We have a seven-game main slate to unpack here on Thursday, with multiple high-priced starters in good spots but not a lot of cheap pitching, so let’s dig in. We have a few dicey weather spots as well, so check for updates on DK Live before lock. You can find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan.
Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies – $11,800 – Do people shy away from Noah Syndergaard because of a fingernail? That might be a mistake. This is a great spot for Thor, installed as a sizable favorite against a Phillies club that’s striking out 23.4% of the time. His floor is pretty strong here for cash games.
Other Options – Stephen Strasburg ($11,100), James Paxton ($9,600)
Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets – $8,500 – My two favorite pitchers are battling head-to-head tonight. Aaron Nola is the real deal, a ground-ball-inducing machine with above average command and strikeout rate. The Mets have been brutal against right-handed pitching to open 2017. Their .262 wOBA against righties is second-to-last in baseball right now.
Other Options – Carlos Martinez ($9,000)
Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers – $3,900 – Sal Perez is among the top-20 in hard-hit contact rate to start the season and is a consistently underpriced asset here on DraftKings. He’s one of the best cash game plays at the position on a nightly basis, and he’s 100% in play here against Andrew Cashner.
Matt Wieters – Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – $3,100 – Matt Wieters is a strong cash game play. As a switch-hitting catcher, Wieters is never on the wrong side of a pitching matchup, which is an understated aspect of player selection in cash game lineups. We always want to be finding the little ways to increase our expected at-bat total.
Wil Myers – San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – $4,700 – Tough spot for Patrick Corbin against a sneaky Padres’ lineup here, and I like it even more in tournaments than in cash. It’s not the preferred park for targeting offense, but Corbin’s struggles against right-handed power (.184 ISO-against) plays in any park.
Other Options – Chris Davis ($4,800), Matt Carpenter ($4,800)
Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals – $3,800 – Honestly, what do you want me to say at this point? He’s crushing everything and he’s still under $4,000. You almost have to play him in cash games, which is insane to say about any bat. He’s a robust 13-27 with six home runs on pitches inside the strike zone.
Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – $4,500 – R.A. Dickey grades out as the second worst pitcher for me on this slate, so getting some exposure to line-drive machine Daniel Murphy makes sense. The likely high ownership of his teammate, Bryce Harper, will drive up his ownership in tournaments.
Other Options – Robinson Cano ($4,400)
Cesar Hernandez – Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets – $3,000 – If you’re building multiple lineups, I’d advise using Cesar Hernandez in any lineup where you aren’t using Noah Syndergaard. The Phillies’ leadoff man will likely be on the move if he gets on, as Syndergaard’s 11.55% swipe-rate was the worst in the league last year and shows his vulnerability with runners on.
Other Options – Jose Peraza ($4,000)
Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles vs. Cincinnati Reds – $4,600 – It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for Manny Machado to start the season, but selecting a guy like this when he’s on a cold streak is a way to make yourself a lot of money. I love the matchup here against Scott Feldman, who’s allowed right-handed bats to compile a .184 ISO against him over the past few seasons.
Other Options – Jonathan Villar ($4,500)
Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers – $3,700 – Just like his teammate, Salvador Perez, Moustakas’ early season success is backed up by a top-20 hard-hit contact rate. He’s not $3,200 any longer, but it’s difficult to overstate how bad Andrew Cashner has been against left-handed bats over the past few seasons.
Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals – $4,000 – Elvis Andrus is a strong contact bat who’s off to a strong start this season. We know that he’ll run and that the power is not sustainable, but it’s backed up by his 25% hard-hit contact rate, which is 10th best in baseball.
Other Options – Aledmys Diaz ($4,500)
Zack Cozart – Cincinnati Reds vs. Baltimore Orioles – $3,600 – Not many shortstops have the power upside that Zack Cozart does against left-handed pitching, and he’s up against Wade Miley here on Thursday. His .220 ISO against them is elite, and while I’d prefer to roster someone hitting higher in the lineup than where Cozart will likely do here, he’s a strong tournament play.
Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – $5,000 – Bryce Harper appears to be fully locked in. Peak-Harper is really like nothing else in the game right now, and he’s going to be incredibly popular after his dominant performance on Wednesday night.
Other Options – A.J. Pollock ($4,100), Brandon Moss ($4,100)
Hunter Renfroe – San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – $3,500 – San Diego’s strong right-handed slugger has immense power, and that’s been on display every time he’s faced left-handed pitching as a major leaguer. His .403 wOBA and .286 ISO are difficult to ignore for this price.
Other Options – Manuel Margot ($3,600), Yasmany Tomas ($3,900)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RyanFix) 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.