With an incredible list of pitchers on the mound on Friday, Thursday’s list is pretty watered down. Corey Kluber is the only true ace on the mound, though high upside youngsters like Lance McCullers and Yordano Ventura are slated to start on Thursday night. Grizzled veteran John Lackey is near the top of the salary board as well. With seven night games, there aren’t a ton of options, but it’s easier to narrow down the best values with a small sample of players available.
DraftKings or FanDuel are the industry leaders in ease of use and safe, free transactions. Use these tips and the tips from the twice-a-week MLB betting podcast, The Bettor’s Box, to improve your abilities and fill out the winning lineup. Our MLB daily fantasy tips and suggestions article is different in that we’re not looking for the top scorers, but for the best values so that you can get the edge that you need in order to save money for the game’s best players.
The salaries listed are from DraftKings:
Here are the top teams to stack for September 17:
Toronto – This one is obvious. Matt Wisler has potential, but the 23-year-old is still trying to develop his secondary pitches while learning on the job. It hasn’t gone particularly well so far. In 15 starts and one relief appearance, Wisler has a 5.60/5.16/5.20 pitcher slash with a high home run rate and a high BABIP against. As a fly ball pitcher, a high BABIP against is a very obvious sign of poor command. Toronto has some injury issues with Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki, but there’s still plenty of firepower here.
Baltimore – Matt Moore is struggling. His return from Tommy John has not gone well and one major reason why is because his fastball velocity has not returned. The quality of his stuff just isn’t there yet. He owns an 8.42 ERA with ugly peripherals with 54 hits allowed in 36.1 innings of work, eight home runs, and a 23/16 K/BB ratio. Those are all very bad things and serious red flags in a start against an aggressive lineup with power. Even pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field can’t save Moore right now.
Houston – Admittedly, I’d be a little bit surprised if this happened, but the Astros are ready to burst. They are just 6-for-25 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of their series with the Rangers. If they get some big hits early in the game, the floodgates may open. Colby Lewis threw a 97-pitch complete game last time out, so he’s riding high, but there’s still a lot of potential in this Astros lineup. A couple key hits early and they could be a good stack. If things start slow, it’ll be a wasted gamble.
Here are the best value hitters for September 17:
Alex Gordon ($3,300) – We’ll try this one again. Corey Kluber hit the DL in the midst of some command trouble and Alex Gordon is a dangerous hitter at the top of the Royals lineup. If Kluber has a hard time getting into rhythm the first couple of times through the order, Gordon could be a big benefactor. He’s got a .285/.389/.456 slash on the season and, like most Royals, has had a lot of success against Indians pitching in the past. That’s not necessarily predictive, but it does make him feel more comfortable.
Ben Revere ($4,100) – If the Blue Jays are going to put up a big number, Ben Revere will be in the middle of it. Revere is back atop the order with Troy Tulowitzki out and he has a .307/.346/.376 slash with 29 stolen bases on the season. With the Blue Jays, he’s batting .329 with a .372 OBP and has scored 31 runs in 41 games. He’s the table setter for this lineup and you can reap the benefits as a result.
Prince Fielder ($4,500) – Sometimes you just have to take the best hitters. Fielder is rolling right now. Over his last 10 games, he’s hit three home runs and has a .320/.415/.535 slash line. He’s been a huge part of this Rangers run and there’s no reason to see that stopping now. Lance McCullers can bring it, but Fielder is a top-30 hitter in baseball on fastballs. He’s locked in and that’s scary.
Here are the best value pitchers for September 17:
Marco Estrada ($7,900) – Not only is Estrada the biggest betting favorite on the board, which would suggest the highest likelihood of getting a win, he’s taking on a National League lineup. Estrada doesn’t rack up a whole lot of strikeouts, but, again, that’s in the American League, where hitters are more patient and pitchers don’t bat. There’s a lot to like about this start, since his changeup is one of the best in baseball and that should neutralize Atlanta’s left-handed batters.
Tanner Roark ($4,800) – This will be Roark’s third straight start, so maybe he gets stretched out a little bit more. He’s gone 4.1 and 4.2 innings in his last two starts, but he has been effective in those. He hasn’t shown a whole lot of strikeout upside, but the Marlins are the worst offense in baseball against right-handed pitching. The Nationals have found some pride over the last few games and have started hitting again, even though the playoffs are a pipe dream. Hopefully that continues into Thursday’s game.
Yordano Ventura ($9,500) – Ventura’s problems this season have had to do with batted ball luck and sequencing. His strikeout rate is improved and his ground ball rate has gone up as well. Those two factors should have been enough to stem the rising tide of his ERA, but they weren’t. Ventura is one of maybe three pitchers with a lot of strikeout upside on Thursday’s card. One is Corey Kluber, who hasn’t pitched in nearly a month, and the other is Lance McCullers, who has a tough assignment against a strong Rangers team. Because of that, Ventura is probably the power guy worth trying on Thursday.