This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday won't bring a ton of action across baseball since there are only eight games on the schedule. The Yankees, who have been in a freefall since their 13-game winning streak was snapped, have a tough row to hoe to get back on track with Jose Berrios set to take the mound against them. The NL East race will also take center stage with the Braves, Phillies and Mets all in action. They will all be facing rebuilding teams, too, in the Nationals, Rockies and Marlins, respectively. We don't have a ton of options for DraftKings' main five-game evening slate, but here are some players who could still help lead you to a profit.
The pitcher with the highest salary on the slate is Marcus Stroman ($9,400), who has been great for the Mets with his 2.93 ERA and 3.44 FIP. With that being said, it's not often that the pitcher with the highest salary only has a 21.3 percent strikeout rate. The reason why his salary could still be worth it is because of his matchup against the Marlins, who have the third-worst OPS in baseball. The only other time he faced them this season, he allowed two runs and recorded eight strikeouts over six innings.
The Yankees have picked a bad time for their offense to struggle. The Blue Jays have one of the best lineups in baseball, so holding them down was going to be a tall order, as it is. Scoring runs could be difficult for them again when they have to face Berrios ($9,200), who has a 3.55 ERA and a 3.49 FIP. The Yankees have built their lineup around home run hitters, so with Berrios only allowing 1.0 HR/9, this game could turn out to be another struggle to score.
John Means ($7,100) is coming off of a brutal six-game stretch in which he had to face the Braves, Yankees and Rays (three times). He had a couple of duds, but he also allowed three or fewer runs in four of those outings. The schedule finally shifts in his favor Thursday in a matchup against the Royals, who have the sixth-worst OPS in baseball.
Jesus Luzardo ($6,700) has shown some signs of improvement over his last two starts, allowing three runs over 11.2 innings. Both games came at his new home park, which is a pitcher-friendly environment. Still, he has a 1.65 WHIP for the season, so he has a long way to go. Also, he's allowed 17 home runs across 72 innings. That could make this a prime matchup to roll with the powerful Pete Alonso ($4,800).
It's been a disappointing season for Trevor Story ($4,900), who has a .791 OPS that would be the second-lowest mark of his career. He's started to heat up down the stretch, though, posting a 1.085 OPS over his last 10 games. He's also continued to left-handed pitchers, recording a .402 wOBA against them this season. That makes him an appealing option for his matchup against Ranger Suarez ($7,400) and the Phillies.
C.J. Cron ($4,300) has performed well against left-handed pitchers, as well, recording a .402 wOBA against them this season. He's proven to be a great addition for the Rockies and has a chance to hit 30 home runs in a season for just the second time in his career. While his salary isn't overly cheap, it won't destroy your budget, either.
Going back to the Mets' matchup against Luzardo, Kevin Pillar ($3,000) could provide value. He's playing more with Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) on the IL and has stepped up, hitting 11-for-29 (.379) with four home runs and two doubles over his last 10 games.
Stacks to Consider
Fedde might be dreading this outing. He's been crushed in three previous starts against the Braves, allowing 16 runs (14 earned) in 11.1 innings. His 1.48 WHIP this season is right in line with his career 1.50 mark, so his struggles to keep hitters off base is nothing new. One of the tougher outs for Fedde in the Braves' lineup could be Albies, who is 14-for-46 (.304) with five home runs and two doubles over his last 11 games.
The reason to possibly roll with a Blue Jays stack is not a knock on Cortes, who has been excellent with a 2.67 ERA and a 3.63 FIP. It's because the Blue Jays have arguably the highest scoring upside of any of the 10 teams that will be in action. They have the highest OPS and have hit the most home runs in baseball. In fact, they are one of only three teams with at least 200 home runs. As good as Cortes has been, he has allowed seven home runs across 34.2 innings over his last six starts.