FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Tuesday 6/18/24

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 odds come from the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Advanced 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

Pablo Lopez, Minnesota Twins ($9,700)

It may be a surprise to see Pablo Lopez ($9,700) still with a high salary considering he's not having the best season. Tonight, he'll have the opportunity to get back on track.

Lopez has a rough 5.33 ERA, but more importantly, he still possesses good underlying numbers. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) is 3.28, and his expected FIP (xFIP) is 3.30. With a 26.3% strikeout rate and a 13.0% swinging-strike rate, he definitely has upside we look for in tournaments.

The Minnesota Twins will play the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. Tampa has not been good against right-handed pitching this season. They strike out at the seventh-highest rate against righties (23.8%) and have a below-average wRC+ of 97 in the split.

Lopez is projected for the most fantasy points by FanDuel Research's model, so I like him in all formats tonight.

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros ($9,400)

Framber Valdez ($9,400) isn't going to wow people by being a dominant, high-strikeout pitcher, but he has been effective for the past few seasons. He doesn't always make for the best fantasy option, but tonight is a special case.

Valdez has seen his strikeout rate drop from 24.8% last season to just 18.6% this season. However, his swinging-strike rate is only 0.9 percentage points worse than last season's.

He has a 3.55 SIERA, because he doesn't give up a lot of dangerous contact. Valdez currently sports a 61.9% ground-ball rate and 5.5% barrel rate.

Tonight, he'll get one of the best matchups possible for a lefty. He'll face the Chicago White Sox, who have an 85 wRC+ and a 25.3% strikeout rate against southpaws.

Valdez should have a lot of success in this spot.

Next Tier

Alec Marsh, Kansas City Royals ($8,800)

Alec Marsh ($8,800) has been a revelation for the Kansas City Royals this season. It's his second year seeing time in the majors, and he's been hot of late.

Marsh has a SIERA and xFIP both below four. He has struck out at least seven batters in five of his last seven starts. He has a great chance of doing that again tonight.

The Royals are going up against the Oakland Athletics. The A's have been a better hitting team than expected, but they still strike out a whopping 25.2% against righties.

Marsh should have success in this matchup and will pitch in the stadium that has the second-lowest home run park factor among the 30 MLB stadiums. That gives him another boost.

He may go under the radar a bit, so I like rostering him in tournaments.

Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers, ($7,800)

After a few rough starts and now pitching at Coors Field, Walker Buehler ($7,800) has a pretty low salary. He definitely can be rostered despite the stadium he's pitching in tonight.

Buehler has been unlucky so far this season, allowing a 22.9% home-run-to-fly-ball ratio. The league average is around 10%, so this should regress towards the mean over time. Even if some of his other numbers are rough, his 4.03 SIERA is respectable.

Obviously being in Coors means Buehler and the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Colorado Rockies. Buehler faced the Rockies on May 31st and threw a quality start with seven strikeouts. Colorado has a 24.2% strikeout rate versus righties, so Buehler should be able to mow them down.

Buehler's salary is very handy and helps you get a piece of his high-salary offensive teammates.

Value of the Day

Spencer Schwellenbach, Atlanta Braves ($6,900)

If you want to save as much salary at the pitcher spot to fit in four Dodgers hitters, Spencer Schwellenbach may be the guy you need.

Schwellenbach has started three games in his big-league career. He had a quality start against a dangerous Baltimore Orioles lineup his last time out. He has allowed just a 2.0% barrel rate and a 38.8% fly-ball rate, so he should be able to keep the ball in the yard. If he can do that, he'll likely pay off this salary.

This matchup for Schwellenbach is much easier than against Baltimore. He'll face the Detroit Tigers, who have a 99 wRC+ against righties and also strike out 23.4% of the time in this split.

If we get a quality start from Schwellenbach, that should help our hitter-fueled lineup do damage in tournaments.

Quick Mound Visits

Tanner Houck ($11,000) has been excellent this year, but at this salary, I'd want a slightly better matchup than a Toronto Blue Jays team that strikes out just 18.2% of the time against righties.

Logan Webb ($10,000) is one of the most consistently good pitchers in baseball this season. He has quality starts in six of his last seven games. But his 20.7% K rate isn't amazing, and I think you may be able to get similar production from a pitcher with a lower salary.

Tobias Myers ($7,900) has allowed just one earned run in 14 innings over his last two starts. He will face the Los Angeles Angels, who are much worse against righties than lefties. Their wRC+ is just 91 versus RHP.

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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.