This Thursday brings a wild mini-slate of three games for fantasy baseball on DraftKings. The action starts a little later than usual at 8:05 p.m. ET when the Royals take on the Rangers. The White Sox and Yankees get their four-game set underway in that same window before the Phillies visit the Dodgers in the nightcap at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Throughout the day, you can keep up with all the news and updates in the DK Live app and on Twitter, where you can follow DK Live (@dklive). I’ll also be hanging out on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where I’ll be happy to answer any questions about these picks, offer alternatives and highlight more bargain-specific content all season long.
Tyler Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($8,900) – The big question on this small slate is Chicago’s SP Dylan Cease ($10,000), who has the best numbers of any starter available but has a brutal matchup against the Yankees. In his two career starts against the Yankees, he has surrendered eight runs in 9 1⁄3 innings while striking out 12. While the strikeouts will cover some mistakes, the Yankees are too hot to pay $10K for Cease when it feels like it could go so wrong so quickly. Instead, I think it makes sense to go with Anderson, who is 3-0 in his first five starts with the Dodgers. He has managed to strike out 22 in 22 2⁄3 innings with a strong 2.55 ERA and 3.23 FIP. Like most of the Dodgers’ SP, he doesn’t go quite as deep as other starters, but he has posted over 15 DKFP in three of his past four starts. Against a lefty-heavy Phillies lineup, he should put together a strong start and is much less risky than taking on the newest version of the Bronx Bombers.
Other Options – Dylan Cease ($10,000)
Taylor Hearn, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals ($6,400) – Of the three cheaper options, Hearn is the most reliable play. Luis Gil ($7,200) and Jonathan Heasley ($5,200) have both been getting knocked around in Triple-A and will be making their first MLB start of the year, while in contrast, Hearn is coming off his best start of the year in which he totaled 19.1 DKFP in a five-inning outing against the Braves. The lefty allowed four hits and two runs while striking out a season-high six. The Royals have one of the worst offenses in the Majors with a league-worst 84 runs scored over their 28 games and a .218 team batting average. Hearn doesn’t have elite stuff or a sky-high ceiling, but he does have a favorable matchup and has produced 24 strikeouts in 20 2⁄3 innings, so he’s a solid play at under $6.5K.
Other Option – Zack Wheeler ($8,000)
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees ($5,200) – Anderson has been on an impressive role and hits atop a potent lineup in a good matchup against Gil (more below). He’s hitting .347 on the season and .429 over his past 10 games with three doubles, two home runs, two stolen bases and a .484 wOBA over that 10-game span resulting in 11.6 DKFP per game. He has at least nine DKFP in four straight and got an unexpected day off after yesterday’s game had to be canceled. While the Yankees’ lineup is always dangerous, the White Sox should be ready to make a statement with a powerful lineup of their own starting with Anderson at the top.
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($5,000) – Freeman is hitting .315 with a .194 ISO and .400 wOBA in his first 29 games with the Dodgers. He has hit safely in six of his past seven starts with five doubles and a triple, but he hasn’t hit a home run since April 24. He still has been very productive and usually hits in a premium lineup spot, giving him both a high floor and a high ceiling. He is 14-for-34 (.412) with a home run and .452 wOBA in his previous career meetings with Zack Wheeler ($8,000), so he’s a solid pay-up play at 1B in a familiar matchup.
Other Options – Corey Seager ($4,800), Salvador Perez ($4,800)
Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,800) – Hoskins may be sad to leave Seattle after homering in each of the three games in the Phillies’ series against the Mariners and totaling 59 DKFP in those three contests. On the season, Hoskins is still hitting only .222 but does have a .333 wOBA and five home runs. Four of those home runs have come in his past nine games, and he has a .278 average with a .425 wOBA over that stretch. He also has hit better against lefties like Anderson with a .385 career wOBA against southpaws.
Brad Miller, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals ($2,600) – While Miller’s .217 batting average doesn’t scream that he’s a tremendous leadoff option, the Rangers have been using him in the top spot in their order against righties, and he actually brings nice upside at such an affordable price. Miller has four home runs and three stolen bases this season with a .281 wOBA despite a .229 BABIP. As that regresses to the mean of about .300, Miller could be a solid option. He has hit safely in three straight games in which he has batted, and he has two of his home runs and four RBIs over that short stretch.
Other Options – Bobby Witt Jr. ($3,700), Alec Bohm ($3,500)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox ($5,700) – Judge is the only hitter on this slate averaging over 10 DKFP per game on the season, and he has been even better lately with an average of 12.1 DKFP per game over his 10 most recent contests. Seven of his 10 home runs have come in his 13 most recent contests, and he is hitting .315 with a .407 ISO, .474 wOBA and 71.4% hard-hit rate over that span. Judge is anchoring a devastating Yankees offense right now, and he’s fully locked in at the plate, making him worth considering paying up for on any slate.
Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees ($4,700) – Robert has also been in the zone and comes into his weekend series against the Yankees riding a nine-game hitting streak. During that streak, he has five multi-hit games and has gone 15-for-37 (.405) with two home runs and a .467 wOBA. He stole a base on Tuesday which is a good sign that his legs are healthy again. It was his sixth theft of the season, but his first since April 16. He brings that speed component that Judge lacks and still brings good power potential to a good matchup against Gil.
Other Options – Mookie Betts ($5,600), Nick Castellanos ($4,400)
Gavin Sheets, Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees ($3,600) – Sheets showed his power potential last year with 11 homers and a .256 ISO in his 54 games with Chicago, and the big lefty has homered in each of his two most recent contests, bringing his ISO up to .147 in the early going this season. He is only hitting .213 but also has a below-average .236 BABIP, which could be due for some positive regression. Sheets provides pop in the middle of a good White Sox lineup, and getting him under $4K in this matchup is a good deal, especially since he can be used at 1B or OF.
Nick Solak, Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals ($2,700) – On bigger slates, Solak doesn’t get much attention. Still, with limited options, he is worth a look under $3K since he has been playing better lately and usually finds ways to produce points. He is hitting only .226 but has three stolen bases and a pair of home runs. Two of those stolen bases came on Tuesday in the first game of this series when he had 22 DKFP. The righty has done almost all of his hitting at home, where he has a .298 wOBA to go with all of his steals. He makes good enough contact to be the least risky punt play in the OF and does bring interesting upside in this matchup as well.
Other Options – Aaron Hicks ($3,100), Kole Calhoun ($2,500)
TEAMS TO STACK
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees – Stacking the Yankees always seems to pay off, but in this matchup, I actually think stacking against them is a better play. While New York will have to take on Cease, the White Sox face unproven Luis Gil ($7,200). You might remember Gil from a few electric outings last year, and that potential is definitely still there. He hasn’t shown it lately, though, allowing five runs in 7 1⁄3 innings in Spring Training and going 0-3 with 19 runs allowed in 17 innings over five starts in Triple-A this season. Three of the five home runs he has given up with the Rail Riders have been to lefties, who are hitting .278 against him on the year. Anderson and Robert (highlighted above) are the White Sox two hottest hitters right now, and I like the power potential of lefty Gavin Sheets (also highlighted above). Yoan Moncada ($4,000), José Abreu ($4,700) and Yasmani Grandal ($4,500) are also mid-range plays that can help round out a nice stack against Gil.
Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals – Saying to stack the Dodgers or Yankees would be the easy option here, but there are only so many high-priced stacks you can build around. Instead, check out the value potential in building around the Rangers. This game and the White Sox-Yankees matchup have the same over/under coming into the day on DraftKings Sportsbook, so there’s definitely potential for some offense. The Royals are calling up Jonathan Heasley for this start. He’s gone 1-0 in his six starts at Triple-A this season but has a 4.44 ERA. He struggled in three starts in the Majors last season, posting a 4.91 ERA and allowing righties to post a .454 wOBA against him. I highlighted Miller and Solak as cheap plays above, and you could also add in Marcus Semien ($3,800), Corey Seager ($4,800) and even Jonah Heim ($4,600), who provides nice middle-of-the-order power potential from behind the plate. The Rangers are cheap enough to actually blend in with either the Yankees, White Sox or Dodgers and create a nice double-stack for Thursday night.
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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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