This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Thursday's DFS action kicks off at 12:10 p.m. EDT with an early-only slate of four games. The main schedule ate starts at the usual 7:05 p.m. EDT with only six contests as most teams prepare for their weekend series.
It's almost splitting hairs between using either the Astros' Gerrit Cole ($11,700) or the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($11,400), given they both have decent matchups. Both are almost -200 favorites in their games, although it's notable that the Dodgers/Padres game has an over/under of 7.5 runs, one run fewer than the Astros/Indians. Therefore, the slight edge goes to Kershaw for cash games. The Padres also strike out 25.4 percent of the time against left-handed pitching, the eighth highest in baseball. Kershaw has been much better at home this season with a 2.30 ERA supported by a 0.98 WHIP with a 9.0 K/9 rate.
Boston's Andrew Cashner ($7,200) makes for a great GPP play given the upside he's shown this season. He's hit 27, 39, 40 and 49 fantasy points in four of his last five games and is averaging 26.5 FPPG this season. Even if he only hits in the mid-20s for fantasy points he won't kill a lineup especially at his price. The Rays have stuck out 23.3 percent of the time against right-handed pitching which is the 12th highest mark. In his only start against Tampa this season Cashner finished with 27 fantasy points. Looking at dollar for dollar, Cole would have to get 44 fantasy points to be the same value of Cashner if he hits 27 again at his price.
The Cincinnati Reds only strike out 20.9 percent of the time against left-handed pitching, but with the small slate, the Braves' Max Fried ($7,500) is in play. He'll be home, where he has a respectable 4.01 ERA, and he has at least 21 fantasy points in each of his last five starts. Fried is only a tournament option and allows a lot of salary cap relief to pay up for the stud bats.
If there's a spot to pay up for, it's spending the money on using Boston's J.D. Martinez ($4,100) at home against a left-handed pitcher. Martinez has a .578 wOBA against that handedness at home this season and his career mark sits at .449. Brendan McKay has had a lot of success in the minors but ultimately is still just a rookie facing a tough lineup on the road.
The Blue Jays' Bo Bichette ($2,700) has seen his price rise, but he's still too cheap to pass up. He looks comfortable in the leadoff spot and will match up against a righty: Baltimore's Asher Wojciechowski. While Wojciechowski has looked competent of late, Bichette hit his first home run Tuesday and has safely reached base in all three games with the Jays. One aspect of Bichette's game that is going under the wire is his speed; he was 15-for-20 in the stolen base department at Triple-A this season.
The Cardinals' Tommy Edman ($2,800) seems to be settling in nicely into the leadoff spot. He has a respectable .321 wOBA against left-handed pitching, and Jon Lester has a 4.93 FIP on the road against right-handed pitching, putting a lot of the Cardinals' bats in good spots.
Toronto's Cavan Biggio ($3,300) has started to heat up with games of 24.4, 34.6 and 33.7 fantasy points in three of his last five games. Biggio has a .341 wOBA against right-handed pitching this season.
If you're not a big believer in Cashner, using the Rays' Nate Lowe ($2,900) makes a lot of sense. While he's hit lefties better this season, Lowe has a nice .347 wOBA against right-handed pitching, and that number goes up to .382 when on the road. Cashner has a 4.72 xFIP against left-handed bats, suggesting some negative regression is coming his way against that handedness.
Dodgers vs. Padres (Joey Lucchesi)
White helps even out using Bellinger for his cost, and all of these players have a good history against left-handed pitching. Lucchesi comes into this game with a 6.48 ERA on the road allowing a .346 wOBA.
Blue Jays at Orioles (Asher Wojciechowski)
Baltimore is a good hitter's park, and all four of these hitters should be in the top five spots for Toronto. The Blue Jays are a slight favorite in a game that Vegas has an over/under of 10.5 runs so there should be some good fantasy production from these youngsters.