On Thursday night, Major League Baseball gets a little bit of an early start with a pair of games getting underway at 6:40 p.m. ET. Those matchups, between the Phillies and the Marlins of the NL East and the Red Sox and the Rays of the AL East, start off a six-game main slate on DraftKings for Thursday night that features nothing but divisional foes. There’s a pretty substantial threat of rain in New York for the Orioles-Yankees game, but the rest of the slate looks dry and good-to-go from a weather perspective.
As you put together your DraftKings squad for Thursday, there are some key matchups to focus on and others to avoid. Based on current form, matchup and expected opportunity, I’ve selected my favorite value plays and studs at each position in this post. As always, make sure to stay locked in to @DKLive on Twitter throughout the day and check the latest news in the DK Live app for any breaking news that should impact your roster.
Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, $8,800 — The big-salary arms are high-risk due to weather or matchup, so I actually like paying down at pitcher and stocking up on big bats on this limited slate. May is a solid option at under $9K against Arizona, and he has been pretty consistent in his rookie year with the Dodgers. May has allowed two runs or fewer in every one of his eight starts but has only gone 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 40 2⁄3 innings. His strikeout totals were much better in the minors, but they just haven’t translated to this point. He still makes sense, though, with a solid lineup in a favorable matchup behind him, and his proven ability to put together strong outings even if they aren’t extremely dominant and strikeout-filled.
Other Options — Sonny Gray ($9,600)
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies, $6,600 — The Marlins gave up 29 runs yesterday, so there’s plenty of room for improvement as they give the ball to Alcantara for their series-opener against the Phillies. Alcantara has been limited to three starts this season due to a bout with COVID-19, and he has looked great in two of them. He made his season debut against these same Phillies and posted 28 DKFP while allowing just one earned run and striking out seven in six and two-thirds innings. He fanned a season-high eight in his most recent outing on his way to 27.9 DKFP against the Rays. The start in between those two good outings was a -2.4 DKFP disaster against the Rays, but he has shown enough to be the option with the most upside on this limited slate that doesn’t have a lot of viable options.
Other Options — Adbert Alzolay ($7,700), Josh Fleming ($5,900)
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Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, $4,200 — Smith has been starting to find his rhythm at the plate after a slow start and had gone 2-for-4 with a home run in back-to-back games before going 0-for-3 but with two walks and 4.0 DKFP on Wednesday. Smith now has four of his six home runs this season in his past 10 games and has averaged 11.1 DKFP over that stretch with a very impressive 1.171 OPS. The Dodgers will be a good lineup to get exposure to against Madison Bumgarner ($7,200), so either Smith or Austin Barnes ($3,000) makes sense if he’s in the starting lineup.
Other Options — Austin Nola ($4,900), Willson Contreras ($4,600)
Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres, $3,300 — Bart has become a regular in the Giants’ lineup and a solid value play just about every day since being called up at the end of August. The Giants’ top prospect has gone 12-for-29 (.414) over his past eight games with a triple, four RBI and an average of 8.6 DKFP per contest. He has hit safely in seven straight starts with at least five DKFP in each of those outings. He and the Giants could be a sneaky stack to check out against Chris Paddack ($8,300), who has struggled with a 4.75 ERA this season and has given up 10 home runs in nine starts.
Other Options — Christian Vázquez ($3,800), Daulton Varsho ($2,300)
Mike Brosseau, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, $4,700 — Brosseau usually gets into the lineup against left-handed starting pitchers like Mike Kickham ($5,700). He is hitting .351 against southpaws this season with four home runs and a 1.159 OPS. Brosseau has only had 11 at-bats in September but has already hit three home runs and continues to make the most of his limited specialized opportunities.
Other Options — Rhys Hoskins ($4,300)
Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, $3,200 — Dalbec has made a splash after arriving with the Red Sox for his MLB debut after the Mitch Moreland ($3,900) trade. He has already homered five times in his nine games and had a pair of home runs in Boston’s doubleheader on Tuesday, producing over 15 DKFP in four straight games. Dalbec and the Red Sox have a good matchup against Josh Fleming ($5,900) in what should be a high-scoring game in Tampa Bay.
Other Options — Christian Walker ($3,700), Mitch Moreland ($3,800)
Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs, $4,600 — Moustakas started the season red-hot but then went cold for a while. He has started to make good contact again lately with extra-base hits in five of his past six games. Moustakas is 7-for-32 (.304) with a double, two home runs and a 1.016 OPS in his 27 plate appearances against the Cubs this season.
Other Options — Donovan Solano ($4,300)
Kiké Hernández, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks, $3,500 — Even though he’s only hitting .231 on the season, Hernández has gone 5-for-12 in his past three games with a double, a home run and three RBI. He will most likely be in the lineup against the Diamondbacks on Thursday since he’ll be taking on Bumgarner, who he has gone an amazing 25-for-50 (.500) with six doubles and four home runs against in their past meetings. Even if you’re not normally a fan of BvP, Hernández is a very cheap way to get a ton of upside since he has such a massive sample size of success against his expected opponent.
Other Options — Michael Chavis ($3,600)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants, $5,700 — If you’ve got the salary to spend up, Machado continues to be a reliable source of offense in the middle of the Padres’ lineup. He is hitting .306 on the season with a dozen home runs. He has been especially productive at Petco Park, where he has gone 28-for-78 (.359) with nine of his 12 home runs and a 1.252 OPS.
Other Options — Eugenio Suárez ($4,600), Evan Longoria ($4,400)
Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $3,300 — Anderson has collected multiple hits in back-to-back games and has averaged 14.5 DKFP per game in those two contests. He has averaged 8.8 DKFP per game in his past eight starts and has nice upside as a middle-of-the-order bat against Jake Arrieta ($6,800) and the Phillies.
Other Option — Eduardo Escobar ($3,900), Alec Bohm ($3,000)
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants, $6,000 — Like Machado, Tatis has also been in full beast mode and helped push the Padres into serious contention in the National League. He is hitting .303 on the season with 15 home runs, eight stolen bases and a 1.039 OPS. He had at least seven DKFP in eight of his past 10 contests and has averaged 13.2 DKFP per contest over that span.
Other Options — Xander Bogaerts ($4,600), Chris Taylor ($4,200)
Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies, $3,400 — A little bit like his starting pitcher, Rojas has had his season interrupted by COVID-19 but has also had success when available. He has hit .354 in his 21 games with a .994 OPS and has picked up at least one hit in eight of his past nine starts. He has gone 5-for-14 with a pair of doubles and a home run against Arrieta in their past meetings, so Rojas should be a nice cheap play, especially if he’s near the top of the batting order.
Other Options — Willy Adames ($3,800), Josh Rojas ($2,900)
Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres, $5,300 — After joining the Giants last season, Yastrzemski has quickly developed into a centerpiece of the Giants’ lineup. Over his past 10 games, he has gone 13-for-41 (.317) with a stolen base, a double, a triple and a pair of home runs for an average of 10.1 DKFP per contest. In this matchup, he will try to stay hot against Paddack and the Padres, and Paddack has specifically struggled against left-handed hitters, who are hitting .284 off him with an .860 OPS.
Other Options — Mookie Betts ($5,700), Ian Happ ($4,600)
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,200 — Arozarena was included in a trade from the Cardinals along with José Martinez, who the Rays recently traded away in a separate deal. Arozarena has been impressive as a dual-threat power and speed option since joining the team, going 8-for-20 (.400) with four home runs and a stolen base, producing 10.9 DKFP per contest.
Other Options — Jesse Winker ($3,900), Corey Dickerson ($3,000)
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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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