This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Note: For the third night in a row, the main slate of games starts at 6:35 PM EST. However, we have a game in Coors Field!
The pitching discussion should start with Blake Snell ($12,000), but a foot injury that occurred at his home will prevent him from taking the mound. Please realize that.
In cash games, it's kind of tricky to pick who to use considering the pricing and options. In the end of analyzing the pitchers, the Padres' Chris Paddack ($8,500) looks to be the best option. He'll be in the friendly, home confines of Petco Park and has a favorable matchup against the Reds. Cincinnati comes in with the fifth-worst wOBA (.271) against right-handed pitching and has struck out 24.4 percent of the time (13th worst). Paddack has averaged 28 fantasy points in each of his first three starts and had 33 in his only Petco start. He's also a -140 favorite at home with the lowest over/under total (7.5) on the slate.
The only other option to consider in cash is Yankees righty Domingo German ($9,000) at home against the Royals. German has been excellent to start the season with three straight wins (one was a relief appearance), and he's struck out 14 batters in 13 innings. The Royals are in the middle of the league in wOBA against righties (.328), and their 20.2 percent strikeout rate is actually the sixth-best mark in baseball. That suggests this isn't the greatest matchup for German (hence why he's mentioned second), though the Bombers are the biggest favorite at -200.
For use in GPPs only, Kyle Freeland ($6,500) will be one of the better tournament plays Thursday for a few reasons. After the Rockies lefty was shelled in his only Coors outing this season (three fantasy points), owners aren't going to trust him against the Phillies, which will keep his ownership down. The matchup in Coors has depressed Freeland's price as well; this is the cheapest he's been this season. Finally, Freeland carries outings of 38 and 43 fantasy points this season, and last year, he had a 2.40 ERA with a 8.3 K/9 at home.
Charlie Blackmon ($3,600) at home against a right-handed pitcher seems like a good place to start in the outfield. With all the road games and the lack of production that has followed, this will likely be one of his cheaper prices at home this season. Blackmon has a .413 wOBA at home facing right-handed pitching for his career, and Zach Eflin's wOBA allowed has been 40 points higher on the road (.358) that at home for his career.
Looking at the Phillies, it's tough to ignore the tear Scott Kingery ($3,500) has been on. He's homered in two straight games and has 15.2, 18, 18.7 and 47.9 fantasy points over his last four starts, respectively. He should get the righty-versus-lefty matchup against Freeland. Obviously, don't use him in a GPP with Freeland, but he's in play for lineups using any other pitcher and in cash.
Third base looks like a good place to completely punt if one of the high-priced options doesn't fit into under the salary cap. Milwaukee's Hernan Perez ($2,300) is only $300 over the minimum but brings some upside to his matchup against Dodgers hurler Julio Urias. Since the start of the 2017 season, Perez has a .802 OPS against southpaws, and he's already homered twice against them this year.
Dee Gordon ($3,100) got the day off Wednesday but should be back in the lineup for the Mariners when they take on the Angels. Gordon continues to rack up stolen bases with six so far this season and is averaging over 10 fantasy points per game. Not surprisingly, he hits right-handed pitching better than lefties for his career, and Felix Pena has given up a .339 wOBA to lefties in his short career.
The Rays (14-4) have been one of the bigger surprises of the season as the only team who doesn't have a losing record in the American League East. Ji-Man Choi ($3,200) is one of those unheralded players on the roster who has gotten off to a nice start. He hit his first home run Wednesday and is now hitting .293 on the season. It's a good matchup for Tampa going against Andrew Cashner (5.31 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) and his flat fastball.
The obvious stacks will be the Rockies and the Phillies – and rightfully so. The lean here is probably the Phillies, who have a big implied run total for a game in which they're favored and has an over/under of 10.5. Using Andrew McCutchen ($4,700), Bryce Harper ($4,700), Rhys Hoskins ($4,600) and Kingery in a lineup with Paddack can be done. Just realize you'll only average $2,250 for the other four spots.
The next stack to look at is the Rays versus Baltimore. Choi has been mentioned, but going back to the Austin Meadows ($4,500) well – plus a combination of Brandon Lowe ($3,900), Yandy Diaz ($3,700) and Tommy Pham ($3,900) – will be a low-owned stack. This team is good; this start to the season is no fluke.
The dark horse stack of the night? Try the Royals. First, they get a ballpark bump playing the Yankees, and German is due for some correction at some point. Yes, he was listed as the second-best option as a starting pitcher in this slate, but we have only six games from which to choose. The Royals have a bunch of left-handed hitters to take advantage of the short left field porch, including (the resurgent) Alex Gordon ($3,800), Adalberto Mondesi ($3,800) and Lucas Duda ($3,000). Don't forget about right-handed bats Whit Merrifield ($3,900) and Jorge Soler ($3,200).