This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
The main evening slate on DraftKings will consist of just five games Thursday. That doesn't leave us with a ton of options to consider. With that being said, here are some players who stand out amongst the teams who are set to be in action.
Ironically, three of the most appealing pitchers for this slate are all left-handed. The first of which is Julio Urias ($10,100), one of several young promising pitchers on the Dodgers. He's recorded a WHIP of 1.15 or lower in back-to-back seasons, which has contributed to him posting a career 3.18 ERA. His most impressive start of the young season came in his first outing when he held the Rockies to one run across seven innings at Coors Field. With his rematch set to be in the significantly more pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, he could thrive again.
Steven Matz ($8,700) struggled to live up to the hype with the Mets, although injuries also played a role along the way. After posting a 9.68 ERA and 7.76 FIP with the Mets last season, he now finds himself as a member of the Blue Jays. Early indications are that a change of scenery might be just what he needed. Across two starts, he's allowed two runs and recorded 13 strikeouts over 12.1 innings. He'll try to keep things rolling against the Royals, who only had a .720 OPS versus left-handed pitchers last season.
The final lefty we'll highlight is Sean Manaea ($7,400), who will face the Tigers in Oakland. This being a home game for him is noteworthy given that he has a career 3.87 FIP and 1.14 WHIP in Oakland, compared to a 4.31 FIP and 1.26 WHIP on the road. At this cheap salary, he's at least worth considering in tournament play.
Two of the top targets for this slate are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($5,100) and Bo Bichette ($4,900). The Blue Jays' talented young infield duo both have an OPS over 1.000 in the early going, combining for six home runs and six doubles. They could feast against Jakob Junis ($6,400), who has allowed 1.6 HR/9 for his career to go along with an uninspiring 1.34 WHIP.
Despite a disappointing .213 batting average last season, Ramon Laureano ($3,800) still managed to record a .338 OBP. He's off to a hot start this season, hitting 11-for-36 (.306) with a .375 OBP, but that's only part of the reason why he should be on your radar for this slate. He's been a menace on the base paths, registering eight steals already. Don't be surprised if he's a tough out for Tarik Skubal ($6,300), who has very little experience since he went straight from Double-A in 2019 to the majors in 2020. Since joining the big leagues, he has a 6.10 ERA and 7.43 FIP across 41.1 innings.
The Diamondbacks have a compromised lineup right now with Ketel Marte (hamstring) out. His absence has opened up an everyday role for Tim Locastro ($3,300), who has responded by hitting 9-for-27 (.333) with two steals over his last six games. Look for him to try and exploit a matchup against Patrick Corbin ($7,800), who allowed six runs across 4.1 innings in his season debut against the Dodgers. That came after he struggled last season, finishing with a 1.57 WHIP.
Stacks to Consider
Gomber had control issues with the Cardinals last season, issuing 15 walks across 30 innings. He's been even worse out of the gate this year, allowing 11 walks over 9.1 innings. Giving free passes to the Dodgers' potent lineup is a good way to get lit up. Turner has handled left-handed pitchers well, posting a wOBA of at least .385 against them in three of the last four seasons.
Kelly finished with a 2.59 ERA across five starts last season, although his 3.99 FIP indicates he didn't exactly dominate the opposition. In fact, he was likely aided by his abnormally low .247 BABIP allowed. His first two starts of 2021 have not gone well with him allowing a combined 10 runs (nine earned) over 10 innings. Soto's salary will do a number on your budget, but he's still a key player to build any Nationals stack around. Kelly has also allowed 1.4 HR/9 for his career, so the powerful Schwarber could also do some damage in this matchup.