Thursday’s main slate features four games starting at 7:20 p.m. ET. DraftKings originally included the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox game on the slate, however players will not accrue fantasy points due to a schedule change.
We’ll be using the extensive suite of tools at FantasyLabs, mainly the MLB Player Models, to break it down.
The top priced options on FanDuel and DraftKings are:
- Trevor Bauer (R) LAD @ MIL $11,000 (FD) $11,300 (DK)
- Kyle Gibson (R) TEX vs BOS $9,200 (FD) $7,000 (DK)
- Luke Weaver (R) ARI vs COL $7,500 (FD) $7,700 (DK)
- Adbert Alzolay (R) CHC @ ATL $6,500 (FD) $7,200 (DK)
The Bales Model projects the highest rated pitcher on both FanDuel and DraftKings is Trevor Bauer from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bauer has been dominant to start the 2021 season, striking out 45 batters in only 32 innings pitched. Projected to be the highest owned pitcher, Bauer is the standout on the slate and deserves high consideration in all formats.
Today he will be facing the Milwaukee Brewers, who rank second in MLB in strikeouts (251) through their first 24 games. The only flaw I see to Bauer’s early season stats is that on the 15 hits he has allowed, six of those were home runs. In a hitter friendly ballpark, this may be a problem.
The Bales Model projects the Rangers’ Kyle Gibson to have the second-highest floor. After scoring negative points in his first outing of the year, Gibson has pitched strong in his last four starts. Weather may be a factor in tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox as precipitation is currently projected at 32%. The Red Sox lead baseball in team batting average .267 through their 25 games played. I would strongly consider Gibson on DraftKings at $7,000, while not so much on FanDuel at $9,200.
Right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver is another solid pitching option to consider as the Colorado Rockies have struggled away from Coors Field, averaging 2.3 runs/game and .196 team batting through their first nine road games. Contrary to the Rockies road woes, Luke Weaver pitched extremely well in his only home start of the campaign. He allowed one hit in seven innings pitched, while striking out eight batters. Weaver rates highly on Bales Model for this four-game slate.
Finally, a change of scenery for Chicago Cubs pitcher Adbert Alzolay as he will be pitching against the Atlanta Braves. All three of Alzolay’s starts this year have been against the Milwaukee Brewers where he struck out 17 batters in 15 innings. Projected to have the lowest pitch count on the slate, Alzolay will need to throw strikes early and often to be a useful option.
Martin Perez from the Boston Red Sox is projected to have the most points/salary on both FanDuel and DraftKings on the Bales Model. As previously mentioned, this is the only game with rain in the forecast, however the projected 11 mph wind blowing in from center field will be to his advantage. Although Perez has allowed 11 earned runs in his 17.1 innings pitched to start the season, he will be looking to amend his era against the Texas Rangers, who lead MLB in strikeouts (253) through 25 games played.
The Braves will be using an opener and long reliever against the Chicago Cubs for tonight’s game. I recommend not considering long reliever Josh Tomlin but do think opener Bryse Wilson deserves a look. In nine innings pitched, Wilson has allowed four home runs, but if he can keep the ball in the yard, he’s a good option against a struggling Cubs offense.
Today’s top stack comes to you from the Atlanta Braves (-128 favorites against Chicago):
- Ronald Acuna Jr. (R)
- Freddie Freeman (L)
- Marcell Ozuna (R)
- Ozzie Albies (S)
Projected to have the highest implied runs total of 5.1, the Braves batters will be trying to get the best of Alzolay. In his young MLB career, Alzolay has allowed 26 earned runs in 48.2 innings pitched. On FanDuel, this stack will cost you $13.9k in salary and are projected for a combined 46.3 fantasy points.
The highest floor play not previously mentioned on the slate is Pavin Smith from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Eligible at either 1B or outfield, Smith is filling in nicely for the injured Kole Calhoun. Batting leadoff for the Diamondbacks allows Smith to have many opportunities to score fantasy points as they are projected to have the second highest runs total on the slate (4.7). Pavin Smith is also the highest rated batter on the Bales Model for both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Another leadoff man highly rated on the Bales Model to consider is Nico Hoerner from the Chicago Cubs. Hoerner is not expected to hit home runs, but he is a threat for opposing pitchers as he has an OBP of .462 this year. With the Cubs strong supporting cast batting behind Hoerner, I expect him to score a run or two today.
Charlie Blackmon’s fantasy price has continually fallen as he has struggled mightily throughout the month of April. Projected to be have low ownership, Blackmon is a strong value play to consider.
Cash vs GPP
To start, there is no 100% right way to build a lineup as everyone has their own techniques, but this gives you an idea of my thought process. For cash games I tend to look at players with the highest floors, or in other words, the most consistent players to pick from. GPP is where I like taking chances on players that are boom or bust.
When breaking down a slate I like to start with cash game options and then mix in some GPP options to create my lineup. When making multiple lineups I like to keep a similar core group of players that may consist of around 5-6 guys and then toss in alternates. Bales Model is a great place to find all this projected information as it lists: Points/Salary, Ownership, Consistency, Leverage, etc.
With that in mind, here are the high-floor batters to consider when creating lineups tonight:
- Mookie Betts
- Xander Bogaerts
- Asdrubal Cabrera
- Raimel Tapia
- David Peralta
On the other hand, these are a few boom or bust batters that I recommend taking a glimpse at:
- Trevor Story
- Anthony Rizzo
- Joey Gallo