After a nice break for the Midsummer Classic, Major League Baseball eases back into action with a light schedule on Thursday, providing a two-game slate on Thursday night for the DraftKings fantasy baseball slate, which gets underway at 6:40 p.m. ET. The first game features the Yankees and Astros playing the conclusion of their doubleheader, and the Giants and Dodgers meet in the late game at Dodger Stadium to close out the action.
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Carlos Rodón, San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers ($8,500) – Even in a tough matchup against the Dodgers, Rodón has had a strong enough season in San Francisco to be a top option. He’s 8-5 with a 2.66 ERA, 2.14 FIP and 11.23 K/9 in his 18 starts. He has given up one or zero runs in six of his past seven outings dating back to the most recent time he faced Los Angeles. In that start, he beat the Dodgers by allowing just two hits in six shutout innings with eight strikeouts and 30.5 DKFP. He’s put up over 30 DKFP four times in his seven most recent starts. Rodón did have a blood blister and a split nail which kept him out of the All-Star game, but those issues seem to be behind him since he’ll get the ball in the first game coming out of the break.
Domingo Germán, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($6,700) – Germán is set to come off the IL and make his season debut in the second game of the Yankees’ doubleheader. He’s a nice value consideration if he can look as sharp as he has throughout his rehab. He has been sidelined all year with a shoulder injury but has allowed just one run on nine hits through 20 1⁄3 innings in the minors. While he will likely be on a pitch count, he did throw 65 pitches across six innings last Friday in Triple-A, so he should at least be able to stick around long enough to qualify for the win as long as he’s effective. There’s always added risk with playing a pitcher coming off the injured list, but on this small slate, the risk is acceptable given his ceiling if he pitches well and the Yankees pile up runs like usual.
Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($4,900) – Rizzo cooled off a little bit after a scalding start to the season, but he has been turning things back around over the past couple of weeks. In his 10 games in July, he is hitting .250 (9-for-36) with 10 runs scored, five doubles, a home run and a .370 wOBA. As discussed below in stacks, Luis Garcia ($7,200) has been a better matchup for lefties, so getting Rizzo’s left-handed bat in the middle of an elite order for under $5K is a strong option to consider. On the season, Rizzo has already smashed 22 homers to boost him to a .360 wOBA.
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($4,300) – LeMahieu doesn’t bring the power upside of some of his more expensive teammates, but he entered the break in a nice groove, having hit safely in seven of his past eight starts, including five multi-hit performances. He’s hitting .351 (20-for-57) in July with a .408 wOBA and a pair of stolen bases. He almost always finds a way to produce solid returns hitting leadoff with a great lineup ready to mash behind him.
Other Options – Trea Turner ($5,600), José Altuve ($5,000)
Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,800) – Estrada is expected to be the Giants’ regular SS while Brandon Crawford (knee) is on the shelf, and the 26-year-old has shown some fantasy upside through his first 80 games this season. He’s hitting .259 with a .317 wOBA and nine home runs, and he has also added 13 stolen bases. He hit safely in six of his past seven games going into the break, going 9-for-29 (.310) with three doubles, three homers and a .445 wOBA, averaging 11.9 DKFP in those contests.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,100) – Belt picked up 10 hits and two home runs in his six games just before the break, going 10-for-20 (.500) with a .607 wOBA in that very small sample size. As highlighted below, Belt is in a favorable matchup and brings plenty of power potential from the middle of the Giants’ lineup at this very affordable salary.
Other Options – Justin Turner ($3,800), Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($3,100)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($5,800) – Judge is worth paying up for as he continues his quest for 60 home runs with the potential for even more at-bats than normal thanks to the twin bill. Judge’s numbers so far this season are nothing short of incredible. He has 33 home runs in 89 games while hitting .284 with a .334 ISO and .410 wOBA. He had multiple hits in his two most recent games going into the All-Star break and has four home runs in his past 10 games to help him average 13 DKFP per contest.
Matt Carpenter, New York Yankees at Houston Astros ($4,700) – Carpenter has actually outproduced even Judge over his past 10 games with five homers and 15.3 DKFP per contest. The veteran has been a surprisingly potent pickup for the Yankees and is hitting .354 with more home runs (13) than singles (10) in his 31 games. Like Rizzo, Carpenter is another left-handed bat in the New York lineup that comes with a high ceiling against Garcia.
Other Options – Kyle Tucker ($4,800), Giancarlo Stanton ($4,600)
Aledmys Díaz, Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees ($3,000) – The Astros have been able to overcome multiple injuries this season in large part thanks to the versatility of Díaz, who has filled in all over the diamond. He has also been swinging a hot bat, going 12-for-38 (.316) with four doubles, three home runs and a .445 wOBA in his most recent 10 games. He also has seven RBI, eight runs scored and a stolen base over that span, showing his regular involvement in generating Houston’s offense.
Trayce Thompson, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants ($2,700) – It’s hard to like any of the Dodgers too much with a tough matchup against a dominant lefty in Rodón, but Thompson does make an intriguing cheap play if he gets the start against the southpaw like he regularly was before the break. Since joining the Dodgers in June, he’s hitting .259 with four doubles, two home runs, a .335 wOBA and a stolen base. He had two hits last Saturday for his second multi-hit performance in eight starts this month.
Other Options – Austin Slater ($3,400), Mike Yastrzemski ($3,200)
TEAMS TO STACK
New York Yankees at Houston Astros – With the size of the slate and the matchups on the board, a Yankees stack seems almost inevitable. They have been an absolute juggernaut so far this season, leading MLB in runs and home runs by a significant margin. Garcia did a decent job against them at the end of June, but the 25-year-old righty has been inconsistent. He has given up 15 homers in 16 starts and has actually been more hittable at home, where he has a 5.04 ERA and 4.54 FIP. As mentioned above, lefties have had more success against him and have a .301 wOBA, so it’s a good place to mix in Rizzo and Carpenter with the always strong plays of Judge and LeMahieu. Giancarlo Stanton ($4,600), Josh Donaldson ($4,400), Gleyber Torres ($4,200) and Jose Trevino ($3,200) also bring high ceilings with good power potential, so it’s an easy place to pile on the pinstripes in this small slate.
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers – To help balance out the hefty salaries of a Yankees stack, it’s nice that the Giants get the better side of the matchup in the late game. Mitch White ($7,900) will start for the Dodgers coming off a rough outing against the Cardinals, who roughed him up for 10 hits, six runs and two home runs in five innings. White now has a 4.20 ERA, 4.24 FIP and 8.40 K/9 rate through 13 games and has given up six home runs. Both lefties and righties have three of those homers and an identical .309 wOBA against him. The Giants typically roll out lefties LaMonte Wade ($2,400) and Joc Pederson ($3,700) at the top of their lineup vs. righties with Estrada, Belt, Mike Yastrzemski ($3,200) and Austin Slater ($3,400) all affordable options with nice potential to blend into your roster Thursday.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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