FanDuel MLB DFS Pitching Primer for Wednesday 5/8/24

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 Options

Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves ($10,500)

Chris Sale ($10,500) gets his chance at revenge against his former team tonight. He may not hold any ill will towards the Boston Red Sox, but he could have extra motivation against them.

Sale has looked great in his first season with the Atlanta Braves. He has a 29.0% strikeout rate to go with a 2.77 SIERA and 2.74 xFIP. This is the first time since 2018 that both of those run-indicator numbers have been below three.

After all the injuries Sales has had, it's great that he is averaging 95.0 MPH on his fastball. That's the highest his average velocity has been since 2018.

Boston is an interesting matchup for Sale as a left-handed pitcher. They strike out at the second-highest rate against lefties (28.1%) but also have the fifth-highest wRC+ (132) in the split.

This makes me like Sale more for tournaments than cash games -- he might have a low floor if things go wrong but a high ceiling if he racks up strikeouts. He has the highest projection by FanDuel Research's projections, so I'm definitely targeting him tonight.

George Kirby, Seattle Mariners ($9,500)

George Kirby ($9,500) has been an effective pitcher in his first two seasons in the majors, but his third campaign could be his best.

Kirby really righted the ship after some bad starts at the beginning of the season. He allowed 13 earned runs across his first three starts of the season. In his last four starts, he's allowed only three earned runs.

He now has both his lowest ever SIERA (3.03) and xFIP (3.12). He also has the highest strikeout rate of his career, currently sitting at 26.3%.

Kirby and the Seattle Mariners will be on the road to face the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota is a decent matchup for a righty as the Twins are striking out 22.5% of the time in the split with an average 100 wRC+.

If I can't find the salary to get up to Sale, I'm fine using Kirby.

Next Guys Up

Aaron Civale, Tampa Bay Rays ($8,500)

Things have been rough for Aaron Civale ($8,500) lately, but he's one of my favorite options on tonight's slate.

Civale has allowed 18 earned runs over his last three starts and has failed to reach five innings in any of them. This has ballooned his ERA to 6.44 on the season. He still has a respectable xERA of 3.66 to go with a 3.56 SIERA and 3.44 xFIP.

Hopefully Civale can get going tonight against the Chicago White Sox. Chicago ranks dead last in wRC+ against righties while also having the second-worst ISO in the split.

Our projections love Civale in this spot. They project him for 36.1 points, just 0.6 behind Sale. The White Sox have the lowest implied total on the slate tonight, so I think you can target Civale in cash games and feel fairly comfortable about his chances for a quality output.

Jordan Montgomery, Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,400)

Civale isn't the only solid option around this salary range, as Jordan Montgomery ($8,400) is also in play.

The numbers for Montgomery don't look good this season as he's the owner of a 4.65 xFIP. He's made just three starts so far the Arizona Diamondbacks and has allowed 10 earned runs. But six of them came in one bad start against a tough Los Angeles Dodgers' lineup, and his other two outings were quality starts.

Montgomery gets a good matchup today against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have just an 84 wRC+ against lefties this season while striking out 22.6% of the time.

While he's not the best strikeout pitcher, Montgomery does a good job of limiting hard contact and keeping the ball in the yard. Since the start of 2022, he's allowed just a 29.9% hard-hit rate and 0.99 homers per nine.

Montgomery is a useful pivot off of Civale.

Value of the Day

Chris Paddack, Minnesota Twins ($7,800)

Chris Paddack ($7,800) has demonstrated immense upside this season and could do the same tonight.

Paddack has had outings of 61 and 46 FanDuel points in two of his last three starts. His salary remains pretty low because he also has starts of 15 and -5 over his last four outings. He could end up toward the good end of that in tonight's game.

The reason we can have some hope for Paddack on Wednesday is because of the Mariners' propensity to strike out a ton. Their active lineup has a 29.5% K rate against righties this season, with a below-average 96 wRC+ to boot.

Paddack is definitely an interesting option for tournaments tonight. The Twins and Mariners are listed as a pick'em on FanDuel Sportsbook, so that probably gives him a better chance to get a win than most pitchers around this salary.

Quick Mound Visits

Kyle Bradish ($9,200) had a decent outing in his season debut last time out and now gets a matchup upgrade from facing the New York Yankees to seeing the Washington Nationals. The Baltimore Orioles are -176 favorites tonight, so he should have a decent chance to get the win.

It's never easy pitching at Coors Field, but Jordan Hicks ($8,300) is a viable play against this Colorado Rockies team, one that strikes out 26.9% 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.