After Wednesday’s trade deadline, there are just two months left of the regular season, so get your August started by getting a piece of a solid six-game fantasy baseball slate this Thursday. Many of the 12 teams in action will face familiar foes since four of the six contests are divisional matchups. Some series are wrapping up, like the Rays and Red Sox, while others are just getting started, like the Dodgers welcoming in the Padres for the first of their four-game set.
As you look through the matchups and build your lineup(s), make sure to keep an eye on the weather situation in Atlanta and Baltimore, which could develop into trouble spots. There are some good options to consider, though, from those lineups along with some nice plays from other games. Check out my favorite studs and values at each position and stay tuned to the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for lineups and news as we approach game-time.
StudGerrit Cole, HOU at CLE, $11,300 — Cole has been the most consistent ace on this slate and one of the top starting pitchers in all the majors over the past few months. He has gone 8-0 in his past 12 starts with a sparkling 1.96 ERA along with 112 strikeouts in 78 innings and an average of 29.3 DKFP per game. He has over 27 DKFP in each of his past six starts and in nine of those 12 outings. Most of his success has come at home, but he has been so locked in lately, that I think he’ll have a strong outing even on the road in Cleveland. Cole’s strikeout rate is what gives him such a high ceiling and he had at least nine punchouts in five straight before striking out just seven in his most recent outing.
Other Options — Clayton Kershaw ($10,700), Jack Flaherty ($8,600)
ValueAsher Wojciechowski, BAL vs. TOR, $7,100 — After being traded on July 1 from the Indians to the Orioles in a minor league deal, the 30-year-old journeyman has made the most of his opportunity and become a key contributor in the Orioles’ rotation. In his past two starts, he has shut down the Red Sox and Angels, going 2-0 and allowing just 2 runs in 14 1/3 innings while striking out 16. He had 38.1 DKFP in his masterful performance against Boston and followed that up with a solid 25.4 DKFP in his most recent outing last Friday in Anaheim. If the weather holds, he will get a favorable matchup at home against the Blue Jays and will be a good value if he continues his recent form.
Other Options — Anthony DeSclafani ($7,300), Brendan McKay($6,300)
EDITOR’S NOTE: d’Arnaud is not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game.
Other Options — Willson Contreras ($4,300), Christian Vázquez ($4,000)
ValueWill Smith, LAD vs. SD, $3,600 — Now that he’s not at Coors Field, Smith is a much more affordable option. The rookie has been impressive since being recalled, going 6-for-13 with two homers, three doubles and nine RBI in just four games. He should continue to split time with Russell Martin ($2,900), but he will likely get most of the work against lefties instead of the left-handed veteran. Smith hit .281 against lefties with Oklahoma city in Triple-A with a 1.005 OPS against them. He’ll be in a tougher matchup against Joey Lucchesi ($7,400), but he’s a nice affordable option behind the plate with plenty of offensive upside in a good lineup.
Other Options — Tucker Barnhart ($3,100), Francisco Mejía ($2,600)
FIRST BASEPaul Goldschmidt, STL vs. CHC, $4,400 — Goldschmidt is known for running hot and cold and right now he’s in “carry-the-team” offensive mode. He was a beast in July after hitting only .181 in June. He finished July 28-for-91 (.308) with five doubles, 11 home runs, 27 RBI and a 1.085 OPS. Goldy crushed nine of those home runs since the All-Star break and seven of them in his past nine games. In those nine games, he is averaging 16.3 DKFP and has been held under 10 DKFP just once. He gets a good matchup against lefty Jon Lester ($8,200) on this slate, who he has gone 7-for-14 against with a home run in their previous meetings.
Other Options — Trey Mancini ($5,000), Yuli Gurriel ($4,500)
ValueEric Hosmer, SD at LAD, $3,600 — Hosmer has had a nice bounce-back season in his second year in San Diego and is usually right in the middle of the Padres improving lineup. He is 18-for-67 (.269) with five doubles, two homers and a .757 OPS since the All-Star break and has hit safely in eight of his past nine starts. He had two home runs on Monday against Baltimore and went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in his most recent contest Tuesday. He is in a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup against Clayton Kershaw ($10,700) but has actually hit the Dodgers’ ace fairly well in the past, going 9-for-24 (.375) with a pair of doubles and a home run. Hosmer is riskier than the elite options but has nice upside for a play under $4K.
Other Options — Sam Travis ($3,300), Tyler White ($2,700)
StudOzzie Albies, ATL vs. CIN,$4,200 — Albies moved up to the second spot in the Braves’ lineup when Dansby Swanson (foot) hit the injured list and has performed well in the premium lineup spot. He has hit second for seven straight games, going 8-for-31 (.258) with five doubles, seven RBI, a home run and a .840 OPS. He averaged 9.4 DKFP per contest over his past 10 games with at least seven DKFP in five of his previous six.
Other Options — Jose Altuve ($4,800), Michael Chavis ($4,300)
ValueLuis Urías, SD at LAD, $2,200 — If you don’t go with an elite play at 2B, it makes sense to spend all the way down and hope for some basic production at an ultra-cheap price from Urías. The Padres called up their top 2B prospect on July 20, but he landed with a thud, going just 1-for-24 (.042) over his first eight games. He did get a hit in each of his two most recent contests, going 2-for-7 against the Orioles with his first MLB home run and 19 total DKFP. Urías had very good numbers at Triple-A, where he was hitting .315 with 19 homers and a .998 OPS. Those numbers haven’t translated yet and a tough matchup with Kershaw keeps him extremely cheap. Eventually, the 22-year-old is expected to be a big part of San Diego’s future, so there is upside to consider if you punt the position and pay just over the minimum
Other Options — Jason Kipnis ($3,300), Ian Kinsler ($2,500)
StudVladamir Guerrero Jr., TOR at BAL, $4,400 — It took Guerrero some time to adjust to the majors as well, but he seems to be figuring things out quickly now and turning into the offensive contributor people expected he would be coming into the season. He has over 20 DKFP in three of his most recent four games with 12 RBI in those four contests. He has gone 20-for-66 (.303) since the All-Star break with three homers and a .855 OPS. He enjoyed his first trip to Camden Yards this season, going 6-for-12 (.500) in Baltimore with a 1.167 OPS.
Other Options — Eugenio Suárez ($4,900), José Ramírez ($4,100)
ValueMatt Duffy, TB at BOS, $3,700 — Duffy has started and played every inning of the Rays seven games since he was activated from the injured list July 23. He has been filling in for Yandy Díaz (foot), who switched places with him on the injured list after Duffy had been out all year with a hamstring injury. Duffy has hit leadoff and int he middle of the order and gone 9-for-29 (.310) with three doubles, three walks, three RBI and an average of 6.7 DKFP per contest since his return.
Other Options — Manny Machado ($3,900), Yairo Muñoz ($3,500)
StudJonathan Villar, BAL vs. TOR, $4,600 — Villar had a great road trip for the Orioles and comes home with a six-game hitting streak. During that span, he has gone 13-for-28 (.464) with a double, a pair of home runs, a 1.230 OPS and an impressive six stolen bases resulting in an average of 20.5 DKFP per contest. Three of those stolen bases did come in one game last Thursday, but he has shown he will definitely add value with speed if given the green light. Villar and the Orioles will open their home series against Trent Thornton ($6,800), who will be activated off the 10-day injured list before Thursday’s contest. Thornton is 3-7 with a 5.46 ERA on the season, which should make the O’s a solid source of offensive production, weather permitting.
Other Options — Xander Bogaerts ($5,400), Carlos Correa ($4,300)
ValueBo Bichette, TOR at BAL, $3,900 — On the other side of the AL East clash, Bichette has impressed in his three games since being called up to the Blue Jays. He hit his first MLB home run as part of his 3-for-5 game on Wednesday, which resulted in 22 DKFP. He has hit safely in each of his three contests, going 6-for-13 (.462). He has already moved into the leadoff spot for Toronto and should be a fixture in their lineup for many years to come. His salary is already trending up and will likely continue to climb, so enjoy getting him under $4K while you still can.
Other Options — Willy Adames ($3,600), Johan Camargo ($3,000)
StudJ.D. Martinez, BOS vs. TB, $5,400 — While the Red Sox’s fans are still stinging from a lack of moves at the deadline, they have to be excited about how the offense is coming around led by the re-emergence of Martinez, who had been in a bit of a funk earlier this summer. Martinez has found his groove lately with four homers, 12 RBI and a 1.180 OPS over his past 10 games. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and 24 DKFP on Wednesday, giving him at least 12 DKFP in four of his past six contests. Martinez has been excellent all season against lefties, hitting .391 against southpaws including 13 of his 23 home runs and a robust 1.347 OPS. The matchup with lefty Brendan McKay ($6,300) should set him up well for a big night in a game the Red Sox need to win. Other Options — Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,300), Teoscar Hernández ($4,100)
ValueA.J. Pollock, LAD vs. SD, $3,600 — Pollock hit leadoff for the first time this season on Tuesday in Colorado and went 1-for-4 with a home run and 18 DKFP. He could be the Dodgers’ new plan at the top of the order against lefties in a timeshare with Joc Pederson ($4,000). Pollock returned from a long stint on the injured list after the All-Star break and has gone 16-for-60 (.267) with two doubles, 13 RBI, five home runs and two stolen bases in 16 games since then, averaging 9.8 DKFP. He is hitting .386 this season against lefties with a 1.040 OPS, so he should be in a good spot against Padres’ southpaw starter Joey Lucchesi ($7,400).
Other Options — Adam Duvall ($4,000), Nicholas Castellanos ($3,500)
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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.