Major League Baseball has a busy Thursday night slate this week with 10 games scheduled to fill up the main fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings. Six of those 10 contests are divisional matchups including several key rivalries like the Yankees visiting the Red Sox in one of the earlier matchups and the Padres welcoming in the Giants in one of the later games.
With 20 teams of players available in the player pool, there are plenty of different ways to consider assembling your winning squad for this Thursday night. 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 available on Twitter (@ZT_Sports).
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers ($9,800) – Cease came back to earth a little bit in his most recent start, posting just 16.5 DKFP, but he still got the win over the Giants and improved to 7-3 on the year with a 2.51 ERA, 2.73 FIP and an extremely impressive 13.08 K/9 rate. Cease’s strikeout total dipped in his most recent start, but before that, he had a pair of double-digit strikeout performances at home which resulted in 33.7 and 40.8 DKFP. Since he brings that punchout potential and has only allowed two earned runs over his past seven starts (0.46 ERA, 2.70 FIP), he’s the best ace available on this slate, especially given his matchup against the Tigers, who rank last in the Majors in runs scored and home runs this season. Cease will be facing Detroit for the third time this season, and he had over 26 DKFP in each of his previous matchups, totaling 16 strikeouts in 10 innings and allowing only one earned run.
Other Options – Gerrit Cole ($10,200), Tony Gonsolin ($9,400)
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($8,500) – I’d love to highlight a cheaper play in this value spot, but the bottom of the salary structure is full of extremely high-risk options on this Thursday. Strider is a little pricey for a value play, but he has such a high ceiling that he’s worth paying a little more. He has put up over 24 DKFP in four of his past five starts and is coming off a dominant 11-strikeout performance against the Reds that resulted in 35.7 DKFP. He has a 3.31 ERA and 2.40 FIP while going 3-1 in his seven starts, but those numbers are a little skewed by one disastrous outing. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his past six, and his 13.5 K/9 rate as a starter gives him that high upside.
Other Options – Marco Gonzales ($7,300), Chase Silseth ($6,200)
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5,200) – Riley and the Braves will face Cardinals lefty Matthew Liberatore, who has given up 13 runs and four home runs in his 20 2⁄3 innings this year, resulting in a 5.66 ERA and 5.48 FIP. All four of those home runs have been hit by right-handed batters, who have a .421 wOBA against the 22-year-old. Riley should be in a good spot to continue that trend since he has hit .296 with six homers and a .436 wOBA against lefties on the season. Over his past seven games, Riley has six multi-hit performances, hitting .519 with three home runs, four doubles and an impressive .649 wOBA over that stretch.
José Abreu, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,600) – Abreu comes into this four-game series against the Tigers riding an 11-game hitting streak. He only has one home run during that span but has picked up six doubles while going 20-for-44 (.455) with a .494 wOBA and producing 10.5 DKFP per contest. He has at least 9.0 DKFP in six of his past eight contests and is a solid way to get consistent production under $5K at 1B.
Other Options – Bo Bichette ($5,400), Brandon Drury ($4,900)
Santiago Espinal, Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners ($3,700) – I’ve been rolling with Espinal regularly this season against southpaws since he is hitting .348 with three homers and a .419 wOBA against lefties. He and the Blue Jays start their stay in Seattle with a matchup against Marco Gonzales ($7,300), which sets up well for him to keep producing. He stole his fourth base of the season on Wednesday in Oakland and has gone 11-for-33 (.333) with a .382 wOBA over his past nine contests.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres ($2,600) – The Giants’ veteran SS is more known for his glove than his bat, but he can have hot streaks when he is a very useful fantasy option. His salary has slid since he is only hitting .225 with five homers this season, but he has looked better since coming off the IL two games ago. He went 1-for-4 with a double in each contest with three hard-hit balls in seven batted ball events, per Statcast. While that’s an extremely small sample size, his 42.9% hard-hit rate is a huge improvement from his 30.3% hard-hit rate before he landed on the IL. Crawford also has a great history against opposing starter Joe Musgrove ($9,700), going 6-for-15 with three doubles, a triple and a home run. He’s a punt play at SS that brings nice upside in this matchup.
Other Options – Matt Chapman ($3,600), Garrett Cooper ($3,000)
Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays ($5,700) – Rodríguez has been outstanding after a slow start to his rookie year and has hit safely in 12 straight starts. Over his past 15 games, he has gone 19-for-57 (.333) with seven home runs, three doubles, a triple, 18 runs scored and 13 RBI. He has also added four stolen bases, bringing his AL-leading total to 21 on the year. He has locked down the leadoff spot for Seattle and will look to keep rolling as they take on Casey Lawrence ($4,000), who has given up nine runs in his 13 innings so far this season. Rodríguez has at least 12 DKFP in three straight and six of his past seven and has multiple ways he can go off with his dual threat of power and speed.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs ($5,000) – Betts is the prototype for the dual-threat leadoff hitter and has jumped right back atop the Dodgers’ lineup after missing three weeks with a rib injury. Since returning, he has gone 5-for-18 with two doubles, a home run and a .430 wOBA. He’s still a little more affordable due to his layoff, so take advantage of this bargain rate while you can.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($6,000), Jarren Duran ($4,500)
Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,900) – Senzel made a splash when he arrived in the Majors in 2019 but has struggled with injuries since. Now the 27-year-old seems to have found his groove and gets a great matchup highlighted below in stacks. Senzel only has three home runs on the season, but two have come in his past three games. He’s also only hitting .257, but over his past 13 games he has gone 19-for-43 (.442) with those two homers, three stolen bases and a .475 wOBA.
Gavin Sheets, Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers ($2,900) – Sheets could get squeezed for playing time after the return of Eloy Jiménez ($4,100) on Wednesday, but the 26-year-old lefty has been producing enough lately to keep getting looks against right-handed starters like Beau Brieske ($7,200). Sheets had a pair of hits on Wednesday and has gone 6-for-17 (.353) over his past five games with three doubles and five RBI. If he keeps getting playing time, he brings a lot of potential upside for a hitter under $3K.
Other Options – Jack Suwinski ($3,400), Riley Greene ($2,700)
TEAMS TO STACK
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – This is the second game of a doubleheader for these two squads and their thin rotations will be stretched even further as Robert Dugger ($5,800) and Bryse Wilson ($5,400) are expected to go head-to-head. The hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark make the Reds a stack to consider against Wilson. He showed improvement in his last start but still allowed eight hits in six innings. In his past five games, he has allowed 26 runs on 40 hits in just 20 2⁄3 innings. Wilson has let lefties crush a .444 wOBA against him with three of his seven home runs allowed. Tyler Naquin ($4,700) and Joey Votto ($3,700, back) will be solid lefty bats to consider if they’re in the lineup while Jonathan India ($4,400, ankle), Brandon Drury ($4,900) and Tommy Pham ($4,400) have been a strong top three in the Reds’ lineup lately. For value options, Donovan Solano ($3,500), Kyle Farmer ($3,200) and Nick Senzel (highlighted above) are solid options to consider in this good spot as well.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks – Stacking the Rockies on the road is a nice non-traditional approach worth considering on this slate since they’re still in a hitter-friendly environment at Chase Field and have a great matchup against Dallas Keuchel ($6,300). Keuchel just gave up seven runs in five innings to the Rockies in his most recent start and has an 8.27 ERA over his 10 starts this year between the White Sox and Diamondbacks. Keuchel has given up seven home runs to right-handed hitters, who have a .402 wOBA against him. Brendan Rodgers ($4,300) homered off him last week and Kris Bryant ($4,200) has gone 4-for-6 with a home run against him in their previous career meetings. Connor Joe ($4,100), C.J. Cron ($5,000) and Randal Grichuk ($3,800) are other right-handed bats with some pop that make sense while Yonathan Daza ($2,900) and José Iglesias ($3,500) offer some salary relief while rounding out the rockpile.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600 (ONT), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY; 19+ ONT). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/ONT/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions. DraftKings operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. Please play responsibly.