FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Friday 5/31/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz

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. Betting odds as well as our projections -- which are powered by numberFire -- may change after this article is published.

MLB DFS Pitcher Picks

Top of the Heap

Tanner Houck, Boston Red Sox ($10,600)

Not a lot of people were expecting Tanner Houck ($10,600) to lead pitchers in FanGraphs' WAR, but he is currently doing just that. He's been particularly great lately and could keep that up tonight.

Houck has allowed just two earned runs across his last three starts. In those starts, he has 19 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. Overall on the season, he has a solid-but-unspectacular 24.4% strikeout rate. He has done a great job of limiting dangerous contact, allowing just a 4.1% barrel rate to hitters this season.

The Boston Red Sox will face the Detroit Tigers at home tonight. Detroit is not great against right-handed pitching. They strike out 23.7% of the time against in the split, with a 95 weighted runs created plus (wRC+).

Boston is a -166 moneyline favorite in this game, so Houck has a good chance of getting the W. He's a worthy top option tonight.

Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays ($9,400)

Jose Berrios ($9,400) has quietly been good this season, especially over his last three starts.

Berrios has three consecutive quality starts, allowing seven runs in 20 innings in that span. While his strikeout rate on the season is an unimpressive 20.0%, he has 22 strikeouts in his last 23.2 innings pitched. He'll have a good chance to strike out hitters in today's game.

Tonight, Berrios will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh strikes out 24.1% of the time against righties, with just an 88 wRC+ to go with it.

With this matchup, Berrios might be able to get more strikeouts than normal, making him appealing for tournaments. He also should be reasonably safe, so I like him in cash games, as well.

Next Tier

Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians ($9,000)

Tanner Bibee ($9,000) may not have the highest salary among those named Tanner on this slate, but he's arguably the best pitching option of the night.

Bibee was a good pitcher as a rookie last season but has been even better this year. His strikeout rate is 25.2%, up from the 24.1% last year. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is 3.54, and his expected FIP (xFIP) is 3.73 -- both were above four in 2023.

The Cleveland Guardians will face the Washington Nationals tonight. Washington has a below-average 96 wRC+ against righties this season.

According to FanDuel Research's projections. Bibee has the second-highest FanDuel projection on tonight's slate. With Bibee's salary at just $9,000, that makes him one of better values on this slate.

Bryan Woo, Seattle Mariners ($8,900)

Bryan Woo ($8,900) came back from injury and has started four games. He's been effective since returning and can keep that up moving forward.

Like Bibee, Woo was an effective rookie last year. So far, he's cut his SIERA down to 3.65 this season after it was 4.13 last year, and his xFIP has gone from 4.26 last year to 3.61 thus far in 2024.

The one thing that has been worse so far this year for Woo is his K rate -- down from 25.1% to 20.3%. His swinging-strike is nearly the same as it was a year ago -- 12.5% to 12.2% -- so hopefully he's able to regress towards that 25.1% strikeout rate.

Woo will take on a Los Angeles Angels lineup without Mike Trout, making it one to target with right-handed pitchers. They have a 22.7% strikeout rate and a 96 wRC+ against righties this season.

Woo will likely be less popular than Bibee, so he's a nice pivot play in tournaments.

Value of the Day

Jose Soriano, Los Angeles Angels (7,900)

Jose Soriano ($7,900) is an interesting option given his salary and the matchup he has on Friday.

Soriano has made the transition from bullpen to starter quite well. His fastball velocity has increased from 98.6 MPH to 99.5 -- which doesn't usually happen when you have to pitch deeper into games. He has a 23.3% strikeout rate with a 3.67 SIERA, numbers that are hard to find for a pitcher around this salary.

We love to use righties against the Seattle Mariners' lineup. They strike out 28.5% of the time in the split -- the most in the MLB. They also have the fourth-lowest weighted on-base average (wOBA) versus RHP at just .296.

It's possible to play Soriano and fit in some of the slate's most desirable bats. That's a good route to go down in GPPs on this slate.

Quick Mound Visits

Dylan Cease ($9,900) has shown a lot of strikeout upside this season but faces the Kansas City Royals, who strike out only 19.2% of the time against righties. He still carries our highest projection on the slate.

Walker Buehler ($8,300) carries a modest salary tonight and gets a very friendly matchup. The Colorado Rockies have just an 88 wRC+ against righties, with the fourth-highest strikeout rate (24.5%).

If you need even more salary to load up on bats, Albert Suarez ($6,800) can be rostered. His 13.5% swinging-strike rate and 3.7% barrel rate makes it seem like hitters are having a hard time picking up what he's throwing in his return to the MLB. He doesn't have to be amazing tonight to be a good play at this salary.

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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.