With the All-Star break just around the corner, Major League Baseball continues the week with a jam-packed Thursday night featuring 11 matchups to stock the main fantasy baseball contests on DraftKings. Six of the 11 games on the slate are divisional contests, including the Red Sox and Rays wrapping up their series. The Braves and Nationals are among the teams starting a four-game set headed into the break.
With 22 teams available, there are lots of great options in the player pool to consider for your lineup and some great contests to jump into once you have your lineup locked in place. Make sure to keep up with all the latest lineups and player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.
Framber Valdez, Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels ($9,700) – Valdez takes on the Angels for the fourth time this season as he looks to continue his strong season. He’s 8-4 with a 2.64 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 7.93 K/9 overall, but he has shut down the Angels in two of those three head-to-head matchups while striking out 22 in 17 innings. He has gone at least six innings in 14 straight starts and allowed three runs or fewer in each of those contests. When he faced the Angels two starts ago, he piled up 13 strikeouts in six innings on his way to 30.1 DKFP in a no-decision. The 28-year-old lefty has been remarkably consistent while also showcasing that high strikeout ceiling. This should be a good matchup for him since he is on the road where he has a 1.76 ERA and in a good matchup against the Angels, who lead the Majors in strikeouts by a wide margin.
Other Options – Corbin Burnes ($10,600), Carlos Rodón ($9,300), Kevin Gausman ($8,600)
Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers ($8,300) – McKenzie is coming off back-to-back scoreless starts against the Yankees and Royals that resulted in 32 and 20.7 DKFP, respectively. McKenzie has gone 6-6 in his 16 games this season with a 3.47 ERA, 4.57 FIP and 8.10 K/9 rate. He was knocked around in a pair of starts at the end of June by the Twins but has bounced back nicely. In his two most recent starts, he has allowed only four hits in 13 scoreless innings while striking out 11. He held the Tigers to two runs in 7 2⁄3 innings earlier this season but took a tough-luck loss to go with his 26.3 DKFP. He’s a volatile option, but I love his upside, matchup and recent form, which are enough to make him a nice SP2 to build around.
Other Options – Reid Detmers ($6,700), Keegan Thompson ($5,800)
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals ($5,300) – Riley stayed red-hot with 17 DKFP on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with his fourth home run in his past five games. He has 10 multi-hit games in his 14 most recent contests, going 26-for-57 (.456) with seven home runs, a .456 ISO and a .589 wOBA. He and the Braves will face Aníbal Sánchez ($4,100) in one of the best matchups of the day. Sánchez will be making his first MLB start since September 2020, when he had a 6.62 ERA in 53 innings. Riley and the Braves should be able to start their visit to D.C. with some fireworks on Thursday.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($5,000) – The Dodgers and Cardinals have split the first two games of this series, setting up a rubber match Thursday night. Goldschmidt is having a fantastic season and is crushing lefties like Tyler Anderson ($9,000). On the season, he’s hitting .450 against southpaws. Nope—that isn’t a typo, he’s 27-for-60 (.450) with four home runs and a .563 wOBA against lefties. He’s also 4-for-12 with seven walks and two stolen bases in his previous career matchups with Anderson. While he hasn’t been quite as scorching hot as Riley, the matchup makes him a great building block to consider
Other Options – Marcus Semien ($5,200), Xander Bogaerts ($4,700)
Carlos Santana, Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers ($3,000) – At the end of June, Santana was traded from the Royals to the Mariners, which seems to have jump-started his struggling bat. He is 12-for-45 (.267) with Seattle while hitting three home runs and posting a .385 wOBA. All season, he has hit lefties well, producing a .321 average with a .408 wOBA. He has also had success in this head-to-head matchup, going 7-for-19 with one home run and seven RBIs against Martín Pérez ($8,400).
Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees ($2,800) – Farmer also has strong splits against lefties on the season, going 28-for-75 (.373) with five of his six home runs coming off southpaws to push him to a .473 wOBA. He gets a good matchup against a fading Nestor Cortes ($8,800) in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium as the Reds look to win their sixth game in their past seven and secure a series victory in the Bronx. Farmer homered Wednesday and usually hits in a good lineup spot against lefties.
Other Options – Gavin Lux ($3,400), Jeter Downs ($2,000)
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves ($6,000) – After a slow start to the season, Soto has found his groove over the past couple of weeks and started putting up monster numbers. In his past 17 games, he has 20 hits and 19 walks while hitting .400 (20-for-50) with a .550 wOBA and a .380 ISO. Soto has homered off opposing starter Kyle Wright ($8,500) as part of his 2-for-7 career history and has hit four home runs over his past five games. He has at least 9.0 DKFP in seven straight contests and in nine of his past 11.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins ($5,200) – It has been a disappointing season for the White Sox for a lot of reasons, but Robert’s production isn’t one of them. La Pantera has settled in as the everyday No. 3 hitter in the lineup and offers a nice blend of power and speed. After back-to-back three-hit games to finish the series in Cleveland, he has gone 16-for-45 (.356) over his past 11 games with three home runs and a .433 wOBA. He has also hit much better on the road this year, where he has a .327 average and .359 wOBA.
Other Options – Mookie Betts ($6,300), J.D. Martinez ($4,700)
Harold Ramírez, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox ($3,500) – Ramírez continues to offer great production from the heart of the Rays’ order. He comes into Thursday’s favorable matchup with Kutter Crawford ($6,800) riding a seven-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 14 of his 16 most recent contests, going 18-for-62 (.403) with six doubles and a .433 wOBA over that span. He only has four home runs on the season, but his high average and hard contact rate make him a solid value producer who almost always finds himself in the middle of the Rays’ offensive production.
Franmil Reyes, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,400) – Reyes has a lot of power potential in a plus matchup (highlighted below in stacks). He has four homers over his past 14 games while going 15-for-56 (.268) with a .342 wOBA. The 27-year-old slugger has a high ceiling due to his power potential even though his .220 batting average for the season is uninspiring.
Other Options – Alex Kirilloff ($3,200), Riley Greene ($2,900)
TEAMS TO STACK
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals – The Royals will be under-manned in Toronto, and they’ll be giving the ball to Jackson Kowar ($4,800), who has pitched in five games in the Majors all out of the bullpen. He has allowed 15 runs on 23 hits and three home runs in just 13 1⁄3 innings. Two of the three homers he has allowed have been to lefties, who have a .604 wOBA against him in that extremely small sample size. The Toronto lineup doesn’t have any big bats from the left side, but they have tons of power potential with George Springer ($5,000), Bo Bichette ($5,400), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($4,900), Alejandro Kirk ($4,600) and Teoscar Hernández ($4,200). Cavan Biggio ($2,900) and Ramiel Tapia ($2,100) are two lefties typically in the bottom of the lineup that could provide value in the favorable split.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers – The Tigers are calling back up Elvin Rodriguez ($5,600) to start their series against the Guardians after the 24-year-old seems to have found his footing at Triple-A. Earlier this season, though, he was hammered in the Majors, going 0-2 in five games and allowing 26 runs and nine home runs in 20 1⁄3 innings. Rodriguez gave up six of those nine homers to right-handed hitters, who had a .476 wOBA against him. Framil Reyes (discussed above), Ahmed Rosario ($5,000) and Jose Ramírez ($5,200) should all be in good spots against Rodriguez while Steven Kwan ($3,400), Josh Naylor ($3,800) and Nolan Jones ($2,000) offer good salary cap relief while still providing potential upside in a nice Guardians stack.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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