FanDuel Pitching Primer: Friday 9/16/22

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.

High-Salaried Play

Blake Snell, San Diego Padres

At Arizona Diamondbacks
FanDuel Salary: $10,100

According to FanGraphs, Blake Snell has had a 14.6 percent walk rate on the road in 2022. So, no one will say he's been flawless in road games. Still, Snell has navigated his free passes with a superb 32.7 percent strikeout rate, producing a 3.38 ERA and 3.68 xFIP in 40 innings.

As a result, Snell's a high-upside selection tonight. Fortunately, his floor is elevated against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona is tied for 25th in wRC+ (87) against lefties this season. So, they're a good matchup.

Finally, the betting info is encouraging. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the San Diego Padres are -174. Snell is my preferred pitcher selection across game types tonight.

Mid-Salaried Play

Corey Kluber, Tampa Bay Rays

Vs. Texas Rangers
FanDuel Salary: $8,700

Some exciting stacks tonight will command a significant percentage of cap space. Fortunately, Corey Kluber is an option for hitter-centric lineups. Unfortunately, he's had a disastrous 5.59 ERA in the second half. Still, the veteran righty's 3.83 xFIP hasn't been nearly as bad as his actual results.

Further, he's an exciting pick in his home digs tonight. Kluber has excelled at Tropicana Field in 2022. In 74 and 2/3 innings, he's had a 3.74 ERA, 3.68 xFIP, 1.06 WHIP, and 23.0 percent strikeout rate.

One of Kluber's trends has to give. However, since Kluber's had better ERA estimators than his actual ERA in the second half, it makes sense to lean into his home splits and expect regression from his ugly second-half ERA. Further, the Texas Rangers can help. They're tied for 21st in wRC+ (95) against righties. Moreover, have the fifth-highest strikeout rate (23.9 percent) against them.

Thus, Kluber is an exciting alternative to Snell in tournaments. However, he's also not an outrageous choice in cash games. Still, I'd prefer Snell in cash contests.

GPP Dart

Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

At Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $9,000

Lucas Giolito's 5.18 ERA is a red flag for FanDuel usage. However, his 3.65 xFIP isn't offputting. Additionally, Giolito has had a 25.6 percent strikeout rate in 26 starts spanning 139 innings. So, it hasn't been all bad.

Further, Giolito has had drastic home and road splits that have favored pitching on the road. In 75 innings on the road this season, Giolito has had a palatable 3.96 ERA, 3.71 xFIP, and 25.7 percent strikeout rate. Fortunately for him, he's facing a dreadful offense on the road tonight.

The Detroit Tigers are in the basement in wRC+ (72) against right-handed pitchers this season. Moreover, they've had the third-highest strikeout rate (25.2 percent) against righties. As a result, Giolito fits the bill as an upside GPP selection. Finally, the Chicago White Sox are -152, bolstering the appeal of rolling the dice on Giolito.

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.