FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 4/5/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 4/5/24

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 of the Heap

Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves ($10,800)

Spencer Strider ($10,800) has basically picked up where he finished in 2023. He struck out eight batters in five innings in his season debut.

Strider's 2023 season was one of the best from a strikeout perspective that we've ever seen. He struck out 36.8% of batters and also had an 18.9% swinging-strike rate. Those numbers were up to 40% and 20.0% after his first start.

Obviously, we can't tell how the season will go just from the first game, but these are good signs. It was also nice to see his fastball MPH above where it was last season, as sometimes it takes a few starts into the season for pitchers to ramp up their velocity.

He'll face an Arizona Diamondbacks' lineup that ranked in the middle of the pack against right-handed pitching last season. They have the lowest implied team total on the slate, so not much success against Strider is expected.

Strider is comfortably leading FanDuel Research's projections for pitchers tonight, so he's certainly the best option.

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies, ($10,100)

The first start of the season was not the typical one that we'd expect from Aaron Nola ($10,100). He got roughed up for six runs in 4.1 innings on March 30th.

That was against the Atlanta Braves -- one of the best offenses in baseball. Tonight, he'll get a much softer matchup.

Nola actually had a down season last season but was the victim of some bad luck. His expected ERA (xERA) was 0.75 points lower than his actual ERA, and his expected FIP (xFIP) was 0.4 lower than his FIP. He still struck out a solid 25.5% of batters he faced.

Tonight, he'll face the Washington Nationals at home. Washington's offense is off to a better-than-expected start, but they are still striking out at a 25% clip against righties. They also were projected to be the third-lowest scoring team in MLB this season.

If I can't get to Strider, Nola is a good option.

Tournament Options

Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers ($9,800)

He arguably could be considered a top option tonight, but Freddy Peralta ($9,800) will slide into this section instead just because of the lower salary.

Peralta had a great start in his first outing of 2024. He struck out eight hitters in six innings and allowed just two base runners.

This was a continuation of his 2023 season, in which he had a 30.8% strikeout rate and got batters to swing and miss 14.4% of the time. In tonight's matchup, we could see more of that.

He'll face a Seattle Mariners' lineup that has really struggled so far this season. They have just a 63 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and have struck out a whopping 32.8% of the time.

Our projections have Peralta behind only Strider for fantasy points tonight. He's definitely on my radar for pitching options.

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels ($7,200)

If you're looking to save a lot of salary off the top guys, Griffin Canning ($7,200) could be your man.

His first start of the season was not a good one against the Baltimore Orioles. He gave up five runs and five innings and struck out just two batters.

This wasn't too typical of Canning last season. He had a good 3.80 skill interactive ERA (SIERA) and was able to keep the ball on the ground 42.7% of the time. To go along with a 25.9% K rate, Canning is a fairly reliable arm for both real life and fantasy.

His Los Angeles Angels are a slight favorite against the Boston Red Sox tonight, according to the MLB odds on FanDuel Sportsbook. Boston has struck out 25.8% of the time and has an 84 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against righties this season.

Canning is also projecting well, so he's someone to target for this salary.

Quick Mound Visits

It can be tough to roster a pitcher in the Great American Ballpark, but Hunter Greene ($10,300) is facing a struggling New York Mets lineup. Greene also struck out 30.4% of batters last season, so he has the upside we need. It's also likely he may go overlooked compared to someone like Strider.

Logan Gilbert ($9,900) and Brady Singer ($9,200) both had impressive first starts to the season, each striking out more than 30% of the batters they've faced. This wasn't what they did last year, and it may be hard to buy into these guys at elevated salaries, but they are worth considering.

Kutter Crawford ($8,200) had an underrated 2023 season with a 3.25 xERA and a 25.6% strikeout rate. He may be an underdog, but this Angels lineup shouldn't have too many hitters that scare us.

Get in on the MLB action today! All FanDuel customers get a 30% Profit Boost Token to use on a 3+ leg Same Game Parlay MLB wager happening April 5th. See the promotions page for more information.

Want to play MLB DFS? Head over to FanDuel’s daily fantasy baseball lobby to see all the offerings for today’s slates.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

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.