A dramatic dip in offense has been the ongoing theme of 2022, but Coors Field could give things a boost on Tuesday. Another deep pitching slate also awaits us, as well, leaving us with quite a few ways to go in tournaments.
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Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Joe Ryan ($10,200): Ryan now has nine starts dating back to last season, and he's done nothing but impress, logging a fantastic 3.18 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 6.0% walk rate.
This is a plus draw versus the woeful Orioles, a team that's expected to do very little at the plate tonight (3.16 implied total). Baltimore's active roster is 24th in wRC+ (86) and 29th in strikeout rate (25.1%).
While Ryan's sky-high 53.1% fly-ball rate might get him into trouble against some teams, between the so-called deadened ball and Camden Yards likely no longer being an elite hitters' park, the Orioles have a horrific .100 ISO to begin the year.
Between the matchup and Ryan looking like a rising star, there's a strong case for making him your top option tonight.
At this salary range, don't forget about Carlos Rodon ($11,100) as a GPP play, as well. The lefty gets a difficult matchup against the Dodgers, but he's still carrying a ridiculous 43.2% strikeout rate and hasn't dropped below 45 FanDuel points in any of his four starts.
Brandon Woodruff ($9,700): Woodruff had a rocky April, but a 3.89 SIERA shows he probably deserved far better than his 5.30 ERA. He's curiously only produced a 22.9% strikeout rate, though, and his walks are also up at 9.6%. However, I'm not about to jump ship on a guy with a career 28.0% strikeout rate and 6.6% walk rate, and this year's 12.5% swinging-strike rate isn't far off last year's mark.
In addition to Woodruff's pristine track record, he's up against a Cincinnati team that's riding the struggle bus in the worst way. Incredibly, the Reds have gone 3-19 to this point, and their active roster sits 30th in wRC+ (73) and 22nd in strikeout rate (24.4%). With just one win in their last 18 games, it isn't shocking to see Cincinnati with a slate-low 2.87 implied total.
Despite underwhelming overall results, Woodruff still has a 55-point FanDuel performance on the ledger this season, and that's the type of ceiling we could be looking at tonight.
Michael Kopech ($9,200): Despite good results, Kopech's underlying numbers are a mixed bag thus far, as he's got a 24.7% strikeout rate but a 12.3% walk rate. While the control issues are an obvious concern, the former top prospect showed promise as a multi-inning reliever in 2021, and most pre-season projections saw him flirting with a strikeout rate of around 30%.
He also got up to 94 pitches in his last start, so workload shouldn't be an issue moving forward, hopefully putting him in play for the quality start bonus.
If the young righty can keep the free passes down, this is an ideal game environment for him versus the Cubs. While Chicago has actually performed well at the plate this season, offense will be hard to come by at Wrigley tonight due to temperatures in the 40s and 21 mph winds blowing in from left field.
Kopech has allowed a 60.0% fly-ball rate in 2022 and has a career 46.9% fly-ball rate, which lines him up perfectly to take advantage of these conditions. Oddsmakers are in agreement; the Cubs have a 3.07 implied total.
If you're looking to roll the dice on some value plays to fit in the high-salaried Coors bats, then Cristian Javier ($7,600) and Tyler Mahle ($7,500) may fit the bill. It's difficult to predict what we'll get from either one -- Javier is making his second 2022 start and Mahle issues too many walks -- but both have strikeout upside.
The biggest decision you'll have to make on this slate is how to handle Coors Field. With hitting down across the board in 2022, the Colorado Rockies' 5.60 implied total is a massive deviation from what we've been seeing lately, and there's no doubt that they will be a popular stack against Erick Fedde.
Fedde has a poor 6.00 ERA over four outings, and given his 5.29 career ERA, that probably doesn't come as a surprise. And yet, he actually has a 3.80 SIERA this year, and he showed some signs of progress in his 2021 metrics despite otherwise negative results.
Perhaps that means Fedde won't be a total cakewalk for the Rockies -- but there certainly isn't enough to make us stay away.
While Fedde's up to a 23.5% strikeout rate, he's owned a below-average strikeout rate throughout his career, and a 7.9% swinging-strike rate doesn't hold up under scrutiny. A 9.9% walk rate and 38.9% ground-ball rate won't do him any favors in Coors, either.
But if we're going to eat the chalk, we're going to also have to eat up a ton of cap space. Rostering the top half of this lineup will cost us an arm and a leg, with Connor Joe ($3,900), Charlie Blackmon ($3,800), Randal Grichuk ($3,800), C.J. Cron ($4,000), and Ryan McMahon ($3,800) all way up there in salary.
These guys are still the priorities, but grabbing four will likely mean paying down at pitcher.
Rodgers has struggled this year, but he returned from the injured list with a bang yesterday, so perhaps he's ready to look more like the player who produced a .186 ISO in 2021. And while Hilliard has also done little at the plate, he owned a 15.0% barrel rate last year and can also chip in with stolen bases.
Fedde only had a 19.5% strikeout rate versus lefties in 2021, so Blackmon, McMahon, and Hilliard get a boost in this spot.
The Washington Nationals are the other Coors team, and while they're obviously viable, German Marquez is that one Colorado pitcher who can be a nuisance for stacks. However, his strikeout rate has dipped to 14.7%, so he may not be as much of a headache this year.
It's still not completely ideal against a guy who doesn't allow many fly balls (24.7%), but Marquez has been less effective versus lefties over his career, so at the very least, get superstarJuan Soto ($4,100) in some lineups.
Los Angeles Angels
Among active rosters, the Los Angeles Angels rank first in wRC+ (126) this season. They're also one of the few teams actually hitting for power, owning the third-best team ISO (.179).
That's bad news for Michael Wacha, who's enjoyed good results but is otherwise showing pedestrian numbers. A 21.3% strikeout rate, 11.3% walk rate, and 42.6% ground-ball rate isn't scaring anyone, and he's been crushed by the home run ball in each of the previous three seasons, including 1.66 per nine innings in 2021.
Although leadoff man Taylor Ward ($3,800)is getting up there in salary, it's hard to argue with it when he's putting up a .356 ISO while most other hitters are flailing about. The power has been backed up by a 15.6% barrel rate, too.
Otherwise, Anthony Rendon ($3,500) is showing solid peripherals despite not hitting for average, and Brandon Marsh ($3,000), Jared Walsh ($3,100), and Max Stassi ($2,700) can all provide some pop at value salaries.
The Astros' active roster has only put up a 101 wRC+ to this point, which is pretty underwhelming for a team that was formidable at the dish last season. But this is a talented lineup that figures to improve over the long haul.
A matchup against Chris Flexen can't hurt. Flexen isn't getting many strikeouts (15.6%) or ground balls (39.7%), and that was the case in 2021, as well. He's limited home runs dating back to last season, but it's fair to wonder if he can keep that up if he's allowing so much contract through the air.
With unremarkable numbers in his splits against both lefties and righties, we can pretty freely pick and choose our Houston sticks.
Yordan Alvarez ($4,200) is still crushing it with seven dingers off a 17.0% barrel rate, and Alex Bregman ($3,900) and Kyle Tucker ($3,500) are among the Astros who have been solid at the plate. Chas McCormick ($2,900) and Jeremy Pena ($2,900) are lower-order bats but have performed above average in wRC+.
Jose Altuve ($3,000), Michael Brantley ($2,800), andYuli Gurriel ($2,900) are less exciting pieces in terms of power, but they remain in the mix for stacks as the projected one, two, and five hitters.