Welcome to our MLB Daily Fantasy Breakdown! Today, we have a nice slate of Thursday night baseball.
From here on out, we will be doing a game by game breakdown of the slate. If you like what you see, don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter @researchandwin and let us know we helped you or yell at us for leading you down the wrong path.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the picks:
DETROIT TIGERS @ BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 9.5 with the Orioles as high favorites. Mike Pelfrey is pitching tonight for the Tigers, which should direct you to Orioles bats. This game profiles well for Orioles hitters, specifically [again] Machado, Davis and Trumbo. I would really focus on locking a lot of those bats in. Adam Jones is coming around, and is still very cheap.
Because I believe the Orioles will score quite a few runs, it puts Ubaldo Jiminez in a position where he could get the ever important win and 12 points on FanDuel. He is affordable tonight, but isn’t a very safe play, so tournaments only. The biggest place to look is Victor Martinez, who hits better from the left side and that is Ubaldo’s weakness. I think you also need to consider Nick Castellanos who is locked in.
CASH PLAYS: Machado, Davis, Trumbo, Martinez, Castellanos
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Jones, Kim, Cabrera, Kinsler
KANSAS CITY ROYALS @ NEW YORK YANKEES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 8 with the Yankees as favorites. Ian Kennedy is taking the mound tonight in a somewhat interesting situation. The Yankees are dealing with injuries right now, which has caused their lineup to thin out in a hurry. Kennedy, overall, has been good to start the year, and this depleted lineup could be a good situation for him. I like the Yankees lefties here, specifically Beltran, McCann and Gardner in that order.
Nathan Eovaldi will be on the mound tonight for the Yankees. He has been mostly solid for the team this year, and isn’t a guy I really want to go out of my way to target. The Royals are a team I can never get right, but there are a handful of players here who I would consider. Some of these bats are starting to come around and I am a firm believer in streakiness.
CASH PLAYS: Beltran, McCann, Gardner, Cain, Gordon
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Hosmer, Teixeira
HOUSTON ASTROS @ BOSTON RED SOX
Vegas has the total of this game set at 8 with the Red Sox as favorites. This is going to be an interesting situation tonight. The Red Sox have been rolling, and Keuchel has struggled. He is much better at home than on the road. I don’t think I’ll be looking toward Keuchel in either format tonight, though I get it if you wanted to use him in tournaments. The Red Sox bats are all in play in tournaments, but I would personally look another direction in cash due to the fact that Keuchel was/is a good pitcher.
David Price basically has the same story as Keuchel. He is/was a good pitcher, who seemingly hasn’t adjusted to his new environment. Price has huge strikeout potential, and the Astros can strike out. Normally, this would be a no brainer, plug and play in cash and move on. Not this year though. Price is probably the number two tournament play at the position, while the Astros are all mid end tournament plays. NOTE: I got about half way done with the article when I realized that Houston played a LONG extra innings game last night, and is traveling a good distance. The last time they did this, Taijuan Walker shut them down completely. I am upgrading Price quite a bit tonight.
CASH PLAYS: none
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Keuchel, Price, Altuve, Springer, Correa, Gonzalez, Betts, Pedroia, Ortiz, Ramirez, Young, Shaw, Bradley
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES @ ATLANTA BRAVES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 7 with the Phillies as road favorites. They will be sending Vincent Velasquez to the mound tonight, against a pretty poor Braves lineup. If Kershaw was not on the mound, I would probably have Eickhoff as my top play in both formats. He is expensive enough that it doesn’t make sense to pivot off of Kershaw in cash, but he makes sense in tournaments. As far as Braves hitters go, basically Freeman is the only guy I would consider and only in tournaments.
The flip side of the game will see the Braves sending young Aaron Blair to the mound tonight. Blair has been able to shut down righties so far this year, but has troubles with lefties. There are basically only three considerations I’d have in tournaments. Blair could be a low cost, low end tournament option against a bad Phillies team.
CASH PLAYS: none
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Eickhoff, Blair, Herrera, Howard, Galvis, Freeman
SAN DIEGO PADRES @ MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 8.5 with the Brewers as home favorites. James Shields is on the mound for the Padres. He has struggled with righties during his career, and that is where all the power comes from on this team. I would focus on the top 5 batters here in tournaments, and potentially in cash as well.
Jimmy Nelson is an interesting option tonight. He basically struggles with lefties, which put Jon Jay and Brett Wallace in interesting positions. Stop and consider those names for a second though. He handles righties well, and he is at home, and he isn’t really cheap or expensive, which kind of makes him a great tournament target. I didn’t really expect to say that until I got into this article, but, hey, things happen.
CASH PLAYS: Braun, Villar, Lucroy
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Nelson, Jay, Wallace, Santana, Carter
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS @ ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 7.5 with the game being a toss-up. Johnny Cueto is on the mound for the Giants tonight and will get a team coming down from a series in Coors. The question is did the trip to Coors wake those Diamondback bats up, or will the change in scenery cool them down? Just having that question there is enough for me to have pause on Cueto. If this was a night without Kershaw, I’d probably have to think harder, but I won’t and I’ll just use him only in a few tournament lineups. I won’t go out of my way to target him though.
The Zach Greinke show is on the mound tonight. He’s had a few good games this year, and this could be a let-down spot for the Giants. They are coming off an extra innings game and traveling – I’m sorry, I’m just going to walk away from the Giant situation, and I think Greinke could be an interesting pivot off Kershaw tonight.
CASH PLAYS: none
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Cueto, Greinke, Goldschmidt, Hermann, Castillo, Belt, Crawford, Pence
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS @ LOS ANGELES ANGLES
Vegas has the total of this game set at 8.5 with the Cardinals as road favorites. Adam Wainwright is on the mound, but he is playing the Angels. So who do we target or play in this one? I have the answer: Mike Trout. In tournaments only. Moving on.
Jered Weaver is on the mound for the Angles tonight, and I think he is a fair target. I don’t think I’m in full overload mode with Cardinals, but they are in a good spot. I would look at just a few in cash games, and basically the majority of the lineup are tournament considerations. I prefer Diaz and Piscotty myself, but Adams and Moss have nice upside.
CASH PLAYS: Carpenter, Diaz, Piscotty
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Moss, Adams, Holliday, Molina
NEW YORK METS @ LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Vegas has the total of this game set at 6, with the Dodgers as monster home favorites. Colon is on the mound for the Mets tonight. I think this is a spot where he gets hit hard. I know the stadium isn’t ideal, but I do believe the lefties are going to take advantage of him tonight and give Kershaw good run support. I don’t love any in cash, but all the lefties in tournaments.
Kershaw should end the night as the highest scoring pitcher. Well, that is if he can keep Bartolo from cranking one out of the park. I am not considering Mets bats period. Kershaw will be in mine [and most others] lineups tonights.
CASH PLAYS: Kershaw
TOURNAMENT PLAYS: Utley, Seager, Gonzalez, Grandal, Pederson, Crawford