Welcome back, my friends to the show that never ends. It’s a three-game 7:05pm EDT slate in MLB DFS on Thursday, meaning there are few solid value options, but lots of great players to spend on. Tonight will be a challenge, so the goal is not to duplicate lineups with the masses. There could be a huge gamble in the offing, but we are trying to stand out from the crowd. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and we are going to find it before filling out the lineup with some big bats to bring it home. As always, I’ll list the best values first, and then give a pick at each remaining position afterwards.
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***All prices listed are from DraftKings***
Value on the Hill
Johnny Cueto – vs Baltimore ($6,300)
Cueto has pitched at least six innings in every start in 2022. The only time he didn’t pitch as many was in a relief role for Michael Kopech on June 12. Even in that game, he went five innings but took a loss after allowing three runs. The 36-year-old has pitched admirably this season, but has not gotten the run support to make him a winning. He finally did in his last time on the bump, when the Sox beat the Houston Astros 7-0. Cueto hurled seven innings of two-hit, five-strikeout ball in his first victory of the season. Tonight, he’ll toe the slab against the Orioles, who rank 22nd in the majors in runs score per game. While every one else in DFS is eyeing Jameson Taillon and Framber Valdez, it’s time to zig while others zag. Cueto is averaging 15.6 points per start with only one win. For the season, he is 1-3 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with seven K/9.
Best Pairing: Dean Kremer ($5,500)
Go ahead and play the head-to-head matchup between these two teams that have not exactly lit the scoreboard on fire this season. Kremer has allowed just one homer in 15.1 innings, and comes in carrying 2.35 ERA with his 1-1 record. Zig when your opponents zag. Few others will be using this matchup for both pitchers.
Value in the Field
Gleyber Torres, 2B – vs Houston ($4,300)
You will see in the remaining position picks at the bottom that I am heavily favoring the Yankees to beat up on Valdez tonight. Torres is a bargain at this price. Prior to going 0-for-5 in his last two starts, he had multiple hits in four of his last seven contests, including hitting a bomb in two of those. In a three-game slate, you’re going to get stuck lining up hitters against your own pitchers, and I like New York to blow up tonight which is a big reason not to throw Valdez into the lineup. He is on borrowed time, and it might run out when he waltzes in Yankee Stadium. On the season, Torres is slashing .260/.309/.512 (.821 OPS) with 13 moonshots, 32 runs scored, and 32 RBI. Expect him to get in on the RBI action from the five-hole in the lineup.
Adley Rutschman, C – at Chicago White Sox ($3,300)
The catcher position for this small slate is seriously lacking. When J.T. Realmuto is the most expensive option, you might as well punt the position. For $3.5K you could nab Jorge Alfaro, but he’s no slam dunk, either. Rutschman has 20 hits in 95 at bats, which is nothing stellar. However, Cueto has always had a habit of letting his guard down against weaker hitters in the lineup, so the rookie should be able to dupe him into a couple base knocks. He’s 11 for his last 36 and knocked his first dinger over the wall on the 15th. He’s clearly starting to get up to speed in the majors, and it’s only up from here. In a slate devoid of options, I’ll save a couple hundred bucks to spend elsewhere on my lumber.
Yordan Alvarez, OF – at New York Yankees ($5,500)
Whether or not you view this as a value pick, Alvarez shows up here because he should absolutely be in your lineup. First and foremost, there is value here. Any player who has mashed 21 round-trippers and boasting a 3.3 WAR should have a pricetag a lot closer to $6K, particularly in a slate this small. The lefty powerhouse popped up on the injury report Monday with an apparent hand injury. Then he returned Tuesday and smacked one over the fence. Apparently that was not enough, because yesterday he crushed two more into the seats. The short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium can only help, although Alvarez does not usually have near-misses. For the season, the former ROY has MVP-type numbers. He’s slashing .315/.406/.658 (that’s a ridiculous 1.064 OPS for you math majors out there) with 21 ka-booms, 45 runs scored, and 51 RBI. Turn him loose on right-handed Taillon tonight in the Bronx.
Good savings, and quality pitchers at low prices allows a ton of money to spread around on your favorites. Below are my other preferred picks for tonight at the rest of the positions. Spend away.
Other favorite plays: Anthony Rizzo (1B – NYY), DJ LeMahieu (3B – NYY), Tim Anderson (SS – CHW), Austin Hays (OF – BAL), Aaron Judge (OF – NYY)
Best of luck in all of your lineups tonight. There’s a lot of money to go around on heavy-hitters, so it should be a fun night for baseball.
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