Major League Baseball gets a little bit of an early start with a 6:05 p.m. ET lock time on DraftKings’ main slate on Thursday, which allows the two games in Cleveland and Philadelphia that start before 7:00 p.m. ET to be included on the main slate. Make sure to get your entries set in time since it should be a good slate with several intriguing options in play. The seven games on the main DraftKings slate are all interleague contests, so there isn’t a ton of familiarity between opponents.
Based on form, matchup and expected opportunity, I’ve selected my favorite value plays and studs at each position. Make sure to stay locked in to @DKLive on Twitter throughout the day and check the latest news in the DK Live app for lineups and any breaking news that may impact your roster.
Tyler Chatwood, CHC at KC, $9,400 — The Cubs have taken the first three games of their four-game series with the Royals and have only allowed Kansas City to score a total of five runs. The Royals have only averaged 3.46 runs per game this season and are a great matchup to continue to attack until they start to hit better. Chatwood has been extremely sharp in his first two outings and would deserve consideration in just about any matchup at this point, but is especially attractive against the Royals. He has allowed just one run on six hits in 12 and two thirds against the Pirates and Brewers while striking out 19 and posting 28.5 and 38.0 DKFP in those two outings. He has had some control issues in the past but now seems dialed in and ready to continue to produce big games, especially in great matchups like this one.
Other Options — Carlos Carrasco ($9,800), Luis Castillo ($9,500)
Nate Pearson, TOR at ATL, $7,300 — Pearson was the Blue Jays’ No. 1 prospect in 2019 according to MLB Pipeline and had success at three levels in the minors, going 5-4 with a 2.30 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old righty was impressive in his MLB debut last week, allowing just two hits and two walks to the Nationals while striking out five in five innings and finishing with 18.9 DKFP in a no-decision. Toronto’s canceled series resulted in a longer than normal wait for Pearson’s next turn, but the wait is over Thursday. He’ll take the mound against the Braves in a tough matchup, but he has shown he has huge upside and potential. It should be fun to watch him continue to develop, so get him at an affordable salary while you still can. One further note, there is a chance of rain in this game, so keep a close eye on that as we approach game time.
Other Option — Jordan Montgomery ($7,800), Wade LeBlanc ($6,600)
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J.T. Realmuto, PHI vs. NYY, $4,700 — Now that the Phillies are back, Realmuto is back in the mix as one of the top backstop bats to consider. He is especially productive against lefties like Jordan Montgomery, who will start for the Yankees. Last season, he went 40-for-145 (.276) against southpaws with an .847 OPS. He sat the second game of yesterday’s double-header and has started the season 6-for-20 (.300) with a pair of home runs in his first five games.
Other Options — Travis d’Arnaud ($4,900), Willson Contreras ($4,500)
James McCann, CWS vs. MIL, $3,700 — McCann and Yasmani Grandal ($4,800) could both be in the lineup regularly moving forward if DH Edwin Encarnacion ($4,000; shoulder) is unable to return for a while after leaving Tuesday’s game with left shoulder soreness. McCann slid behind the plate while Grandal played DH on Wednesday, but McCann went 0-for-3 as the White Sox’ offense struggled in a 1-0 loss. McCann has already flashed his power potential with a pair of home runs this season and is 5-for-18 (.278) overall with three RBI and an average of just under 10 DKFP per contest. If he’s in the lineup again, he’s worth consideration as the White Sox take on Josh Lindblom ($5,300).
Other Options — Martín Maldonado ($3,100), Manny Piña ($2,800)
Yuli Gurriel, HOU at ARI, $4,600 — Gurriel continues to be a steady producer in the heart of Houston’s order and has started the season 12-for-42 (.286) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI and seven walks. He has produced 8.5 DKFP per game with at least six DKFP in each of his past six games, including each of his first two contests at Chase Field, where he and the Astros will take on Zac Gallen ($8,900) in the series finale on Thursday.
Other Options — Anthony Rizzo ($5,000), José Abreu ($4,800)
Luke Voit, NYY at PHI, $3,900 — Voit has already hit four home runs in just nine games this season. He also has struck out 12 times, but there’s no penalty for striking out in standard DraftKings scoring. He does remain boom-or-bust but has a 1.012 OPS that has resulted in 8.9 DKFP per game. He and the Yankees have a good matchup against Zach Eflin ($6,900), who will be making his season debut after giving up 28 home runs in 32 games last season and posting a 10-13 record and 4.13 ERA.
Other Options — Renato Núñez ($4,100), Travis Shaw ($3,100)
Ketel Marte, ARI vs. HOU, $5,000 — Marte is off to a strong start this season, going 13-for-39 (.333) over his past 10 games with three doubles, a home run and 7.4 DKFP per game. He went 3-for-5 with a double to help the D-Backs rally to a 14-7 win on Wednesday and gets a matchup today against Astros’ rookie Brandon Bielak ($7,500) in what is expected to be a bullpen game.
Other Option — Keston Hiura ($4,900), DJ LeMahieu ($4,500)
Jason Kipnis, CHC at KC, $2,800 — With right-hander Brad Keller ($6,400) making his season debut for the Royals, Kipnis will likely return to the Cubs’ lineup after sitting out Wednesday. In his first five games with his new team, the National League seems to agree with Kipnis, who has gone 6-for-14 (.429) with a pair of home runs and 11.4 DKFP per game. While that pace isn’t likely sustainable, he offers some solid power potential at a good salary in a plus matchup, so go with the veteran 2B in this one.
Other Options — Hanser Alberto ($3,900), Freddy Galvis ($3,200)
Gio Urshela, NYY at PHI, $4,800 — Urshela isn’t one of the biggest names in the Yankees’ lineup but still has been one of their steadiest producers through his first 10 games this season. He already has three home runs and is 11-for-33 (.333) with a 1.088 OPS and 10 RBI. He sat the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader but went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the second game.
Other Options — Alex Bregman ($5,600), Yoan Moncada ($4,400)
Jean Segura, PHI vs. NYY, $3,100 — Segura did have a down season last year in Philadelphia but continued to hit better against lefties. He has started this season slow as well, going just 4-for-22 (.182) with two walks and no extra-base hits, but a matchup with Montgomery may be what he needs to turn things around. Segura was a .304 hitter just two seasons ago in Seattle and thrived with an .803 OPS against southpaws in that year. He hasn’t shown that form over the past season in Philly, but that’s why he’s such an affordable play on this slate.
Other Option — Ryon Healy ($3,900), Eduardo Escobar ($3,800)
Bo Bichette, TOR at ATL, $4,600 — Despite the Blue Jays’ stop-and-start beginning of the season, Bichette has seemed to find his groove lately with multiple hits in three of his four most recent games and double-digit DKFP in each of those three contests. He was successful in his first stolen base attempt of the season on Wednesday in Atlanta while going 2-for-4 to bring his season total to 8-for-29 (.276) with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. Toronto should be in a good spot against Touki Toussaint ($8,300), who has struggled with efficiency and walks in his first two appearances of the season.
Other Options — Gleyber Torres ($4,700), Carlos Correa ($4,400)
José Iglesias, BAL at MIA, $3,300 — The normally light-hitting, slick-fielding SS has started the season on a nice roll, going 11-for-24 (.458) with six doubles. He was sidelined by a quad injury for a few games but was able to play both parts of Wednesday’s doubleheader. He and the Orioles will take on Jordan Yamamoto ($8,400), who had backwards splits last year, dominating lefties (.152 average and .577 OPS) but being more vulnerable against righties (.223 with a .703 OPS).
Other Option — Didi Gregorius ($3,700), Leury García ($3,000)
Aaron Judge, NYY at PHI, $5,300 — Judge has started the season on an absolute tear and connected on his seventh home run of the year yesterday against the Phillies despite the fact that he has only played 11 games. He is 13-for-42 (.310) overall with a crazy 1.227 OPS and 17 RBI. He homered in five straight games earlier this season and is still locked in and ready to roll as the Yankees visit the Phillies for this contest.
Other Options — Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,500), Nick Castellanos ($4,500), Brian Anderson ($4,400)
Eloy Jiménez, CWS vs. MIL, $3,900 — While the other White Sox youngsters have been getting most of the attention early in the season, don’t forget that Jiménez is only 23 years old and is still settling into his spot in the heart of the Chicago order. He hit .267 with an .828 OPS last season and has been even better in his first 10 games this year, going 11-for-37 (.297) with three home runs already and a .936 OPS. Jiménez brings nice power potential for under $4K against the Brewers as the White Sox try to get back in the groove after yesterday’s shutout.
Other Options — Luis Robert ($4,200), Teoscar Hernández ($4,100), Mike Tauchman ($2,600)
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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 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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