Since it’s a travel day for many teams, Thursday offers another split schedule for Major League Baseball with a few afternoon contests followed by six games making up the main slate on DraftKings, which is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Four of the matchups are the final game of series that started earlier this week, while two new series are getting underway as the Rockies fly east to take on the Mets and the Yankees head west to visit the Athletics.
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Jacob deGrom, New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies, ($10,800) – It’s not surprising or sneaky to go with deGrom as your No. 1 SP on Thursday night, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the right decision. In his four starts, deGrom has racked up 37 strikeouts while allowing just 11 hits in 23 1⁄3 innings. His 14.27 K/9 is ridiculously good, but so is his stuff by every metric. He allowed three runs in his most recent start but still has a 2.31 ERA and 0.63 FIP in four starts this year. He is ramping up his workload and should be set for success in this matchup at home against the Rockies. Away from Coors Field this season, the Rockies are hitting just .236 as a team with a .284 wOBA and only a 80 wRC+ along with a 22.3% strikeout rate. If this game was in Denver, there would be cause for pause, but in New York, I expect more deGrom-ination.
Other Options – Aaron Nola ($10,000), Kevin Gausman ($9,600)
Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles ($7,800) – Lynn seems to be finding his footing after his delayed start to the season. In his six starts since the All-Star break, he is 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA, 3.77 FIP and 10.19 K/9. He has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his past four starts with over 18 DKFP in each of those outings. His strikeout numbers are also trending in the right direction with at least six strikeouts in six of his past seven contests. Despite a less-than-ideal matchup against an improving Orioles’ offense, Lynn is still the top SP under $8K on this slate since the rest of the options have been struggling lately.
Other Option – Jameson Taillon ($7,500)
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins ($4,900) – Bregman went 0-for-2 with an RBI in Wednesday night’s win over the Twins, but he had hit safely in 17 of his previous 20 games in August. In those 20 contests, Bregman hit .378 (28-for-74) with eight doubles, six home runs, a .495 wOBA and 234 wRC+. Twelve of his 19 homers have come at home this season, where he has hit .321 with a .428 wOBA (compared to just .219 with a .313 wOBA on the road). Since he and the Astros are at Minute Maid Park looking to finish their sweep of the Twins, he’s a solid play in his favorable matchup with Chris Archer ($6,500).
Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees ($4,400) – It’s easy to overlook Murphy since he plays for the woeful Athletics, but he can help fill a tricky catcher spot with a hot bat as the A’s take on a struggling Jameson Taillon ($7,500). Taillon has allowed at least three runs in four straight starts, posting a 5.32 ERA and 5.53 FIP and giving up six homers in just 23 2⁄3 innings. Murphy has been one of Oakland’s best bats much of the season and has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games while going 14-for-37 (.378) with four doubles, three home runs and an average of 10.7 DKFP per contest over that stretch. He’s one of the few catchers who hit in the heart of the order and positional scarcity only boosts his value higher.
Other Options – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,600), Alec Bohm ($4,200)
Josh Harrison, Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles ($2,400) – Harrison got the day off Wednesday but has been the team’s regular 2B. Even though he usually hits low in the lineup, he brings some intriguing value potential. In August, Harrison has gone 21-for-70 (.300) in 19 games with a double and a home run. He also has an excellent history against opposing starter Jordan Lyles ($6,700), who is always a popular stacking target. Whether you fully stack the White Sox or just use Harrison as a punt play at 2B, it’s worth noting that the veteran has gone 10-for-19 (.516) in his previous meetings with Lyles.
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox ($2,000) – Biggio doesn’t have an everyday role with the Blue Jays right now, but when he does get in the lineup, he has been contributing this month. He has gone 7-for-28 (.250) in his 10 games in August with three doubles, a home run and a .331 wOBA. Given the favorable matchup for lefties highlighted in stacks below, he’s a very attractive punt play if he does get the start in Thursday’s series finale at Fenway
Other Options – Jorge Mateo ($3,800), Yuli Gurriel ($3,100), Franchy Cordero ($2,000)
Starling Marte, New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies ($5,400) – Marte went 2-for-5 with a walk on Tuesday, but the Mets still dropped their second straight game in the Subway Series. Coming home in a great matchup (highlighted below) should set them up to bounce back, and Marte has been key to their second-half success. Marte has five multi-hit performances in his past eight games, going 13-for-34 (.382) and adding a pair of stolen bases along with three doubles and two home runs to average 12.4 DKFP per game over that eight-game stretch. Marte’s multi-hit games tend to come in bunches, so he’s a great centerpiece to consider Thursday.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins ($4,800) – Tucker has hit safely in 16 straight starts after going 1-for-3 with a double on Wednesday night. He is 25-for-66 (.379) over that stretch with seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. So many extra-base hits give him a great ceiling in his matchup with Archer, and at this point, he’s a good option to consider any time his salary is under $5K and the Astros face a hittable righty. On the season, Tucker has a .382 wOBA and 154 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($6,200), Luis Robert ($5,000)
Andrew Benintendi, New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics ($3,800) – Benintendi has given the Yankees a nice boost since joining the Bronx Bombers before the trade deadline. He has multiple hits out of the leadoff spot in each of his past three games, producing 25, 16 and eight DKFP. If he stays in that prime production spot, getting Benny under $4K is an incredible bargain.
Jake Fraley, Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies ($2,700) – He is another leadoff hitter who brings good value. Fraley has given the Reds a very nice boost since coming off the IL at the end of July. In his 20 games since returning, Fraley has gone 21-for-62 (.339) with three doubles, six home runs and a stolen base. He is in a tough matchup against Aaron Nola ($10,000) but as long as it isn’t a left-handed starter, he’s usually in the leadoff spot for the Reds. His power potential and prime lineup spot make him a solid option under $3K.
Other Options – A.J. Pollock ($3,400), Chas McCormick ($2,200), Jackie Bradley Jr. ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Mets vs. Colorado Rockies – The Mets should get deGrom plenty of run support as they face off with Ryan Feltner ($5,900). The 25-year-old righty is coming off his best start of the season but is still just 2-4 with a 5.88 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in 11 starts. The Mets have been good at home this season, where they have a 118 wRC+, the fifth-highest home wRC+ in the Majors. They have also been very productive in the second half with a .342 team wOBA and 125 wRC+ since the break. Francisco Lindor ($5,800) and Starling Marte (highlighted above) have led the way while Pete Alonso ($5,200) always brings plenty of power potential. There are some cheaper options to mix into the stack as well with Daniel Vogelbach ($3,800) and Mark Canha ($3,600) as solid options under $4K and 22-year-old Brett Baty ($2,500) even cheaper as a punt play with power that hasn’t translated to the majors yet.
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox – The Blue Jays haven’t pummelled the Red Sox in this series quite as badly as they did to start the second half, highlighted by their memorable 28-run outburst. While another performance like that is unlikely, the Jays do have a favorable spot for a big game in this contest against Kutter Crawford ($6,100). Including a loss to Toronto, Crawford has gone 1-3 since the All-Star break, allowing six home runs in six starts with a 5.85 ERA and 5.04 FIP. He gave up nine runs on 11 hits in his most recent outing and has allowed lefties to post a .403 wOBA against him on the year. The Blue Jays don’t feature many left-handed bats, but Raimel Tapia ($2,500), Jackie Bradley Jr. ($2,000) and Cavan Biggio (highlighted above) are worth a look as bargain plays if in the lineup. You can also build around Toronto’s top bats and stack righties Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,600), George Springer ($5,300), Teoscar Hernández ($5,100) and Bo Bichette ($5,000), who load up the top of the lineup with plenty of potential firepower, especially against a contact-heavy opposing starter like Crawford.
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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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