Thursday’s Highlighted Contest

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Starting Pitchers

Studs

Madison Bumgarner vs. ARI ($10,500)– Bumgarner has to bounce back off his last start, right? He only lasted three innings versus the Padres last start, but he’s far too talented to let one bad start bother him. Bumgarner is about as safe as it gets for me.

Cole Hamels @ WAS ($10,000) – I’m not crazy about Hamels’ price tag, although the Nationals’ bats have not started the season off very well, hitting .212 on the season. With the limited game slate on the day, your options at the stud level are limited. Keep in mind that Hamels still has dominating stuff and can control a game with the best of ’em.

Values

Jason Vargas @ MIN ($6,700) – The matchup facing the Twins’ hitters is key here, although Vargas is actually a solid pitcher. He’s not overpowering by any means, but he put on a good show staying ahead of hitters in his first start of the season by nailing a bunch of first-pitch strikes. Vargas is my favorite value play of the day.

Archie Bradley @ SF ($6,400) – Now, don’t expect a 26.5 fantasy point performance like Bradley gave the other day, but considering his skill set and that he’s in a pitchers park facing the Giants, he’s an intriguing play. I’m not ready to go all-in on Bradley, but if I’m going with a hitter-heavy DFS lineup and want value at the SP slots? Yep, Bradley is a good play.

Catchers

Studs

Salvador Perez @ Tommy Milone – MIN ($4,600) – Perez is racking up fantasy points right now, with an average of almost 17 FPPG over his last three contests. Will Perez keep this up? Of course not, but you may as well ride his early-season hot streak.

Joe Mauer vs. Jason Vargas – KC ($3,800) – I absolutely love Jason Vargas on this lovely baseball day, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore all hitters facing him. Mauer, who is 11-for-27 (.407 AVG) against Vargas, just makes sense. The value is exciting, with Mauer’s hitting ability and the sub-4 K price. Mmm. With Mauer qualifying as both a C and OF option, I’ve got him listed in both slots today.

Values

Dioner Navarro vs. Chris Archer – TB ($3,700) – Navarro has averaged almost 10 points a contest over his last three played, and he gives owners some consistency at the catcher slot for a favorable $3.7 K price tag.

Carlos Ruiz @ Doug Fister – WAS ($3,500) – Don’t get too excited about the value catcher options today, mainly since the six-game slate lacks at the C slot. Ruiz is a safe play at this price range.

First Basemen

Studs

Edwin Encarnacion vs. Chris Archer – TB ($5,100) – Sometimes you just want a pure power guy in your lineup, regardless if his bat is going well or not. It is too early to ignore Encarnacion because of his slow start, so I’m sticking here. I love Encarn’s power history against Chris Archer: 3 HR and 6 RBI in 21 at-bats.

Adam Lind @ John Lackey – STL ($4,300) – Can you say “CHA-CHING”? Lind is 15-for-28 against Lackey over his career, with six extra-base hits – sorry, no homers – while slashing .536/.536/.750. I would find a way to get Lind into your lineup.

Values

Joe Mauer vs. Jason Vargas – KC ($3,800) – See Joe Mauer above at catcher.

Mark Trumbo @ Madison Bumgarner – SF ($3,600) – Trumbo has six hits in his last 16 at-bats, which is good enough for me to this point in the season. Trumbo’s power potential, in a DFS league situation, is fantastic.

Second Basemen

Studs

Dee Gordon @ Dillon Gee – NYM  ($4,700) – Gordon doesn’t hit for power, but dude can do enough with the bat to get on base often. That’s the key with Gordon, getting on base… so he can swipe the next base. And, so on, and so on, and so on.

Chase Utley @ Doug Fister – WAS ($4,000) – A 40-point fantasy night from Utley? Um, yeah. That’s quite delicious for DFS owners. I don’t expect near that number, or even 20 points on the night, but a 10-15 point night is not out of the Utley-realm of possibilities. Fister has historically handled Utley well, but there’s something to say here about a guy coming off a 40-point night. Maybe he’s just too hot to ignore?

Values

Aaron Hill @ Madison Bumgarner – SF ($3,000 ) – Sure, Hill isn’t someone you take a risk on long term over the season, but for a single matchup play? Yep, I’m fine with that. The value is unique to me with Hill’s five extra-base hits, and two homers, against Bumgarner.

Dan Uggla vs. Cole Hamels – PHI  ($3,000) – The power history – three homers – facing Hamels is the only reason to roster Uggla. I want Uggla to be the player he was some seasons ago, but that’s just not going to happen. You have to look at matchups alone with him, and hope he can come through for you while he’s getting the playing time.

Third Basemen

Studs

Evan Longoria @ Aaron Sanchez – TOR ($4,500) – There’s minimal  history here for Longoria facing Sanchez, so the advantage goes to Longoria’s bat. I like the matchup here for Longoria, and he’s been able to score fantasy points of late (walks and extra-base hits) even with his lack of hits.

Matt Carpenter vs. Mike Fiers – MIL ($4,500) – I’m playing Carpenter’s hot play, with six hits over his last four games. Fiers is a stout pitching opponent, so there is risk here, but I like Carpenter’s ability to fill a boxscore.

Values

Ryan Zimmerman vs. Cole Hamels – PHI ($4,100) – Usually, I want a better value-price in this section, although the 3B position leaves a lot to be desired on Thursday with the limited slate of games. Zimmerman is only hitting .138 on the year (before Wednesday’s game), although he does have three homers against Hamels over his career.

Aaron Hill @ Madison Bumgarner – SF ($3,000 ) – If you want to know more about Hill, read above at the 2B slot.

Shortstops

Studs

Dee Gordon @ Dillon Gee – NYM  ($4,700) – I wish there were more stud options here at SS, so I don’t have to use the “Hey, he qualifies at two positions” thingy, but Gordon is worth locking in at 2B or SS.

Jose Reyes vs. Chris Archer – TB ($4,600) – Reyes can still steal bases, although his numbers against Archer is what lands him in this spot. Reyes is 9-for-20 with a .450 AVG facing the young Rays’ pitcher.

Values

Wilmer Flores vs. Jarred Cosart – MIA ($3,500) – With David Wright hitting the DL, the Mets are going to need someone to step up in the infield. Will it be Flores? Maybe. Flores will at least get additional playing time in the infield as the Mets shuffle things around. Flores’ bat hasn’t been impressive to this point, but I do dig his skills and the matchup overall facing Cosart.

Tim Beckham @ Aaron Sanchez – TOR ($3,100) – Beckham has been getting added playing time with Nick Franklin on the DL, and with the Rays getting a couple of big games from him he’s not a bad value-play for $3.1 K. Again, check lineups beforehand to make sure Beckham is a go.

Outfielders

Studs

Giancarlo Stanton @ Dillon Gee – NYM ($4,800) – Can I call him Mike? Please? Okay, I won’t… Giancarlo it is! Whatever his name, dude is way bitchin’.

Lorenzo Cain @ Tommy Milone – MIN ($4,600) – I hate to keep picking on the Twins, but they’re hard to ignore overall. Cain is playing very well from the onset, with 1 HR and 8 RBI while batting .417 to this point. I don’t see the Twins slowing him down, even though Milone does have Cain’s number over his career in 12 at-bats.

Kevin Kiermaier @ Aaron Sanchez – TOR ($4,600) – With right-hander Sanchez on the mound, Kiermaier will be in the Rays lineup. He’s currently raking with a 1.201 OPS in 26 at-bats, but, that’s the key – just 26 at-bats. Still, I like Kiermaier enough to risk his bat facing an inexperience Sanchez.

Values

Jarrod Dyson @ Tommy Milone – MIN ($3,900) – Dyson could see some added playing time moving forward with Alex Rios hurt, so take notice considering Dyson’s ability to swipe bags. Keep an eye on Dyson though for Thursday, since this would be a lefty vs. lefty matchup facing Milone.

A.J. Pollack @ Madison Bumgarner – SF ($3,400) – The price is certainly right on Pollack. If that doesn’t get your motor runnin’, know that Pollack is slashing .286/.310/.571 against Bumgarner with one homer and three RBI in 28 at-bats.

Ender Inciarte @ Madison Bumgarner – SF ($3,200) – Not only is Inciarte on fire to start the season, he does hit Bumgarner well (5-for-12, .417 AVG). Surprisingly, however, he has no extra-base hits. You take a risk here at $3.2 K, but it’s a favorable risk considering the salary lock-in price.

Grady Sizemore @ Doug Fister -WAS ($3,100) – You’ve got to check the Phillies’ lineup on Thursday, but if Sizemore is in action he’s a sly play for you. Go ahead and ignore his picket-fence batting average (.111), mainly since he had some good history against Fister (.333/.429/.667 with a homer and 3 RBI in 12 at-bats). Okay, so the sample size isn’t big. Shoot me.

Catch on me Twitter @TheRolyPolyBoy if you have questions for me that you insist I answer in a timely and caring manner.