There are four games on the early slate for Thursday, with the first game beginning at 12:35 p.m. ET between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. We are going to go over some top options on DraftKings and give out a few value picks to help you build your lineup.
Zack Wheeler, Phillies vs. Braves ($9,700) — Wheeler has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season not named Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber, Trevor Bauer, or Jacob deGrom. The Phillies No. 2 starter is 4-3 with an ERA of 2.51 and 100 strikeouts in 82.1 IP this season.
Wheeler is coming off a solid start against the Washington Nationals, where he had 24.3 fantasy points (7.1 IP, 5 hits (1 HR), 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts). The 31-year-old will look to carry that over against a Braves team that he’s faced twice already, averaging 22.5 fantasy points per game.
Freddy Peralta, Brewers vs. Reds ($9,400) — Peralta’s emergence this season has been a pleasant surprise for the Brewers’ starting rotation. If you remember the 24-year-old was competing with Josh Lindblom during Spring Training for the last spot in the rotation.
He ultimately won and has proven to be a quality starter. Peralta has a record of 6-1 with an ERA of 2.25, 92 strikeouts, and averaging 22.1 DKFP per game. The last time he faced the Reds, he produced 16.3 fantasy points (4.2 IP, 3 hits (1 HR), 2 earned runs, 4 walks, and 7 strikeouts). Anytime you can have a strikeout machine such as Peralta, you will rack up the points.
J.T. Realmuto, Phillies vs. Braves ($5,000) — Realmuto has not missed a beat since returning from the injury list late last month, which is great news for Phillies fans and DFS players alike. The veteran catcher has recorded a hit in eight consecutive games and over that time is producing 10.4 fantasy points per game. This season, he’s hitting .286 with 6 HRs, 24 RBI, and averaging 7.9 fantasy points per game.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates vs. Dodgers ($4,600) — Just like with Realmuto, the rookie third baseman has picked up where he left off from the first two games of the regular season. Hayes has notched a hit in six straight games, which includes two games where he scored 13 and 25 fantasy points, respectively. The young third baseman has now upped his batting average to .323 to go along with 2 HRs, 5 RBI, 1.013 OPS, and 10.1 fantasy points per game.
Ian Anderson, Braves vs. Phillies ($7,700) — With it only being four games on the early slate for Thursday, we have slim pickings among starting pitchers. However, Braves starter Ian Anderson is a great value option at only a $7,700 salary. The 23-year-old pitcher has been their best pitcher by far and picked up where he left off in 2020. He has a 4-3 record, 3.64 ERA, 65 strikeouts, and averaging 17.0 fantasy points per game.
Anderson has struggled in his last two starts against the Dodgers and Mets, but before that had a three-game tear where he recorded 20.6 DKFP. In all three starts, which one came vs. the Phillies, Anderson went at least six innings.
Adam Frazier, Pirates vs. Dodgers ($3,800) — The Pirates veteran shortstop has been on fire at the plate, which has helped make Pittsburgh a formidable threat on offense. Frazier has recorded a hit in 12-straight games, which is likely one of the longest streaks in MLB this season. The 29-year-old is averaging 9.92 fantasy points per game over the course of this 12-game hit streak.