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Yahoo DFS Baseball: Thursday Picks

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

PITCHER

James Paxton, SEA at OAK ($50): Paxton is off to a great start this season with 22 strikeouts in 21 scoreless innings. His hot start comes on the heels of a strong finish to the 2016 season, so he might actually be the real deal. The Aís present a nice matchup for Paxton as they enter with a .259 wOBA against lefties and their strikeout rate is in the lower half of the league at 21.9 percent. The southpaw's dominant run should continue through this game as Oakland has little outside of Khris Davis that will present a challenge.

Lance McCullers, HOU vs. LAA ($43): Itís no secret Ė Lance McCullers is a completely different pitcher at home than he is on the road. You might say heís Bruce Banner on the road and the Hulk at home; it really is that drastic. Last season McCullers posted a 2.40 ERA at home and a 5.57 ERA on the road. This season, through three starts, that trend is holding true. The Angels are a middle of the pack team against righties in both wOBA and strikeout rate, so with the Hulk on the mound, I expect McCullers to rack up the points.

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CATCHER

Alex Avila, DET at TB ($12): Avilaís price has come up thanks to a recent power surge, but itís still low enough that he still has plenty of value. Avila will face Erasmo Ramirez, who really struggles against lefties. Last season, opposing lefties posted a .374 wOBA against him and his xFIP in that split was a monstrous 5.69. Avila is a specialty hitter in that he only plays against righties. This season, heís off to a 7-for-17 start and he just blasted home runs in back-to-back games.

FIRST BASE

Freddie Freeman, ATL vs. WAS ($25): Normally youíd want to avoid hitters that are facing Stephen Strasburg, and while thatís true for the majority of the Braves lineup, Freddie Freeman is the exception. Freeman has fared very well against the Nats righty in his career and although itís a small sample size, itís enough to know that Freeman sees the ball well from Strasburg. In 43 plate appearances, Freeman has posted a .510 wOBA against him with four home runs. If Freeman were in a slump I might fade him here, but heís been hot lately so itís definitely a green light.

SECOND BASE

Robinson Cano, SEA vs. OAK ($19): Cano is starting to heat up and he gets journeyman right-hander Cesar Valdez, who last pitched in the majors in 2010, at the perfect time. While we donít know much about Valdez, we know plenty about Cano. Cano posted a .396 wOBA against righties last season and his OPS was a robust .955. With the entire Mariner lineup starting to heat up, Valdez will have nowhere to hide and Cano should be one of many taking advantage of him.

THIRD BASE

Eugenio Suarez, CIN vs. BAL ($20): A colleague of mine made an interesting point last night regarding the Reds. Tuesday they hammered a good pitcher in Kevin Gausman but then Wednesday they didnít score against Ubaldo Jimenez. The point was, this game can be weird sometimes. With that in mind, the fact that the Reds failed to score Wednesday only strengthens my opinion that they will get to Thursdayís starter Wade Miley early and often. Miley is awful against righties and Eugenio Suarez was the best Red hitter against lefties last season, so heís certainly at the top of the list for targeted Red batters.

SHORTSTOP

Elvis Andrus, TEX vs. KC ($17): Danny Duffy had a solid 2016 campaign and heís off to a good start this season as well, but he has one hole in his game right now Ė heís vulnerable to righties. Last season, righties posted a .325 wOBA against Duffy, a number that was .124 higher than lefties. Elvis Andrus hit lefties very well last season to the tune of a .377 wOBA. Andrus is also off to a great start with 18 hits and three home runs in 14 games.

OUTFIELD

Yasmany Tomas, AZ at SD ($18): Clayton Richards takes the mound for the Padres against the Diamondbacks, and one thing we know about Richard is that he struggles against righties. Another thing we know is that heís given up four home runs in his past two starts. Thatís not a good recipe for success when facing the right-hander heavy Diamondback lineup. Of all those righties, Tomas produced the best wOBA against lefties last season at .460, which also happened to be the best number in the league last season.

Adam Duvall, CIN vs. BAL ($17): I mentioned Mileyís issues versus righties earlier and while Suarez posted the best wOBA against righties on the Reds last season, Duvall has been the most dangerous hitter from the right side in the lineup this season. Duvall has four home runs this season and his OPS against lefties is a healthy 1.083. The Reds are going to get theirs and itís just a matter of picking the ones who do the most damage. As you can tell, my money is on Suarez and Duvall.

Steven Souza, TB vs. DET ($17): Souza is off to a great start this season with two home runs, eight RBI and a .325 average through 11 games. Souza also bats from the right side, which is how you want to attack the left-handed Daniel Norris. Last season righties posted a .341 wOBA against Norris.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.