FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 5/28/24

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

Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays ($10,200)

He's not quite having a season that will see him get Cy Young votes like he has in the past three years, but Kevin Gausman ($10,200) has been pitching well lately. He's coming off his best start of the season and has a great matchup tonight.

Gausman has four straight games with at least six strikeouts, notching two consecutive quality starts. In his last outing, he struck out 10 over six innings and allowed just one run. On the season, his strikeout rate is 25.1%, and his expected FIP (xFIP) is a solid 3.21. That's a lower xFIP than he had last season.

Tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays will face the Chicago White Sox. Chicago is a team we can pick on all season -- against righties or lefties. When they face right-handed pitching, they have a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of just 81 and strike out 23.5% of the time.

I like Gausman to continue to pitch well against one of the worst offenses in baseball, and he's viable in any format.

Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers ($10,000)

Freddy Peralta ($10,000) is always fun to roster as he has some of the best strikeout upside in baseball.

This season, his strikeout rate is 30.9%, the same as it was last year. He's improved on his skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) from last season, dropping it from 3.45 to 3.04. His xFIP is also lower, down from 3.66 to 3.42.

The Milwaukee Brewers are at home against the division-rival Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. The Cubs strike out at the sixth-highest rate versus righties (24.0%) and also have a below-average 99 wRC+ in the split

Peralta is forecasted for the most points by FanDuel Research's projections, so he's arguably the best pitcher on tonight's slate.

Next Tier

Max Fried, Atlanta Braves ($9,800)

He's only $200 lower in salary than Peralta, and Max Fried($9,800) also deserves consideration. The fact that his salary is so close to the top tier may keep his popularity down in tournaments.

Fried's SIERA is 3.50, and his xFIP is 3.36 -- both solid numbers. His strikeout rate is down to 20.4%, and we'd like to see that get back towards his 25.7% from last season. If he can do that, he can become an elite pitcher for DFS.

It's possible Fried can increase his strikeout rate in tonight's game. He'll take on the Washington Nationals, who struggle against left-handed pitching. They have a 22.2% K rate against southpaws to go with a poor 82 wRC+.

Fried could go under the radar in tournaments tonight but also makes for a safe option in cash games.

Matt Waldron, San Diego Padres ($8,400)

This is a night to use salary on pitchers, as there are a plethora of good options above $9,000. If I wanted to save a bit, I'd go down to Matt Waldron ($8,400).

Waldron is in his first full season in the MLB and has been a reasonable starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres. He has a 3.95 SIERA and 23.5% strikeout rate. He benefits from pitching in Petco Park, the park with the third-lowest park factor in MLB.

The Padres will be playing in Petco tonight against the Miami Marlins. Miami has the fourth-lowest wRC+ against righties (89) and second-worst weighted on-base average (wOBA) at .293.

With the salary savings we get on Waldron, he's the option I would use if I wanted to stack a team with a lot of high-salary hitters.

Quick Mound Visits

The two highest-salaried pitchers on this slate don't have ideal matchups.

We'll start with Zack Wheeler ($10,800), who faces a San Francisco Giants team that has a 109 wRC+ against righties and strikes out at just the 18th-highest rate. I'd still roster Wheeler a bit in tournaments, but I prefer Peralta and Gausman at lower salaries.

It's a similar situation for Cole Ragans ($10,600). His opponents will be the Minnesota Twins, who have a 111 wRC+ versus lefties among their active lineup. Ragans has multiple games above 50 FanDuel points, though, so his upside is still enticing.

Luis Castillo ($9,200) has a lower salary than normal in a brutal matchup against the Houston Astros -- who have the lowest strikeout rate against righties. Our projections still like him, though, and he's unlikely to be popular in tournaments.

Triston McKenzie ($7,900) pitches at Coors Field tonight but against a Colorado Rockies lineup that has just an 84 wRC+ at home. He's unlikely to have the best outing but doesn't need to at this lowly 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.