This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
A five-game main slate presents some interesting challenges Thursday, with two top-tier pitchers squaring off. This could work to further narrow down our pitching options, as low-cost plays aren't immediately obvious. As always, this means we have no shortage of stacks to choose from on offense.
Gerrit Cole ($10,200) has seen his ERA balloon to 5.22 thanks to a few clunkers but his robust 36 percent strikeout rate combined with his ability to limit walks and homers should make him a popular option against the Indians. It should also be noted that Cleveland will enter the contest sporting a bottom-10 wOBA against right-handed pitching.
Trevor Bauer ($9,800) will take the opposing mound in this marquee matchup. While rostering both hurlers wouldn't be out of the question on a short slate, the more conventional DFS players may want to go with Cole here, as the Astros will enter the contest sporting a .349 wOBA against righty pitchers, which represents the fourth highest mark in the league.
Trouble keeping the ball in the park has plagued Masahiro Tanaka ($9,300) for most of his career but we may finally be seeing the 30-year-old turn a corner, as he has allowed just three long balls in his 29.1 innings this year. The Angels are a middle-of-the-pack team against right-handed pitchers so far this season but have shown patience as well as the ability to make contact, which makes them a tough matchup for DFS purposes.
Aaron Nola ($9,100) has been allowing walks and homers at an astounding rate to open 2019 but was able to right the ship a bit with a surprisingly effective performance in Colorado against the Rockies. A matchup against the Marlins could make him someone to pay up for given our lack of options but the play is a bit less enticing when we consider that the game is being held at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
Marco Gonzales ($8,400) is worth a look as he takes on the Rangers on the road, where they hold a bottom-half ISO and a 29 percent strikeout rate. Gonzalez limits walks and homers, which could be reason enough to give him a look in this matchup.
Rick Porcello ($7,800) is one of several Red Sox pitchers who have struggled mightily this season but we will likely see prospective owners flock to him after Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez had strong performances against the Tigers. Porcello may have an even more favorable matchup as a right-hander, as Detroit has logged a .290 wOBA against righty hurlers.
Caleb Smith ($7,300) gets an honorable mention as the ultimate GPP-only play. Smith notched 27.1 DraftKings points when he faced the Phillies in his home ballpark earlier this year but the matchup at Citizens Bank Park carries significantly higher risk, as the Philadelphia offense has notched a .203 ISO against left-handed pitchers.
Mike Trout ($5,700) will likely attract a lot of eyes thanks to a lack of quality hitters in strong matchups. He has tallied a .478 wOBA against right-handed pitchers in 41 at-bats.
Rhys Hoskins ($5,300) will probably get a decent amount of looks despite the dominance shown by Smith. Hoskins has feasted on both righties and lefties to begin the 2019 campaign, culminating in a .307 ISO and .411 wOBA in 88 at-bats.
Niko Goodrum ($4,300) is often an overlooked DFS option but he could be a nice scarcity play against Rick Porcello, who has allowed two homers, two doubles and two triples to left-handed hitters in just nine innings this year.
Mitch Moreland ($4,200) needs to be considered whenever a mediocre righty is in town due to the .393 ISO he has tallied against his opposite hand in 61 at-bats. Jordan Zimmermann seems to fit that description, as he has allowed a .568 slugging percentage to lefty hitters in 11.1 innings.
Tim Beckham ($4,100) is a reasonably priced Mariner we can use to attack debutante Taylor Hearn, who has had trouble with command and keeping the ball in the park at various points throughout his minor league career.
Josh Reddick ($3,800) went 2-for-3 with a homer against the Twins on Wednesday, boosting his slash line to .386/.427/.543 in 70 at-bats. That kind of production is worth a look against almost anyone at this price, even Trevor Bauer.
Mike Tauchman ($3,700) showed decent power in his minor league career and is making the most of his time in the Yankee lineup, as evidenced by the .333 ISO he has tallied against right-handed pitching in 36 at-bats. Meanwhile, Trevor Cahill has allowed four homers and three doubles against lefty hitters in nine innings.
Yankees vs. Trevor Cahill (Angels)
Loading up against Cahill seems like the right move and this is a stack that will allow prospective owners some room to maneuver in terms of salary. Each hitter in this group has logged an ISO over .200. against right-handed pitchers, and Cahill's indiscriminate run allowance has led to a 5.47 ERA in 26.1 frames.
Mariners vs. Taylor Hearn (Rangers)
This stack would undoubtedly be a bit sexier in Arlington but there is always some value in seeing if a flawed farmhand can perform at the highest level. Tom Murphy has had his playing time limited on the short end of a platoon but has been effective when he is in the lineup, having logged two homers and three doubles in 24 at-bats.
Red Sox vs. Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers)
We talked about Zimmerman's struggles against left-handed hitters above, but that shouldn't preclude anyone from taking a shot on Chavis, who has slugged .500 in his first 14 big-league at-bats after displaying jaw-dropping power at the minor-league level.