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Once again Thursday brings us a split schedule with six afternoon games and six evening games. The afternoon is loaded with aces and the evening, not so much.

If you play afternoon cash games I would suggest grabbing one of the top guys since some of these hurlers are bound to produce. It will be tough to catch up if you miss on pitching today.

Even with all the good pitching you have some hitting opportunities with the Philadelphia/Colorado game, as well as with Diamondbacks and Tigers going against pitchers with question marks.

Moving on to the night games, things could get interesting. We lack the clear staff aces this evening so it’s going to be tricky with pitching. If you do grab the right one and stack a little heavier than normal with bats though you could score big tonight.

While cash games should still comprise the majority of investment for most daily players I might go a little deeper into tournament picks on a night with no obvious options. Everyone’s going to be all over so you have a chance to breeze by a bunch of tourney players making guesses if you hit it right. Here’s a look at some options for this evening.

FanDuel Picks For Thursday, May 21

Starting Pitchers

Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland at Chicago White Sox, $8,900

Cleveland’s young pitcher has the most strikeout potential going tonight. I was a little surprised to see him as the highest priced guy since I wanted to sneak him into lineups. It seems like FanDuel is getting savvy with price updates and Salazar is probably priced close to where he should actually be. Every pitcher tonight brings risk including this guy, but the upside of double digit K’s against a White Sox squad that is still underperforming is the best of a bunch of mediocre options this evening.

Clay Buchholz, RHP, Boston vs. Texas, $7,900

Buchholz struck out 11 Mariners and allowed one run in his last start during eight strong innings. That’s about as much as you can expect from anyone other than Corey Kluber these days. However, in the three starts before that he went a total of 15 1/3 innings allowing 12 earned runs. Buchholz can be outstanding and he does get the Rangers who are ranked 29 of 30 in batting average against right handed pitching at .227. Vegas gives Boston the best odds of getting a win tonight at -170, more good news for Buchholz. However, he could also throw up six runs in three innings before hitting the showers. You could look very clever if this pick works out tonight, but like the others it comes with risk as well.

Catchers

Miguel Montero, Chicago Cubs at San Diego, $3,000

The new Cub has hit well when given the opportunity. He’s splitting time at a complicated catcher position in Chicago but is likely to be in the lineup today. He’s sporting a .415 OBP against right handed pitching this year will face a struggling Padre in Odrisamer Despaigne.

Blake Swihart, Boston vs. Texas, $2,200

The Sox prospect has started to show a little life at the plate and Wandy Rodriguez looked very hittable his last time on the mound for Texas. This is really a punt play at the bottom of the barrel price, but an educated guess punt play that Swihart gets some action tonight.

First Basemen

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs at San Diego, $4,500

This is where I pay up if I have the funds. Rizzo has an OBP of .465 this year and also has the righty/lefty splits on his side tonight. He’s hit eight dingers now and has even stolen just as many bases. I like his chances of producing points, even in San Diego’s pitcher friendly confines.

Max Muncy, Oakland at Tampa Bay, $2,700

Muncy is going to see increased playing time against right handers with the injury to Ike Davis. He’s gone 4-for-10 and hit two homers in his last three games as well as reach base safely in each. If you aren’t a Cubs fan here’s an option for you.

Second Basemen

Dustin Pedroia, Boston vs. Texas, $2,800

The Red Sox second bagger has been solid if not spectacular this year. He gets a good matchup against a lefty that is beginning to struggle. Wandy Rodriguez has a BABIP 30 points lower than his career number and an xFIP 60 points higher than his current ERA of 3.86. This says correction is coming and we saw some of that in his last start. I think more correction arrives today with Sox.

Eric Sogard, Oakland at Tampa Bay, $2,200

I actually thought about writing up Jace Peterson as another option at the keystone, but he is the same price as Pedroia above so I wanted to mention a cheaper option. Sogard doesn’t have much pop and quite likely will be near the bottom of the order for the A’s so I’m not big on him particularly in cash games. However, if you need cash elsewhere in a tourney play he does hit 50 points better against righties and might just get you a couple points if all goes well.

Third Basemen

David Freese, LA Angels at Toronto, $2,800

Freese has not been excellent by any means this year. Having said that he appears to be waking up a little over the last week going 5-for-18 with two homers. R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball needs some brass added since it isn’t punching out anyone right now. Affordable options at third are scarce today so a gamble on Freese doesn’t seem like a horrible idea especially in a tournament.

Yangervis Solarte, San Diego vs. Chicago Cubs, $2,200

Who knows which position Solarte will be playing today but he has stuck in the lineup playing all over the infield. At FanDuel he’s a third basemen for now. He is also usually in the top half of the order which is something you want to see in daily roster management. When looking at splits based on batting vs. pitching hand its nice to find a guy that hits 50 points or better against the opposite hand. It’s a nice way to find discounts in these daily games and insert someone that will have a better chance that day than his salary is priced for. Solarte is a switch hitter but is batting .125 against left handed pitching and .319 against righties so far this year. Now that is a splits advantage! Keep in mind this is still a pretty small sample size, but that is a huge difference.

Shortstops

Erick Aybar, LA Angels at Toronto, $2,400

Aybar has strung together an 11 game hitting streak and has also been moved up to the top of the Angels order. The kicker here is that he’s still priced at $2,400! Use him until he cools off or FanDuel adjusts the price.

Xander Bogaerts, Boston vs. Texas, $2,200

Bogaerts has a career .275 batting average against lefties, 43 points better than his average against right handed pitching. He hasn’t been hitting for power yet, but against a left handed pitcher you could do worse than Bogaerts.

Outfielders

Cole Calhoun, LA Angels at Toronto, $3,100

Calhoun was recently moved down to bat cleanup for the Angels with Erick Aybar moving up. We will have to see where he goes if Albert Pujols sits out after being hit by a pitch yesterday. I could see a scenario where this game gets out of control and if it does Angels/Blue Jays stacks might be a profitable move.

Dexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs at San Diego, $3,500

Fowler has found his home in Chicago and settled in nicely. He will be on top of the Cubs order and actually has some pop showing with two home runs and a triple in the last week. If Despaigne continues to crumble I would expect Fowler to generate some points for you in the process.

Mookie Betts, Boston vs. Texas, $3,100

After getting a day off Betts has gone 4-for-10 in his last two games. He had been slumping a little lately but the rest may have been just what he needed. I like Boston hitters today, so add Betts to the list.

Good luck in your Daily Fantasy Baseball contests! We hope our FanDuel picks for Thursday, May 21, come through in a big way!

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Graham Briggs

Graham is a 20-year veteran of Fantasy Sports and writes about Football and Baseball for SCFE. While he's both won and lost leagues over the years, he contends that fate alone is to blame for the losses. Graham’s days are spent working as an epidemiologist, but it is rumored that he spends every other waking moment studying Fantasy Sports.
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