FanDuel MLB: Thursday Targets

FanDuel MLB: Thursday Targets

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

We have just six games on tap for Thursday night's main slate, but there are still several pitchers that present as attractive targets. There is a Coors Field tilt on the schedule, however, which naturally carries the night's highest projected total at 11.5 runs. Otherwise, we're looking at a pair of 7.5-run totals, along with two games with 9.5 projected runs and one set at 8.5 runs. There should still be a good amount of one-off bats that can pay off, and finding two potentially explosive stacks is also a fairly straightforward proposition.

Pitchers

Shane Bieber, CLE at DET ($11,900): Bieber has mostly mastered any opponent put in front of him, and he has an assortment of elite metrics that underscore his dominance. Perhaps one of the most telling statistical nuggets regarding Bieber is that he finally just suffered his first defeat his last time out but that still came in the form of a quality start that included eight strikeouts against the Twins. The matchup Thursday certainly has the potential to put him back on the right track – the Tigers come in with an MLB-high 27.7 percent strikeout rate against righties, which should play well with Bieber's elite 14.2 K/9.

Framber Valdez, HOU vs TEX ($9,000): Valdez has demonstrated plenty swing-and-miss stuff, as he boasts a 24.1 percent strikeout rate. The southpaw also has an impressive 3.33 FIP that's notably lower than his 4.08 ERA, but he's had some difficulties his last two starts against the potent lineups of the Angels and Dodgers. He draws a much softer matchup Thursday that could help him get back to the caliber of performance he'd put up most of the season, as the Rangers check in with a 25.2 percent strikeout rate, .211 average and .271 wOBA versus lefties over 159 plate appearances thus far in September. Valdez already has a quality start against Texas, holding the Rangers to three earned runs over seven innings while recording eight strikeouts Sept. 1.

Dakota Hudson, STL at PIT ($8,700): Hudson has 49 and 37 FD points in two of his last three outings, and he's carrying an impressive 2.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP for the season while posting three quality starts over his last four trips to the mound. The right-hander gets an attractive matchup against the light-hitting Pirates, which are averaging just 3.7 runs per game and have an MLB-low -31.2 wRAA and .275 wOBA versus righties in the last month, a span during which they've also struck out at a 25.3 percent clip against that handedness.

Seth Lugo, NYM at PHI ($7,200): Lugo checks in with no shortage of impressive numbers that go beyond his middling 2-3 record, including a 2.63 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 16.0 percent swinging strike rate and 32.7 percent strikeout rate. Lugo has also already seen the Phillies three times this season (including one start) and has produced a 10:2 K:BB across 6.1 innings against them. The Phillies come in with sluggish recent numbers versus righties, as they have a .225 average, -9.8 wRAA and .297 wOBA against that handedness in September.

Top Targets

DJ LeMahieu, NYY vs. TOR ($4,000): There are several Yankees that will be in a favorable positions, as will be discussed later, but LeMahieu is about as good as it gets from that group if you're willing to pay up. The veteran second baseman's .373/.421/..627 line is elite, and he's coming off back-to-back performances of more than 50 FD points at the expense of the Blue Jays. While he'll undoubtedly be highly rostered, LeMahieu's .357/.400/.557 line with six homers over 125 plate appearances against righties this season dovetails perfectly with Blue Jays starter Chase Anderson's .467 BAA and .574 wOBA against right-handed hitters on the road.  

Paul Goldschmidt, STL at PIT ($3,700): Goldschmidt gets a crack at a pitcher he's enjoyed plenty of success against in the past, as he sports a .364 average in 14 career plate appearances versus Pirates starter Chad Kuhl, a line that includes a pair of homers. Goldy is also punishing righties on the road this season for a .907 OPS, .399 wOBA and 32.5 percent line-drive rate, and he's racked up 12 XBH (eight doubles, four homers) against that handedness overall.

Will Smith, LAD at COL ($3,400): Smith's exploits have been a bit overshadowed on a team with so many big bats, but the young backstop has been excellent with a .300/.424/.600 line across 99 plate appearances. The 25-year-old could make for an excellent under-the-radar option in an attractive Coors Field opportunity, as Smith owns a .440 wOBA versus left-handed pitching, while Rockies starter Kyle Freeland is yielding a .304/.342/.438 line and .336 wOBA to the 120 right-handed bats he's faced in his hitter-friendly home park.

Bargain Bats

Michael Brantley, HOU vs. TEX ($3,200): Brantley came up empty Wednesday to see his average drop under .300 for the first time since Sept. 1, but he still boasts a stellar .363 OBP and .500 SLG for the season. The left-handed swinging veteran owns a .348/.420/.573 line and .422 wOBA versus right-handed pitching, and vulnerable Rangers starter Jordan Lyles comes in with a massive 5.4 BB/9 and 6.31 xFIP versus left-handed hitters, as well as an 8.84 ERA on the road.

Randal Grichuk, TOR at NYY ($2,800): While plenty of DFS attention will rightfully be on the Yankees, Grichuk is a bat to consider from the opposing Blue Jays. The veteran outfielder has taken Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka deep four times in just 19 career plate appearances and has amassed 18 of his 27 RBI on the season off right-handers as well. Tanaka is having a strong campaign overall, but he's had trouble with right-handed hitters at home to the tune of a .333/.375/.400 line and .343 wOBA (32 batters faced).

Stacks to Consider

Astros vs. Lyles: George Springer ($3,700); Alex Bregman ($3,500); Brantley; Carlos Correa ($2,800)

Lyles' difficulties on the road were already highlighted in Brantley's entry, making the Astros an attractive option even after they underwhelmed Wednesday. Springer's numbers are down this season, but he's carrying a .321 average and .667 slugging percentage over his last 14 games. Bregman checks in with a four-game hitting streak, and Lyles has surrendered a .314/.365/.593 line and .397 wOBA to the 97 right-handed hitters he's faced. Those numbers also make Correa a viable option, considering his power upside.

Yankees vs. Anderson: LeMahieu; Aaron Judge ($4,000); Luke Voit ($4,200); Gio Urshela ($3,100)

Anderson's considerable troubles against right-handed hitters were already highlighted in LeMahieu's entry, making Yankees sluggers very appealing. Judge returned to action Wednesday and went 0-for-4, but he has smacked six of his 12 homers on the season against righties on his way to a .994 OPS across 53 plate appearances. Voit checks in with a .316/.325/.789 line with six homers and 17 RBI in his last nine games, along with a .377 wOBA and .240 ISO versus right-handed pitching. Finally, Urshela has been especially lethal against righties at Yankee Stadium, where he's posted a .340 average, 1.153 OPS and .466 wOBA in 58 plate appearances against that handedness.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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