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A Monday and Thursday slate of games always offers a different challenge for Daily Fantasy Baseball players. To some, it offers an advantage. Those would be the players without as much time to do the homework, thus fewer players gives them less studying to do.

Vice versa, as you can imagine, many of the “experts” out there do not generally enjoy a shortened slate, especially an early slate of three games, which is what Thursday morning brings. A smaller slate offers fewer players, obviously, which means fewer lineup options and a much higher probability for overlapping picks.

A travel day for several teams, this Thursday offers just over half the usual slate of games (9), however as with any Thursday, just six play under the lights.

For the sake of owners reading this after the first pitch in the day games, I will focus on the night games, however I do want to note a few bargains you may be able to find during the day games, and perhaps some high priced guys that will be worth the big price tag. Before we get to lineups however, I found one interesting statistic for the upcoming slate of games, and perhaps depressing if you like to spend up on pitching. Only 7 of the 18 starters have an ERA below 4.0. One step further, of those 7, Chris Rusin and Chi Chi Gonzalez have logged less than 20 innings pitched this season. In other words, finding the right pitcher could be crucial in having a successful night on FanDuel.

I will note, in terms of the early slate, I don’t oppose a Padres/Braves stack on starting pitching. Obviously it’s not ideal, given they can’t both notch a victory, but I don’t mind attacking the Padres and Braves lineup. In terms of my actual lineup though, I will be spending up on Scott Kazmir $8,600 and Andrew Cashner $7,800, while loading up on cheaper bats in the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians match-up between J.A. Happ and Shaun Marcum. In terms of hitters during the early slate, Ryan Raburn ($2,300) absolutely rakes against lefties (Happ). Kyle Seager ($3,000) is a solid option at third base coming off a good night on Wednesday. As far as catcher, he may be the highest owned among catchers during the early slate, but Yan Gomes ($2,500) drawing the righty-lefty match-up seems like a great bargain, especially for a guy who may finally be finding his power stroke in 2015.

Without further ado however, let’s take a look at the evening slate, and a few guys I have on my list.

FanDuel Picks for Thursday, June 11, 2015

Starting Pitchers

Garrett Richards, RHP, LA Angels at Tampa Bay, $8,600

Richards is my “no matter what” play given the options during Thursday night’s slate. Richards has not had a much success of late and struggles on the road, but the Rays lineup struggles to score and the match-up with Alex Colome should at least allow him a decent shot at the “W.”

Chris Rusin, LHP, Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins, $5,500

The Marlins are 27th in runs scored at home this season, and just made the Toronto Blue Jays rotation look like the Washington Nationals. I’m not a huge Rusin fan, and Miami is not awful against lefties, but he offers some strikeout potential and a very cheap option on a weak pitcher slate Thursday night. Plus, the Rockies offense has quietly begun to click, granted that was at Coors Field.

Catchers

Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants at NY Mets, $3,700

Posey, this year aside, typically crushes left handed pitching, and he draws Jonathan Niese on Thursday night. Niese has allowed a .371 opponents batting average to right handed hitters, and Posey is 7 for 19 lifetime against the southpaw.

Miguel Montero, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, $2,500

Montero draws RHP Michael Lorenzen on Thursday night at Wrigley Field. Although Montero has struggled this year, he is actually hitting .297 at home, and the weather is only getting warmer in Chi-Town.

First Basemen

Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays, $4,000

Pujols is batting .288 with 13 of his 16 home runs against right handed pitching this season. He faces off against Alex Colome at Tropicana Field, and regardless of Colome’s inconsistencies, he has been far too hittable this season. Pujols is batting .414 in June, and seems like a good bet to continue the recent success against Colome and the Rays.

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles, $2,400

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ortiz has struggled this year, but $2,400 for a guy with his upside cannot be ignored. He has still hit right-handed pitching well this season, and Chris Tillman is by no means unhittable this season. At his price tag, there’s little reason not to take a shot at a breakout game from Big Papi.

Second Basemen

Ruben Tejada, New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants, $2,600

Tejada and the Mets are up against Tim Lincecum. While Tejada is, by no means, a sexy pick, he has actually hit right handed pitching much better this season, batting .309. Lincecum’s resurgence, meanwhile, has come to a screeching halt with four earned runs allowed in each of his last three starts. He is also allowing right handed hitters to reach base at a .381 clip this season.

Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals, $2,200

Gennett should rejoin the team today and hit right handed pitching really well last year. He was doing well in Triple-A prior to the call up and doesn’t draw an overbearing match-up against Tanner Roark. Not to mention, he could be a really good contrarian play in a smaller slate. I don’t really see any reason to spend up at second base tonight. Perhaps for Joe Panik given how hot he has been, but I think Tejada and Gennett have just as much of a chance of giving you similar contribution.

Third Basemen

Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, $4,200

Coming up, everyone knew Bryant crushed lefties. However, since debuting, he has actually hit right-handed pitching much better at a .297 clip. He has also played much better at Wrigley Field this season, .310 batting average with five of his seven home runs. He has yet to homer in June, despite batting .290, so today may be the day against Lorenzen, who has allowed six home runs in six starts.

Pablo Sandoval, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles, $2,200

Tillman, the opposing starter, is 0-4 with a 7.50 ERA at home this season. Sandoval has been brutal since April, but he is actually hitting .292 against right-handed pitching. At the salary some of the Red Sox are coming in at, I see no reason not to play the match-up and take my chances against Tillman on Thursday night.

Shortstops

Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins, $4,500

There’s not a whole lot to spend up on at shortstop, aside from Tulowitzki. And, while several may jump off the Rockies train as it rides into Miami, Tulowitzki is red hot right now and was one of few Rockies not to enjoy the obliteration of David Phelps in his earlier start against Colorado this season.
Obviously not everyone will be able to afford Tulowitzki, but if you can, I highly recommend it. None of the other shortstops really peak my interest. Wilmer Flores draws a decent match-up with Lincecum, but he struggles against right-handed pitching, about as much as Lincecum struggles against right-handed batters. I also don’t mind J.J. Hardy against Wade Miley or Erick Aybar against Alex Colome, but again, I’d much rather save elsewhere and get Tulowitzki at shortstop.

Outfielders

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays, $5,000

Today may be a day to spend up for Trout. As mentioned above, Colome is very hittable for the Rays. On top of that, Trout has always hit incredibly well in June and against right handed pitching. He’s hitting just .222 through his first 27 at-bats in June this year, and has never hit below .355 in June throughout his career. Call me crazy, but I’m going for the “Due Theory” on this one.

Michael Taylor, Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers, $2,300

Matt Garza opposes the Nationals on Thursday, and has been pitching much better having allowed 1 earned run in his last 12 innings pitched. I’m not falling for it this time. Garza showed a similar stretch of success to begin May and collapsed at Citi Field allowing 10 earned runs against the Mets. Taylor is coming off a home run against the Yankees Wednesday afternoon, and has actually hit right handed pitching better than left handed. Taylor is always a question to start, but if he does, I really like him as a cheap outfielder in a shortened slate.

Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants at NY Mets, $2,200

Pagan has crushed left handed pitching this year, and as noted earlier, the Giants get to feast on Niese at Citi Field Thursday. Pagan has struggled a bit thus far in June, but I think he can get things going on Thursday.

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Patrick Wallace

A native of St. Louis, Patrick works as Video Production and PR Coordinator with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Patrick earned his Bachelors from Mizzou in 2011, where he also did play-by-play for Missouri Softball. In addition to contributing to SoCalledFantasyExperts in Baseball and Football, Patrick also contributes to FantasyPros.com and has done some work with DraftValet.com.
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