This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Thursday is a day when teams in action transition into their weekend series. That means a lot of daytime games. There are 10 games on the slate for Thursday, and only one of them starts after 7:00 p.m. EDT. The first game begins at 1:05 p.m. If you can get your lineup in on FanDuel early enough, here are some recommendations for your lineup.
Danny Duffy, KC vs. CLE ($10,700): Duffy's numbers can't stay this good forever. The dude has allowed all of two runs over five starts. That being said, his 2.60 FIP is also incredibly impressive. Cleveland ranked 24th in runs scored last season, and now that they don't have Francisco Lindor. I imagine they will be worse. Indeed, they currently have a sub-.300 OBP as a team.
Brandon Woodruff, MIL at PHI ($10,100): Woodruff is getting overshadowed a bit by Corbin Burnes, but for most teams he would be the top pitcher. He has a 2.13 FIP through six starts and for the third season in a row is striking out double-digit batters per nine innings. The Phillies are in the bottom 10 in runs scored, and with Bryce Harper day-to-day due to a wrist issue, their lineup could have even less punch in it.
Michael Pineda, MIN vs. TEX ($8,700): Pineda is expected to start Thursday, though he has already had his start postponed a day after taking a ball off the wrist. If he pitches, I'd be happy to have him in my lineup. Since joining the Twins, Pineda has a 3.69 ERA over 36 starts, including a 2.30 ERA this season. Texas' offense is middle-of-the-pack this year, but in 2020 they finished 29th in runs scored.
Nathan Eovaldi, BOS vs. DET ($8,600): Eovaldi's speedy fastball hasn't always lent itself to success on the mound, but he does have a 3.69 ERA over the last two seasons. On top of that, he has a 2.12 FIP this year. The Tigers are in a league of their own when it comes to offensive inefficiency this year. They are last in runs scored per game, and they are behind the other teams who haven't had extensive COVID-19 postponements by a decent margin.
Ronald Acuna, ATL at WAS ($4,300): Well, the last time there was a full MLB season Acuna hit 41 homers and stole 37 bases. So yeah, he's pretty good. This year, he's shown more power than ever with 10 homers and a .702 slugging percentage. Jon Lester went five scoring innings in his first start of 2021, but over his four previous seasons he's had a FIP over 4.00 every time.
Bo Bichette, TOR at OAK ($3,500): Bichette has played in parts of three seasons, but in total he's only played in 104 games. However, over those games he's slashed .294/.335/.535 and he's only 23. Mike Fiers is not a player on the rise, as he's 35 years old. He also has a career 4.44 FIP, so we know that he's a mediocre hurler at this point.
Rafael Devers, BOS vs. DET ($3,700): Devers was decent in 2020 (.793 OPS), but the last time he played a full campaign he had a .916 OPS with 31 homers. The lefty also feasts on right-handed pitching, as he's posted a .970 OPS versus righties since 2019. Spencer Turnbull is a righty, and one with a career 4.55 ERA at that. While Turnbull doesn't allow a lot of home runs, Devers could still have a good day at the plate and provide value to your DFS lineup.
Brian Anderson, MIA vs. ARI ($2,300): Anderson just returned from an oblique strain, so his poor numbers are also in a smaller sample size than most have put up. In his career he's put up a .263/.346/.428 slash line with a career .321 BABIP. This year he has a .241 BABIP, so I expect his numbers to rise. Madison Bumgarner threw a seven-inning no-hitter and still has a 5.68 ERA, which should tell you the kind of season he's had. Since joining the Diamondbacks, he has a 6.10 ERA over 15 starts.
STACKS TO CONSIDER
It's pretty surprising that Lyles has managed to stick in the majors for a decade. He has a career 5.28 ERA and has never had an ERA lower than 4.11. Since signing with the Rangers he's sported a 7.14 ERA, which is staggeringly bad. Hey, if the Rangers want to trot Lyles out, I'm happy to take advantage of it. I know Buxton's numbers will regress but how can you not be excited about a .379/.419/.805 slash line with nine homers? Even while hitting .222 in 28 games last season Donaldson had a .373 OBP, because the guy just knows how to get on base. Kepler is a lefty, so I am looking to get him in the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. He's never going to hit for average, but in 2019 he hit 36 homers, so we know he has power.
Smyly has been serving up homers at an alarming rate, which is how he has an 8.05 ERA through four starts. He's allowed a whopping 4.26 home runs per nine innings. By the way, in 2019 he had a 6.24 FIP, so it's not like his struggles are totally out of nowhere. Since 2019, Smyly has allowed a .277 average to righties, so I have three right-handed hitters here. Turner has never failed to put up double-digit homers and stolen bases in any season where he's played more than 30 games, and he's well on his way there in 2021 (seven homers, seven stolen bases). Castro doesn't walk, but he can hit, which is why he has a .280 batting average for his career. Since 2019, he has a .914 OPS versus lefties as well. You don't need a catcher on FanDuel, but I like Gomes at this salary. The backstop has an .842 OPS against left-handed pitchers since 2019.