MLB

FanDuel Pitching Primer: Thursday 7/6/23

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

When building a daily fantasy baseball lineup on FanDuel, nailing your pitcher is crucial to succeeding in any contest. Strikeouts are king -- although, innings-eaters and win potential can't be ignored.

With a pitcher serving as the backbone of your lineup, we don't want to mess around. Let's take a look at some of the top pitcher options and values, as well as a dart throw for today's main DFS slate on FanDuel.

Top Options

George Kirby, Seattle Mariners ($10,200)

In a shortened Thursday slate, Seattle Mariners ace George Kirby is the highest-salaried pitcher of the night. On paper, Kirby and the Mariners have a tough matchup, although the names in the Houston Astros' lineup aren't as menacing as you'd think.

Although Houston's won seven of their last eight games, they haven't beaten a pitcher of Kirby's caliber during that span. The only one they faced (Nathan Eovaldi) shut them out in seven innings.

Without Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve, the Astros aren't necessarily a team we're looking to avoid in DFS.

Kirby, meanwhile, has become one of the most consistent pitchers in the sport. For the season, he boasts a 3.75 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) and a league-leading 2.2% walk rate. The whiffs come and go, but his 21.4% strikeout rate isn't too far below the league average.

Perhaps the most appealing part of Kirby's game is his longevity. The 25-year-old has lasted 6.0 innings in 13 of his 16 starts overall and in each of his last four.

That includes his most recent outing: a 7-inning gem against the league-leading Tampa Bay Rays that saw Kirby net 46 FanDuel points.

numberFire isn't that high on him tonight, projecting Kirby for 31.7 points. That's good for only third among pitchers but is fewer than one point behind the two guys ahead of him.

In an unfriendly night for pitchers, Kirby is as safe as they come, thus serving as a top option for DFS lineups.

Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians ($9,200)

If Kirby has the safest floor, Tanner Bibee has the highest ceiling. The 24-year-old has an incredible matchup against the Kansas City Royals, and he possesses the ability to flirt with double-digit strikeouts on any given night.

Put those together, and you've got a recipe for DFS success.

Since June 1st, no team has had a lower weighted on-base average (.282 wOBA) against righties than the Royals do. They're simultaneously last in isolated power ( .114 ISO) over that span while striking out at the eighth-highest rate (23.9%). In KC's most recent series, Minnesota Twins starters averaged a staggering 57 FanDuel points per game against them.

That bodes well for Bibee tonight coming off a pair of stellar outings. Bibee dropped 46 FanDuel points against the Milwaukee Brewers before a 50.1-point performance against the Chicago Cubs.

The righty has had a strong rookie season overall, holding a 4.17 SIERA and 24.4% strikeout rate.

numberFire projections have 32.6 FanDuel points for Bibee tonight. Not only is that the highest projection of the slate, but at $9,200, Bibee is the best point-per-dollar value on the board, too.

He's a worthy addition to any DFS lineup tonight.

Value Plays

Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers ($8,700)

Lefty Julio Urias makes his second start since returning from IL tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Urias has an uncharacteristically-poor stat line for the season, although he was pitching well prior to getting hurt.

His return to action last weekend was disastrous as the Royals roughed him up for five runs in just three innings of work. Urias gets a chance to bounce back against a similarly poor Pirates lineup.

Pittsburgh's offense has been dreadful apart from their red-hot April. Since May 1st, the Pirates have struck out at the ninth-highest rate (24.2%) while boasting the ninth-lowest wOBA (.307) against lefties.

Despite a few blow-ups earlier in the year, Urias still has a serviceable 4.08 SIERA and 22.5% strikeout rate. Considering Pittsburgh's implied team total of 3.52 is the lowest of the slate, Urias makes for a strong value play tonight.

Kyle Bradish, Baltimore Orioles ($8,500)

You don't get to say this often, but a visiting pitcher has a fantastic matchup at Yankee Stadium. That would be Kyle Bradish of the Baltimore Orioles, and he looks like one of the best values of the slate given his sub-$9,000 salary tag.

Despite the New York Yankees' strong record, their offense has been hanging on for dear life over the last month. Since Aaron Judge went out on June 3rd, the Yankees have the lowest wOBA in the league against right-handed pitchers (.280).

Over that same span, the Yankees have the second-lowest weighted runs created plus (wRC+) in the league against righties. FanGraphs classifies their 76 wRC+ as "poor."

That bodes well for Bradish, who is quietly having one of the best pitching seasons in the American League. The 26-year-old owns a solid 3.99 SIERA and 23.0% strikeout rate.

He's been particularly strong of late -- giving up two or fewer runs in four consecutive outings and striking out at least seven in four of his last five starts. Bradish averaged 37.5 FanDuel points per game over that span.

numberFire projects 29.5 FanDuel points for Bradish. At $8,500, that makes him the second-best point-per-dollar arm of the slate. For those looking to allocate more of their budget to hitters, Bradish is a serviceable option.

Honorable Mentions

Nathan Eovaldi is a fine play tonight against his former team, but his $9,900 salary is too rich for my blood considering his fall back to Earth over the last five starts.

Don't mess with Johan Oviedo on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers. I'd rather play Bradish at the same $8,500 salary or even Luis Severino (and his 2.55 home ERA) at $7,300.

Last (and certainly least), Kutter Crawford has eclipsed 30 FanDuel points in two of his last three starts -- including 32 on the road in Toronto. However, he's at home tonight against the Texas Rangers, so I wouldn't watch the game nor check the box score until they're done. However, at $6,900, he's one of the lowest-salaried options on the board and could be a stealth play in larger contests.


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.