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MLB DFS targets for early slate on Thursday, May 13th

We go over some top picks to consider for Thursday afternoon’s early slate on DraftKings.

Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. reaches for a fly ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Truist Park. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s five-game early slate on DraftKings begins at 12:20 p.m. Eastern and is highlighted by a matchup between two of the game’s best young sluggers and an NL Central pitchers’ duel. Here are the top picks and sleepers for this afternoon’s action.

Top Pitchers

Corbin Burnes, MIL vs. STL ($10,600) — Burnes hasn’t pitched since April 26 after contracting COVID-19. He’ll make his return at home versus the Cardinals and try to pick up where he left off as one of the best starters in baseball. He carries a 1.53 ERA with 49 K’s and no walks. If he records three more strikeouts before issuing a walk, he’ll set an MLB record for the most strikeouts without a walk to begin a season. However, after the long layoff, it’s fair to wonder if the Brewers will have a moderate cap on Burnes’ pitch count.

Jack Flaherty, STL vs. MIL ($9,400) — The Cardinals will send their own ace to the hill in Milwaukee, and he is probably the better value pick in this matchup. Flaherty will try to become baseball’s first seven-win pitcher today. He has a 2.83 ERA, a sub-1.00 WHIP and has notched a quality start in five of his last six outings. He has a great matchup in front of him versus a Brewers lineup that is near the bottom in runs scored and OPS but leads the NL in strikeouts.

Top Hitters

Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL vs. TOR ($5,800) — Acuna, the NL leader in WAR, has been a relative slump over the past week as he has just four hits in his last 24 at-bats. He did homer on Tuesday versus the Blue Jays and has a good matchup today against Ross Stripling.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR vs. ATL ($5,400) — And if you don’t want to pay up for Acuna, look at the other team playing in Truist Park today to find our DFS lineup’s anchor. Vlad has put together a fantastic .311/.440/.557 slash line and is worth betting on versus right-hander Charlie Morton.

Value Pitcher

Zach Eflin, PHI vs. WAS ($8,200) — There aren’t many enticing pitcher options once you get past the top tier in this slate, but Eflin definitely stands out. He has a 42:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has recorded at least 20 DK points in two of his last three starts. Those successful outings came against the Cardinals and Braves, both of whom boast better lineups than what Eflin will see from the Nationals today.

Value Hitter

Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. WAS ($4,000) — Hoskins was recently moved down in the Phillies’ lineup as he was mired in a lengthy slump. He has shown signs of life recently, earning an RBI in each of the past two games. Today, he’ll take his hacks against the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin, who has been getting hit hard consistently this year. Hoskins has been a lefty masher for the past few seasons and is 6-for-17 with a homer and four RBIs in his career against Corbin.