FanDuel MLB: Thursday Targets

FanDuel MLB: Thursday Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

We have a compact six-game slate on tap Thursday night, which naturally narrows our viable options across the board. However, there are some very good individual matchups for both pitchers and one-off hitters, and there's also a pair of solid spots to go to for stacks. There's no Coors Field game on this slate, but there's a Fenway Park tilt with a particularly vulnerable pitcher on the hill for the visitors. 

Pitchers  

Ian Anderson, ATL vs. MIA ($9,900): Anderson has been very effective as a rookie after a rough stint at Triple-A Gwinnett last season, as he has a 2.36 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 13.3 percent swinging strike rate and 31.5 percent strikeout rate. His success isn't a mirage, either, as he sports a rock-solid 2.83 FIP and also owns a minuscule 0.3 HR/9. Anderson has already posted three quality starts in five trips to the mound and faces a Marlins squad that's posted a 24.9 percent strikeout rate, .231 average, -10.7 wRAA and .299 wOBA against right-handed pitching in September.

Kwang Hyun Kim, STL vs. MIL ($8,200): Kim was surprisingly touched up by the Pirates for four earned runs in his most recent start, but he'd allowed just a single unearned run over the 24 innings that had encompassed his previous four turns. Kim, who carries an elite 1.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP across 34 innings, posted seven scoreless innings against these same Brewers two games ago, and Milwaukee checks in with a 26.9 percent strikeout rate against lefties over 160 plate appearances in September.

Martin Perez, BOS vs. BAL ($7,900): Perez has arguably been better than expected in his first Red Sox season, posting a solid 3.88 ERA that's his lowest since the 2013 season. Perez also showed plenty of improvement against the Orioles when facing them for a second time Aug. 22, as he allowed just one earned run over seven innings while recording six strikeouts. The O's make for very likely facilitators of another strong performance, as they have an MLB-low .214 wOBA and .165 average against southpaws in September, as well as a 27.5 percent strikeout rate and -16.1 wRAA.

Top Targets  

Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. MIA ($4,200): Freeman is on an absolute tear in September, as he headed into Wednesday night's action with a .395/.505/.778 line across 99 plate appearances during the month. That sample includes 17 XBH and an astounding 29 RBI over just 21 games. Freeman also boasts a .443/.547/.943 line against right-handed pitching at home, while Marlins starter Pablo Lopez has yielded a .306/.364/.449 line and .350 wOBA to left-handed hitters on the road.

Whit Merrifield, KC vs. DET ($3,600): Merrifield sports a .429 average and two homers in 21 career plate appearances versus Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, who's allowed a stunning .489/.519/.894 slash line and .578 wOBA to right-handed hitters, including a .620 wOBA to righty bats on the road. Merrifield is averaging 11.4 FD points per game and has tormented right-handed pitching all season, posting a .281 average, .455 slugging percentage and .335 wOBA versus that handedness.

Chris Taylor, LAD vs. OAK ($3,000): Taylor offers a nice combination of savings and upside in his matchup against Athletics starter Mike Fiers, who's been a better road pitcher this season but has still allowed a .305/.345/.467 line and .348 wOBA to the 113 right-handed hitters he's faced. Taylor has been an outstanding hitter at Dodger Stadium, where he sports a 1.124 OPS and .471 wOBA overall, including a 1.177 OPS and .495 wOBA versus right-handed pitching. He also comes in swinging a hot bat in September, a month in which he'd posted a .328 average and hit six of his eight homers on the season going into Wednesday night's action.

Bargain Bats   

Christian Vazquez, BOS vs. BAL ($2,900): Vazquez is not only enjoying a solid season, but he's facing one of his favorite pitchers in the Orioles' Alex Cobb. Vazquez has slammed Cobb for a .688 average over 17 career plate appearances, and he's generated a .298/.355/.439 line and .345 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Vazquez also has an impressive 27.0 percent line-drive rate and 37.8 percent hard-contact rate versus righties, while Cobb owns a 6.02 FIP and 2.4 HR/9 over 18.2 road innings.

Christian Arroyo, BOS vs. BAL ($2,600): Staying with the red-hot Red Sox, Arroyo is another appealing cost-savings play against Cobb. To begin with, the Orioles starter has had trouble with left-handed hitters on the road, allowing a .308/.357/.564 line and .389 wOBA in 42 PAs when traveling. Then, Arroyo has been excellent in opposite-handed matchups over a brief sample this season, posting a .364 average, .459 wOBA and 47.1 percent hard-contact rate against righty arms in 24 plate appearances.

Stacks to Consider

Red Sox vs. Cobb: Rafael Devers ($3,900); J.D. Martinez ($3,500); Vazquez; Arroyo

Cobb's difficulties have been discussed in detail, while the Red Sox as a team came into Wednesday night's action with a 295/.355/.506 line, .211 ISO and .366 wOBA over 339 plate appearances against righties the last two weeks. Devers makes for a strong stack starter, as he's slashing .294/.333/.603 with a .390 wOBA against right-handed pitching on the season, with 10 of his 11 homers on the campaign also coming against that handedness. Martinez has been profoundly disappointing this season, but he's starting to heat up in the final days of the campaign. Martinez came into Wednesday night's action hitting .308 (8-for-26) with two homers and five RBI in his previous six games. He also has an extensive history of success versus Cobb, posting a .500 average with five doubles and a homer in 23 career plate appearances against the Baltimore starter.

Royals vs. Fulmer: Merrifield; Adalberto Mondesi ($2,900); Salvador Perez ($3,600); Jorge Soler ($3,000)

Fulmer's considerable difficulties this season were elaborated on in Merrifield's entry. Mondesi makes for a good follow to Merrifield, as he owns a .500 average with a triple and a home run in six career plate appearances against Fulmer. Perez has been on fire at the plate all season, including Wednesday when he slugged another pair of homers. The veteran backstop has been at his best at home against right-handed pitching, where he owned a 1.181 OPS and .493 wOBA in a 41-PA sample against that handedness even before factoring in Wednesday's success. Finally, Soler has slugged all eight of his homers off right-handed pitching, and he's touched up righties at home for a .383 wOBA, .259 ISO, 22.2 HR/FB rate and 38.9 percent hard-contact rate.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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