Thursday night brings a small fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings as three new series begin under the lights. The Mariners visit Fenway Park and take on the Red Sox in the first game of the evening. The slate continues at another historic venue when the Diamondbacks visit Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs, and the final game of the night features a Texas two-step when the Rangers roll into Houston to take on the Astros.
Throughout the day, you can keep up with all the news, lineups and updates in the DK Live app and by following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all of my content and let me know who your favorite plays of the day are.
Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs ($10,300) – Regardless of the slate size, Gallen would be a strong consideration, but he’s even more of a lock since he’s in this favorable matchup with only six starting pitchers to choose from. Gallen has posted 20 DKFP or more in five straight outings while improving to 2-0 with a minuscule 1.05 ERA and 2.21 FIP. He has not allowed more than two runs in any start this season and has 35 strikeouts in his 34 1⁄3 innings, which would actually be a new career low in strikeout rate. He’s coming off nine strikeouts in six innings against the Cubs in his last start when he posted 27.7 DKFP on Saturday (when he was also featured in these picks). I’m going back to the well in this rematch and counting on Gallen coming up large once again.
Other Option – Framber Valdez ($8,500)
Rich Hill, Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners ($6,500) – Hill has also been on a very nice roll, allowing two earned runs or fewer in four straight starts with over 16 DKFP in each of his past four outings. He went a season-high six innings in his most recent outing, allowing seven hits and striking out four in Texas. Hill enters his seventh start of the year with a 2.89 ERA and 3.37 FIP. The 42-year-old has shown he still has something left in the tank and has a good matchup against the Mariners. On the season, Seattle has hit only .205 as a team against lefties, the second-worst mark in the Majors.
Other Option – George Kirby ($7,800)
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners ($5,800) – The Red Sox’s ugly loss on Tuesday masks the fact that they have gone 5-3 over their past eight games, and the offense seems to be turning things around. One of the key factors in that turnaround has been Devers, who has a 12-game hitting streak coming into this four-game set against Seattle. Devers has gone 22-for-48 (.458) with 12 extra-base hits, three home runs, a .396 ISO and .576 wOBA during his streak to average 13.2 DKFP per contest. He also has 11 multi-hit performances in his past 19 games. He will look to stay hot against rookie George Kirby ($7,800), who has been impressive in his first two MLB starts, especially against lefties. However, Devers is hot enough to look past the matchup and expect him to keep crushing in this contest.
José Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers ($5,400) – Altuvé provided the Astros their only run with a leadoff homer on Wednesday against Devers and the Red Sox, giving him eight home runs on the season and seven dingers in his past 14 games. During that stretch, he has gone 18-for-54 (.333) with a .426 ISO and .494 wOBA for 12.1 DKFP per game. He and Devers have both been extra-base machines lately and are great cornerstones to build around. Altuve also gets a great matchup highlighted below in the stacks section.
Other Options – Xander Bogaerts ($4,900), Jeremy Peña ($4,500)
Ty France, Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox ($3,800) – The Mariners’ lineup is the source of several solid value options against Hill and the Red Sox. As noted, the team has struggled overall against lefties, but there are a few right-handed bats that still bring potential. France is hitting .325 over his 38 games this season with six homers and a .387 wOBA. He has had five multi-hit games over his eight most recent contests, including a home run and 22 DKFP in Wednesday’s series finale win over the Blue Jays.
Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox ($3,200) – Toro doesn’t bring quite as much power potential as France, but he does have eligibility at both 2B and 3B, offering nice flexibility. The switch-hitter is one of the few Mariners who hits lefties better than righties. All five of his home runs this season have come vs. southpaws, and he has a .286 wOBA despite just a .182 batting average against them. Toro has had a brutally low BABIP all season (.147) and would seem to be due for some positive regression on balls in play. His low numbers overall keep him affordable even though he’s hitting the ball a little better than his stats indicate at this point.
Other Options – Christian Walker ($4,000), Christopher Morel ($2,000)
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners ($4,600) – Along with Devers, Martinez has been a critical part of Boston’s bats coming alive. He went 0-for-4 on Wednesday, which snapped an 18-game hitting streak. During that run, he went 29-for-75 (.387) with nine doubles, four home runs, a .467 wOBA and an average of 10.2 DKFP per game. While Kirby has been good against lefties, he has allowed righties to go 5-for-10 with a .572 wOBA, so Martinez and the right-handed bats of the Red Sox could fare better against the youngster in the early part of the game on Thursday.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers ($4,400) – Tucker has drastic splits, but the lefty makes sense when facing a hittable right-handed starter, like he is expected to Thursday. He is hitting .278 on the season against righties with six of his seven home runs and a .400 wOBA. He swatted two homers on Tuesday and went a solid 8-for-29 (.276) on the Astros’ eight-game road trip with three homers and three stolen bases. He brings a solid power-speed combo in the middle of a good lineup at this midrange salary.
Other Options – Yordan Alvarez ($5,200), Seiya Suzuki ($4,100)
Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox ($3,300) – Rodríguez has alternated double-digit DKFP performances with 0-for-4 showings over his past four games, but overall, the 21-year-old rookie seems to be finding his footing. His season-long stats are still weighted down by his slow start, but if you look past that, you can get great upside at an affordable salary. Over his past 25 games, he is 22-for-92 (.315) with two home runs, four doubles, a triple, seven stolen bases and a .359 wOBA. He has averaged 8.3 DKFP per game over that stretch and always brings a high ceiling despite his occasional inconsistency. It also helps that Rodríguez is against a lefty since he is 11-for-36 (.306) with a .381 wOBA vs. LHP this season.
Alek Thomas, Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs ($2,600) – Another young outfielder I have had in my lineups on a regular basis is Alek Thomas, who was rated as the No. 16 prospect in the Majors coming into the year by MLB Pipeline. The 22-year-old lefty has gone 11-for-35 (.314) over his first 11 games in the majors with three doubles and a pair of home runs showcasing his power potential. He has a 41.4% hard-hit rate and should move to the top part of the D-Backs’ lineup soon if he keeps producing at this level.
Other Options – Chas McCormick ($3,100), Eli White ($2,500)
TEAMS TO STACK
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers – After being limited to just two hits on Wednesday, the Astros will come home and look to bounce back against Glenn Otto ($6,100), and the Rangers. The 26-year-old righty who was part of the Joey Gallo trade is 1-0 over four starts but has allowed 13 runs in 18 1⁄3 innings with a 6.38 ERA and 5.98 FIP. He has given up four home runs, three of which have been to right-handed hitters, who have a .370 wOBA against him. That plays to the Astros’ strengths and makes Jose Altuve (discussed above), Alex Bregman ($5,400), Yuli Gurriel ($3,900) and Jeremy Peña ($4,500) strong options. Lefties Yordan Alvarez ($5,200) and Kyle Tucker (discussed above) have crushed righties this season, so they should be able to find success against Otto as well.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs – The Diamondbacks aren’t a lineup I stack very often, but three-game slates can make weird things happen. They’ll take on Marcus Stroman ($7,000), who is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 IL and take the ball for the first time since May 1. As a result, he probably won’t go deep in the game, leaving Arizona to take on the Cubs’ bullpen. In his first season with the Cubs, Stroman has gone 1-3 in his five starts allowing 17 runs in 26 1⁄3 innings. Three of his four home runs allowed have come to right-handed hitters, who have a .334 wOBA against him. While Daulton Varsho ($5,100) and Ketel Marte ($4,700) are expensive plays, there are some affordable options sprinkled throughout Arizona’s lineup as well with Pavin Smith ($3,200), Christian Walker ($4,000) and rookie Alek Thomas (discussed above) all making sense to include in a stack against Stroman.
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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 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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