FanDuel Pitching Primer: Wednesday 9/14/22
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.
Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins
Vs. Kansas City Royals
FanDuel Salary: $8,700
Sonny Gray has thrived at home this season. According to FanGraphs, in 60 and 2/3 innings at Target Field this season, Gray has pitched to a 2.97 ERA, 3.57 xFIP, and 1.20 WHIP. On top of that, Gray has struck out an eye-popping 27.7 percent of opposing hitters in his home digs.
Gray will also benefit from a cupcake matchup against the Kansas City Royals. Kansas City has the sixth-lowest wRC+ (89) against right-handed pitchers this season. They're also stumbling to the finish line. Since the MLB trade deadline on August 2, they've been 20th in wRC+ (91). The Royals have also struck out at an exploitable 23.1 percent rate since the deadline.
Kansas City is a high-ceiling matchup for Gray, and the betting info is beautiful. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Minnesota Twins are -200 to win, and the game's total is a pitcher-friendly 7.5 runs. KC's 3.17 implied total is the slate's lowest (as of early Wednesday).
Gray is my favorite choice in cash games and tournaments tonight.
GPP Dart 1
Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers
Vs. Oakland Athletics
FanDuel Salary: $8,000
Dane Dunning has mediocre numbers this year. Yet, he's cranked it up at home. In 78 innings in his home stadium this season, he's had a 3.35 ERA, 3.74 xFIP, 1.22 WHIP, and 22.5 percent strikeout rate. Sure, those aren't exciting numbers, but they're rock-solid. And the rest of his profile tonight is dreamy.
First, the Oakland Athletics are 27th in wRC+ (83) against righties with a juicy 23.7 percent strikeout rate. Second, the Texas Rangers are -162 to win, and the game's total is a non-terrifying 8.0 runs.
Finally, Dunning was sharp in a recent start against Oakland in Texas, holding them to two runs in six innings on August 18. So, while Dunning isn't a flawless pitcher, he's an intriguing GPP dart, and his salary will allow you to build hitter-centric lineups.
GPP Dart 2
Ross Stripling, Toronto Blue Jays
Vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Salary: $7,300
Ross Stripling is a third pitcher with a cap-friendly salary and a compelling case for usage. In fact, he has the lowest salary of the three highlighted hurlers.
He's been superb of late. In seven starts (38 and 2/3 innings) in the second half, Stripling has spun a sparkling 3.03 ERA, 3.40 xFIP, 0.88 WHIP, 3.3 percent walk rate, and 24.7 percent strikeout rate. He's riding a five-game quality-start streak entering tonight.
Sadly, the Tampa Bay Rays aren't a pushover for Stripling. The Rays are 11th in wRC+ (103) against righties. However, they've struck out at an eye-catching rate which boosts Stripling's ceiling. Specifically, the Rays have the fifth-highest strikeout rate (24.0 percent) against right-handed pitchers in 2022.
Tampa is a GPP-friendly matchup, cementing Stripling's case for casting a dart in his direction in GPPs.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.