If Atlanta rapper Young Thug were to re-release his song “Texas Love” this year, he’d probably change up the hook, instead rapping “If Texas love was a drug, you’d belong to me, Nick Pivetta.” Texas love is, indeed, a drug on Thursday’s FanDuel slate, as the Rangers take on Phillies starter Nick Pivetta at home in their wonderful hitter’s park. Pivetta’s got a 6.14 ERA in his three major league starts and has already allowed five homers in his 14 2/3 innings. To give you an idea about how much Stream-o-Nator loves the Rangers today, Rougned Odor ($2,900) is the second-best hitter on the entire slate for Thursday. And that’s not even considering his price, that’s his straight up raw output that SON expects. Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Shin-Soo Choo are all top plays coming in at a low price. You can legitimately just stuff as many Rangers as you can into your lineup, as SON expects production out of anybody who might start (except for Pete Kozma. Sorry Pete, the robot doesn’t account for grit.) Elvis Andrus, Delino Deshields…even Jared Hoying? You name him, because if Jeff Banister pencils him in on Thursday, he’s worth a shot in your lineup. After you get your fair share of Texas love, here are some more picks worth checking out…
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Jordan Montgomery, P: $7,400 – The Royals lineup is straight garbage against lefties, as their .259 wOBA against lefties puts them as the second-worst lefty hitting team in the entire league. Montgomery should perform much better away from Yankee Stadium and with an 8.65 K/9, he’s got more upside than you might think. Just make sure to check the weather on this one, as there are thunderstorms expected in KC.
Zach Davies, P: $7,600 – Davies is another cheap play picked for his matchup, as he faces the Padres at Petco Park. Basically anybody can pitch well in that ballpark, and against a Padres team with a .302 wOBA against right-handers, Davies is an easy play for some strong innings at a low price. Just like Montgomery, he’s a much better play on the road and Davies will probably get the win against Jarred Cosart.
Yasmani Grandal, C: $3,000 – On a short slate like Thursday, it’s often a good idea to either “invest” in a top catcher or just completely punt the position. I use quotation marks around “invest” because Grandal is hardly expensive, even though he’s actually hitting for a very strong .288/.360/.477 line. That’s good for a 125 wRC+, which might as well be a 500 wRC+ for a catcher. He’s also facing crappy Edinson Volquez, so I don’t think I’ll be using any other catcher on Thursday.
Tommy Joseph, 1B: $3,400 – ToJo is ridiculously hot! Not literally, though, the dude looks like he’s 40. In his last 30 days, Joseph is batting .300 with a .945 OPS. He crushes lefties, too, with a career 139 wRC+ against southpaws. Martin Perez is as bad as they come, and Joseph can do some major damage at Globe Life Park.
Chris Davis, 1B: $3,800 – Chris Davis has been ripping the ball, blasting four homers in his last four games, and he’s looking for more against Jordan Zimmermann. It’s quite remarkable how bad JZimm has become, making Davis an elite play for a mid-tier first baseman price.
Starlin Castro, 2B: $3,700 – If you’re playing the late slate of games and can’t take Odor, Castro is a nice option instead. He hits lefties better than righties and is facing Danny Duffy. Hopefully Duffy’s name and his solid ERA will scare off other fantasy players, as he’s actually been pretty lame this year, only striking out 6.22 per nine with a 3.02 BB/9. And in a potent Yankees lineup, Castro always has a shot at runs and RBI.
Miguel Sano, 3B: $3,800 – I have no idea why Miguel Sano isn’t more expensive. He’s batting .287/.427/.643 with 10 homers and a 186 wRC+, and yet Aaron Judge, for instance, is $700 more. His soft contact rate on FanGraphs is a hilariously low 3.0%. Take him while he’s this cheap, for crying out loud.
Trea Turner, SS: $4,000 – Atop the Nats lineup against Tyler Glasnow, Turner is in a spot to rack up tons of fantasy points from hits, runs, and of course steals. Heck, Turner even has two homers in his last four games for some reason. The Nats lineup is going to go bonkers on Thursday, so I’d get Turner everywhere you can.
Leury Garcia, OF: $2,900 – Garcia is another leadoff hitter worth grabbing on Thursday, facing off against Sam Gaviglio. Who the heck is that?!? When I saw Gaviglio’s name on my Twitter feed, my phone asked me if I wanted to translate from Haitian Creole. No thanks, phone, if I wanted to know how to say “crappy spot starter” in Haitian Creole I would look it up on my own. Garcia has been hitting well all year and yet is still below $3,000, making him a top value play.
Ben Gamel, OF: $3,100 – Ben Gamel has gotten a bit more respect than Garcia with his price tag, but he’s still way too cheap to be the Mariners two-hole hitter. The dude’s got Jean Segura in front of him with Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager behind him. Gamel has a 145 wRC+ and is facing Dylan Covey, whose got a 7.98 ERA. That all lines up for a huge fantasy day.
Ezequiel Carrera, OF: $2,700 – Freekey Zekey has been batting second for the Blue Jays against right-handed pitching, and at this low of a price against Julio Teheran he’s somebody to consider. Early reports are that SunTrust Park has been playing like an extreme hitter’s park. Just hope that the Blue Jays don’t get stupid in an NL park and try to put Justin Smoak in left field or something.
Ian Desmond, OF: $3,700 – I always like Rockies hitters on the road as a contrarian play, as someone like Desmond can still produce quite well even away from Coors. His opposing pitcher is Ervin Santana, whose luck has got to come to an end soon!
Hernan Perez, OF: $3,400 – With Ryan Braun’s injury, Hernan Perez has found everyday playing time and is making the most of it, putting up a .975 OPS in his last 15 games. Perez has also been batting third pretty regularly, which inspires confidence. Even at Petco Park, I still like Perez against Jarred Cosart, who walks more batters than he strikes out.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
The only rain to watch out for is in the Yankees/Royals matchup, as there’s a 60% chance of thunderstorms in Kansas City. Be careful if you’re starting Montgomery, although the rain is expected later in the night. I wouldn’t completely avoid anybody in this matchup, just proceed with caution.
Doing Lines in Vegas
I’m taking the Marlins at +173 against the Dodgers, since they’re facing lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Marlins hit lefties well, with a .333 wOBA against them, so they’ve got a good chance of putting up some runs. I also like Milwaukee at +104 against the Padres, as the Brewers lineup should put a beating on Jarred Cosart.