Thursday features a seven-game main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
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Jacob deGrom, New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves ($11,500) – deGrom looked mortal in his last outing. He allowed two earned runs over six innings and he also managed just five strikeouts. It was his first start all year where he allowed multiple earned runs, and the first start where he posted a K/9 of less than 10.5.
Still, deGrom is in the midst of quite possibly the best pitching season in the modern history of baseball. He’s pitched to a 0.69 ERA and 14.08 K/9, and his advanced metrics are extremely favorable as well. deGrom currently owns an ERA+ of 554 – which measures a pitcher’s ERA relative to the league average – which would shatter the previous record of 291.
There’s no reason not to go back to the well with deGrom on Thursday. His opponent’s implied team total of 3.1 runs is tied for the lowest mark on the slate, and the Braves have posted the eighth-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers.
Other Options – None
Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates ($9,200) – As much as I love deGrom, you could make the argument that Burnes is the stronger option on tonight’s slate. He’s considerably cheaper, and he owns one of the best possible matchups vs. the Pirates. They rank 28th in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers, giving Burnes the best Vegas data on the slate: 3.1 opponent implied team total, -239 moneyline odds.
The only area where Burnes can’t match deGrom is strikeout upside. Burnes is an excellent strikeout pitcher – he’s posted a 13.86 K/9 this season – but the Pirates have been one of the toughest teams to strike out.
Other Options – Ian Anderson ($7,100), Wil Crowe ($5,600)
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Bat Flip [$50K to 1st]
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies ($4,200) – The Cardinals head to Coors Field on Thursday, which obviously puts them in play from a DFS perspective. They’re currently implied for 5.7 runs vs. Antonio Senzatela ($5,100), which is the top mark on the slate.
Molina is pretty affordable for a catcher at Coors Field, especially considering his spot in the lineup. He’s typically much more appealing against left-handers than right-handers, but he’s still capable of holding his own in these matchups.
Other Options – Tyler Stephenson ($4,100), Will Smith ($4,000)
Jason Castro, Houston Astros @ Cleveland Indians ($2,200) – Castro is basically priced at the minimum, but that undersells the type of hitter that he is. He’s posted a 141 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers this season, which is an excellent mark for a catcher. The fact that he plays for the Astros helps too, since they’re currently implied for 4.9 runs.
Other Options – Daulton Varsho ($2,800), Alex Avila ($2,500)
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies ($4,500) – Let’s stick with the Cardinals. Goldschmidt is having a bit of a down year at the dish, but he’s still an above-average hitter in terms of wRC+. He has also heated up as the season has progressed, increasing his wRC+ to 133 during June. He’s expected to bat second tonight for the Cardinals, which makes him too cheap at Coors Field.
Other Options – Yuli Gurriel ($5,000), C.J. Cron ($4,800)
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals ($3,100) – Pujols has played a much larger role for the Dodgers than anyone was expecting. He’s expected to hit cleanup Thursday vs. left-hander Patrick Corbin ($8,100), who has been crushed by RHB this season. They’ve posted a .366 wOBA, and Corbin has pitched to a 5.89 FIP in that matchup. Pujols is obviously not the same hitter that he was in his prime, but he’s still posted an outstanding 181 wRC+ against southpaws this season.
Other Options – LaMonte Wade Jr. ($4,100), Keston Hiura ($3,200)
Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres ($4,500) – India has had an impressive debut season for the Reds. He’s been at his best vs. left-handed pitchers, posting a 131 wRC+, and he’ll be facing a southpaw tonight in Ryan Weathers ($6,700). Weathers has pitched to a 5.21 FIP against right-handed batters this season, and he’s also allowed an average of 1.71 homers per nine innings in that split. India can find success in this matchup.
Other Options – Jose Altuve ($5,400), Chris Taylor ($4,200)
Jeff McNeil, New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves ($3,000) – The Mets’ offense has been a disaster this season, but they are starting to get a bit healthier. McNeil is back in the lineup, and he should be in his usual leadoff spot Thursday vs. Ian Anderson ($7,100). He hasn’t really gotten going yet this season, but he posted a 141 wRC+ against right-handers last year. I’m willing to buy low on him.
Other Options – Josh Rojas ($3,600), Josh Harrison ($2,800)
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies ($5,500) – Arenado is always in play at Coors Field, although this will be his first trip to the venue as an opposing player. Just in case you needed a reminder, Arenado averaged just under 40 homers a year during a five-year stretch with the Rockies from 2015 through 2019, and he added at least 130 RBIs in three of those seasons. He should enjoy this homecoming.
Other Options – Justin Turner ($5,300), José Ramírez ($5,100; questionable)
Editor’s Note: Rays 3B Eugenio Suárez is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Padres.
Eugenio Suárez, Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres ($4,000) – The Reds have a host of lefty-killers in their lineup, including Suárez. He’s had a disastrous year at the dish, but his advanced metrics suggest he’s due for some positive regression. He’s actually posted a higher barrel rate this season than he did in 2019 when he launched a career-best 49 homers.
Other Options – Josh Fuentes ($3,500), Abraham Toro ($3,000)
Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5,900) – Most of the attention at Coors Field will be placed on the Cardinals, but the Rockies have some appeal as well. They’re taking on Adam Wainwright ($8,400), who has turned back the clock in 2021. His overall numbers are solid, but he has struggled to a dreadful 6.31 ERA on the road. He’s allowed more than two homers per nine innings in those outings, which could spell trouble in the high altitude.
Story has not had the season he was hoping for heading into free agency, but he’s still posted solid numbers at Coors. He’s racked up a .378 wOBA vs. right-handers at home this season, so he’s worth consideration in this matchup.
Other Options – Fernando Tatis Jr. ($6,000), Trea Turner ($5,300; questionable)
Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies ($3,400) – Shortstop is not an appealing position from a value perspective. DeJong is expected to bat eighth for the Cardinals – which is far from ideal – but he has historically posted solid numbers against right-handed pitchers. That’s enough to make him a viable target at Coors.
Other Options – Amed Rosario ($3,600), Kyle Farmer ($3,000)
Kyle Schwarber, Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($5,500) – Do you feel lucky punk? Do ya? That’s the question you have to ask yourself, if you’re fading Schwarber at the moment. The guy is hotter than the Sun, launching 12 homers in his last 11 games. He had a rare homer-less game on Wednesday, but he’ll be on the positive side of his splits tonight vs. Tony Gonsolin ($8,800). Gonsolin is a quality starter, but Schwarber has the edge against every pitcher in baseball with the way he’s swinging the bat currently.
Other Options – Mookie Betts ($5,600), Charlie Blackmon ($5,400)
Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals @ Colorado Rockies ($3,800) – This one doesn’t require a ton of explanation. Carlson is cheap, playing in Coors Field, and expected to bat leadoff for the team with the highest implied team total on the slate. He’s a lock for cash games, and he has plenty of upside for GPPs, as well.
Other Options – Alex Dickerson ($3,800), Yonathan Daza ($3,200)
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $200K Bat Flip [$50K to 1st]
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