Thursday night brings us a seven-game slate, which includes several top pitchers and a game at Coors Field. As always, Thursday is a common day for players to be held out unexpectedly, so always check those starting lineups before locking in your roster. Here’s a look at some potential plays for your FanDuel lineups tonight.
Zack Greinke – LAD vs. PHI – $11,200 - There is no shortage of pitchers to choose from on this short slate, with at least six pitchers that I would consider using. For cash games, I am likely to side with the safety of Zack Greinke as a strong favorite on the MLB odds board at home against the Phillies. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last four starts, and on the season, has only one start with over three runs allowed. His strikeout upside is not as high as some of the other aces, but his consistency is worth paying for on FanDuel.
Carlos Martinez – STL at PIT - $10,000 – After Greinke, David Price is my next favorite pitcher, but in large field tournaments, I will jump to the high strikeout upside of Carlos Martinez at a lower cost. Martinez has nine consecutive quality starts, and has struck out more than a batter per inning this season. He faces a Pirates team that has a 22% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching.
Victor Martinez – DET at MIN - $3,600 – It looks like a day to pay up at the catcher position, and Martinez will be my first choice facing the very hittable Mike Pelfrey. In 39 innings against left-handed batters, Pelfrey has just 22 strikeouts to go with 28 walks. The Tigers should be one of the highest scoring teams tonight, and Martinez will be in the middle of the action.
A.J. Pierzynski – ATL at COL - $3,400 - As a Braves fan, it’s exciting to be able to play some Braves this weekend at Coors Field. They have been priced up for the trip to Colorado, but Kyle Kendrick is one of the worst starters in the league, and is always worth playing against. He has allowed a .402 wOBA to left-handed batters with a low 13% strikeout rate and high 10% walk rate. Pierzynski is having a nice bounce back season with a .345 wOBA against right-handed pitching with his traditional strong contact rate.
Adrian Gonzalez – LAD vs PHI - $3,600 – The Phillies turn to rookie Severino Gonzalez to take on the Dodgers tonight. Severino has allowed 23 runs in his 25 major league innings. While he has had a good strikeout rate in his limited innings, his minor league numbers show a very hittable pitcher that doesn’t appear to be major league ready. Adrian Gonzalez is having an excellent season with a .393 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. He also comes in swinging a hot bat, with three home runs in the past week.
Wilin Rosario – COL vs ATL - $3,300 - Rosario should be in the lineup tonight against left-handed starter Alex Wood. Wood’s strikeout rate against right-handed batters has fallen dramatically this season, down from 24% in 2014 to 16.8% this year. That does not bode well for a trip to Coors Field, and Rosario should see lots of RBI opportunities in this likely shootout.
DJ LeMahieu – COL vs ATL - $3,300 – Both second basemen in Coors Field are in play tonight, but I lean towards LeMahieu facing Alex Wood at a $400 savings over the Braves’ Jace Peterson. LeMahieu should bat second tonight, and comes in with a .403 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching.
Dee Gordon – MIA vs CIN - $3,100 – Gordon leads off against the Reds Michael Lorenzen, who is exhibiting terrible control in his rookie season. In 65 innings, Lorenzen has 35 walks with just 42 strikeouts and a 5.21 SIERA. Miami could get overlooked today, but I like their potential in this matchup with Gordon leading the way.
Justin Turner – LAD vs PHI - $3,300 – While the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado is clearly the top play at third base tonight, I am finding it hard to fit him in my rosters at his elevated price. I’m more likely to spend my Coors Field budget elsewhere and jump down to the Dodgers’ productive third baseman at a big savings. Turner has been great for the Dodgers this season, and been given consistently good lineup positioning. He has reverse splits with an exceptional .461 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
Derek Dietrich – MIA vs CIN - $2,200 – This pick is lineup dependent, as Dietrich has not been playing every day. If he plays tonight, he makes a fine minimum salary punt against Michael Lorenzen. There is nothing outstanding about Dietrich’s skill set, but I give him and the entire Marlins team the advantage over Lorenzen.
Troy Tulowitzki – COL vs. ATL – $4,400 – Tulo is nearly always the top shortstop play when he is at home, and even more so against left-handed pitching. He is having a bit of a down season for his standards, but against lefties, he is having no trouble, sporting a .452 wOBA and 177 wRC+. Although those numbers are inflated by a high BABIP, his career wOBA of .412 against lefties shows his consistently elite skills. He is so far ahead of any other shortstop on the board tonight that he is worth paying up for if possible.
Yoenis Cespedes – DET at MIN - $3,600 – Cespedes is a reverse splits hitter with a .367 wOBA against right-handed pitching. Mike Pelfrey’s biggest strength against right-handed batters is a low walk rate, but that actually works in Cespedes’ favor, as he is always looking to swing. I prefer playing him against pitchers who stay in the strike zone. Detroit is one of the higher projected scoring teams tonight, and along with Victor Martinez, Cespedes is my favorite play in the lineup.
Nick Markakis/Kelly Johnson – ATL at COL - $3,500/$3,200 – The Braves outfield is another good spot to attack Kyle Kendrick at Coors Field. Markakis has a .352 wOBA against righties with more walk than strikeouts. His plate discipline is likely to cause fits for the control challenged Kyle Kendrick. Johnson is the higher upside play since he has more home run power than Markakis. Cameron Maybin is also likely to have a good game, but has been priced up too high for my liking.
Andre Ethier – LAD vs PHI - $2,400 – The Dodgers outfielders will all be popular plays tonight against Severino Gonzalez, and while Joc Pederson is likely to be the highest owned Dodger OF, I am going to take the salary savings and jump down to Andre Ethier. Ethier comes in with a .375 wOBA against right-handed pitching with very strong contact skills.
Ryan Raburn – CLE vs HOU - $2,300 – If you need another cheap outfielder to fit in high-priced bats elsewhere, look to Ryan Raburn at near minimum salary, who specializes in hitting left-handed pitching. Raburn comes in with a .395 wOBA against lefties this season and faces a below average pitcher in Brett Oberholtzer.