This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
After the trade deadline Tuesday and then a full day of baseball Wednesday, Thursday is a bit of a chance to breathe. That being said, don't skimp on the DFS MLB! There are eight games Thursday night, starting at 7:05 p.m. EDT, and here are my lineup recommendations.
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Justin Verlander, HOU at CLE ($11,200): There are two aces on the road Thursday, Verlander and Alek Manoah. Of those two, I am more into the idea of spending the salary on Verlander. He has an 1.81 ERA with a 14-3 record, and he has the easier matchup of the two. The Guardians are dead in the middle of the league in runs scored, where as the Twins are slightly above average.
Noah Syndergaard, PHI vs. WAS ($7,700): How will Syndergaard look in his first start as a Phillies pitcher after being dealt? He had a 3.83 ERA with the Angels, which isn't great, but this matchup is as good as you are going to find. With Juan Soto and Josh Bell dealt from a team that was already in the bottom five in runs scored, the Nationals may now be the worst offense in MLB, or at least bottom three.
Jeffrey Springs, TAM at DET ($7,400): One of the teams possibly still worse than the Nats offensively? That would be the Tigers, who are going to finish last in runs scored, possibly with ease. Springs has a 2.70 ERA, and while a lot of that was from when he was a relief pitcher, this matchup is still quite favorable to the lefty.
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The game between the Cubs and the Cardinals on Wednesday was rained out, giving us a doubleheader Thursday. For DFS purposes, only the second game is included, and Drew Smyly is pitching in that game for the Cubs now. I was going to recommend Paul Goldschmidt ($4,200) anyway, but this matchup is even better. Smyly has a 4.72 FIP and has allowed a .271 average to righties since 2020. Goldschmidt, meanwhile, has an 1.174 OPS versus lefties in that time. If the Cardinals want to rest the slugger for one game Thursday, it likely will be the first game of the day when a righty is on the mound.
Teoscar Hernandez ($3,600) has slugged .480 in his career, and this year he has 15 home runs and five stolen bases in 80 games. He also has a .958 OPS over the last three weeks. In his first season as a Twin, Sonny Gray has a 3.96 ERA at home. The righty also has a 4.84 ERA over his last seven starts.
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With Whit Merrifield now a Blue Jay (and presumably finally vaccinated as a result), Nicky Lopez ($2,400) should get plenty of playing time down the stretch. That should lead to some more stolen bases, as he had 22 last year and has eight this year. The lefty has also hit .327 over the last three weeks. Nick Pivetta has a 4.47 ERA, and his career ERA is 5.04.
Though Brandon Marsh ($2,400) doesn't have much power, he does have eight home runs to go with eight stolen bases. The southpaw also definitely hits better versus righties, as he has a .243 average and .386 slugging percentage in this matchups in his career. As a starter this year, Paolo Espino has a 4.95 ERA, and since 2020 lefties have hit .272 against him.
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Otto has a 5.50 ERA, which comes after he had a 9.26 ERA in six starts as a rookie. In his career he also has an 8.14 ERA at home. That's staggeringly poor pitching. Given that Otto has also allowed righties to hit .315 against him this year, I don't mind that the White Sox basically only have righties to stack.
Robert is off the IL and brings with him a .301 average, in line with his career .296 average. He also has 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases. Abreu has hit .302 with a .382 OBP, and he also doesn't mind being away from home. In road games he's posted an 1.005 OPS. Vaughn, who has hit .299, has been doing an impression of Abreu in a sense. He has a .910 OPS on the road himself.
Bubic has a career 4.71 ERA, and he's gotten to that point in part because he has a 5.45 ERA this year. On top of that, he has a 6.32 ERA at home, which is where this game happens to be taking place. Bubic also has allowed 1.49 home runs per nine innings in his career, so the ball could be flying out of the park for the Red Sox.
Now, Devers is in a lefty-versus-lefty matchup here, so let me explain why I am not concerned. This year, he has an .850 OPS versus southpaws. More to the point, since 2020, Bubic has let lefties hit .302 against him. Over the last five seasons Bogaerts has an .886 OPS. Speaking of facing lefties, since 2020 he has a .909 OPS. With Eric Hosmer banged up and left-handed, I think Dalbec will likely be in the lineup Thursday. Since 2020 he has an .853 OPS versus lefties, including a .523 slugging percentage.
Plesac has dropped his ERA from 4.67 to 4.33, but recently he's looked more like last season. Over his last five starts he has a 5.84 ERA. This year lefties have hit .290 against Plesac, so naturally two southpaws are in my stack.
Alvarez has a career .600 slugging percentage and has 30 home runs for the second straight season, only needing 84 games to get there. This year he has an 1.147 OPS versus righties as well. Tucker's average has really dropped this year, but he has 19 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He also has an .882 OPS on the road. Pena does not walk, but the rookie shortstop has hit .252 with 15 home runs and six stolen bases. I'll happily take that for my lineup given his salary and position.