As Major League Baseball gets set for another busy weekend, Thursday is a travel day for several teams, but there are still a dozen squads in action on a solid, six-game slate of action on DraftKings in the Thursday evening window. The early games could be wet on the East Coast, so be sure to double-check the forecast as we lead up to entry lock at 7:05 p.m. ET. Coors Field is in play as the Rockies start their weekend set against the Braves, and the evening closes out with another NL East team visiting the NL West as the Mets take on the Dodgers.
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Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ($9,100) – I don’t love this matchup against the first-place Mets, but I do love Gonsolin’s recent consistency enough to look past that and make him my top stud pitcher of the night. He has over 20 DKFP in five straight starts with at least five strikeouts in each of those outings while going 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 3.18 FIP to go with 31 strikeouts over 28 innings. In his most recent start, he dominated the Diamondbacks for a season-high 25.1 DKFP while generating 10 swings and misses on 92 pitches in the game on his way to an elite CSW rate of 37 percent. Even in this tougher matchup, Gonsolin is worth considering paying up for since the fourth-season starter has had a breakout campaign so for this season for the Dodgers.
Other Options – Sean Manaea ($9,700), Jameson Taillon ($9,300)
Keegan Thompson, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($6,900) – Thompson has a 5-0 record on the season just like Gonsolin even though eight of his 11 appearances have come out of the bullpen. He has started three of his past four games, though, and has always pitched at least 2 2⁄3 innings even as a reliever. Thompson and Gonsolin don’t typically pitch deep into games, but their effectiveness and strikeout upside make them a solid duo on this slate. Thompson has over 15 DKFP in three straight appearances and posted 17.7 DKFP in his most recent outing by holding the White Sox to one run on five hits over five innings. He enters this matchup against the Cardinals with an impressive 1.09 home ERA and 9.49 K/9 rate at Wrigley.
Other Options – Taijuan Walker ($7,700), Chris Flexen ($6,200)
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies ($4,700) – Riley has five homers in his past eight games, averaging 13.6 DKFP per contest over that stretch. During his current 10-game hitting streak, he has gone 16-for-41 (.390) with six multi-hit games, and he should be in a great spot to stay hot on Thursday (more details in stacks below). Against lefties, Riley has hit .306 with a .459 wOBA and .347 ISO this season, so he’s an outstanding centerpiece to build around.
Ty France, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles ($4,400) – Another red-hot option to consider is France, who has raised his average to .355 on the season by going 18-for-38 (.474) over his past 10 games. He doesn’t offer quite the same power potential as Riley but still has a solid .161 ISO and .408 wOBA. He has a great matchup against Jordan Lyles ($6,700) if the weather cooperates in Baltimore, and comes into this matchup with a 13-game hitting streak and multiple hits in four of his past five games. He also has produced at least 9.0 DKFP in seven of his past eight contests.
Other Options – Paul Goldschmidt ($5,600), Ozzie Albies ($5,000)
Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($3,700) – Morel has taken over as the Cubs’ everyday leadoff hitter and posted 11 DKFP on Wednesday despite his 11-game hitting streak coming to an end. He had a walk and a stolen base in that contest and is now 15-for-56 (.268) with six stolen bases, a .196 ISO and a .367 wOBA over his first 15 games in the majors. He brings a high ceiling from that leadoff spot on the right side of the splits as the Cubs take on lefty Matthew Liberatore ($7,300) on Thursday night.
Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs ($2,600) – On the other side of that game in Wrigley, Gorman hopes to be back in the lineup after missing two games with lower back tightness. If he returns, the 22-year-old will be a great value play to consider after making a nice splash and going 12-for-31 (.387) with three doubles, two home runs and a .492 wOBA over his first 10 MLB contests. Especially if he’s in the top third of the lineup, Gorman is a high-ceiling young option like Morel.
Other Options – Luis Rengifo ($2,900), Mike Brosseau ($2,900)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ($5,800) – The Dodgers will likely just be happy to see the Pirates gone after going 1-5 against Pittsburgh over the past few weeks. Before being swept by the Pirates, the Dodgers won 13-of-15 games and will try to get back to their winnings ways as they take on the Mets and Taijuan Walker ($7,700). Unlike his teammates, Betts wasn’t shut down by the Bucs and had two home runs in the series, giving him 16 homers on the season. Half of those long balls have come in his past 12 games, and during that torrid stretch, he has hit .447 with a .596 ISO and a .645 wOBA. At the top of a great lineup looking to bounce back, it’s worth paying up for Betts if you can find values at other roster spots.
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies ($4,400) – Ozuna is still batting only .235 on the season, but the power-hitting righty still has a good ceiling since he does have 10 home runs. Five of those homers have come in his past 14 games, and he has gone 17-for-58 (.293) with a .388 wOBA and a .276 ISO during that stretch. He’s actually surprisingly affordable given his matchup at Coors.
Other Options – Aaron Judge ($5,500), Starling Marte ($5,100), Julio Rodríguez ($4,500)
Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies ($2,500) – Harris just turned 21 a few months ago, but the Braves are ready to give him a look even though he totally skipped Triple-A. In Double-A, he hit .305 with five homers, 33 runs, 33 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 43 games to start the season. Harris has only gone 3-for-16 (.188) but does have a 45.5% hard-hit rate with at least one hit with an exit velocity over 100 mph in four of his five starts.
Taylor Trammell, Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles ($2,000) – Trammell is another young hitter who can bring some salary relief since the top prospect has been playing well since being called up by the Mariners. In his eight games in the majors this year, he has gone 7-for-21 (.333) with four doubles and a home run. All those extra-base hits have resulted in a .333 ISO and a .442 wOBA. At his minimum salary, he brings great upside, especially against Lyles, who has let lefties like Trammell post a .382 wOBA so far this season.
Other Options – Ian Happ ($3,900), Nick Plummer ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies – The Braves are the obvious stacking option since they’re at Coors Field and taking on Austin Gomber ($5,900), the cheapest SP on the slate. That doesn’t mean they’re not the right stack, though, since the over/under on that game is 11.5 on Draftkings Sportsbook, by far the highest line of the night. The Rockies gave up a total of 26 runs in a doubleheader on Wednesday against the Marlins, so their staff will be stretched and the ball should be flying in Denver. Gomber is a lefty, so targeting right-handed hitters like Ronald Acuña Jr. ($5,900), Dansby Swanson ($4,500), Ozuna and Riley (discussed above) makes sense. Harris (discussed above) and Adam Duvall ($2,600) are also interesting bargains if in the lineup. So far this season, Gomber has allowed righties to post a .349 wOBA against him along with an ugly .370 home wOBA allowed. The defending champs are still under .500, but they should be poised for a big weekend of offense in the Mile High City.
San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers – The Padres are also on the road for the weekend as they roll into Milwaukee and take on Adrian Houser ($8,500) on Thursday. Houser has a 3.69 ERA and 3.72 FIP in his nine starts this season but has struggled recently, allowing at least five runs in three of his past five starts while going 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA and 4.30 FIP over that stretch. Most of his troubles have come against lefties, who have a .343 wOBA on the year against the 29-year-old righty. While the Padres lineup is fairly balanced overall, this should be a spot for switch-hitting Jurickson Profar ($4,100) to stay hot in his new leadoff spot while Jake Cronenworth ($4,000) and Eric Hosmer ($3,500) also get on the favorable side of the splits. Luke Voit ($2,800), Trent Grisham ($2,300) and Ha-seong Kim ($3,400) are all value options who have good upside if the Padres put up runs, and it’s always hard to argue against paying up for Manny Machado ($5,500), who continues to carry this offense.
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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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