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.
Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins
Vs. Detroit Tigers
FanDuel Salary: $9,200
Minor-league success doesn't always beget big-league production. Moreover, prospects often endure a hiccup in the first opportunity in the Majors. Thankfully, Joe Ryan has essentially brought his excellence up the professional ladder to The Show.
According to FanGraphs, in eight starts totaling 42 2/3 innings since his debut last year, Ryan has had a 3.16 ERA, 3.85 Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), 3.47 Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA), 0.82 WHIP, 28.8 percent strikeout rate, and 30.5 Called-Strike-Plus-Whiff Rate (CSW). The 25-year-old righty has a desirable matchup against the Detroit Tigers tonight.
Detroit is tied for 20th in Weighted Runs Created Plus (85 wRC+) against righties this year. So, understandably, FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Minnesota Twins as -180 favorites. Additionally, the game's over/under is a pitcher-friendly seven runs. So, sign me up for Ryan as my favorite pitching option across all game types.
Pablo Lopez, Miami Marlins
At Washington Nationals
FanDuel Salary: $10,400
If you're entering multiple lineups in GPPs tonight, Pablo Lopez is an outstanding pivot from Ryan. But you'll obviously need to commit an additional $1,200 in salary to Lopez to use him.
Coincidentally, Lopez's opponent, the Washington Nationals, has had an identical 85 wRC+ against righties to Ryan's opponent, the Tigers. So, they literally have equally appealing matchups.
Further, the betting info is almost a wash, as well. The Miami Marlins are -146 favorites, and the game's over/under is seven runs. Beyond the opposition, Lopez has merit for usage thanks to his early-season dominance. In three starts totaling 17 1/3 innings, he's had a 0.52 ERA, 2.70 Expected ERA (xERA), 2.67 xFIP, 2.81 SIERA, 0.75 WHIP, 26.6 percent strikeout rate, and 35.0 percent CSW.
Lopez has been on fire to start the year, and the Nationals are unlikely to be the wet blanket that puts his heater out. Finally, the Marlins are one of my favorite stacks tonight, so I like Lopez's odds of earning the win, suffice to say.
Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees
Vs. Baltimore Orioles
FanDuel Salary: $7,800
I'm delighted to report there's a rock-solid pitching option for gamers who want to overload their lineup with stud hitters. Jordan Montgomery is an excellent GPP dart for hitter-happy lineup builds.
According to ESPN, Montgomery was stretched out to a season-high 86 pitches in his most recent start. Therefore, he's ready for a complete workload.
Most importantly, Montgomery has allowed only one run on six hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts in his previous two starts spanning 11 innings. One of those two starts was a five-inning scoreless gem against tonight's opponent, the Baltimore Orioles.
The O's have been horrible against southpaws this year. Baltimore is tied for 23rd in wRC+ (83) against lefties. In addition, they've struck out in an eye-popping 29.3 percent of their plate appearances against southpaws, enhancing Montgomery's GPP appeal. Finally, the New York Yankees are whopping -270 favorites, and the game's over/under is an unimposing eight runs.
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.