his opponent. The Pirates stink in both platoons, but due to their ineptitude against lefties, we've even seen Patrick Corbin make a perfect lineup against them. Since the trade deadline, they've got just an 82 wRC+ versus lefties, and it's come with an unsightly 27.0% strikeout rate.

If none of the top arms -- for whatever reason -- tickle your fancy, Minor is an option in a good matchup who virtually no one will rush to roster.

Quick Mound Visits

Framber Valdez, Astros ($11,000): His salary above Strider is the biggest knock. It's due to a ceiling game (11 strikeouts) versus Texas. Still, just a 23.1% strikeout rate overall, and the Tigers haven't been pushovers against lefties since the deadline (96 wRC+).

Alex Cobb, Giants ($9,000): The ballpark conditions are the same supreme ones Strider will enjoy, but it's just a brutal matchup with the Braves. Still holds a 24.0% strikeout rate and sparkling SIERA (3.20) in those great conditions. Could be a very sneaky spot to be different.