DraftKings MLB: Thursday Breakdown

DraftKings MLB: Thursday Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

Thursday brings another slew of day games across baseball. The main DraftKings slate features seven games, the first of which starts at 1:10 PM EDT. Here are some players to target as your work your way through the options.

Pitchers

Talk about getting off on the right foot. Jose Berrios ($9,800) was dominant in his season debut against the Brewers, recording 12 strikeouts across six hitless innings. He didn't walk anyone, either, with the lone blemish on his record being when he hit a batter. He's set to face another underwhelming lineup in the Mariners, who had the third-lowest OPS (.678) in baseball last season.

Lance Lynn ($8,700) wasn't exactly at the top of his game during his first start as a member of the White Sox, allowing two unearned runs across 4.2 innings against the Angels. He recorded six strikeouts, but his eight total baserunners allowed is not a recipe for success. The good news is that he had a 1.06 WHIP last season, so he could bounce back in a matchup against a less fearsome Royals lineup.

The Brewers had major contact issues last year, striking out the second-most times in baseball. Entering play Wednesday, they had the second-most strikeouts in the first week of this season, as well. That could make Adam Wainwright ($7,500) someone to target, especially when you consider his reduced salary. He faced the Brewers twice last season, allowing five runs and recording 12 strikeouts across 13.2 innings.

Top Targets

Whenever a left-handed pitcher is on the mound, Nelson Cruz ($5,400) has to be someone that you consider for DFS. For his career, he has a .278 ISO and a .401 wOBA against them. He could pose trouble for Marco Gonzales ($,300), who doesn't exactly blow hitters away with his career 19.1 percent strikeout rate.

The loss of the DH in the National League really hurt the Mets, who had an ideal player for the spot in Dominic Smith ($4,600). He's not a good defensive outfielder and they have Pete Alonso ($4,900) at first base, so it might not always be easy to get him in the lineup. With that being said, he should start against right-hander Nick Neidert ($6,000), who will be making his season debut for the Marlins. He had an ERA over 5.00 both at Triple-A in 2019 and during his brief stint in the majors in 2020, so Smith could do some damage against him.

With Tyler Anderson ($6,600) set to take the mound for the Pirates, the Cubs could be in line for a strong offensive performance. He has a career 4.45 FIP and he doesn't miss many bats considering he's never produced a strikeout rate above 22.4 percent. This might be an opportune time to roll with Kris Bryant ($5,300), who despite a down overall campaign in 2020, still finished with a .374 wOBA against lefties.

Bargain Bats

Going back to the Mets' matchup against Neidert, Jeff McNeil ($3,400) is someone to consider at a much cheaper salary. While he doesn't have nearly the power that Smith does, he's a tough out given his career 12.0 percent strikeout rate and .373 wOBA. Another player on the Mets who has a salary that is surprisingly low is Michael Conforto ($3,600). He's dominated right-handed pitchers, recording a .374 wOBA and a .243 ISO against them for his career.

Stacks to Consider

Red Sox vs. Matt Harvey ($7,600), Orioles: Xander Bogaerts ($5,700), J.D. Martinez ($5,600), Alex Verdugo ($4,200)

Harvey faced the Red Sox last week, allowing two runs across 4.2 innings. That wasn't a bad performance, although he did allow seven base runners. That's been a problem for him given that he's had a WHIP of at least 1.47 in four of the last five seasons. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Red Sox hang a crooked number on him in their rematch. Martinez is doing his best to show that his down production last season was a fluke, hitting 11-for-25 with two home runs and six doubles.

Rockies vs. Merrill Kelly ($6,800), Diamondbacks: Trevor Story ($5,100), Charlie Blackmon ($5,000), Ryan McMahon ($4,500)

Kelly only made five starts in 2020, but he made them count, finishing with three wins and a 2.59 ERA. However, his FIP wasn't as impressive at 3.95 and he was somewhat aided by an abnormally low .247 BABIP allowed. He's had problems limiting home runs, allowing 1.4 per nine innings for his career. That could end up being his downfall for this matchup at Coors Field.

Diamondbacks vs. Jon Gray ($7,000), Rockies: Christian Walker ($4,700), David Peralta ($4,000), Josh Rojas ($4,400)

Gray looked sharp in his first start, recording seven strikeouts and allowing one run across five innings against the Dodgers. He did leave the game with some cramping, but he is expected to be fine to start Thursday. As good as he was in that game, he has a career 4.57 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, so he's not exactly an overpowering force. Starting at Coors Field likely won't help his cause. Peralta doesn't grab a lot of headlines, but he's tough to strike out and he has a career .349 wOBA, so he might be able to take advantage of this matchup.

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. Mike Barner plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: mbarner, DraftKings: mbarner51.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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