A dozen teams are scheduled to be in action this Thursday, giving us a solid six-game fantasy baseball slate to enjoy. If you’re a fan of divisional rivalries, it’s a good night to get a piece of the action since the Red Sox and Yankees are just one of the four divisional matchups on tap. The two late games are the non-divisional matchups as the Orioles and Tigers visit the West Coast to take on the Angels and Mariners, respectively.
There are plenty of choices to consider as you build your team, so take a look at the studs and values on this list who I think are poised for good nights. As always, make sure to double-check starting lineups and weather outlooks before the scheduled first pitch on the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com.
StudJosé Berríos, MIN at CWS, $10,600 — The top two pitchers on the slate go head-to-head as Berríos faces Lucas Giolito ($10,900), and I prefer Berríos based on matchup and reliability. He hasn’t picked up a win since June 6, but most of that has been due to unfortunate circumstances since he has not allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts since his most recent win while compiling a 2.62 ERA and striking out 36 in 44 2/3 innings. Berríos lost to the White Sox during that stretch, going 7 1/3 innings and allowing three runs. He’ll look to avenge that loss and get back in the win column in this start. He’s been very consistent as the ace of the Twins’ staff this year and hasn’t been as boom-or-bust as Giolito. Other Options — Masahiro Tanaka ($10,100), José Suarez ($8,200)
ValueAdam Plutko, CLE at KC, $6,700 — Plutko will be making his second consecutive start against the Royals and will look to continue his success from his previous outing. He took a tough-luck loss after allowing one run on two hits, striking out four and totaling 20 DKFP. He had been knocked around in his two previous outings, so he needed the successful start to solidify his rotation spot. He has the ceiling to be a great value if he continues his success and gets better run support as he goes head-to-head with Mike Montgomery ($5,500).
Other Option — Wade LeBlanc ($5,800)
StudOmar Narváez, SEA vs. DET, $4,400 — There are several starting pitchers to attack on this slate including Drew VerHagen ($4,000), who is expected to rejoin the Tigers. He had a 15.00 ERA in 10 games earlier this season and was sent to Toledo, where he went 4-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 11 starts. VerHagen let lefties in the minors hit .308 against him, so the Mariners’ left-handed bats have plenty of potential. Narváez is one of the Mariners’ best left-handed hitters and is hitting .298 this month and .290 overall on the season with 16 homers and a .838 OPS. He has been a solid backstop option and should continue to produce from the heart of the Seattle order. Other Options — Mitch Garver ($5,300), Christian Vázquez ($4,000)
ValueAustin Romine, NYY at BOS, $3,300 — Romine will be filling in for Gary Sánchez (groin) over the next few weeks. He has hit .246 in his 40 games this season, with four doubles, two homers and a .590 OPS. He has made the most of his opportunities lately, going 8-for-20 (.400) in limited action this month. He has the potential to be very productive in a power-packed New York lineup as they take on the struggling Rick Porcello ($6,400).
Other Options — Roberto Pérez ($3,500), Meibrys Viloria ($2,900)
FIRST BASEEdwin Encarnación, NYY at BOS, $5,400 — If you can pay up for 1B, Encarnación is the hottest power bat available. He has double-digit DKFP in five of his past six games, averaging 13.2 DKFP per contest over that stretch. He had two doubles and a home run in his past two games in Minnesota and also has a good history against Porcello. In his career, Edwin has walked his parrot around the bases three times against the Red Sox starter, going 14-for-47 (.298) with six doubles as well resulting in a .930 OPS. Encarnación has hit only .204 since joining the Yankees but does have nine home runs and has hit .313 since the All-Star break. Other Options — Carlos Santana ($4,600), Daniel Vogelbach ($4,200)
ValueRenato Núñez, BAL at LAA, $4,100 — Núñez has hit lefties well this season with a .268 average, 11 homers and a .903 OPS, so he should be in a good spot against lefty José Suarez ($8,200), who the Angels are expected to recall for the start. He has come out of the break swinging a hot bat, going 14-for-44 (.318) with four home runs already. He usually hits in the heart of the order and should continue to get good opportunities to produce in a thin Baltimore lineup.
Other Options — Austin Nola ($3,900), Cheslor Cuthbert ($3,900)
StudRougned Odor, TEX at OAK, $4,200 — Odor is known as a streaky hitter and has been heating up lately. In the three-game series in Seattle the Rangers just finished, he went 7-for-12 with four home runs, seven RBI and an average of 25 DKFP per contest. Odor is still affordable at just over $4K as he tries to stay hot as his team continues their road trip with a stop in Oakland against Brett Anderson ($7,900). Other Options — DJ LeMahieu ($5,400), Michael Chavis ($4,100)
ValueHanser Alberto, BAL at LAA, $3,400 — Alberto has been a great value all season when facing a lefty and is a nice play under $3.5K again on this slate. He is hitting .411 against southpaws with three homers and a .963 OPS. He usually slides into the leadoff spot when the O’s take on a lefty, making him one of the top bargains on the board.
Other Options — Jonathan Schoop ($3,600), Nicky Lopez ($2,800)
StudRafael Devers, BOS vs. NYY, $5,300 — Devers has been a Yankee killer throughout his Red Sox career and comes into this important series swinging a hot bat. He is hitting .322 on the season and .321 this month with eight home runs, 29 RBI and a 1.086 OPS. He has hit safely in seven of his past eight games and is 5-for-11 with a double in his career against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka ($10,100). Other Options — Hunter Dozier ($4,700), José Ramírez ($4,600)
ValueMarwin Gonzalez, MIN at CWS, $3,300 — Gonzalez has at least nine DKFP in four of his past six games and has been hitting much better after a slow start to his first season with the Twins. He is 17-for-60 (.283) with two doubles and three homers this month, giving him an .829 OPS. If he continues the pace, it would be his third straight month with an OPS over .800 after a brutal .488 OPS in April. The Twins are in a tough matchup against Giolito, but Gonzalez is still a solid cheap play.
Other Options — Luis Arraez ($3,600), Kyle Seager ($3,200)
StudDidi Gregorius, NYY at BOS, $4,900 — Gregorius exploded for 46 DKFP on Tuesday, going 5-for-5 with two doubles and a home run in a thrilling win over the Twins. He followed that up with 24 more DKFP Wednesday, going 3-for-5 with a double and triple. He has been a huge boost for the Yankees since returning from injury and is hitting .333 since the All-Star break with a .983 OPS. Other Options — Francisco Lindor ($4,900), Marcus Semien ($4,300)
ValueJordy Mercer, DET at SEA, $2,600 — This season has been disappointing and injury-filled for Mercer, who signed with the Tigers as a free agent. He has been picking things up a little bit lately, though, going 7-for-28 (.250) since the All-Star break with a double and two home runs. Last season, he had success against lefties, hitting .286 against southpaws with a decent .755 OPS. He is 4-for-18 in limited action against lefties this season but three of those four hits have been for extra bases. He’s a solid cheap play against the Mariners’ Wade LeBlanc ($5,800), who is expected to work most of the innings Thursday.
Other Options — Andrelton Simmons ($3,800), J.P. Crawford ($3,800)
StudMike Trout, LAA vs. BAL, $5,700 — Trout has been doing typically Trout things by quietly producing crazy numbers. He has homered seven times in his past 10 games, going 10-for-37 with three doubles and a 1.260 OPS while averaging 15.1 DKFP per contest. He and the Angels have a great matchup against Jimmy Yacabonis ($6,400), who has a 6.95 ERA coming into this outing and gave up seven runs while getting just one out in his most recent appearance. Trout is expensive at almost $6K, but he has been so consistently excellent lately he is worth a look if you can maneuver his salary under your salary cap. Other Options — Aaron Hicks ($5,000), J.D. Martinez ($4,500)
ValueLeury García, CWS vs. MIN, $3,600 — García has been solid out of the White Sox’ leadoff spot for the past few months and has been especially effective at home. He’s hitting .307 at Guaranteed Rate Field with four home runs and a .777 OPS. He is 4-for-15 including a home run in his career against Berríos, and he’s one of the best bargain outfield options to consider given his premier lineup spot.
Other Options — Kole Calhoun ($4,400), Nicholas Castellanos ($4,000)
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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.