The NFL might be the main event on Thursday, but don’t forget about baseball! Today’s main slate starts at 6:40 p.m. ET and features six games to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the top studs and values at each position to help you set your DraftKings lineups.
Editor’s Note: Tonight’s game between the Orioles and the Yankees has been postponed due to rain.
Gerrit Cole, NYY vs. BAL, $10,300 – Cole has failed to live up to his massive expectations so far in his first year with the Yankees. He’s pitched to just a 4.66 FIP, thanks in part to an average of 2.25 HRs allowed per nine innings. He’s struggled in particular over his past three outings, racking up three losses while allowing at least four runs in each appearance. Still, Cole continues to do what he does best: rack up strikeouts. His mark of 12.12 strikeouts per nine innings isn’t quite as good as it was in Houston, but it’s still one of the better marks in the league. He racked up 10 strikeouts in his last outing, which also came against the Orioles. Baltimore has been better than expected offensively this season, but Cole still figures to dominate in this outing. He’s currently a massive -250 favorite on the DraftKings Sportsbook, and the Orioles’ implied team total of 3.6 runs is the second-lowest mark on the main slate.
Other Options – Sonny Gray ($9,600), Chris Paddack ($8,300)
Sandy Alcantara, MIA vs. PHI, $6,600 – This is a small slate, so there aren’t a ton of appealing value options to choose from. Pairing Cole with another one of the stud arms like Gray or Paddack definitely seems like the preferred strategy if you can afford it.
That said, Alcantara has some appeal at just $6,600 vs. the Phillies. They’ve been merely mediocre vs. right-handed pitchers this season, ranking 17th in wRC+, and Alcantara is capable of eating up innings. He’s coming off 101 pitches in his last outing, and while that may not seem like a lot, it’s actually pretty impressive considering his salary. Most starters just don’t get to throw that many pitches in 2020 unless they’re one of the best in the business. Alcantara has also recorded at least seven strikeouts in two of his first three starts, so he has some upside in that department as well.
Other Options – Trevor Cahill ($6,600), Josh Fleming ($5,900)
J.T. Realmuto, PHI at MIA, $4,400 – Realmuto has been arguably the best catcher in baseball this season. He’s posted a career-best 130 wRC+ through his first 154 plate appearances, including a 107 wRC+ in righty-righty matchups. He’s also expected to occupy the No. 4 spot in the lineup for the Phillies, and it’s hard to find a catcher with a premium spot in the batting order: only three of today’s projected starters at the position are expected to bat higher than sixth.
Other Options – Will Smith ($4,200)
Editor’s Note: Kevin Plawecki is not in tonight’s lineup vs. the Rays
Kevin Plawecki, BOS at TB, $2,800 – Plawecki has been out of the lineup since Sunday with a hand injury, but he’s expected to be back in the lineup tonight. That’s undoubtedly a good thing for DFS players. Plawecki will be on the positive side of his splits vs. Fleming, and Plawecki has absolutely dominated against left-handed pitchers this season. It’s a small sample size – he’s seen just 20 plate appearances vs. southpaws – but Plawecki has posted a 198 wRC+ in those matchups. He’s another catcher who is expected to bat fifth in the lineup, which makes him a very appealing target at just $2,800.
Other Options – Kevan Smith ($2,900), Daulton Varsho ($2,300)
Luke Voit, NYY vs. BAL, $5,200 – The Yankees grabbed Voit off the scrap heap a few years ago and turned him into one of the best hitters in baseball. He’s taking on Orioles left-hander Keegan Akin ($6,700), and Voit has posted a 158 wRC+ vs. southpaws this season. He’s launched five HRs over just 31 at bats, giving him an ISO of .484 in those matchups. The Yankees are expected to do some damage vs. Akin today – they’re currently implied for 5.5 runs – so expect Voit to get in on the action.
Other Options – Cody Bellinger ($5,800), Max Muncy ($5,300)
Mitch Moreland, SD vs. SF, $3,900 – Moreland was acquired by the Padres before the trade deadline to specifically for his ability to destroy right-handed pitching, and he’ll get to put that skill set on display tonight vs. Cahill. Moreland has posted a 179 wRC+ in those matchups this season, and he’s also posted a .395 ISO. The Padres have plenty of excellent right-handed batters, but Moreland really their only elite left-handed bat in the lineup. Cahill was destroyed by lefties last season, allowing them to compile a .389 wOBA.
Other Options – Joey Votto ($4,100), Jesus Aguilar ($3,100)
D.J. LeMahieu, NYY vs. BAL, $5,600 – If you can’t already tell, the Yankees are one of my favorite teams to target on today’s slate. Their right-handed batters in particular should be able to get to Akin, who has surrendered a .349 wOBA in those matchups this season. LeMahieu has also historically been at his best vs. southpaws, posting a 116 wRC+.
Enrique Hernandez, LAD at ARI, $3,500 – Hernandez is expected to bat eighth in the order tonight for the Dodgers, and targeting batters with such a poor spot in the lineup is typically not advised. That said, I’m making an exception for Hernandez. He’s taking on Madison Bumgarner ($7,200) who has been nothing short of a disaster this season. He’s pitched to an 8.44 ERA and 9.08 FIP, both of which are among the worst marks in the league for qualified starters. Hernandez is someone who has historically been at his best vs. left-handed pitchers, and the Dodgers lead the slate with an implied team total of 5.8 runs.
Other Options – Jean Segura ($3,800), Joey Wendle ($3,100)
Max Muncy, LAD at ARI, $5,300 – Muncy may not jump off the page in a lefty-lefty matchup vs. Bumgarner, but Muncy has actually been better vs. left-handers than right-handers this season. He’s posted a 138 wRC+ vs. southpaws, and he’s launched three HRs over just 45 at bats. He can definitely get to Bumgarner in this matchup.
Other Options – Manny Machado ($5,700), Mike Brosseau ($4,700)
Brian Anderson, MIA vs. PHI, $3,300 – The Marlins offense isn’t loaded with quality bats, but Anderson is one of the exceptions. He’s posted a 119 wRC+ this season, including a 125 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers. He’ll be facing a right-hander today in Jake Arrieta ($6,800), and Arrieta isn’t nearly the same pitcher that he was in his prime. He’s posted an ERA of 5.67 through his first seven starts, while his K/9 has dropped to career-low 6.75.
Other Options – Alec Bohm ($3,000)
Gleyber Torres, NYY vs. BAL, $4,900 – The next stop on our tour of the Yankees is Torres, who apparently is the real-life Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn. All he needed to fix his struggles this year was a pair of glasses. He went yard in his first at bat with his new frames, so maybe this will mark a turning point in his season. Regardless, Torres has been elite vs. southpaws over the past 12 months, posting a .451 wOBA and .375 ISO.
Other Options – Corey Seager ($5,300), Chris Taylor ($4,200)
Willy Adames, TB vs. BOS, $3,800 – Adames has quietly blossomed into an absolute beast vs. left-handed pitchers. He’s posted a .505 wOBA and .348 ISO vs. southpaws over the past 12 months, and he’s posted a 167 wRC+ in those matchups this season. He’ll be facing a left-hander today in Mike Kickham ($5,700), so he’s an excellent value at his current price tag.
Other Options – Didi Gregorius ($3,900), Josh Rojas ($2,900)
Mookie Betts, LAD at ARI, $5,700 – Expect the Dodgers to be the chalk option on today’s slate, and Mookie should be their highest-owned batter. He’s expensive at $5,700, but he has just so much upside vs. Bumgarner. MadBum has been abysmal vs. right-handed batters this season, surrendering a .451 wOBA, and Betts has historically been at his best vs. left-handed pitchers. Basically, this is a match made in DFS heaven.
Other Options – Trent Grisham ($4,800), Austin Meadows ($4,100)
Manuel Margot, TB vs. BOS, $3,100 – There are an abundance of quality value options in the OF position, but Margot stands out as the best of them. He’s projected to bat leadoff for the Rays at just $3,100. That’s cheap for virtually any leadoff hitter, let alone one with an implied team total of 5.6 runs. Margot isn’t an elite hitter by any stretch of the imagination, but he has posted a respectable 94 wRC+ vs. southpaws in 2020.
Other Options – Randy Arozarena ($3,200), 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 mlamarca) 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.