FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Thursday 5/11/23

Nathan Eovaldi comes at a high salary tonight, but he's well worth it on a small main slate. Which other players and matchups stand out?

With Thursday being a travel day for a good chunk of the league and half of today's game taking place during the day, we're left with a three-game main slate tonight.

Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!

Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.

Pitching Breakdown

We have slim pickings at pitcher tonight, which isn't terribly surprising on such a small slate. But the best combination of talent and matchup is quite clearly Nathan Eovaldi ($11,000) against the Athletics.

Eovaldi doesn't have an elite strikeout rate, but his 24.9% clip is still one of the better marks on the board, and just about everything else in his profile shines, as the right-hander has strong marks in SIERA (3.39), walk rate (4.0%), and ground-ball rate (50.8%). The Rangers have allowed him to go 113 and 107 pitches in his last two outings, and he's rewarded them with 17 scoreless innings over that span, resulting in 61 and 49 FanDuel points.

And then there's the A's. Oakland's active roster has gotten up to a respectable 102 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching, but they remain a high-upside matchup due to a 24.7% strikeout rate. This game also has the coolest temperatures of the night (59 degrees), so Eovaldi should have an easier time keeping the ball in the park.

On other slates, paying this steep salary for Eovaldi would potentially be a pass, but he's definitely worth it tonight.

Drew Rasmussen ($10,300) is the one other pitcher with a five-figure salary, and he's a suitable consolation prize in non-Eovaldi lineups. In fact, Rasmussen's numbers compare quite favorably with Eovaldi's, as he comes in with a 3.61 SIERA, 26.0% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate, and 51.0% ground-ball rate.

The difference is he has a tougher spot against a Yankees team that's much more imposing with Aaron Judge back, and he will be facing New York for the second straight start, as well. Rasmussen also tends to have pitch counts that can vary wildly from start to start, and he's failed to go six full innings in each of his last five appearances.

The Yankees' active roster has an upside-sapping 20.9% strikeout rate versus right-handers this season, so between that and the uncertain workload, Rasmussen will have a tougher time coming through with a ceiling game. But in the context of this slate, he's still one of the better arms available to us.

Alex Cobb ($8,700) and Domingo German ($8,000) give us a pair of value options to consider, though they come with much more risk.

Cobb tends to be more of a secondary option in DFS due to a modest 22.6% strikeout rate, but his 63.1% ground-ball rate and 3.6% walk rate are elite, helping him to a pristine 3.07 SIERA. While he won't wow us with high punchout totals very often, he can accumulate points by pitching deep into games, logging seven or more innings in three of his seven starts, one of which was a complete-game shutout.

However, this is a tough matchup against a Diamondbacks offense that's put up a 118 wRC+ and 18.9% strikeout rate versus righties, and that's reflected by their 4.41 implied team total.

Of course, it's not like German has an easy matchup, either, as he's up against the Rays (4.32 implied team total), who have been one of the best overall offenses this year. The Yankees righty also hasn't exceeded 91 pitches in any of his seven starts.

Still, German has a slate-high 28.2% strikeout rate, so there's upside here if he happens to catch Tampa Bay on an off night.

Hitting Breakdown

As of this morning, it was unclear which pitcher would start for the A's tonight, but it's reportedly Zach Neal who will get the call tonight.

Neal last pitched in the Majors back in 2018, and his Triple-A numbers haven't been anything special this season, posting a 5.77 xFIP, 21.6% strikeout rate, and 9.8% walk rate over 11 1/3 innings. He had a disastrous Triple-A campaign in 2022, as well, which included allowing 2.16 home runs per 9 innings.

Even with the "TBD," the opposing Texas Rangers were already getting credited with a 5.02 implied team total, and it wouldn't be shocking to see that run even higher now. And, on top of the weak starter, Oakland's active bullpen has a league-worst 5.75 xFIP.

Most of Texas' top bats are at lofty salaries between Marcus Semien ($4,000), Adolis Garcia ($3,900), Josh Jung ($3,700), and Jonah Heim ($3,700). The latter three all have an ISO above .220 this season, while Semien has solid power (six home runs) and speed upside (five stolen bases) out of the leadoff slot.

Nathaniel Lowe ($3,100) is one of the better values as a solid all-around hitter out of the number-three spot, and while Robbie Grossman ($2,900) isn't particularly exciting on his own, he can provide some salary relief out of the two-hole.

The San Francisco Giants are the other obvious stack, checking in with a 5.09 implied team total against left-hander Tommy Henry. Henry has been dreadful over three starts, producing a 6.28 SIERA, 10.4% strikeout rate, and 10.4% walk rate, and it wasn't like he was very good in nine starts last season (4.93 SIERA), either.

The Giants are always tough to stack due to their tendency to play matchups with pinch-hitters, and that's especially the case when a southpaw starts.

But that's a risk we'll have to take on Thursday, and at least most of their salaries are on the lower side. Thairo Estrada ($3,400), J.D. Davis ($3,100), and Mitch Haniger ($3,000) tend to play every day, so they should be fairly safe plays, while Wilmer Flores ($2,800) and David Villar ($2,600) are riskier but bring enough power to the table to take some shots at.

After those two stacks, the remaining four teams are a bit of a muddled mess against four quality pitchers, but out of that group, the Tampa Bay Rays have to be the next-best choice, if only because of how well they've performed this year.

Domingo German gives up his share of home runs (1.60 per 9 innings in 2023) and has typically been worse facing lefties over his career, so Wander Franco ($3,700) is easy to like as a one-off, and Brandon Lowe ($3,200) and Luke Raley ($3,200) bring plenty of pop to the table, as well.