We’re looking at just four games on Thursday’s slate, but the big story will be whether Coors Field plays — and it’s not looking great. If this one doesn’t get postponed well beforehand, we’ll have to keep close tabs on how it’s looking toward the end of the day.
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Let’s check out the top options on today’s main slate.
Kevin Gausman ($10,600), Kyle Bradish ($10,600), and Kenta Maeda ($7,600) are our top pitchers, and it might be best to stick with just that. On such a small slate, we might normally give Logan Webb ($9,500) a chance at Coors Field, but the dicey weather probably isn’t worth messing around with.
Gausman not only leads the slate in strikeout rate (31.5%), but he’s second among all qualified starters this season. Even in a tough matchup against the Texas Rangers, he’s also opposite the night’s lowest implied team total (3.43). Given that Gausman doesn’t even have the highest salary, we probably shouldn’t overthink this and just lock him in as our top option.
That being said, you could argue that Bradish is deserving of his slate-high cap hit. While Gausman has the far better season-long metrics, he’s actually been more up-and-down lately, whereas Bradish has perhaps saved his best stuff for the home stretch.
Since the beginning of August, Bradish has been rocking a 2.89 xFIP, 30.5% strikeout rate, and 7.3% walk rate. He’s also been a quality starts machine dating back well before that, logging them in 12 of his last 15 appearances. That’s a pretty stellar combination of ceiling and floor.
However, like Gausman, Bradish’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays is by no means a cakewalk. The Rays also have a low implied team total (3.77), though, and they’re a much better matchup for strikeouts than the Rangers.
Maeda is the top value play by default, but as the salary would suggest, he hasn’t done much to move the needle lately; he’s scored 31 or fewer points in six straight starts.
While that might not inspire confidence, he still has a solid 3.93 SIERA, 25.8% strikeout rate, and 6.5% walk rate this season, and much of his fantasy limitations are due to a workload that rarely cracks 90 pitches. When he’s efficient, he’s proven to be capable of scoring 40-plus points.
If Gausman and/or Bradish pitch to their abilities, Maeda’s strict workload will probably leave him in the dust. But if those two falter, he might be able to do enough against the Chicago White Sox. Chicago’s active roster has the third-worst wRC+ (87) versus righties this year.
If it plays, there’s no question the San Francisco Giants (5.96 implied team total) are the top stack at Coors Field against Chase Anderson. Anderson has been annihilated for 2.25 home runs per nine innings, the result of a low strikeout rate (16.5%) and ground-ball rate (35.2%).
Assuming the game isn’t postponed early, you’ll have to decide whether to take the plunge, but if there’s even a little bit of optimism, it’s probably worth taking a few shots. The Giants can be a pinch-hitting headache, but that’s probably something to mostly ignore on the short slate.
The Minnesota Twins are the only other team with a high implied team total (5.12), so they’ll presumably be the chalk stack.
Jose Urena has bounced around between multiple organizations this season, but here he is back in the big leagues with the White Sox. Over six MLB starts — five of which came in April for the Colorado Rockies — he’s produced an ugly 6.62 SIERA, 10.7% strikeout rate, and 14.3% walk rate.
It’s a small sample, but Urena’s 6.9% strikeout rate versus lefties make them especially appealing. Jorge Polanco ($3,200) and Max Kepler ($2,900) are two of the better power options, and we also shouldn’t forget about Matt Wallner ($2,800) at the bottom of the order. Wallner has a .263 ISO and 19.0% barrel rate this season. Edouard Julien ($2,800) shouldn’t have any trouble setting the table as a value leadoff man, too.
Right-hander Aaron Civale is probably due for regression, but his ERA estimators still show a league-average arm. Regardless, the Orioles should be able to put in play against his 21.4% strikeout rate.
With the Blue Jays, it’s the hope that they can capitalize against a Nathan Eovaldi still working his way back. Eovaldi was better in his second start back but still didn’t show the same velocity from earlier in the year. Even if he pitches well, he only went 47 pitches the last time, so Toronto will face plenty of bullpen arms no matter what.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author’s advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.