Thursday afternoon brings us another early, 5-game slate. I’ll give you some of my favorite targets for this slate, and, as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Yu Darvish – TEX vs. LAA – $11,500 – A common theme with these early afternoon slates as of late has been the lack of pitching. We may have one or two good names followed by a string of mediocre pitchers. Darvish lands as our stud almost by default this afternoon. He’ll face an Angels’ offense that was one of the toughest in the league to strikeout last season, as their current active roster combined for just a 17.1 K% against righties in 2016. However, Darvish faced the Angels once last season and ended up with a K/9 of 12.2 in 6.1 innings.
Other Options – Ricky Nolasco ($7,800)
Josh Tomlin – CLE vs. CWS – $6,200 – It’s easier to say what went wrong for Tomlin in 2016 than what went right. Giving up an abundance of home runs got Tomlin in trouble last season, as he gave up a whopping 36. With that being said, his salary of $6,200 on this slate has to at least bring him into the conversation. He faces a White Sox team that owned a 20.5 K% against righties last season and one of the lower SLG% in the league at .423. He’s certainly not a top option, but Tomlin could be worth considering at this price point.
Other Options – Chad Kuhl ($5,500)
Jonathan Lucroy – TEX vs. LAA – $4,000 – Lucroy will matchup against Ricky Nolaso this afternoon, who continues to have trouble with the long ball. After allowing 26 home runs last season, Nolasco is already on his way to that number again, having given up three in his first two starts this season. Lucroy ended 2016 with a .371 wOBA and a .505 SLG against RHP.
Other Options Willson Contreras ($3,900)
James McCann – DET vs. MIN – $2,900 – While McCann certainly isn’t the most consistent fantasy producer at the C position, he’s shown the ability early this season to produce. In three of his last five games, he’s gone over 16 DKFP (just keep in mind the other two, he put up a goose egg). On a short slate, I think McCann is a decent punt option.
Jose Abreu – CWS vs. CLE – $5,100 – With the amount of home runs Tomlin allowed last season, it makes sense why Abreu is an attractive option here. Belting 10 of his 25 home runs at home last season against a right-handed pitcher, I think that Abreu is a top option at first today.
Other Options – Miguel Cabrera ($4,900)
Mitch Moreland – BOS vs. PIT – $3,500 – Moreland continues to draw a low salary even though he’s been hitting well for the Sox. In eight games thus far, Moreland has already hit five doubles and scored four runs. He’ll face Chad Kuhl, who allowed a .364 wOBA to lefties last season with a .492 SLG and a .362 OBP.
Other Options – David Freese ($3,500)
Rougned Odor – TEX vs. LAA – $4,000 – I really like this price for Odor this afternoon. The second base position is quite expensive on this slate, so Odor at $4,000 feels like a discount. Odor owned a .340 wOBA against righties last season with a .519 SLG.
Other Options – Ben Zobrist ($4,200)
Jorge Polanco – MIN vs. DET – $3,300 – Polanco will likely bat on the left-side today. Zimmermann struggled against lefties last year, allowing a .344 wOBA at home with a .527 SLG and five of his 14 total home runs.
Other Options – Logan Forsythe ($3,900)
Kris Bryant – CHC vs. LAD – $5,100 – Getting Bryant into your lineup when he’s facing a left-handed pitcher is ideal. Bryant handled lefties with ease last season, posting a .438 wOBA with a .641 SLG and a .419 OBP. He’s almost always worth his high salary.
Other Options – Xander Bogaerts ($4,800)
David Freese – PIT vs. BOS – $3,500 – Freese is always a cheap option at either first or third base, especially when facing a left-handed pitcher. Freese owned a .407 wOBA against lefties last season with a .543 SLG and a .419 OBP. With Eduardo Rodriguez continuing to struggle on the mound, Freese could be a sneaky play.
Other Options – Joey Gallo ($3,400)
Xander Bogaerts – BOS vs. PIT – $4,800 – As the most expensive shortstop on the slate, Bogaerts will face off against Chad Kuhl this afternoon. At home against righties in 2016, Bogaerts hit for a .304 average, a .820 OPS and a .355 wOBA.
Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($4,700)
Jordy Mercer – PIT vs. BOS – $3,500 – Mercer is not going to get you two home runs in a game, but I love him as someone who hits lefties well and could go overlooked. Against lefties last season, Mercer had a .829 OPS with a .357 wOBA.
Other Options – Elvis Andrus ($3,600)
Mookie Betts – BOS vs. PIT – $5,500 – Betts is the most expensive outfielder on this slate at $5,500, but his numbers justify the price tag. In 2016, Betts owned a .318 BA, a .363 OBP, a .897 OPS and knocked in 113 RBI. I think he’ll get his 2017 going today against Kuhl.
Other Options – Kris Bryant ($5,100)
Nomar Mazara – TEX vs. LAA – ($3,500) – Mazara has been on fire since the season began. He’ll come into this afternoon with a .414 batting average with two home runs, nine RBI and an average of 12.9 FPPG. He’ll face Ricky Nolasco, who owns a career .337 wOBA against lefties with a .335 OBP.
Other Options – Carlos Gomez ($3,700) Tyler Collins ($2,800)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) 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.