Major League Baseball has a nine-game slate lined up this Thursday giving you 18 starting pitchers to choose from for your DraftKings lineup tonight. Of the 18 scheduled starters, there are a few aces and some solid value, so let’s get right to the top options for today.
1. Zack Greinke – ARI vs. PIT – $10,800
The top two pitchers on the board tonight are head and shoulders above the rest of the field, but I’m giving the slight edge to Greinke based on matchup and his outstanding current form. In all but one of his last six starts, Greinke has posted a quality start with at least 26 DKFP in four of those six outings. On the year, he is 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Greinke has at least six strikeouts in five of his last six starts
He has been very good this season at Chase Field where he is 2-0 in four starts allowing just seven runs in 23.2 innings while striking out 30. He gets a very nice matchup today as the Pirates come to town. Pittsburgh is averaging the fourth-fewest runs-per-game in the Majors and is hitting just .228 as a team on the season and .192 over the last week.
2. Dallas Keuchel – HOU @ NYY – $11,000
The reason I’ve got Keuchel slightly behind Greinke making him 1A tonight is that he has to face the Yankees who are second in the MLB in runs per game and third in home runs. He also has to face them at Yankee Stadium where long fly balls can sometimes turn into home runs in the right conditions.
Keuchel is also coming off his first shaky start of the season when he allowed a season-high five runs to the Angels in eight innings. His ERA is still a sparkling 1.88 and he is 5-0 on the season. His 41 strikeouts in 52.2 innings aren’t quite as impressive as Greinke’s K-rate, but he had been consistently excellent before his last outing. Keuchel is a great play if you can afford both aces tonight, but if you have to choose one I would lean slightly toward Greinke.
3. Gerrit Cole – PIT @ ARI – $9,000
Cole’s 1-3 record isn’t an indication of how well he has pitched this season, but the Pirates’ struggles on offense have left him searching for run support. Since he was knocked around by the Red Sox on Opening Day, Cole has posted six straight quality starts lowering his ERA to 3.14 with an impressive 1.05 WHIP. Cole has 42 strikeouts in his 43 innings this year, but his K-rate is on the rise after four straight starts with at least seven strikeouts.
He has to duel Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks in Arizona, so run support will likely be a limiting factor again. However, he’s the best of the second tier of options behind the 1-2 punch of Greinke and Keuchel.
4. Marco Estrada – TOR vs. SEA – $8,500
Like Cole, Estrada has been the victim of his team’s slow start at the plate and is only 1-2 despite some very nice starts. He did get knocked around in Tampa his last time out allowing five runs in six innings and only managing 12.7 DKFP. In each of his four previous starts, though, he had posted over 23 DKFP with strong starts against the Orioles, Red Sox, Cardinals and Yankees.
As the Blue Jays open their series with Seattle tonight, Estrada will try to return to form. Pitching at Rogers Centre should help, the 33-year-old has yet to allow a run in Toronto pitching 13 scoreless innings at home allowing just seven hits and striking out 15.
5. Michael Fulmer – DET @ LAA – $10,500
Fulmer seems a little over-priced at his five-figure salary tonight, but he is coming off a great start in his last outing and gets a great matchup in LA against the Angels. Fulmer threw eight innings in Oakland on Friday striking out nine and posting 32 DKFP. He has over 26 DKFP in two of his last three games although he only had 8.7 DKFP in the start in between.
In his six starts for Detroit, Fulmer is posting a strong follow-up to his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign last year. He is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.05 WHIP coming into tonight’s start and has picked up 35 strikeouts in his 39 innings. I definitely wouldn’t take him over either of the other two five-figure options, but he does have plenty of upside as a contrarian play tonight.
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.