FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 8/31/22
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.
Kyle Wright, Braves
FanDuel Salary: $10,800
Amidst some July bumps, it's been nice to see the Braves' ace get back on track in August. He's posted a 2.98 xFIP with a 24.5% strikeout rate this month, and he just brutalized the lowly Pirates for seven innings of shutout ball while collecting eight punchies.
Of the top-shelf guys, Wright's matchup is by far the best. Using wRC+, which is adjusted for park factor given Colorado's home ballpark, the Rockies are baseball's worst offense against right-handed pitching (74). The low-whiff Rox are also striking out more recently (21.3% rate in August) than their season-long rate in the split.
With the salary it takes to roster deGrom in a tough matchup, and the always-volatile Gerrit Cole facing an improving Angels offense, it's more than viable to lock Wright into cash games in place of baseball's best pitcher.
At worst, he's a great alternative in tournaments.
Lance Lynn, White Sox
FanDuel Salary: $8,900
There are plenty of solid stacks with low salaries, so spending down at pitcher while rostering higher-salaried stacks will be contrarian from the jump.
Lance Lynn gives a great opportunity to do that. Admittedly, I was concerned about the right-hander when he first returned from injury, but the poor run to start his season appears to have been bad luck.
While his hard-hit rate allowed is still a bit worrisome (42.3%), the rest of Lynn's peripherals are sparkling. His 5.00 ERA is masking a solid 3.26 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), and his 25.7% strikeout rate can keep up with the flamethrowers on this slate.
Lynn's matchup against Kansas City isn't perfect, but the Royals are still pretty benign. Their 84 wRC+ in August against righties is a bottom-10 mark in MLB, and so is their 23.6% strikeout rate.
At home in Chicago, Lynn has a solid opportunity to begin the positive regression toward his peripherals with a shutdown outing.
Bailey Falter, Phillies
FanDuel Salary: $7,100
Admittedly, Bailey Falter's salary savings aren't really necessary. Coors Field isn't on this slate, and many of the top offenses are in tough matchups.
But if you want to stack Braves or Falter's Phillies, he can definitely help in a pristine matchup.
The Diamondbacks have struggled against lefties most of the season, and it's been no different in August. They hold a team .646 OPS against left-handed pitching for the month (fifth-worst in MLB) with an above-average 23.9% strikeout rate.
Arizona's platoon-heavy lineup also loses plenty of thump in this split. They hold just a .097 ISO this month against southpaws.
Falter has posted at least five punchouts in five of his last six, and a decent hard-hit rate allowed (38.7%) should keep this lackluster lineup in check.
He's got one of the higher floors on the slate and shouldn't carry much popularity.