Thursday features a six-game MLB DFS slate on DraftKings and FanDuel starting at 6:37 pm. ET. I’ll feature my favorite plays and identify value options using the FantasyLabs tools and models.
There is only one pitcher priced above $10,000 on FanDuel:
Max Scherzer (R) $10,600
Scherzer headlines tonight’s main slate as the most expensive pitcher. The 36-year-old ace struggled in his last outing against the Marlins. In that start he only recorded five strikeouts and was pulled after allowing four runs in the fourth inning. Despite that, Mad Max still boasts an elite 32.1% strikeout rate as he gears up to face the Philadelphia Phillies.
This matchup is less than ideal for Scherzer as the Phillies have shown to be one of the more patient teams in the league with a top-10 base-on-balls percentage and a top-3 strikeout percentage.
Despite the difficult matchup the Nationals come into this game with solid Vegas odds as -188 favorites (FanDuel Sportsbook) and sport an implied run total of 5.2 compared to the Phillies 3.9. According to the Bales Model, Scherzer owns the highest pitcher rating and boasts a solid 8.2 strikeout prediction which ranks first on the entire slate.
Given the limited options we have tonight, I like paying up for Scherzer as your top pitcher in all formats. Despite the difficult match up he still owns the highest floor and ceiling of any other pitcher.
Chris Bassitt (R) $7,800
Bassitt takes the mound tonight against the Texas Rangers. Bassitt has been a pleasant surprise for the Athletics pitching rotation this year. In 33.1 innings pitched Bassitt owns a solid 3.97 ERA and is only 0.81 home runs per 9 innings. Tonight Bassitt has an exploitable match up against the free swinging Texas Rangers who own a strikeout rate of 24%. In addition to the positive strikeout matchup, Vegas likes Bassitt’s chances of picking up a win as the Athletics are projected to score 5.6 runs and are strong road favorites at -188 (FanDuel Sportsbook).
Per the Bales Model Bassitt sports the second-best player rating and third-highest projected ceiling. If looking to save money at starting pitcher, fire up Bassitt as a solid salary-saving option.
Ryan Yarbrough (L) $6,700
Yarbrough been a disappointment so far with a 4.45 ERA and 5.20 FIP. He matched his longest start of the season last time out, throwing for 6.1 innings while allowing four runs and striking out six.Tonight, the Rays have an implied team total of 5.0 runs compared to 3.6 for the Orioles. Yarbrough grades out as a decent value play and sports a slate-leading seven Pro Trends
Hyun Jin Ryu (L) $9,100
Ryu was brilliant in his last start against the Rays, notching six strikeouts across five innings of work.
This is a decent matchup for Ryu who is projected to face only three left-handed batters in the Red Sox lineup. This is significant because Ryu has a 29.4% strikeout rate against right-handed hitters this season. If he can work his way around the bats of Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley he can deliver value at his $9,100 price tag.
He doesn’t really jump off the page in the Bales Model but given the limited pitching options available and a slate where the majority of people will gravitate towards Max Scherzer, Ryu sets up as an intriguing low-owned tournament play.
Tonight’s top four-man stack on FanDuel belongs to the Oakland Athletics:
- Marcus Semien (S) $3,000
- Robbie Grossman (S) $3,200
- Matt Chapman (R) $3,700
- Mark Canha (R) $3,100
Total Salary: $13,000
The Athletics are projected to score 5.9 runs against right-hander Jordan Lyles who has allowed 14 earned runs on 18 hits in his last two starts. In your Oakland stacks be sure to consider rostering Matt Olson who has the platoon-split against Lyles and has crushed right-handed pitching this year to the tune of a .244 ISO.
The Washington Nationals grade out as the top five-man stack on DraftKings:
- Trea Turner (R) $5,200
- Adam Eaton (L) $3,200
- Asdrubal Cabrera (S) $4,200
- Juan Soto (L) $5,900
- Howie Kendrick (R) $3,700
Total Salary: $22,200
The Nationals are projected to score 5.2 runs tonight as they take on Spencer Howard, who has struggled this year to the tune of a 7.02 FIP and allowing a 3.09 HR/9 in his previous two starts.
Juan Soto has been on fire at the plate all season, posting an elite .520 wOBA and .423 ISO. He sports the top player projection score and ceiling in the Bales Model and grades out pretty well against Howard who has struggled against left-handed hitters this year, allowing three home runs to go along with a .549 wOBA.
The best part about the Nationals stack is even if they force Howard out of this game early they then get to face one of the worst bullpens in baseball.
If not stacking the Nationals, consider rostering Adam Eaton. He is projected to bat second for the Nationals and he grades out as one of the best value plays of the slate in the Bales Model where he owns a top-five-overall player rating.
Cavan Biggio (L) $3,900
Biggio has been hitting the seams off the baseball lately. He sports a .350 batting average and has 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs across his last 17 games. He has an exploitable match up against right-hander Chris Mazza who for his career has only struck out left-handed hitters at a 11.1% rate. Biggio is projected to leadoff for the Blue Jays, who own an implied team run total of 6 runs.
Biggio grades out as one of the best bats on the slate as he owns a top-five player rating and projected score, per the Bales Model.
Dominic Smith (L) $3,500
Smith has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball in the past month sporting a .318 batting average, .379 ISO and recording 17 RBIs in that time span. Tonight he should continue to add to those numbers as he faces Marlins top prospect Sixto Sanchez.
After reading this article, be sure to check out the FantasyLabs news for injury updates, inactive reports, and lineup changes before the MLB DFS slate kicks off this evening.