A split shift presents itself for daily fantasy baseball gamers Thursday, starting with a four-game early slate at 1:05 p.m. ET preceding the five-game main slate at 7:20 p.m. Utilizing Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool and daily fantasy point projections to navigate our options on both slates, we’ll address top pitching for each venture such as Phillies’ Aaron Nola and Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer along with a mid-tier selection on the main slate. Here are the Spotlight Pitchers for DraftKings and FanDuel on Thursday, April 29.
Top Daily Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers | April 29
Aaron Nola: PHI at STL (Early Slate) — DraftKings $10,000; FanDuel $9,900
The Phillies look to cinch the last of a four-game series in St. Louis with Aaron Nola on the mound Thursday afternoon. Nola is averaging 21.7 DraftKings and 36.2 FanDuel points in five starts, and though his strikeouts are down this year, so are his walks. Today he draws a Cardinals team that’s a superb matchup.
Nola’s daily fantasy baseball projections of 21.79 DraftKings and 37.21 FanDuel points make him the top-projected option for Thursday’s early slate. He also projects as one of the top values despite his higher salary. His MLB DFS ownership projections of 61.5% DraftKings and 48% on FanDuel signify Nola’s chalky popularity on the early slate, however, so rostering him will require massive amounts of differentiation elsewhere.
St. Louis will have five right-handed hitters and two switch-hitters to its batting order. Nolan had great numbers against rights last year, with a 39.7% strikeout rate, 0.88 WHIP and 2.99 FIP. Facing lefties, he still managed a 26.1% strikeout rate, 1.33 WHIP and 3.44 FIP. The Cardinals’ power comes from the heart of their order; Nolan Arenado (fourth) has a .242 ISO and 13.3% strikeout rate against righty pitchers over the past two seasons. St. Louis has a .229 batting average, 90 wRC+ and 11.9% HR/FB rate against righties through last season. With no higher fantasy ceiling on the early slate, Nola is the clear-cut top option for the early slate.
Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value B
Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value B
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Trevor Bauer: LAD at MIL — DraftKings $11,300; FanDuel $11,000
Trevor Bauer takes the mound on the road against the Brewers. He is coming off a Cy Young season, and he is matching that production this year, averaging 28.4 DraftKings and 47.6 FanDuel points in five starts. Today Bauer draws an interesting matchup against the lefty-heavy Brewers, who are still without star Christian Yelich.
Awesemo’s MLB Top Pitchers Tool gives Bauer a 75.3% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and 39.9% top-pitcher on FanDuel. Despite a ridiculously high salary on both sites, Awesemo still gives Bauer a great chance of being a top value on the slate given the limited selections available worthy of rostering. Of course, the field feels the same way, as Bauer’s MLB DFS ownership projections of 69.1% on DraftKings and 56.3% are astronomical
Bauer will have his work cut out for him, as Milwaukee will have five left-handed hitters in their batting order. Bauer had a 37.7% strikeout rate, 0.87 WHIP and 3.90 FIP against lefties last season, while his Cy Young dominance came against righties. Bauer’s potential for trouble in the Milwaukee order stems from lefties Kolten Wong (first), Dan Vogelbach (second), Omar Narvaez (third), Travis Shaw (fourth) and Billy McKinney (sixth), who have a combined 101 wRC+ and .733 OPS against right-handed pitching over the past two seasons. However, the Brewers collectively have just a .215 batting average, .157 ISO and 82 wRC+, though the 16.5% HR/FB rate could give Bauer issues. Despite the fiscally ignorant salary tag on both sites, Bauer is undeniably the best option among pitchers for Thursday’s main slate.
Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points A, Value A
Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points A, Value A
Kyle Gibson: TEX vs BOS — DraftKings $7,000; FanDuel $9,200
Kyle Gibson starts for the Rangers today, and he is having a nice bounce back in his second season with Texas. Averaging 16.3 DraftKings and 31.6 FanDuel points in five starts this season, Gibson draws a considerably lethal opponent as a pivot pitching option on Thursday’s main slate.
Awesemo Top Pitchers Tool gives Gibson a 27% chance of being a top-two pitcher on DraftKings and a 14% chance of being the top pitcher on FanDuel. His savings on DraftKings make him a 28.9% top-two value, but he is just an 8% top value on FanDuel as a spend-up alternative. Gibson’s daily fantasy baseball ownership projections are at a modest 8.4% on FanDuel, while a 26.6% on DraftKings is slightly harder to stomach.
Gibson is slated to face a Red Sox batting order of six righties, which bodes better on paper for him. Facing right-handed hitters last season Gibson, had a 23.3% strikeout rate, 1.58 WHIP and 4.36 FIP. His 6.78 FIP against lefties, on the other hand, was disastrous. The heart of the order could give Gibson considerable problems, with Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers posting a combined .233 ISO against right-handed pitching now over the past season. With the Red Sox striking out at a 23.9% rate against right-handed pitching, Gibson has the potential to rack up fantasy points on a limited slate of pitchers should he mitigate damage from the middle of the order.
Awesemo’s FanDuel Grades: Points D, Value E
Awesemo’s DraftKings Grades: Points C, Value C
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