Here’s a look at some of my favorite DFS plays for Thursday’s action. For additional picks across all MLB games, find me on Twitter @Nick_Friar.
For the latest lineup and injury updates all season long, follow @dklive on Twitter.
Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves @ San Diego Padres ($9,300) - If you’re looking for strikeout potential, look not further than the Padres. Through 30 1/3 innings against starting pitchers, San Diego hitters have struck out 36 times. Twenty-two of those frames have come against right-handed pitchers, who have racked up 26 strikeouts in that span. Morton, of course, has the ability to go on a strikeout frenzy. Additionally, most of San Diego’s lineup has either previously struggled against the Atlanta right-hander or they haven’t seen much of him — Jurickson Profar ($2,700) being the lone exception.
Other Options – Walker Buehler ($9,700)
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs ($6,000) – The Cubs did pretty well against that intimidating Milwaukee pitching staff to open the season. Then they only put up two runs in back-to-back games vs. the Pirates, thus leading us to where we stand now. Freeland didn’t do so hot in his first start of the season, but he still punched out six in a mere 3 2/3 innings. And similar to Morton vs. San Diego, this is a lineup that hasn’t seen much of Freeman, which generally plays into a pitcher’s favor.
Other Options – Zack Greinke ($6,800)
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,600) – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,900) stole the show on Wednesday, but Perez was all the rage on Tuesday. After going homerless in KC’s first series, the catcher went yard twice vs. the Cardinals. Now he’s facing Casey Mize ($7,100), who he’s torched more than once before. Perez is 7-for-15 with a double and home run against the right-hander — both extra-base hits coming last season.
Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels @ Texas Rangers ($4,600) – Dane Dunning ($6,400) didn’t exactly thrive vs. the Jays in his first start of the season, but that’s not exactly a shock. He’s far from a lights-out starter, making him a great opponent for Walsh. The first baseman posted a .994 OPS against right-handed pitching throughout 2021, launched 19 home runs to go with 30 doubles and a triple.
Other Options – Max Muncy ($4,300); Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,900)
Connor Joe, Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,400) – Colorado’s leadoff man has been busy in the early going, scoring in each of Colorado’s first five games. He also has a hit in four of those games, posting 15-plus DKFP three times. Joe also has two home runs and a double. While his two home runs came against right-handers, he did very well against left-handed pitching in his limited chance last season (.941 OPS), which is what the Rockies will face to begin things on Thursday.
Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves @ San Diego Padres ($3,900) – I’ve never been as high on Joe Musgrove ($7,600) as the majority. He’s not someone I’m typically itching to target, but he’s not exactly one to scare me off. And with shortstop being one of the thinner positions on Thursday’s slate, Swanson becomes one of my favorite targets of the day. He has a couple doubles so far, but he’s been slow out the gates. However, the Atlanta shortstop is in a bounce-back spot on Thursday against Musgrove. Swanson is 3-for-7 with two doubles and a home run against the San Diego righty. He’s also walked four times against Musgrove, further proving how well Swanson sees the ball out of the righty’s hand.
Other Options – Nicky Lopez ($3,600)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds ($5,300) – Betts is coming off his best 2022 performance yet, but we’re not simply hoping he follows up a strong Wednesday showing with another on Thursday. The leadoff man may have a hit in four of L.A.’s five games, but he’s only hitting .217 with a .554 OPS. He still has plenty of time to boost those numbers, and he’ll face an opener he’s 5-for-13 against to start Thursday’s game. And with Betts still homerless, he’s due to break out in a big way soon.
Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs ($4,400) – Speaking of homerless, Bryant has hit well for average to start his Rockies career and he does have three doubles. But everyone is expecting his home run numbers to take off in Coors. The Rockies return home on Thursday to take on a left-hander, which is Bryant’s specialty — even though he struggled in that regard when he joined San Francisco in 2021. Even still, he ended last season with a .910 OPS against lefties, and he was over the 1.000 mark in his two previous full-length MLB seasons.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($5,200)
Andrew Benintendi, Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,800) – Benintendi has hit Mize well in their few meetings, which isn’t exactly surprising. Detroit’s right-hander struggled against lefties last season. In 16 fewer plate appearances (31 fewer at-bats), left-handed hitters hit 10 more home runs, three more triples and two more doubles against Mize than right-handed hitters did throughout 2021. Lefties have only had seven chances against Mize this season, but he’s always given up a home run to one left-handed bat.
Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves ($2,700) – As much as I liek Morton a lot Thursday, Profar has seen him a fair amount and thrived. The outfielder is 5-for-13 with a double and home run against Atlanta’s Thursday SP. Also, aside from the game he entered late, Profar has a hit in each Padres contest this season — three of which have been for extra bases. At this price, he’s one of the better salary savers out there day-to-day.
Other Options – Connor Joe ($3,400); Adam Duvall ($3,800)
TEAM TO STACK
Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs – Although Justin Steele ($5,400) did well in his first start of 2022, it came against a Milwaukee lineup that struggled last season and hasn’t been particularly strong to start this one. Now he has to face a lineup that features a hot leadoff hitter in Joe and some power bats that hit lefties well in Bryant and C.J. Cron ($4,500), the latter of which had a .273 ISO vs. lefties 2021.
Other Options – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds; Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is dk-nfriar) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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