Thursday night there are only two games on the evening fantasy baseball slate for DraftKings as the focus of almost the entire league is on the Field of Dreams game between the Cubs and Reds at 7:15 p.m. ET. The two teams will wear throwback uniforms and play at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. Last year, the concept debuted with a memorable contest between the White Sox and Yankees. Chicago won 9-8 on a walk-off home run by Tim Anderson, and eight home runs were hit in total. Given the smaller dimensions of the field, there will likely be more home runs in this contest, so it makes sense to lean into hitting picks. The only other game on tap is a Red Sox-Orioles matchup at Fenway Park.
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Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $60K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st] (Night)
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.
Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($9,300) – While the Reds are the home team, Lodolo won’t be making this start at Great American Ballpark. The hitter-friendly dimensions in Iowa do make the lefty a high-risk option, but none of the four starting pitchers on this slate are set up to be dominant. Lodolo features an above-average slider that creates ground balls when effective, which could help him avoid any cheap home runs. He has pitched well in three starts since the All-Star break, allowing four earned runs over 16 2⁄3 innings with 20 strikeouts. His strikeout rate of 12.14 K/9 is what makes him the best option on the board for this limited slate. Even if he does give up a few runs, his strikeouts can help cover for that and still result in a good fantasy performance. The Cubs will be getting their first look at Lodolo, but have only hit .228 against southpaws as a team with a .304 wOBA and 92 wRC+.
Dean Kremer, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox ($6,100) – Kremer was originally scheduled to start Wednesday but had his start pushed back after getting rained out. In his 11 starts, the 26-year-old righty is 4-3 with a 3.43 ERA, 3.92 FIP and 43 strikeouts in 57 2⁄3 innings. While that strikeout rate is low, he’s coming off a strong 6 1⁄3 shutout innings in his most recent start and earned 19.9 DKFP in that win over the Pirates. Kremer will look to build off that start against the Red Sox, who have hit just .232 in August with a .297 wOBA and 88 wRC+. Kremer’s limited strikeouts keep his ceiling low but his matchup and salary make him a nice value option on this slate.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs Baltimore Orioles ($5,700) – There aren’t many proven power options in the IF in this four-team player pool, but Devers definitely brings a high ceiling with his 24 home runs and .401 wOBA on the season. The lefty is hitting .319 with a .423 wOBA and 177 wRC+ against righties this year and also has very favorable home splits at Fenway. Since coming back from a hamstring injury, Devers has gone just 5-for-32 but three of those hits were extra-base hits including a pair of home runs.
Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox ($4,500) – The Orioles have generated some positive buzz and surged into the Wild Card race over the past several weeks, and one of the key reasons has been the arrival of top prospect Rutschman. The switch-hitting catcher not only brings a mature demeanor and a professional approach at the plate, but he also has absolutely raked against righties, like Josh Winckowski ($7,100), who he’ll face Thursday. Since July 1, he has hit .397 vs. RHP with a .500 wOBA and 235 wRC+. Overall, he’s hitting .345 in his 17 games since the All-Star break with a .444 wOBA and 195 wRC+. The top overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft has lived up to the hype so far and is a solid cornerstone to build around on this slate.
Other Options – Xander Bogaerts ($5,400), Jonathan India ($4,700)
Jorge Mateo, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox ($3,800) – Mateo has also been putting up good numbers for Baltimore, averaging 10.1 DKFP over his past 10 games. The 27-year-old speedster has hit exactly .300 over his past 23 games with five home runs, five stolen bases and a .404 wOBA. He’s been much better on the road than at Camden Yards this season and brings multiple ways to deliver production from this sub-$4K salary.
Donovan Solano, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($2,800) – Solano has been a regular contributor for Cincinnati against left-handed pitchers like Drew Smyly ($7,500), who starts for the Cubs in Iowa. Solano is hitting .306 against southpaws with a .361 wOBA. He reached base safely in seven straight starts and nine of his past 10 games, and he has gone 22-for-70 (.314) with a pair of home runs and a .352 wOBA over his past 20 contests. For a player under $3K, Solano brings nice potential, especially against Smyly.
Other Options – Bobby Dalbec ($3,300), Terrin Vavra ($2,000)
Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox ($5,100) – Mullins has teamed with Rutschman to provide the O’s a dynamic one-two punch at the top of their lineup and brings a high ceiling due to his combo of power and speed. In his 55 games since June 1, Mullins has hit .331 against right-handed pitching with three homers, 13 stolen bases, a .377 wOBA and 147 wRC+. He has at least 12 DKFP in four of his past eight games and is an OF to pay up for at Fenway, where he has gone 18-for-51 (.353) over the past two seasons.
Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds ($4,200) – Happ has been a fixture in the middle of the Cubs lineup most of the season and is hitting .276 with nine homers and a .342 wOBA over his 107 games. He has had five multi-hit games in his 17 contests since the All-Star break, going 20-for-70 (.286) with six doubles. He has hit .330 on the year against lefties like Lodolo with a .377 wOBA and 142 wRC+.
Other Options – Tommy Pham ($5,200), Anthony Santander ($4,800)
Franmil Reyes, Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds ($2,800) – Reyes has had a disappointing season, and the Guardians decided to DFA him last Saturday. He still has enough raw power potential that the Cubs scooped him up to see if he can get back on track. He singled and drove in a run on Tuesday in his Cubs’ debut and had two more hits Wednesday. He brings a high ceiling, especially against lefties, who he has a .349 career wOBA against, but his struggles this season have caused his price to dip below $3K. In such a small ballpark, though, there is definitely potential for a home run as he tries to continue his success in his new home.
Aristedes Aquino, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($2,000) – Aquino is another slugger with tons of power potential but an all-or-nothing approach that can sometimes come back to haunt him and his fantasy owners. Since returning from the IL, Aquino has gone 5-for-23 (.217) but has been getting regular playing time in RF. He’s still hitting only .182 in 38 games this season, but he has had big-time success against Smyly in the past, going 4-for-9 (.444) with three home runs in their previous meetings. The Punisher hasn’t quite lived up to that nickname yet this season, but he has a high ceiling for a player at the minimum salary due to his matchup and the hitter-friendly confines in Iowa.
Other Options – Alex Verdugo ($2,900), Nelson Velazquez ($2,600)
TEAMS TO STACK
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox – I already highlighted Mullins and Rutschman at the top of the lineup for the Orioles and Mateo, who usually bats ninth serving as a “second leadoff” when the lineup flips. You could easily add in Anthony Santander ($4,800), Ryan Mountcastle ($3,600) and Austin Hays ($3,600) into that mix as well while rookie Terrin Vavra ($2,000) offers nice salary relief. Opposing starter Josh Winckowski has given up eight homers in 10 starts and has allowed lefties to hit .300 with a .379 wOBA against him, setting up Mullins, Rutschman, Santader and Vavra on the favorable side of the splits.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs – There should be some home runs to be had in Iowa, so even though a Reds stack isn’t heaven, it does get a good matchup against lefty Drew Smyly. The veteran had gone 4-6 with a 3.97 ERA and 4.49 FIP in his 14 starts, allowing 11 home runs. Nine of those 11 dingers have come from right-handed hitters, who have a .350 wOBA against him. Aquino has a good history as highlighted above, and there are plenty of affordable options in the Cincinnati lineup with Nick Senzel ($2,000), Albert Almora Jr. ($2,000) and Jose Barrera ($2,000) all expected to start at the minimum salary. If you’re looking for bigger bats to build around, Jonathan India ($4,700) and Kyle Farmer ($3,100) deserve a look. Plus, a player named Farmer posting a huge game in Iowa would basically allow the headlines to write themselves.
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $60K Relay Throw [$20K to 1st] (Night)
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