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.
Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants
At New York Mets
FanDuel Salary: $10,800
The lefty has been lights out.
According to FanGraphs, in two starts totaling 12 innings, Rodon has had a 1.50 ERA, 1.71 expected ERA (xERA), 1.59 Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA), 0.75 WHIP, 46.7 percent strikeout rate, and 35.2 called strike plus whiff rate (CSW). In addition, according to ESPN, in his first start, he generated 24 swinging strikes on 89 pitches before recording nine on 90 pitches in his second turn. Thus, Rodon is missing bats at a high clip and is stretched out to at least 90 pitches.
The New York Mets are a challenging matchup for southpaws. However, according to their numbers against lefties since 2019, their power has been lackluster. As a result, I love Rodon in this matchup. He's my favorite pitcher across all game types on FanDuel tonight, and his projection of 36.5 FanDuel points is 4.3 higher than anyone else's.
Luis Severino, New York Yankees
At Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $9,000
One of the enjoyable stories from early in the 2022 season is Luis Severino resembling his pre-injury form. The hard-throwing righty has resembled an ace for the New York Yankees. According to FanGraphs, he has averaged 97.7 MPH with his heater, backing it with a relatively new cutter, a slider, and a changeup.
Severino's high-octane arsenal has helped him spin a 2.25 ERA, 2.87 xERA, 2.49 SIERA, and 31.4 percent strikeout rate. Further, Severino's exquisitely limited hard contact while coaxing grounders at a 52.4 percent clip. Also, Severino should be almost completely stretched out after throwing 83 pitches in his previous start.
A matchup with the Detroit Tigers is an excellent one, and the betting lines are fantasy-friendly. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Yankees are -176 on the moneyline, and the game's total is 7.5 runs. I prefer Rodon in cash games. However, Severino has a compelling case, as well, and he's a great GPP pick.
GPP Dart Throw
Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs
Vs. Tampa Bay Rays
FanDuel Salary: $7,200
The year hasn't gone as smoothly for Marcus Stroman as the two previously discussed hurlers. But, of course, when one of your two starts has been at hitter-friendly Coors Field, a dud on the ledger can be forgiven. The one positive that can be gleaned from his start in Colorado was that he threw 80 pitches, setting him up for 90-plus pitches tonight if he throws the ball well.
Last season, Stroman was rock-solid for the New York Mets, earning a 3.02 ERA, 4.30 xERA, and 3.95 SIERA. The veteran righty kept the ball on the ground at a high rate (50.8 percent), which has been par for the course for his career. However, he also set a new career-high with an 11.6 percent swinging-strike rate. As a result, Stroman struck out a career-high 21.6 percent of the batters he faced. Since the year is still young, I'm leaning heavily into Stroman's 2021 statistics.
Facing the Tampa Bay Rays is a plus, as well. This year, the Rays have struck out at the fifth-highest rate (26.1 percent) against right-handed pitchers. Thus, Stroman has the upside to significantly outperform this low salary.
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.