A full Friday night slate awaits us, with 11 games comprising the FanDuel main slate. That gives us plenty to choose from for our pitchers and stacks, and best of all, the weather shouldn't be an issue anywhere tonight.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Carlos Rodon ($10,100): Rodon was one of the biggest surprises of 2021, putting together a pristine 2.96 SIERA, 34.6% strikeout rate, and 6.7% walk rate across 24 starts.
He wasted no time picking up where he left off in his first outing as a Giant last week. The southpaw racked up 12 strikeouts over five innings against the Marlins, a promising sign that last year's elite strikeout rate wasn't a fluke.
Rodon also logged 89 pitches, so the oft-injured hurler shouldn't have any workload restrictions to worry about tonight, as well.
Dylan Cease ($9,700) and Freddy Peralta ($9,900): Rodon may be the top option, but there's plenty of upside between Cease and Peralta, who both cracked a 30% strikeout rate in 2021, too. The difference is that Cease and Peralta also struggle with walks sometimes, as both were also just under a 10% walk rate last season.
We shouldn't hesitate to roster either one, but if we're looking strictly at upside, Cease arguably gets the slight edge despite a risky matchup against Tampa Bay. That's because while the Cardinals, Peralta's opponent, don't whiff much, the Rays' active roster ranked just 21st in strikeout rate last year (23.7%).
Cease also had the more promising 2022 debut, as well, striking out eight Tigers over five innings while allowing just one earned run, though he also issued three free passes. On the other hand, Peralta was more shaky, giving up three earned runs in four innings while posting four walks and six punchouts.
Cease threw 79 pitches and Peralta logged 88, so they should also have fairly high pitch counts tonight.
In terms of implied totals, both Tampa Bay (3.81) and St. Louis (3.87) are towards the bottom of the list. If you're pivoting away from Rodon, these guys should be your first choices.
Kyle Wright ($8,000): If you sort today's starting pitchers by FanDuel score, you predictably see Rodon and Cease rank first and third after logging 12 and 8 strikeouts, respectively, in their opening starts.
The guy in second? It's Wright, who tosses six scoreless innings with six punchouts and one walk in a win over Cincinnati, good for a cool 46 FanDuel points.
It's easy to write off, uh, Wright if you look at his lousy and sporadic MLB track record, which is awful in just about every relevant metric. Across 76 career innings, he's only managed a 5.63 SIERA, 18.8% strikeout rate, and 14.2% walk rate. Ugly.
However, we're talking about a former top prospect who's still just 26 years old, and he may be finally figuring things out after drastically altering his pitch mix last week.
Specifically, Wright utilized his curveball roughly 40% of the time -- well above what he's done throughout his young career -- while mostly ditching his slider. The result was an impressive 35.5% called-plus-swinging-strike (CWS) rate and control we've rarely seen from him.
We'll see if he can maintain the success we saw in that first start, and given his history, that definitely isn't a sure thing. But, on a slate lacking many obvious value alternatives, it can't hurt to take a shot at buying in early and seeing what Wright can do against the Padres on Friday.
New York Yankees: With 11 games on tap tonight, it's no surprise to see quite a few high implied totals, including the Cubs and Rockies at Coors Field. While Coors is a threat to break a slate on any given night, both teams are rolling out solid starters in Marcus Stroman and German Marquez, so offense may be more muted than usual.
A more inviting alternative could be out in Camden Yards, where we find the Bronx Bombers taking on Jordan Lyles, a familiar hurler for MLB DFS veterans.
Lyles has been a guy to stack against for years, and 2021 was no different, as he owned a 4.70 xFIP and 19.0% strikeout rate while giving up a whopping 1.90 dingers per nine innings.
The number of homers a pitcher allows can sometimes be attributed to good or bad luck, but Lyles has consistently held a low ground-ball rate and coughed up round-trippers season after season. Dating back to 2019, he's given up 1.80 per nine innings and recorded a 39.0% ground-ball rate.
All of this is to say that we should be very into stacking the Yankees, and they're sporting a desirable 5.17 implied total.
Note that Camden Yards isn't expected to be the hitters' haven it used to be, but that shouldn't deter us from rostering power bats like Aaron Judge ($3,900) and Giancarlo Stanton ($3,700), and Josh Donaldson ($3,100) is a nice value out of the leadoff slot.
In 2021, Gutierrez was dreadful at getting left-handed batters out, posting a 6.04 xFIP, 13.7% strikeout rate, and 11.2% walk rate. Between that low strikeout rate and a 44.9% fly-ball rate, he also gave up 2.15 home runs per nine innings in the split.
It's not like Gutierrez was lights out versus righties, either, recording just a 21.6% strikeout rate. The lefties are the priority, but this is another night where you can pretty much stack any part of this lineup.
Houston Astros: Outside of the previous two stacks and Coors Field, the Blue Jays are the other clear top stack against Daulton Jefferies. Toronto has a 5.38 implied total, and while Jefferies has some prospect pedigree, he only notched two strikeouts over five innings in his first start while showing a meh 6.3% swinging-strike rate.
But if we're trying to move away from the chalk, the Giants and Astros are two possibilities.
San Francisco's 4.29 implied total doesn't jump off the page, but they probably aren't getting enough credit against Zach Plesac, who was thoroughly mediocre last season with a 4.73 SIERA and 16.7% strikeout rate.
As for Houston, they're facing Marco Gonzales in Seattle, and despite being one the league's best offenses in a plus matchup, a 4.28 implied total may keep the masses away.
Although Gonzales maintained a sub-4.00 ERA in 2021, a 4.94 SIERA and 18.5% strikeout rate told a different story. The southpaw is also a fly-ball pitcher, and while he's typically kept the home run ball in check, a career-high 47.9% fly-ball rate contributed to 1.82 dingers per nine innings last year, as well.
Gonzales struggled in his first 2022 outing, allowing three bombs in just two innings of work, so perhaps his longball issues will carry over into this season.