FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 4/24/24

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

Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins ($10,600)

Joe Ryan ($10,600) is the ace of this slate, having gotten off to a great start to the season.

Ryan is tied for the eighth-highest FanGraphs' WAR for a pitcher. His strikeout rate (32.3%) is the fourth-highest among starting pitchers. His SIERA (2.38) is the third-lowest for starters. He also has the best ground-ball rate of his career at 41.4%, and the second-best swinging strike rate of his career at 13.3%

Last time out, it was Ryan's worst start of the season. It still wasn't terrible with 22 FanDuel points, but tonight, we can project him for much more than that.

Ryan will face the Chicago White Sox. Chicago's wRC+ against right-handed pitching is now 66, the worst in the MLB.

With the highest projection on the slate, Ryan is a great option. The White Sox also have the lowest implied total tonight, so we shouldn't expect them to score many runs.

Tournament Options

Reynaldo Lopez, Atlanta Braves ($10,400)

With Ryan being in such a good spot, he's clearly the top play at the position. We can use other hurlers to differentiate our lineups in tournaments, and Reynaldo Lopez ($10,400) is a good way to do that.

Lopez has been great this season, allowing just one earned run in three starts. He's done this while striking out 26.5% of batters and permitting just one barrel in 44 batted balls.

His salary has exploded to above $10K now, and he normally would be a pass for me at this number. However, the matchup against the Miami Marlins makes him enticing.

Miami has the fourth-worst wRC+ against righties this season. They've also failed to score a run in their previous two games in this series against the Atlanta Braves.

With most people probably going to Ryan if they have the salary tonight, Lopez could come in at a really low roster rate.

Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees ($8,900)

Another pitcher I'd consider in tournaments is Clarke Schmidt ($8,900). He'll save a bit more salary than using Lopez.

This year is going better than last season for Schmidt as he is striking out 26.5% of batters. That's more than he ever did as a reliever -- and relievers typically have higher strikeout rates than starters. He also has a solid 3.52 SIERA and 3.37 xFIP.

It helps that Schmidt will face one of the worst offenses in baseball. The Oakland Athletics have a 28.2% K rate against righties, the highest in baseball. They also have a below-average 90 wRC+.

The Yankees are a -230 favorite to win today, so Schmidt has a great chance of picking up the W for us if we roster him.

Value Options

Yariel Rodriguez, Toronto Blue Jays ($7,800)

Yariel Rodriguez is such a unique case that it's hard to figure out what to do with him. He's made two impressive starts so far in his first MLB season.

Rodriguez has struck out 40.6% of batters he's faced in his brief MLB career. He had a track record of success pitching in Japan and for the Cuban national team, but some of that was as a reliever. In his last start, he pitched just four innings, but he did get up to 83 pitches.

The talent is intriguing for Rodriguez, and this salary gives us a chance to get in on the ground floor. If he can stretch out this start to five or six innings, he could possibly get the win in a game where his team is favored.

It will be interesting to see where the popularity for Rodriguez comes in at tonight. People may be scared off by the low number of innings, but that strikeout rate could also tempt some fantasy players.

If you really want to get different in tournaments, he could be your guy.

Jon Gray, Texas Rangers ($7,500)

Jon Gray ($7,500) pitched out of the bullpen on Saturday to help the Texas Rangers staff, as the team played 17 games in 17 days.

This may have affected his salary, as it's probably lower than it should be. Gray has been very good to start this season. He's struck out 28.4% of batters. His current SIERA of 3.65 would be the second-best clip of his career.

He doesn't pitch in the most ideal park for preventing runs at Globe Life Field in Texas, but he does get a good matchup for strikeouts. He'll face the Seattle Mariners, who have fanned 28.0% of the time against righties this season.

With the salary discount you get on Gray, I'd probably either roll with him or Ryan in cash-game lineups, depending on what the savings can get me at the hitter positions.

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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.