FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 4/23/24

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.

MLB DFS Pitcher Picks

Top of the Heap

Pablo Lopez, Minnesota Twins ($10,200)

After the best season of his career in 2023, Pablo Lopez ($10,200) is looking to continue his success over to 2024.

It hasn't all been roses for him so far, but his last start may have gotten him on track. Lopez threw six innings on April 17th, allowing just one run and striking out seven batters. That put his xFIP at 3.01 and his SIERA at 3.15, both lower than his 2023 numbers.

Lopez's strikeout rate this season is slightly down, but 25.8% is still respectable. The good thing is that he's getting a 14.8% swinging-strike rate -- the highest of his career.

Tonight, Lopez will face the Chicago White Sox. Chicago's wRC+ against righties is an abysmal 63 so far, the lowest in the MLB. They have an implied team total below three runs tonight, and it's the lowest clip on the slate.

Lopez is carrying our highest projection, so he's firmly in play in all formats.

Marcus Stroman, New York Yankees ($9,700)

Marcus Stroman ($9,700) has been a solid pitcher for years, and that's continued in his first few games with the New York Yankees.

Through his first four starts, Stroman has a 3.79 xFIP and a 3.91 SIERA. He's not a big strikeout pitcher, but he gets a lot of ground balls. His ground-ball rate this season is 60.7%, and he's allowed just a 27.4% hard-hit rate.

Stroman's strikeouts could be up tonight in a good matchup. He'll face the Oakland Athletics, who have struck out 27.7% of the time against righties while also carrying a 88 wRC+.

Stroman is a fairly safe option, and with the Yankees being -215 favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook, he should be able to get the win.

Next Guys Up

Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays ($8,400)

A few starts ago, Kevin Gausman ($8,400) was clearly the ace of the slate. After a few bad starts, his salary has plummeted to $8,400.

Gausman actually improved after his first few starts. He allowed just one run in five innings while tallying six strikeouts. Overall, his 8.16 ERA is ugly, but his 3.91 xFIP and 3.78 SIERA indicate that he's actually pitching much better than that.

It's only been four starts for Gausman this season. Last year, he posted a 31.1% strikeout rate as well as elite numbers across the board. It's too soon to give up on him, and I like jumping on board when the salary is this low.

Even though Gausman's matchup against the Kansas City Royals isn't ideal, I like rostering him in tournaments. He has upside that you can't usually find at this salary range, even if you have to sacrifice some safety.

Max Fried, Atlanta Braves ($8,300)

Like Gausman, Max Fried ($8,300) has also been off to a blah start this season. He's really had just one good game out of his four starts.

Fried has been a reliable pitcher for the Atlanta Braves throughout his career. His career xFIP is 3.38, and he hardly ever allows dangerous contact, with a career barrel rate of just 4.5%.

So, in short, there is no reason to panic about Fried, even if he has just a 15.0% K rate this season. He should round into form, especially given tonight's matchup.

That one good start Fried had this season was against the same Miami Marlins he will face tonight. Miami has been dreadful against lefties this season, with just a 62 wRC+ in the split.

This low salary on Fried is certainly enticing, and I will definitely consider rostering him in my lineups tonight.

Value of the Day

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels ($6,500)

If you are really tight for salary, I don't mind going all the way down to Griffin Canning ($6,500).

The theme of the day seems to be "this pitcher can't possibly be this bad," and that continues with Canning. He had a 3.80 SIERA and 3.82 xFIP last season. He also had a 25.9% strikeout rate. All of those numbers were career-best marks.

Canning allowed 15 earned runs over his first three starts but then surrendered just one in his last start (5.1 innings). He's obviously a better pitcher than those first three starts would have you believe.

It's a really bad matchup tonight against an elite Baltimore Orioles' lineup, but with the salary savings we're getting, Canning can deliver value if he's able to get around 25 FanDuel points tonight. Our projections have him going for 28.2 FanDuel points, so he needs to be on our radar.

Quick Mound Visits

Grayson Rodriguez ($10,800) has a really high salary but has three games above 40 FanDuel points this season. That includes a 52-point outburst against these Los Angeles Angels. He will likely go overlooked because of the high salary.

Dane Dunning ($9,200) has been bad to start this season but has a matchup against the Seattle Mariners, who have struck out the most against RHP this season.

Michael King ($9,000) pitches in Coors Field today, but that didn't seem to hurt Dylan Cease last night. King struck out 10 batters last time out and will face a Colorado Rockies lineup that strikes out 27.1% of the time against righties.

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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.