FanDuel Pitching Primer: Monday 9/26/22
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
Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays ($10,200)
Unfortunately, this spot isn't hard to arrive at on Monday. We may just need to swallow the chalk at pitcher and work from there.
Gausman has posted at least six strikeouts in his last seven outings, and no other probable pitcher has posted that mark twice in September. He's got raw upside that the other options on this slate aren't likely to match.
While the Yanks have regained their form quite a bit, they're still not a top-shelf offense to worry about. They've posted a solid 107 wRC+ against righties since August 15th, striking out 23.2% of the time against them, as well.
Could Gausman get blown up by a quality New York lineup and potentially end up on the wrong end of Judge's 61st homer? Absolutely. However, he is also -- by a good margin -- its likeliest candidate to post double-digit strikeouts.
Bryce Elder, Braves ($8,900)
Elder is the lone viable alternative to Gausman. The rest are a bit of a prayer that these two get blown up by the decent offenses they're facing.
Surprisingly, that word "decent" does apply to the Washington Nationals. Over the last 30 days, their .749 team OPS against righties is the sixth-best mark in baseball, and they've only struck out 19.8% of the time. Despite their lack of star power, they're one of the toughest matchups in baseball for a righty.
Elder's last start -- and his first in place of the injured Spencer Strider -- was his third straight with at least six strikeouts. His season-long strikeout rate (20.8%) doesn't boast a large amount of confidence in his ability to generate whiffs, but he's made it work to some success.
Roansy Contreras, Pirates ($8,200)
On today's Solo Shot podcast, I force-ranked Contreras above Elder, and I'd stand by that based on the matchups here.
At home, Roansy will draw the Reds, who have been a very different offense than Washington versus righties despite both teams tearing down their rosters in July.
Cincinnati's team .644 OPS against right-handers is the third-worst mark in baseball compared to the Nationals. They've also struck out against righties at a much higher rate (22.4%).
Contreras has excelled throughout September, posting a 2.76 FIP and 21.8% strikeout rate himself. Considering he's met the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Cardinals in that time, his marks become even more impressive.
When I pivot off of Gausman, it'll be to Contreras before Elder in tournaments. After all, the Pirates' hurler has a lower salary to help squeeze in the potent Atlanta bats supporting Elder.
Quick Mound Visits
Luis Severino, Yankees ($9,700): His first start off of the IL was overall a successful one, but he threw just 64 pitches. He also collected only one strikeout. We know the talent at play with the Yanks' righty, but they don't have a reason to push him beyond 80 pitches tonight. In a more fruitful matchup, I might still go here despite the pitch-count concerns, but the Jays are one of the toughest in all of baseball.
Jordan Lyles, Orioles ($8,500): Lyles' sparkling 3.66 FIP at Camden Yards turns into an ugly 5.06 FIP on the road. Considering the lofty, 9.5-run total at Fenway today where the Red Sox are favored, he's far more likely to get shelled than spin a gem to end up in the perfect lineup. Contreras and Elder are better options in this same salary range.