FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 5/3/22

In daily fantasy baseball, success starts with nailing the starting pitcher spot in your lineup.

When compared to hitters, pitching performance tends to be much more predictable and stable throughout the course of the season. You know what you're getting from a top-level ace when you roster him: probably a dominant effort with only one or two implosions per season. In contrast, even the game's best hitters have days at the plate when they go 0-for-4.

As a result, lineup construction should begin with the starting pitcher. Which pitchers should you consider on today's main slate?

High-Salaried Play #1

Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers

vs. Cincinnati Reds
FanDuel Salary: $9,700

This Tuesday slate is loaded with some outstanding opportunities to consider.

Brandon Woodruff hasn't performed up to his usual standards, but his track record speaks for itself. Despite the high ERA, he's been solid this season with a 3.89 SIERA and 22.9% strikeout rate, and his 12.5% swinging-strike rate showcase that the whiffs may be coming soon. He also sports a 29.1% strikeout rate since the 2020 season began, so this could just be a slow start.

Now, let's talk about some other pitchers who have their warts. Carlos Rodon has been brilliant, but he faces a Los Angeles Dodgers offense that's quite scary. Alek Manoah, another option sure to be rostered by quite a few, has a New York Yankees team in homer-happy Rogers Centre. No thank you.

And Woodruff's matchup? Oh baby, it's tantalizing. There's a reason we project Woody for 35.5 FanDuel points today.

The Cincinnati Reds are one of the worst offensive attacks in terms of team wOBA (a league-worst .267) and an inflated 25.2% whiff rate.

All of this makes this Milwaukee Brewers stud a top-flight pick.

High-Salaried Play #2

Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins

at Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $10,200

Woodruff is likely to be a super popular play. And for very good reason. But if you have a little extra cash after building out your hitters and maybe want to differentiate yourself, peep Joe Ryan.

Let's start with the Baltimore Orioles' offense. This offseason, we heard a lot about the fences moving in left field, and wow, have they had an impact. So far, Camden Yards has gone from the league's easiest park to homer in to the league's hardest. Yowza.

But even if we don't account for the park, the Orioles have struggled in general at the plate this season. They sport a .281 wOBA (sixth-worst), .097 ISO (third-worst), and 25.7% strikeout rate. Check. Check. Check.

Now, let's get to Ryan, as the dude's been an underrated baller this season. Simply put, the young righty has been among the league's elite pitchers, recording a 30.1% strikeout rate and allowing only 0.78 HR/9.

Given all of these superlatives, Ryan makes for an outstanding play.

Value Play

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros

vs. Seattle Mariners
FanDuel Salary: $7,600

In the value range, there's a sleeping giant in Cristian Javier who definitely deserves some serious attention.

While he recently gained an official rotation spot, that's probably been long overdue. The righty sports a whopping 31.4% strikeout rate and a minuscule 5.9% walk rate in 13 1/3 innings pitched this season. Fold in his career 30.7% hard-hit rate, and hitters have a really hard time barreling him up.

Now, the Seattle Mariners, his divisional opponent tonight, have been solid at the plate with a .151 ISO and .322 wOBA. That could lead to a low roster percentage for Javier, but at this salary, he's a very good play.


Matt Kupferle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matt Kupferle also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username MKupferle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.