This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The MLB action begins at 1:35 pm EST Thursday, and there are six games before the main slate starts at 7:07 pm EST. The main slate only has five games, so the player pool is smaller than usual. Let's take a look at who should be considered for Thursday night.
Tyler Chatwood ($9,600) appears to have overcome his control issues as evidenced by a 20:4 K:BB over his first two starts. He'll have a good matchup against the Royals, who have the sixth-lowest wOBA (.281) against right-handed pitching. Chatwood is the logical choice to use in cash games, and spending up at pitcher makes sense as there isn't a Coors game with a big over/under total on the main slate to chew up a big portion of your cap.
A decent mid-priced player to consider is the Blue Jays' Nate Pearson ($7,500). Pearson had a respectable outing in his MLB debut, finishing with 30 fantasy points, and he has the upside to be even better. Atlanta's hitters have been free swingers this season, resulting in them striking out 26.7 percent of the time against right-handed pitching, the seventh-highest mark in baseball.
Normally you wouldn't find Wade LeBlanc ($6,600) in this space, but he's got a good matchup against the Marlins and is really affordable. He's managed 22 and 23 fantasy points in his first two starts and was able to work into the sixth inning in both games. That means both the win and quality start bonuses are in play for LeBlanc on Thursday night.
Eloy Jimenez ($3,300) is off to a hot start at the plate, averaging over 13 fantasy points per game. While it's a small sample, Jimenez has already drawn three walks, so his .333 batting average might not be that fluky. Josh Lindblom left his first start of the year with back spasms, and may not be able to pitch deep into this game.
Anthony Rizzo ($3,700) has scored fantasy points in every game this season and has a good matchup Thursday against Brad Keller. Rizzo will have the lefty-vs-righty advantage against Keller, and his career wOBA against right-handed pitching is .380, an elite number.
After a slow start George Springer ($3,400) has woken up with fantasy performances of 16, 31.7, 15,7, 19.5 and 25.2 points over his last five games. While Zac Gallen has upside, the play here is to ride the hot hand with Springer, who has the great power/speed upside.
Avisail Garcia ($2,800) holds a .346 wOBA against left-handed pitching. He should be in a prime RBI spot (likely batting cleanup), and facing Gio Gonzalez is a plus matchup for him. Look for the ex-White Sox slugger to produce against his former club.
Kyle Schwarber ($2,800) has a career .361 wOBA against right-handed pitching, and that number slightly inflated to .367 last season. He's been a fixture as the cleanup hitter for the Cubs, meaning there will be extra potential RBI points for him in this game.
The Diamondbacks' David Peralta ($2,400) is at home and should be hitting towards the top of the lineup. Peralta has a career .371 wOBA against right-handed pitching and rookie Brandon Bielak likely won't pitch past the third or fourth inning in this game.
Despite having to play by the rules (joking), the Astros have gotten off to a somewhat positive 6-5 start. Reddick is the wild card here, while Correa has gotten off to a hot start, averaging over 12 fantasy points per game.
Yelich got Wednesday off to clear his head after a slow start, and the other three players mentioned will have the platoon advantage against the lefty Gonzalez. All four will hit in the top five spots for the Brew Crew, maximizing their at-bats and fantasy potential Thursday night.