There are plenty of options to choose from in the sports world today, but don’t forget about baseball! Thursday’s main MLB slate starts at 7:05 p.m. ET and features six games. Let’s take a look at some of the top studs and values at each position to help you set your DraftKings lineups.
Shane Bieber, CLE at DET, $10,900 – It’s tough to look past Bieber at pitcher today. He’s been amazing this season, posting a 1.53 ERA, and he has one of the best possible matchups vs. the Tigers. They rank just 27th in wRC+ vs. right-handers and have also posted the highest strikeout rate. Combine that with Bieber’s unreal K/9 of 14.2 this season and he possesses nearly unlimited upside.
Bieber also leads the slate with an opponent implied team total of 2.8 runs, and he’s also a massive -279 favorite. He checks literally every box that you look for in a pitcher.
Other Options – Aaron Nola ($10,100), Framber Valdez ($9,200)
Seth Lugo, NYM at PHI, $7,100 – Lugo spent most of the past two seasons coming out of the bullpen, but the Mets have asked him to start given their deficiency in their rotation this season. He has filled that role admirably, allowing one earned run or fewer in three of his first four outings.
He is coming off his worst start in his last game, where he allowed three earned runs vs. the Blue Jays over just 5.1 innings. That said, his 1.88 FIP was significantly lower than his 5.06 ERA, which suggests he got unlucky. Lugo has already racked up 25 strikeouts over just 17.0 innings as a starter, so he has plenty of upside in that department, as well.
Lugo has a tough pitching matchup today vs. Nola, but the Phillies are merely average vs. right-handed pitchers. The Mets may not give him a ton of run support, but he should be able to limit the Phillies offense.
Other Options – Dakota Hudson ($8,200), Masahiro Tanaka ($7,800)
Will Smith, LAD at COL, $4,600 – The Dodgers will be taking their potent offense on the road to Coors field today. That is obviously a good thing for their fantasy value since Coors has historically been the most hitter-friendly park in baseball. The combination of elevation and a massive outfield typically leads to oodles of offense, and the Dodgers’ implied team total of 6.8 runs is the top mark on the slate by a full run.
Smith is not all that expensive for a No. 5 hitter at Coors Field, and he will have the splits advantage vs. left-hander Kyle Freeland ($6,400). Freeland has managed a K/9 of just 4.28 vs. right-handed batters in Coors this season, so Smith should be able to put a few balls in play at a bare minimum. He’s posted a wRC+ of 202 in a small sample size of at bats vs. southpaws in 2020, so that’s a good combination for success.
Other Options – Gary Sanchez ($4,200)
Yadier Molina, STL at PIT, $3,300 – Molina is not the same player that he was during his prime, but he can still get the job done vs. left-handed pitchers. He’s posted a .400 wOBA and .222 ISO vs. southpaws over the past 12 months, and he’ll be taking on a pretty mediocre left-hander today in Steven Brault ($5,900). Brault has pitched to a 5.06 ERA in 2020, and he’s posted a 5.23 xFIP vs. right-handed batters, in particular.
Other Options – Roberto Perez ($2,700), Elias Diaz ($2,500)
Paul Goldschmidt, STL at PIT, $4,600 – First base is pretty loaded on today’s slate. The Dodgers have two options in Cody Bellinger ($5,700) and Max Muncy ($5,200), and Luke Voit ($4,900) has absolutely torn the cover off the ball this season. All three guys are solid plays at their current price tags.
That said, Goldschmidt is my favorite option at the position. He benefits from the same elite matchup as Molina, and he’s posted an incredible .544 wOBA and .407 ISO vs. southpaws over the past 12 months. Goldschmidt is someone who has historically destroyed left-handed pitching, so those numbers don’t stand out as outliers, either.
Other Options – Cody Bellinger ($5,700), Max Muncy ($5,200), Luke Voit ($4,900)
Rangel Ravelo, STL at PIT, $3,300 – Let’s keep rolling with the Cardinals’ right-handed bats. Ravelo hasn’t seen a ton of playing time this season, but he’ll bat eighth this evening for St. Louis. Ravelo has also posted a 160 wRC+ in 13 plate appearances vs. left-handers, so he has some upside in this matchup.
Other Options – Carlos Santana ($3,600), Alec Bohm ($2,800)
D.J. LeMahieu, NYY vs. TOR, $5,400 – The Yankees’ offense has been red hot recently. They’ve won seven-straight games, and they exploded for at least 13 runs in each of the past two days. It’s also possible they could be a bit overlooked today given the presence of the Dodgers.
LeMahieu stands out as an excellent option at the top of the Yankees’ lineup, and he’s scored 39.0 DKFP in each of his past two games.
Other Options – Cavan Biggio ($4,700), Cesar Hernandez ($4,200)
Jose Altuve, HOU vs. TEX, $3,600 – It has been a disappointing season for Altuve. He’s posted a wRC+ of just 70, which is the worst mark of his entire career. Considering what happened during the offseason, it’s definitely fair to question how valid all his results from the past few season actually are.
That said, he has been a bit better during September, posting a wRC+ of 106. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s a big increase from his marks early in the year. Altuve also has an excellent matchup vs. Jordan Lyles ($6,600), who has pitched to a 7.80 ERA and 6.14 FIP in 2020.
Other Options – Garrett Hampson ($3,300), Adam Frazier ($3,000)
Justin Turner, LAD at COL, $5,000 – Turner stands out as one of the Dodgers’ best options on Thursday. Not only will he occupy a premium spot in the lineup, he’ll also have the splits advantage vs. Freeland as a right-handed batter. Turner has struggled a bit in those matchups this season, but posted a 142 wRC+ vs. southpaws in 2019.
Other Options – Alex Bregman ($5,100)
Ke’Bryan Hayes, PIT vs. STL, $3,100 – Hayes entered the year as the Pirates No. 2 prospect and the No. 41 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. He’s now playing with the big club and is already occupying the coveted third spot in the lineup. He’s gotten off to an excellent start at the major league level, posting a .381 wOBA and 141 wRC+ over 50 plate appearances. If he can continue to produce at that level, he won’t be $3.1K for much longer.
Other Options – Tommy Edman ($4,200), Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($3,600)
Trevor Story, COL vs. LAD, $5,500 – The Rockies will likely be the contrarian side of Coors Field today. Their implied team total of 5.4 runs is significantly lower than the Dodgers, and they have a tough matchup vs. Julio Urias ($8,600).
That makes Story a very appealing option. He absolutely demolishes left-handed pitching, and he’s posted a .473 wOBA and .322 ISO in those matchups over the past 12 months. Urias is good, but Story is definitely better.
Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($5,700), Corey Seager ($5,300)
Paul DeJong, STL at PIT, $3,900 – The Cardinals are one of the strongest and cheapest stacks on today’s slate. DeJong is another potential option to consider, especially if he moves up to the No. 2 spot in the order. The Cardinals have been playing without their usual leadoff hitter Kolten Wong recently, which has allowed the rest of the lineup to slide up a couple spots.
Other Options – Gleyber Torres ($4,200)
Mookie Betts, LAD at COL, $6,000 – Betts is the most expensive hitting option on the slate, but it’s hard to argue against him in this matchup. He’s been a monster vs. left-handed pitching throughout his career, and he’s historically averaged 10.1 DKFP in those matchups. He’s never faced a southpaw in Coors Field, so it will be fun to see what kind of damage he can do in Colorado.
Other Options – Clint Frazier ($4,300)
Ramiel Tapia, COL vs. LAD, $3,100 – Tapia is currently projected to occupy the leadoff spot in the Rockies’ lineup, which makes him a major anomaly at just $3.1K. Leadoff batters with comparable salaries have historically averaged 8.76 DKFP when playing at Coors, so he looks like one of the best pure values on the slate. He will be on the wrong side of his splits vs. Urias, but this is simply too good of a price tag to pass up in cash games.
Other Options – Aaron Hicks ($3,600), Michael Brantley ($3,500)
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