Thursday night’s Major League Baseball schedule features nine games on the main slate for fantasy baseball. The Cubs and Braves are scheduled to finish their series in Atlanta, and the other eight games are the first of four-game sets that will run through the weekend. There aren’t many big-name pitchers scheduled to be on the mound, so it looks like we have a slate full of plenty of solid offensive options.
As you break down the matchups and make your final lineup decisions, take a look at my top plays at each position and price point.
StudDavid Price, BOS vs. BAL, $8,400 — Price bounced back in his past start against the Blue Jays after dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome that caused him to miss his start against the Yankees. Since leaving his start against New York earlier this season with a numb sensation, Price had struggled and allowed 24 runs in 29 innings. However, he seemed to be ready to move past that in Toronto, where he worked 5 1/3 effective innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six to pick up the win and 19.2 DKFP. The Red Sox face the Orioles at Fenway, and Price’s ceiling makes him worth considering even though his recent form hasn’t been great. If he’s fully healthy, Price should offer a good return and have a good shot at a win, as he’ll be going head-to-head with Kevin Gausman ($7,900), who is 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA in seven appearances at Fenway over the past three seasons.
Other Options —
Cole Hamels ($10,800), Chad Kuhl ($8,200)
ValueVince Velasquez, PHI at STL, $7,300 — Velasquez struck out a season-high 12 in six innings his past start and earned 31.9 DKFP in his win over the Giants. He improved to 3-4 on the season with 50 strikeouts in 41 innings. He has struggled with home runs, though, and has a 5.05 ERA as a result of a few rough outings — mainly against the Braves. He is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings in his five starts that came against teams besides the Braves. He’ll try to earn 15+ DKFP for the fifth time in his past seven starts as he takes on the Cardinals in St. Louis. Velasquez is the best value option due to his high ceiling based on his strikeout rate.
Other Options — Jon Lester ($7,700), Chris Archer ($6,900)
StudBuster Posey, SF vs. COL, $4,000 — Posey received a regular day off Wednesday, but should be back in the lineup as the Giants open their series against the Rockies. He has gone 16-for-41 (.390) over his past 10 games with four doubles and 8.4 FPPG. Posey hit safely in nine of those 10 contests and continues to be a steady producer in the middle of the Giants’ lineup. He hasn’t shown a ton of power yet this season with just two home runs, but has a .310 average and offers impressive consistency.
Other Options — Willson Contreras ($4,400), John Hicks ($3,400)
ValueJames McCann, DET at SEA, $3,100 — McCann has been swinging a hot enough bat to get a few starts at DH when he took a break from behind the plate, and he’ll look to keep hitting against the Mariners and lefty Marco Gonzales ($6,600). McCann has gone 11-for-36 (.306) over his past 10 games with four doubles, five walks and 6.1 FPPG. He also has had success against southpaws this season, going 9-for-29 (.310) with two of his three home runs and a .998 OPS.
Other Options — Wilson Ramos ($3,300), Tyler Flowers ($2,800)
StudRyon Healy, SEA vs. DET, $4,400 — Healy will need to step up and help carry the Mariners’ offense with both Robinson Canó (hand, suspension) and Nelson Cruz (foot) expected to miss the first game of Seattle’s series with the Tigers. Healy has been stepping up lately and has gone 13-for-39 (.333) with four home runs and and 11.9 FPPG over his past 10 contests. He is always an especially attractive option when facing a lefty like scheduled starter Matt Boyd ($7,500). Healy is 9-for-27 (.333) with two doubles, three home runs and a 1.141 OPS against southpaws this season.
Other Options — Carlos Santana ($4,700), Brandon Belt ($4,100)
ValueC.J. Cron, TB at LAA, $3,600 — Another right-handed hitter who is feasting off lefties this season is Cron, who was acquired by the Rays just before the season from the Angels. Cron will get a revenge game against lefty Tyler Skaggs ($10,400) as the Rays continue their road trip with a visit to Anaheim. Cron comes in swinging a hot bat on a nine-game hitting streak. He is 15-for-38 (.395) during his streak with two doubles, three homers and 11.3 FPPG, and 17-for-49 (.378) this season against lefties with three homers and a 1.051 OPS.
Other Options — Eric Hosmer ($3,800), Albert Pujols ($3,500)
StudOzzie Albies, ATL vs. CHC, $5,400 — Albies has become a regular part of my targets, as the 21-year-old continues to deliver big numbers almost every contest. In his past 10 games, he is 12-for-45 (.267) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs, three stolen bases and 11.3 FPPG. He has double-digit DKFP in each of his past three games against the Cubs, and will close out the series with another good matchup against lefty Jon Lester ($7,700). Albies is hitting .420 against lefties this season with five home runs and a 1.283 OPS.
Other Options — Jonathan Schoop ($4,300), César Hernández ($4,000)
ValueIsiah Kiner-Falefa, TEX at CWS, $3,200 — Kiner-Falefa has gotten an unexpected amount of playing time due to the recurring injuries in the Rangers’ infield. He has produced solid numbers on the season and has 11-plus DKFP in four of his past six games, while going 7-for-23 with a double, triple and RBI. The Rangers get a nice matchup against James Shields ($5,000) in Chicago.
Other Options — Zack Cozart ($3,600), José Pirela ($3,100)
StudKris Bryant, CHC at ATL, $5,300 — Bryant pulled his average over .300 by going 3-for-4 on Wednesday in Atlanta and continues to be a great top-shelf bat if you can fit in his salary. He has five home runs in his past 10 games and is 14-for-39 (.359) over that stretch to average an impressive 14.7 FPPG. Bryant is averaging 10.4 FPPG on the season with eight home runs, 22 RBI and a 1.025 OPS.
Other Options — Maikel Franco ($4,300), Rafael Devers ($3,900)
ValueDanny Valencia, BAL at BOS, $3,800 — Valencia has settled into a nice role during this second stint with the Orioles and had a season-high 33 DKFP in his previous start Sunday. Valencia has been on the bench since then due to rain and matchups, but he likely will return to the lineup tonight against the lefty Price. Valencia is 13-for-22 (.591) in his career against Price with three doubles and a 1.394 OPS. He usually gets the start against southpaws, so he deserves attention in this matchup.
Other Options — Yolmer Sánchez ($3,500), Sean Kingery ($3,300)
StudXander Bogaerts, BOS vs. BAL, $4,300 — Bogaerts goes head-to-head with the other top SS option, Manny Machado ($5,600), but Bogaerts could be a better play with his lower salary. Bogaerts is hitting .349 (15-for-43) at home with three of his five home runs coming at Fenway. He has six-plus DKFP in five of his past eight games, and is 9-for-32 with two doubles, two home runs and 8.6 FPPG over that stretch.
Other Options — Manny Machado ($5,600), Paul DeJong ($4,000)
ValueMarcus Semien, OAK at TOR, $3,500 — The Athletics’ leadoff hitter has been a great source of value all season, and he continues to get plenty of at-bats and offer a nice blend of speed and power. He homered off Chris Sale on Wednesday as part of his 2-for-4 performance, which earned 19 DKFP. He has hit safely in all six games of Oakland’s current road trip, going 10-for-29 with a double, a home run and 10.2 FPPG
Other Options — Jurickson Profar ($3,300), José Iglesias ($3,000)
StudMookie Betts, BOS vs. BAL, $5,800 — Betts has multiple hits in four of his past five games with four stolen bases in his past seven. Even though he hasn’t homered in his past 10 games, he still is averaging 11.3 FPPG during that span due to his other production. He has been especially excellent this season at Fenway Park, where he has hit .400 with four home runs and a 1.269 OPS. Betts also has a nice history against Gausman, who he is 12-for-29 (.414) against in the past with three home runs.
Other Options — Odúbel Herrera ($4,700), Ender Inciarte ($4,500)
ValueGerardo Parra, COL at SF, $3,300 — Parra has gotten off to a strong start in May and will try to keep things going against Jeff Samardzija ($7,000) as the Rockies visit the Giants. Parra has gone 14-for-37 in his nine starts this month with a home run, three doubles and a pair of stolen bases. He is 12-for-30 (.400) in his career against Samardzija with a double, two home runs and a 1.071 OPS.
Other Options — Andrew McCutchen ($3,700), Mikie Mahtook ($3,000)
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.