There is less than a week remaining in the Major League Baseball regular season, with the season finale set for Wednesday, October 5. Many teams are traveling on Thursday, but there are still multiple slates of fantasy baseball available on DraftKings. In this post, we’ll focus on the four-game night slate, which has a late start at 9:38 p.m. ET and features four games from the West Coast.
Leading up to the first pitch, make sure to keep up with all the latest news and monitor starting lineups 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 my picks for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics ($10,500) – There are two elite aces to consider on Thursday’s slate in Ohtani and Carlos Rodón ($10,100). Both have great strikeout rates and high ceilings in favorable matchups, but I’m giving Ohtani a slight edge based on his more consistent recent form. The Angels’ superstar has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his past 10 starts, going 5-3 with a 1.96 ERA, 2.68 FIP and 10.41 K/9 and averaging 22.4 DKFP per outing.
Ohtani faced the A’s twice during that span of success and produced 17.95 and 23.3 DKFP. He has at least 19 DKFP in each of his past five outings, with at least seven strikeouts in four of those starts. Oakland’s bats have struggled all season, and in September, the A’s have the fourth-lowest wOBA in the majors at just .292 while ranking third in team K rate at 26.7%. Ohtani should be able to continue their struggles and put up another big number in his final home start of the season.
Other Options – Carlos Rodón ($10,100)
Jon Gray, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners ($8,500) – Gray is a little more expensive than the options I usually target as value SP, but the options at the bottom of the salary structure don’t offer much upside on this slate. Gray has been solid in his first season in Texas, going 7-7 with a 3.64 ERA, 3.37 FIP and 9.75 K/9. He was sidelined for almost six weeks with an oblique strain, so he’s still not fully stretched out. But, he should be able to last long enough to be a strong fantasy option in this contest after throwing 87 pitches in his most recent outing vs. the Guardians.
Since returning, Gray has 10 strikeouts in 13 innings throughout three starts, a span in which he’s allowed three earned runs on six hits. As a team, the Mariners have an MLB-worst .214 batting average this month, although their .183 ISO shows they have had decent power production. Gray should be able to keep them in check on Thursday as he continues to ramp up to a full workload for his final two starts of the season.
Other Option – Marco Gonzales ($6,500)
Eugenio Suárez, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers ($4,600) – Part of the Mariners’ offensive issues this month were due to Suárez missing 10 days with a small fracture in the tip of his right index finger, which is still bothering him when throwing and limiting him to DH work. Seattle will welcome back his bat, though, since he has six home runs in his nine most recent games around that absence, going 11-for-32 (.344) with a .555 wOBA. Suárez has also lit up Gray previously, going 5-for-16 (.313) with three homers in their past meetings.
Luis Rengifo, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics ($4,300) – Since the middle of the month, Rengifo has settled in as the Angels’ primary leadoff hitter, getting him more at-bats and putting him in a great run-producing spot right in front of Ohtani and Mike Trout ($6,000).
Rengifo has made the most of his chances, going 15-for-54 (.278) in his past 12 games, all at the top of the order. He only has 15 walks in 120 games this season, making him a non-traditional leadoff hitter, but his volume, lineup potential and split against lefties makes him a strong play Thursday. Against southpaws this season, the 25-year-old has hit .331 with a .405 wOBA and 10 of his 15 home runs. He’s also 5-for-11 (.455) with a home run in his past meetings with opposing starter Cole Irvin ($7,800).
Other Options – Trea Turner ($5,700), Ty France ($4,400)
J.D. Davis, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies ($3,200) – The Giants have a great matchup highlighted below in stacks, and Davis is a solid play at barely over $3K. He has .289 with seven homers and a .399 wOBA in his 43 games since being traded from the Mets to the Giants and is finishing the season especially strong with 14 hits, five doubles and two home runs over his past 11 games while hitting .424 with a .524 wOBA. Especially with his eligibility at both corner-IF spots, he makes sense in almost every roster construction on Thursday.
Editor’s Note: Padres RP Steven Wilson will start tonight’s game vs. the Dodgers.
Miguel Vargas, Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres ($2,200) – Vargas has been getting regular playing time vs. LHP for the Dodgers, and the 22-year-old top prospect has picked up hits in three of his past four starts, including his first MLB HR on Saturday.
He hasn’t played since but should be back in the lineup vs. Sean Manaea ($7,100) , who has been struggling down the stretch. Vargas had 17 home runs, 16 stolen bases and a .397 wOBA in his 113 games at Triple-A, so there is lots of upside to playing the rookie as a cheap option either at 1B or in the OF.
Other Options – J.P. Crawford ($3,000), Jason Vosler ($2,600)
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics ($6,000) – Trout hit his 10th homer of the month on Wednesday and is hitting .291 (25-for-86) with a .442 wOBA over that span. Nine of his 38 homers this year have come against lefties, who he has hit .311 against on the year with a .444 wOBA. He also has much better numbers at home, so all the splits are in his favor as he faces Irvin and the A’s in Thursday’s series finale.
Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies ($4,600) – Estrada’s positional versatility makes him a valuable contributor for the Giants, and he continues to hit wherever he plays. In his past 12 starts, he has gone 16-for-44 (.364) with four doubles, two home runs, two stolen bases and a wOBA over .400. The dynamic 26-year-old is finishing the season strong despite missing a couple of games due to a bruised elbow suffered on a hit-by-pitch last week.
Other Options – Mookie Betts ($5,800), Taylor Ward ($4,100)
Yonathan Daza, Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants ($3,200) – The Rockies aren’t a lineup I’m looking at for many options against Rodón, but Daza is the main exception. Against lefties, Daza is hitting an impressive .347 with a .352 wOBA. Since coming off the IL on September 6, Daza is hitting .310 (22-for-71) with six doubles, a triple and a home run. He usually hits in one of the top two spots in the Rockies’ batting order and brings solid upside at this salary.
Bubba Thompson, Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners ($2,300) – Thompson is always a good cheap play since he brings nice stolen base upside and has hit well in his platoon. Since joining the Rangers in early August, he has hit .278 with four doubles, one home run, a .290 wOBA and 18 stolen bases in 47 games. Thompson has eight steals in his past 17 games, averaging 6.1 DKFP per appearance.
Other Options – Mike Yastrzemski ($3,800), Leody Taveras ($2,100), José Azocar ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies – The Giants are far from a high-powered offense, but they are in a great spot against Ryan Feltner ($5,400) as they face the Rockies for the final time this season. Feltner has given up 34 runs in 48 1/3 innings over his past 10 starts while striking out only 40 batters and surrendering eight home runs. While Coors Field doesn’t help him out at all, he has allowed more home runs on the road than in Denver, along with a .368 road wOBA.
The Giants have won the first two games of this series and eight of their last nine. They have scored at least five runs in six of those contests, are just one game under .500 and still mathematically alive in the playoff race. Estrada and Davis (highlighted above) are my two favorite plays based on price, but you can also pay up for Joc Pederson ($5,100) and Wilmer Flores ($4,200), who bring good power potential, or Mike Yastrzemski ($3,800), who has been heating up lately. Jason Vosler ($2,600) and Austin Wynns ($2,000) are also worth a look as value plays in this matchup.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres – The Dodgers are almost always a stack to consider, but they do come at a steep price.
Paying up makes sense against Manaea, though, since the lefty has gone 0-3 in his past four starts, giving up seven home runs and 19 runs in 17 innings. The Dodgers roughed him up for eight runs in 4 1/3 innings in one of those starts and will look to continue his struggles Thursday.
Against lefties, Mookie Betts ($5,800) and Trea Turner ($5,700) are typically where start the Dodgers stack. Betts has gone 10-for-25 with three homers in his career against Manaea, while Turner also has gone 4-for-10 with a home run. With Justin Turner ($4,500; leg) likely still sidelined, there should also be plenty of value in the lower half of the lineup, like Vargas (highlighted above), Trayce Thompson ($2,500) and Hanser Alberto ($2,100).
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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.