FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 4/3/24

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 4/3/24

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

Tyler Glasnow, Los Angeles Dodgers ($10,000)

Tyler Glasnow ($10,000) got pushed back a day in the rotation for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is a benefit for him, as he threw only 120 innings last season after throwing just 6.2 in 2022.

So far with the Dodgers, Glasnow has had two starts, going 11 innings and allowing three earned runs. His strikeout rate is down a bit to just 19%, but that's not a cause for concern. It hasn't dipped below 30% in any season since 2018.

We also can see that Glasnow has still gotten a 15.8% swinging-strike rate so far. He has a higher fastball velocity this season, too, so it's not like he's lost anything there. The K's will come, and hopefully, that starts tonight.

Our projections at FanDuel Research love Glasnow tonight. They project him to be the highest-scoring pitcher on tonight's slate by over five points. Combine that with the opposing San Francisco Giants having the second-lowest implied team total (3.32 runs), and it makes Glasnow easily the best pitcher on this slate.

Tournament Options

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros ($9,300)

The only pitcher besides Glasnow with a salary above $9,000 is Cristian Javier ($9,300). He might be someone we skip over on other slates, but with weather concerns in a few of the other games, he deserves consideration.

Javier had a down season from 2022 to 2023. His strikeout rate fell from 33.2% in 2022 to 23.1% in 2023. He also saw his expected ERA (xERA) jump nearly two full runs, from 2.43 to 4.42.

The good news is that Javier got off to a solid start to the 2024 season. He pitched six shutout innings in his first game with six strikeouts.

Javier faces a Toronto Blue Jays lineup that has really struggled to start the season. They have just a 60 weighted runs created plus (wRC+), and with 100 being average, 60 is obviously not good.

If we're betting on Javier bouncing back to closer to the pitcher he was in 2022, this is a spot to start that belief and roster him at potentially low popularity.

Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates ($8,600)

The Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a surprising 5-0 start, and could make it 6-0 tonight. Their first win of this streak wasn't because of Mitch Keller ($8,600). He had a rough first outing, allowing four earned runs in 5.2 innings.

Keller will look to bounce back tonight. He was a solid pitcher in 2023, with a 25.5% strikeout rate and a 3.83 skill interactive ERA (SIERA).

He gets a nice matchup against the Washington Nationals tonight. Washington's offense is projected to score the third-fewest runs by FanGraphs this season. Last year against right-handed pitching, they had the fourth-worst wRC+.

Keller is projected for the second-most points behind Glasnow but comes with a significant discount. There could be some weather concerns for this game, so be sure to keep an eye on the latest updates.

Best Value

Ben Brown, Chicago Cubs ($5,600)

We're digging deep for value today. You'll have to search Ben Brown ($5,600) to be able to roster him, as he actually isn't the projected starter.

The Chicago Cubs will open with Luke Little to begin the game. Since Little pitched the ninth inning on Tuesday, it's highly unlikely he lasts more than an inning or two. Brown is expected to get the ball after Little is removed from the game.

Brown had a 31.1% strikeout rate in Triple-A last season to go with a 13.9% swinging-strike rate. He should be capable of handling the Colorado Rockies, who at times perform like a Triple-A team.

Colorado had the second-highest strikeout rate against lefties last season and has an abysmal 51 wRC+ against them this season. I love using pitchers against them away from home -- especially value options.

The one wrinkle to this game is the weather. It seems possible that they get this game in, but it's definitely something to monitor. If they do play, it will be in the 30s with wind blowing in, which is a difficult environment for hitters.

Brown will allow you to get any bats you want in your lineup if you do decide to roster him.

Quick Mound Visits

Adrian Houser ($8,200) would be someone I'd be interested in, but Mother Nature is probably getting in the way of that. It seems unlikely that this game even gets played, as it got postponed last night and the weather even appears to be worse tonight.

His opponent, the Detroit Tigers, have an implied team total of just 3.57 runs tonight. That would make me consider him if this game does get played.

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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.