This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
For a Thursday main slate, there's a healthy eight games which is actually one more than Wednesday night. There are plenty of lower-tier pitchers to fade and more than a couple of contests should turn into bullpen games.
Walker Buehler, LAD vs. CHC ($11,000) / Luis Garcia, HOU at DET ($9,600): I know it's kind of lame to talk about the two top pitchers on the main slate, but hear me out. I spent some time looking at these two nd had a hard time figuring out who is the better cash game play. Obviously if the $1,400 makes a big difference toward the bats you want in your lineup, go Garcia. Taking a look at their matchups, the Tigers strike out the most (26.5 percent) against right-handed pitching while the Cubs come in at fourth highest (26.1 percent). Buehler has been more consistent this season with at least 28 fantasy points in all 14 of his starts, but Garcia has scored at least 46 fantasy points or more in four of his last five games, although the other game was a 16-point dud. Both Detroit and Chicago have an identical .304 wOBA against right-handed pitching, adding to the dilemma. If forced to choose, I'm probably going with Garcia, but it's like a 51/49 decision.
Carlos Martinez, STL vs. PIT ($6,500): Martinez is purely a GPP play given his ability to score negative fantasy points, something he's done twice this season. One of those games was his last outing (-6 fantasy points) and I like taking someone like that because he won't be rostered by many people. Martinez has a lower ERA and WHIP at home this season and scored 41 fantasy points against the Pirates earlier this season. Nick Pivetta ($7,800) deserves a mention here as well for tournaments as he's been pretty consistent this season, averaging over 30 fantasy points per game.
Vladimir Guerrero, TOR vs. BAL ($4,300): Taking the best hitter (maybe in baseball) on the team projected for the highest run total seems like a good idea. In fact, it would be surprising if Guerrero's not on more than 50 percent of all rosters in cash games. He's a legit Triple Crown threat and Dean Kremer (0-6, 6.20 ERA) has allowed 13 home runs in only 49.1 innings.
Kyle Schwarber, WAS at MIA ($4,000): Schwarber is a man on fire with six home runs over his last four games, helping lead him to 1.290 OPS over the last 14 days. Over that span of games he's averaging 22.7 fantasy points and has a good matchup against Cody Poteet. In 10 games started at Triple-A in 2019 (a bigger sample than his 5.2 Triple-A innings this season) Poteet had a 5.68 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.
Joey Votto, CIN vs. ATL ($2,800): It'll be interesting to see how Votto responds coming off his one-game absence, and as of early Thursday morning a starter for Atlanta had yet to be announced. This likely means that player won't be some elite-level arm and therefore Votto should have a good matchup. He's averaging a respectable 10.6 fantasy points per game this season and he's shown a much better split at home (.374 wOBA) than on the road (.287).
Kyle Tucker, HOU at DET ($3,000): It seems awfully lazy to recommend Wander Franco again, but he's certainly an option at only $2,700. Tucker returned last night from the COVID-19 IL and took part in the Astros' thrashing of the Orioles by scoring 21.7 fantasy points. He carries less of a salary cap hit than most of his teammates and gets a plus matchup against Jose Urena and his 5.79 ERA.
Stacks To Consider
The numbers (6.11 ERA) for Mejia suggest he's a good pitcher to target and while it's a small sample, he's gotten crushed on the road (9.27 ERA). Cruz continues to dodge Father Time with a .952 OPS and Kirilloff is a nice bargain for a cleanup hitter.
Toronto's bats will be popular options given the high run total and pitching matchup, so it's not a stretch to use them as a stack. However, if you do so it's wise to go contrarian and leave out a top bat or two. In this case I'm fading Bo Bichette at $3,700 and Marcus Semien at $3,400. Feel free to mix and match the Jays as you please, but realize a lot of people will just click on the top four hitters.