Vince Velasquez will try his best Vaudeville Villain impression on Thursday against the Rockies, flashing more heat than Viktor Vaughn rapping about an armed robbery. At just $7,400 on FanDuel, buying Velasquez is a modern day mugging. I get that he has a 5.98 ERA, but as Viktor Vaughn says, “the roach is never dead.” VV is still rocking a 9.27 K/9 on the season, which he gets from his dominant fastball and his curveball (respect the drop). He’s getting killed by a 21.4% HR/FB rate, and while it hasn’t been purely bad luck, Velasquez is a better pitcher than his results have shown. The Rockies on the road are about league-average, with a .313 wOBA, good for 16th in baseball. They strike out a lot, at 23.8% away from Coors, so VV has major strikeout potential against them. The best part about Velasquez is that everybody else is too afraid to play him, especially since the Rockies have thumped the Phillies three nights in a row. Even if Velasquez has another blow-up start, the strikeouts should buoy him. But if Velasquez can hold it together, he will provide huge numbers at a bargain price.

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Matt Andriese, SP: $7,600 – If you had to name the Rays rotation off the top of your head, would you remember Andriese? If you said no, I don’t blame you, and if you said yes, get a life. Andriese has quietly put together a solid season thus far in Tampa, posting a 3.75 ERA with an 8.40 K/9. He’s not the most spectacular play, but against a weak Angels lineup, he should produce well. The Angels have a .302 wOBA against righties, which is 24th in the league (they would probably be dead last without Trout). He’s also at home, so serving up dingers shouldn’t be a big issue.

Drew Pomeranz, SP: $7,500 – Pomeranz is sketchy at Fenway, but he’s got big strikeout upside against the Rangers. They strike out at a 35.6% rate against southpaws, which is the 4th most out of any lineup, and Pomeranz is sporting a 10.66 K/9. That’s a potential combination for success, and Texas has actually hit lefties poorly this year, with a .293 wOBA. It’s definitely risky, but for such a low price, Pomeranz is worth considering.

Boston Red Sox – On the flip side of the Fenway matchup, the Red Sox hitters are looking to feast on Nick Martinez. Martinez has a pathetic 4.84 K/9, so Boston is going to be spraying the ball back into play. Worst of all, Martinez doesn’t even have a first name that works with his last name. We’ve got V-Mart, C-Mart, and… N-Mart? Really? Mookie Betts ($4,300) is Streamonator’s top hitter on Thursday, while Hanley Ramirez is another elite play. You can’t go wrong with any Red Sox hitter, and most of them are surprisingly cheap.

Evan Gattis, C: $3,200 – Usually the only issue with Gattis is whether or not he’s in the lineup, but with Brian McCann out with a concussion, the starting catcher’s gig is all his. Gattis has been a remarkably different hitter this year, cutting his K% by almost 10% down to 16.2%, but sacrificing power to do so. His .360 OBP is outstanding, and while his slugging is down to .417, we all know he’s still got the 32-homer power he showed last year. Justin Verlander has fallen off, but hopefully the name value still drives other fantasy owners away, because Gattis can totally go deep off of him, or at least get on base a few times.

Carlos Santana, 1B: $3,200 – The Tribe get to face off against Tim Adleman on Thursday, owner of a 6.19 ERA, so Carlos Santana will be right in the middle of the run-scoring. After wrecking himself in the outfield on Monday, Santana is back in action and homered on Wednesday. An entire Indians stack isn’t a bad idea, but Santana by himself at this price is a standout.

Danny Valencia, 1B: $2,900 – If you look under the hood at Gio Gonzalez, you’ll see that he’s been pretty awful, with a 7.31 K/9, 4.45 BB/9, and 5.24 FIP. Valencia is a lefty-masher, with a career 140 wRC+ against them. He was back in the lineup on Wednesday, so the wrist is no longer an issue, and he should bat fifth and rack up some RBIs.

Joe Panik, 2B: $2,700 – Don’t get me wrong, Joe Panik has played like butt this year, but he has a good opportunity on Thursday. Panik will be batting second against Eddie Butler at Wrigley. He’s more of a punt play, but even the weak Giants lineup could put up some runs on Butler.

Daniel Murphy, 2B: $3,800 – If you’re going more expensive at second base, try Daniel Murphy. For the savage season Murphy has had, he’s really not even very pricey. He has a 143 wRC+ with nine homers and a .952 OPS. Murphy is a virtual lock to produce every single night, and it will be no different against Ariel Miranda.

Chris Owings, SS: $2,900: Chris Owings has been thriving in the Dbacks lineup, hitting .321 with five homers and nine steals, and just being a fantasy catalyst all around. His price is absurdly low as he goes to Milwaukee, one of the game’s top hitting environments, against lame Zach Davies.

Didi Gregorious, SS: $3,200 – The Notorious D.I.D.I. has picked up where he left off last year, batting .319 with a 112 wRC+. He started the season on the DL, but since returning he’s been nothing but productive. The Royals are running out Miguel Almonte straight from Double-A. Almonte has had success down there this year, but the Yankees lineup is going to be a wake-up call for him. If you pair Didi with a few other Yankees, it could pay off nicely.

Evan Longoria, 3B: $2,800 – Longo hasn’t had himself a very productive year, but he’s been heating up lately, with a .945 OPS in the last week and a 114 wRC+ for all of May. He’s facing Daniel Wright, who might be the worst pitcher on the entire slate. Longoria is one of the top value plays at any position.

J.D. Martinez, OF: $3,700 – Detroit’s J Dilla has been just stupid in his return from the disabled list, putting up a 1.442 OPS in his 11 games. His opposition, Mike Fiers, has an insane 3.64 HR/9, while JD has 6 homers already. So if you catch my drift, Martinez is probably gonna go deep, and he’s totally worth the price. There aren’t a whole lot of value outfielders on Thursday, so I’m more than willing to spend here.

Domingo Santana, OF: $3,200 – If Santana is facing a lefty at home, he’s basically a must-start, as he’s got a 129 career wRC+ against left-handers and crushes at hitter-friendly Miller Park. Santana has struck down his strikeout rate by quite a bit and is walking even more. Santana is a three true outcomes play against Robbie Ray, and since two of those outcomes are good, I’ll take my chances with Domingo.

Ender Inciarte, OF: $3,400 – Inciarte is ripping the ball out of Atlanta’s leadoff spot, batting .452 in the last week, and providing lots of runs and steals. Ivan Nova has had a fine year, but he doesn’t strike anybody out, so I think Inciarte’s contact-heavy approach will fare well against him. And regardless of the opponent, a leadoff hitter at a low price is always a good investment.

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

We’ve got lots of rain expected across the board on Thursday. The Reds-Indians matchup doesn’t look like it’s going to get played, with a 72% to 83% chance of rain throughout game time, and not letting up much later in the night. Padres-Mets will likely experience thunderstorms, as well as Royals-Yankees. Rangers-Red Sox has a 46% chance of rain at start time. Also keep an eye on Rockies-Phillies and Mariners-Nationals. Hopefully the rain doesn’t completely wreak havoc, but Thursday is a night to closely monitor weather situations and re-consider your lineup decisions.

Doing Lines In Vegas

I like Cincinnati at +185 against Cleveland, as I don’t quite trust Mike Clevinger just yet, and I could easily see this game turning into a high-scoring affair, in which case the Reds lineup might win out.

  1. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Big shouts for the Viktor Vaughn love!

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