This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Thursday only brings nine games across baseball, most of which have early start times. Those start times are staggered, though, making for some awkward DFS slates. The highlight of the early games could be a matchup between the Padres and Giants, although the Padres lost another starting pitcher when Blake Snell (groin) was placed on the IL Wednesday. Among the night games will be the Tigers taking on the Rays, who continue to march towards the AL East crown. The main DraftKings evening slate consists of just three games, which does make things a bit tricky. Let's try to help make the task of forming your lineups a little easier with the following players to consider.
The pitcher that stands out for this slate is Framber Valdez ($10,200), who has a favorable matchup against a Rangers team that has the second-worst OPS in baseball. Valdez has faced them two times previously, allowing two runs and recording 11 strikeouts across 13 innings. After he gave up at least four runs in both of his last two outings, this could be the perfect matchup for Valdez to get back on track.
For those looking to take a chance on a pitcher with a cheap salary, Dietrich Enns ($6,200) could be an option. He's expected to pitch the bulk of the innings behind opener Louis Head ($7,000). Enns was impressive at Triple-A, posting a 0.89 WHIP and 84 strikeouts across 67.2 innings. Across his 16 innings out of the bullpen with the Rays, he has a 1.19 WHIP and 19 strikeouts. He pitched four perfect innings while recording six strikeouts in his last appearance, which also came against the Tigers. Following an opener here might actually give him a better chance for a win, too.
It's been a rough finish to the season for Kyle Hendricks ($8,900), who has allowed 29 runs across 32 innings in his last six starts. He's having problems with home runs again, giving up seven of them during that stretch. He could be in trouble against the red-hot Bryce Harper ($5,700), who is on an 11-game hitting streak that has seen him hit 14-for-35 (.400) with six home runs and two doubles.
As of early Thursday morning, the Phillies had yet to officially name their starting pitcher for their matchup with the Cubs. This will likely be a bullpen game for them, which is an area of the club that hasn't exactly been their strong suit. With that in mind, both Rafael Ortega ($3,900) and Frank Schwindel ($3,700) could be worth considering. After launching another home run Wednesday, Schwindel has a 1.026 OPS across 48 games this season.
Stacks to Consider
Otto was torched in his last start, allowing eight runs over 3.1 innings against the A's. He issued 11 base runners in that contest, which included hitting two batters. Another tough assignment could be in store for him against the Astros, who have the second-highest OPS in baseball. That's included a breakout season from Tucker, who has dropped his strikeout rate to 15.8 percent on his way to a 143 wRC+.
The Rays have scored the most runs in baseball, to say that they would be an appealing stack for a slate that only has six teams in action would be a massive understatement. Alexander has been serviceable for the Tigers, but his 4.50 FIP and 19.9 percent strikeout rate don't exactly instill a lot of confidence in his efforts to shut down the Rays. Zunino is arguably the top catching option of the night given his 248 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this season.