FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks and Helper: Saturday 5/4/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks and Helper: Saturday 5/4/24

Tonight's wonky, five-game main slate doesn't produce a truly great stack candidate at salary. How can we find offense?

Our daily fantasy helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups.

Be sure to also incorporate numberFire's great tools into your research process, including daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, and batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups.

Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.

Note: All MLB odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise.


Pitchers to Target

Framber Valdez ($9,700)

There's no doubt that Framber Valdez ($9,700) is the best process play on tonight's slate.

That's a bit unnerving when Valdez, without a strikeout rate above 25.0% in the last four seasons, is usually a last resort in DFS because of his minimal whiff upside. He's once again rocking a massive 65.1% rate of ground balls to begin the year. Yet, the Houston Astros' lefty still has been extremely effective in 2024 to post a 3.11 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and 3.08 expected ERA (xERA).

His best attribute tonight will be the opposing Seattle Mariners. Seattle has the league's ninth-worst wRC+ (86) and second-highest strikeout rate (26.8%) against southpaws as a team, aiding the upside of Valdez to reach the high end of his punchout potential.

Seattle's 3.45-run implied team total is lowest on the slate. Valdez will be a popular -- but deserving -- candidate.

Zack Littell ($8,800)

Behind Valdez, plenty of aces are up against top-shelf offenses. I arrived on Zack Littell ($8,800) as the secondary option tonight when weighing current form, matchup, and fantasy upside.

The Tampa Bay Rays hurler has a rock-solid 3.22 SIERA and 3.08 xERA, allowing a hard-hit ball just 30.7% of the time it's in play. From a DFS standpoint, his 24.8% strikeout rate will absolutely do in plus matchups. The problem? The New York Mets aren't really one.

New York has shaken off an early-season slump to post a .684 OPS against righties (16th in MLB) with the seventh-lowest K rate (20.1%) in the split. Normally, we'd look past them on a full slate.

Littell is second in terms of value score in FanDuel Research's MLB DFS projections behind only Michael King of the San Diego Padres. At home and pitching better than King at present, I prefer the bearded righty.

Others to Consider

  • Tyler Glasnow ($10,500)
    • Glasnow's 2.82 SIERA and 31.5% K rate make him -- by far -- the most talented pitcher on the slate. Balancing that with a matchup against the vaunted Atlanta Braves offense, he's definitely still in tournament consideration.
  • Michael King ($8,100)
    • As mentioned, King's 5.14 xERA isn't incredibly desirable to target in any matchup, but the Arizona Diamondbacks (84 wRC+ vs. RHP) are about as soft as it gets. In a hitter's park, FDR's projections are more optimistic than I am.

Stacks to Target

Los Angeles Dodgers

The one weak link of the Braves' rotation is Bryce Elder, and that -- plus value pitchers projecting well -- has to put the superb Los Angeles Dodgers at the top of the stacking heap today.

L.A. has a 4.91-run implied team total as they get set to face Elder, whose ERA of 1.50 is but a fib. Elder has a 4.11 SIERA and 4.21 xERA behind it with a paltry 12.0% strikeout rate. Plus, an elevated 48.2% of the balls in play against him have been hard-hit ones.

Of course, the Dodgers are a brutal team to face for righties without these weaknesses. Their star-studded attack has a league-best .799 OPS in the split. NL MVP frontrunner Mookie Betts ($4,800) has an absurd 210 wRC+ in the split, but that's somehow bested by lefty teammate Shohei Ohtani ($4,400) at 239. Will Smith ($3,700), Teoscar Hernandez ($3,500), Freddie Freeman ($3,400), and Max Muncy ($3,400) are all north of a 120 wRC+ themselves to round out this stack however the positions might fall.

The lower-end guys can be used with L.A.'s strikeout-friendly pitcher, or Betts and Ohtani are attainable with a value arm. There are a lot of ways to get exposure to a Dodgers offense that seems primed to erupt.

Texas Rangers

Another elite offense in a decent spot is the defending champion Texas Rangers.

On the road in Kansas City, the Rangers will look to rebound from a 7-1 defeat on Friday, but getting after tonight's hurler (Michael Wacha) will be a significantly easier task than it was to get to emerging stud Brady Singer in that one. The journeyman's 4.06 SIERA and 4.11 xERA aren't particularly scary, and Wacha is currently rocking his lowest strikeout rate since 2019 (19.8%).

It helps Texas' case that the Kansas City Royals' ballpark is the third-best for offense, per Statcast. A mild night of weather should call for a decent affair to plate runs.

Guessing which players emerge from a stack is half the battle, but the Rangers are usually an effective one because their lineup is so top-heavy. Five players on the team have a wRC+ of 99 or better: Adolis Garcia ($4,000), Marcus Semien ($3,700), Corey Seager ($3,400), Evan Carter ($3,200), and Nathaniel Lowe ($2,800). Those five represent Texas' first five hitters in the order. That makes it simple.

Texas could end up more popular than L.A. because of salary and Elder's decent ERA, but they're a worth choice.

Others to Consider

  • San Diego Padres
    • Brandon Pfaadt's SIERA (3.11) is better than you'd think, but the righty has surrendered 1.29 HR/9 in a friendly park for hitting. This game's total (8.5) seems to be too small in general without a dominant arm on either side at Chase Field.
  • Tampa Bay Rays
    • Rookie Christian Scott makes his MLB debut for the Mets today, and it can always go awry -- especially when rocking a 5.12 FIP in AAA this season. With a 99 wRC+ against righties, this is the underwhelming Rays' significantly better split.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.