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What’s up everybody! We’ve got just one FantasyDraft slate for us on this Thursday, but with seven different matchups, we’ve got plenty of lineups to create. Contests start at 7 pm EST, so get your lineups set before then.
Must Play SP: Lance McCullers, HOU ($24,100) vs SD
Lance McCullers is an ace when he’s healthy. He proved this to be true in his first start of the year against Texas, where he struck out 10 and walked just one in 5 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old had a 3.52 Deserved Run Average and a 3.10 FIP in 2017, showing that he was much better than his 4.25 ERA would suggest. McCullers gets to face the lowly Padres on Thursday, one of the worst lineups in baseball, especially without Wil Myers. They were second-to-last in all of baseball in 2017 with their awful .299 wOBA. The Astros against the Padres is like an NBA All-Star team playing against a team of 12-year-olds in a pickup game. They will have no trouble getting McCullers the win, and McCullers will have no trouble mowing down Pads hitters and racking up strikeouts.
Honorable Mention: Kenta Maeda, LAD ($21,500) at SF
Value SP: CC Sabathia, NYY ($15,400) vs BAL
There’s slim pickings at starting pitcher on Thursday, so while Sabathia isn’t exceptionally cheap, he’s still got a low enough price to make him valuable on this slate. Sabathia had a solid five inning start in his last time out against Toronto, and gets to face a weak Orioles lineup on Thursday. The Orioles have struck out more than all but one team this year with a 27.7% K-rate, and the loaded Yankees lineup should be able to give Sabathia the win.
Honorable Mention: Trevor Williams, PIT ($14,000) vs CIN
Over the last two seasons, Corey Seager has consistently shown that he is one of the best hitters in baseball. He had an outstanding .295/.375/.479 line in 2017 over 145 games. With this being said, are you really going to let a seven game sample change your opinion on him? Seager is off to a cold start, but that simply doesn’t matter at all. His price is way, way, waaaaaaayyyyyy too low as a result of those seven games. Seager is particularly good against lefties, as evidenced by his 144 wRC+ against them last season, and he faces one of the worst southpaws in baseball in Derek Holland on Thursday. The Dutch Oven had a 6.20 ERA last year, including a funny-but-also-sad 12.0% walk-rate. Get Seager in as many lineups as you can.
Honorable Mention: IF Elvis Andrus, TEX ($7,400) vs TOR (Estrada)
Josh Reddick is has been one of my favorite DFS plays this year, as he’s a consistent producer at a low price. Reddick is always undervalued, likely because he lacks traditional roto skills (homers and steals), but he’s still a huge fantasy contributor. Reddick has lots of opportunities for runs and RBI in the stacked Astros lineup, and he’s already off to a hot start, putting up a 1.156 OPS. Reddick had an outstanding 131 wRC+ against right-handed pitching last year, while Padres starter Luis Perdomo had a 4.85 xFIP against lefties. An entire Astros stack against Perdomo is a strong play, but Reddick is still worth playing as a standalone as well.
Honorable Mention: OF Lorenzo Cain, MIL ($8,500) vs CHC (Hendricks)
Platoon bats who only face lefties are almost worthless in traditional fantasy formats, but they’re absolute gold in daily fantasy. Steve Pearce is the Blue Jays lead-off man against lefties, and let me tell you, it’s almost impossible to find a lead-off hitter for this cheap. Leadoff hitters are quite valuable in DFS, as they get lots of plate appearances, so Pearce will have plenty of chances to get you some points. Pearce has a career 126 wRC+ against lefties, and Matt Moore is hot garbage. Very few players are likely to plug Pearce into their lineups, making any production from him even more valuable.
Honorable Mention: OF Corey Dickerson, PIT ($6,000) vs CIN (Castillo)
Top Stack: Cubs at Milwaukee (RHP Brandon Woodruff)
Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff hasn’t done much to prove that he’s major league ready, as he put up a 4.81 ERA in eight starts last year, and has gotten hit around in both his relief appearances this season. Miller Park in Milwaukee is one of the best hitting environments in all of baseball, so the Cubs should have themselves a big day. Anthony Rizzo ($9,400) and Kyle Schwarber ($9,00) are both top-tier bats worth investing in, while Jason Heyward ($5,900) is an outstanding value play if he’s in the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Rangers at Toronto (Estrada); Blue Jays vs Texas (Moore)