MLB

FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 3/29/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 3/29/24

Nailing the pitcher slot is the first step to having success in MLB DFS on FanDuel.

While it's possible to cash if you get a bad outing from a starter, it's markedly easier to do so when you get a good or excellent showing from your pitcher, and it's darn near impossible to take down a contest without a big score from your hurler.

Weighing the importance of a pitcher's skill, salary, matchup and park factors is the game within the game in MLB DFS. This piece is your home for a breakdown of the top pitching options on today's main slate.

All betting references come from the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise.

MLB DFS Pitcher Picks

Top Options

Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks ($9,400)

We don't nearly have the same top options for pitching that we did on yesterday's slate, so we'll have to go with Merrill Kelly ($9,400) as our top choice.

Kelly had his best season in the big leagues last season. He had career-bests in strikeout rate (25.9%) and swinging-strike rate (12.0%). He also had a 45.2% ground-ball rate and a career-low 34.1% fly-ball rate.

The main selling point of rostering Kelly is the matchup he'll face today. The Arizona Diamondbacks are at home against the Colorado Rockies. Colorado was a terrible hitting team last season and isn't projected to be much better this year. They had an abysmal 84 wRC+ against right-handed pitching last season and also struck out 26.3% of the time. On the road, they had a 77 wRC+ and a 28.8% K rate against righties.

Arizona is a -240 favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook tonight, so Kelly definitely has a good chance of picking up a win here.

Bobby Miller, Los Angeles Dodgers ($8,900)

Bobby Miller ($8,900) was fairly impressive as a rookie for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

Miller is a hard-throwing righty who averaged 99.1 MPH on his fastball. He didn't allow a lot of dangerous contact with just a 6.0% barrel rate and a 32.6% fly-ball rate.

While his strikeout rate wasn't terribly impressive, 23.6% is definitely acceptable -- especially with an 11.3% swinging-strike rate.

Miller is projected for 32.6 fantasy points by FanDuel Research's MLB projections, so he's definitely a pitcher worth rostering on this slate.

Value Options

Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox ($8,500)

There's a case to be made for Nick Pivetta ($8,500) as the best pitcher on this slate.

Pivetta had arguably his best season last year. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) was 3.36, by far the lowest of his career. He also had his second-best expected FIP (xFIP) in his seven-season career.

What's most important for fantasy purposes is Pivetta's strikeout potential. He had an elite 31.2% strikeout rate last season and has potential to rack up Ks tonight.

The Boston Red Sox are on the road facing the Seattle Mariners tonight. Seattle's lineup is not particularly imposing, and they also struck out at the sixth-highest clip against righties last season. T-Mobile Park in Seattle also has the lowest park factor of the regular MLB stadiums, making it a great pitchers' park.

At $8,500, Pivetta is one of the best values on the slate at any position.

A.J. Puk, Miami Marlins ($7,000)

Perhaps the most interesting pitcher on the slate is A.J. Puk ($7,000).

Puk was once a top prospect in baseball but was never healthy enough to be a starting pitcher. Tonight, he will make his first career MLB start.

Having prepared for this in the offseason, Puk won't just be used as an opener. He started four games in spring training and threw 13 total innings, striking out a whopping 23 batters. The Miami Marlins are certainly hoping his 32.2% strikeout rate and 15.1% swinging-strike rate carries over to his new role as a starter.

He's facing a Pittsburgh Pirates team that struck out at a 24% rate last season against left-handed pitching, the seventh-highest in MLB. They also struck out eight times against lefty Jesus Luzardo yesterday.

Puk has the highest projection of any pitcher on the slate and is just $7,000. He's probably more of a risk to be removed from the game early but is worth taking a shot on for this salary.

Quick Mound Visits

George Kirby ($9,600) is the highest-salaried pitcher on the slate and has a good projection. He doesn't necessarily separate enough from the other options to make him a priority, but that may cause him to go overlooked.

Logan Allen ($8,600) had a 22.2% strikeout rate in his first big-league season. He'll go up against an Oakland Athletics' lineup that had the highest strikeout rate against lefties. Make sure you pay attention to weather reports in this game, however.


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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.