This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday's lack of pitching options have me going from the penthouse to the basement with respect to my selections. While the lack of talented pitchers may make for a frustrating selection process at the outset, it should afford us plenty of opportunities to stack on the offensive side.
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Gerrit Cole, HOU at BAL ($12,800): I generally wouldn't advise spending this much salary on a single player but prospective owners need to make sure they are putting points on the board on this kind of limited slate. Cole should be the man for the job, as he will take a fastball that has yielded 30.6 RAA into the matchup against the Orioles, a team that holds the sixth lowest RAA against the heater this season (-21.3). It is also worth noting that Baltimore has struck out 23.5 percent of the time against right-handed pitching, while Cole has logged a 35 percent strikeout rate in 2018.
Cheap GPP Consideration, Jason Vargas, NYM vs. ATL ($5,400): Pitcher salaries take a sharp dip at the $8,500 mark, leaving little to speak of in the mid-range. It is for this reason that I recommend taking a flyer on someone like Vargas, who has put up at least 20 DraftKings points in four of his last five starts. He has struck out 43 batters in as many innings in nine starts dating back to Aug. 1. Vargas may not have an easy time against a dangerous Atlanta offense but there is enough upside here to justify a GPP play given our options.
GPP Fade, Julio Teheran, ATL at NYM ($8,500): Teheran has been a reliable fantasy asset at various points this season but currently owns a 1.3 HR/9 rate to go along with an 11.7 percent walk rate in 169.2 innings. He has reached 20 or more points in just three of his last 10 starts. DFS players may reflexively see the Mets as an exploitable squad but they rank in the top half of the league against right-handers when it comes to ISO (.167) and carry a 9.2 percent walk rate.
Mike Zunino, SEA vs. TEX ($3,600): Zunino's low batting average and high strikeout total likely won't inspire confidence among too many prospective owners but he has still notched a .227 ISO and a 40.8 percent hard contact rate against right-handed pitchers. The 27-year-old should get a few comfortable at-bats against Ariel Jurado, who has allowed a 44.3 percent hard contact rate to righties while striking out just 19 batters in 48.2 innings overall.
Ryan O'Hearn, KC vs. CLE ($4,200): O'Hearn's dominance against right-handed pitching shouldn't be overlooked in the final days of the 2018 season, as he has notched a .434 ISO and a .497 wOBA against opposite-handed hurlers in 99 at-bats. It would be hard to find a better matchup for O'Hearn than Josh Tomlin, who has surrendered a .738 slugging percentage against lefty hitters in 26.2 innings.
Jason Kipnis, CLE at KC ($4,100): Opposing starter Glenn Sparkman has walked more left-handed hitters than he has struck out this season, which has contributed to an xFIP approaching 6.00 in 14.2 innings. Meanwhile, Kipnis has continued his strong month of September at the plate, as evidenced by the .235 ISO he has tallied in 68 at-bats.
Johan Camargo, ATL at NYM ($4,000): Even those taking a shot with Vargas shouldn't ignore opposing hitters entirely, as the lefty has allowed a .538 slugging percentage to his opposite hand in 64.2 innings this season. Camargo has shown good power against lefties throughout the 2018 campaign and currently owns a .224 ISO in 134 at-bats.
Marwin Gonzalez, HOU at BAL ($4,200):David Hess has had real issues limiting homers this season as we can see from the 2.5 HR/9 rate he has kept in 50.1 innings against left-handed hitters. Gonzalez has largely fallen short of expectations after a breakout 2017 season but seems intent on closing the year on a positive note, as he has notched a solid .182 ISO and .351 wOBA in 55 at-bats this month.
Robbie Grossman, MIN vs. DET ($3,600): Opposing starter Francisco Liriano possesses one of the least effective fastballs in the league this season, as evidenced by the -23.2 RAA it has amassed in 131 innings. Grossman has notched a 9.1 RAA against the heater in 2018 while also logging a .376 wOBA against lefties in 121 at-bats.
Jay Bruce, NYM vs. ATL ($3,700): Bruce seems to be back to his old self after an extended stay on the disabled list, as he has tallied a robust .268 ISO in 71 September at-bats. Teheran has shown good results against both sides of the platoon this season but holds a 5.94 xFIP against lefty hitters in 79.1 innings.
Nelson Cruz, SEA vs. TEX ($4,300): We will head back to Seattle for our last play of the day to take a look at Cruz, who sports a .243 ISO in 367 at-bats against right-handed pitching this season. Jurado should be seen as one of the more exploitable pitching options on the slate, as he has carried a 7.34 ERA in his last 38 innings since the beginning of August.