This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We are looking at a fairly quiet day in baseball Thursday with only eight games on the schedule. Three of them have early start times, including a marquee matchup between the Brewers and Giants. During the evening, the Red Sox will continue their series with the Rays. There will be a lot of bad teams in action, though, including the Marlins, Pirates, Cubs and Rockies. We could at least see plenty of runs in the Rockies game when they host the Braves at Coors Field. Let's try to spice up the dull evening slate by winning some cash on DraftKings with the following players to consider.
The Red Sox have a talented lineup that you would normally avoid using a pitcher against in DFS. However, they are currently dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 that has sidelined Xander Bogaerts, Enrique Hernandez and Christian Arroyo. The loss of Bogaerts is obviously the biggest news, but playing without Hernandez and Arroyo has also left them in a tough spot at second base. That means it might make sense to roll with Shane McClanahan ($10,100), who has pitched well with his 3.37 FIP and 27.7 percent strikeout rate.
Cleveland is expected to receive some reinforcements for their starting rotation with Triston McKenzie ($9,300) set to return from shoulder fatigue. He wasn't on the IL for much more than the minimum stay, so he shouldn't be on a pitch limit. He was performing well before his injury, allowing six runs across 28 innings in his last four starts. He'll try to keep things rolling against the Royals, who he shut out across seven innings the last time they met.
If you want to load up on hitters in tournament play, then taking a chance on Cubs' pitcher Keegan Thompson ($5,600) might not be a crazy idea. He's facing the Pirates, who have the worst OPS in baseball. Thompson, a former third-round pick, has mostly pitched in relief this season, so there is a chance that he doesn't log many innings. A glimmer of hope, though, it that he pitched four innings against the Royals a couple of outings ago, so there's a chance that he could log five innings in this contest if he's pitching well.
Wander Franco ($5,100) is on some kind of heater. The jewel of the Rays' farm system is 37-for-111 (.333) with four home runs, 10 doubles and two triples over his last 28 games. Maybe the most exciting stat is that he only had a 7.4 percent strikeout rate during that stretch. He'll try to keep things rolling in a matchup against Eduardo Rodriguez ($9,000), who has a 1.39 WHIP.
C.J. Cron's ($5,300) first season with the Rockies has been a smashing success. He's already hit 25 home runs, leaving him with a .263 ISO. He's also used a good eye at the plate to help boost him to a .387 wOBA. He's been even better at Coors Field, posting a .367 ISO and a .452 wOBA. That makes him a great option for a matchup at home against the Braves and Touki Toussaint ($8,000).
The addition of Myles Straw ($3,000) at the trade deadline has proven to be a win for Cleveland in the early going. Over his last 24 games, he is 30-for-102 (.294) with a home run and eight doubles. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him continue to provide value in matchup against Mike Minor ($7,200), who has a lackluster 5.30 ERA and 4.37 FIP.
With the Red Sox set to start the left-hander Rodriguez, Manuel Margot ($2,600) should be in the lineup for the Rays. While he's been held to a .286 wOBA against right-handed pitchers during his career, he has a .326 wOBA versus lefties. He's also been playing well down the stretch, hitting 17-for-54 (.315) with four doubles and a triple over his last 17 games.
Stacks to Consider
Jon Gray (forearm) was placed on the IL Wednesday, ruling him out for his scheduled start against the Braves. That has left the Rockies to turn to Gonzalez, who has a 5.30 FIP and a 1.44 WHIP. He will be fighting an uphill battle at Coors Field since the Braves have the eighth-highest OPS in baseball. While Freeman has had a bit of a down year, it's difficult to complain about a player who has 28 home runs, is batting .293 and has a .375 wOBA.
After allowing seven runs in his last start against the Cardinals, the Pirates pushed Keller back a day in their starting rotation. He's having another disastrous season, thanks in large part to his bloated 1.81 WHIP. While the Cubs dismantled their lineup at the trade deadline, the combination of this matchup and a limited slate could make them a team to stack. One of their bright spots has been Schwindel, who has a .289 ISO and a .394 wOBA.