Every weekday during the MLB season, we’ll provide you with our ultimate DFS cash game lineup. Please note that the column is written in the morning, and you should check all lineups to make sure the players we’ve recommended are starting that day. Get all of Michael Beller’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
Starting pitcher: Clayton Kershaw ($13,300) vs. New York Mets and Adam Wainwright ($7,200) @ Los Angeles Angels
The notion that there’s a pitcher in the league better than Kershaw is ludicrous. The Mets are a dangerous offense that ranks eighth in the league in wOBA, but that doesn’t matter when Kershaw is on the mound. The only question to ask is whether or not he’s worth his price. On Thursday, the answer to that is an emphatic yes.
Wainwright used to be among the best pitchers in baseball, but those days are gone. This is still an excellent spot for him when you consider price and opponent. The Angels have been terrible this year, ranking 27th in the league in wOBA and seemingly adopting a teamwide strategy summed up by the thought, “If Trout doesn’t do it, nobody else will.” Wainwright may not be a dominant poitcher at this stage of his career, but he doesn’t need to be to turn a profit at $7,200 against the Angels.
Catcher: Welington Castillo ($3,100) vs. San Francisco, Johnny Cueto
All it takes for Castillo’s price to return to a reasonable point is for the Diamondbacks to get out of Colorado. When he’s north of $4,000, as he was the last two days, he’s cost-prohibitive. When he’s in the low $3,000s, as he is on Thursday, he’s a bargain. Castillo’s .314/357/.571 line is impressive for anyone, but especially for a catcher who just one year ago didn’t necessarily project as an everyday player. He has struggled in his career against Cueto, but the two haven’t seen each other since Sept. 2014.
First base: Eric Hosmer ($4,300) @ New York Yankees, Nathan Eovaldi
Hosmer might be one of the most underappreciated players within the fantasy community. He’s not a traditional slugging first baseman, which likely drives that lack of appreciation, but he hits for modest power and does everything else incredibly well. Hosmer is sitting on a .328/.378/.536 slash line for the season with six homers and 16 RBI, and the Royals are stackable with a matchup against Eovaldi.
Second base: Jean Segura ($3,600) vs. San Francisco, Johnny Cueto
Segura’s riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 14-for-38 with a homer, three doubles and seven runs scored. He and Cueto are quite familiar with one another from their days in the NL Central, and while Cueto has gotten the better of their 24 matchups, Segura is a different hitter this season than he ever was with Milwaukee. This is a worthwhile gamble.
Third base: Jake Lamb ($3,300) vs. San Francisco, Johnny Cueto
Lamb took a tough 0-for-9 in Arizona’s last two games in Colorado, but he had been swinging a hot bat in the short term right before that stretch, going 6-for-13 with a homer, triple and two doubles in his previous three games. Lamb is excellent against right-handed pitching, slashing .303/.376/.528 with the platoon advantage this season. He completes our Arizona stack, which might not be that popular because of the matchup with Cueto.
Shortstop: Corey Seager ($3,700) vs. New York Mets, Bartolo Colon
It appears things are starting to click for everyone’s favorite NL Rookie of the Year pick. Seager has eight hits in his last five games, racking up three doubles, one homer, and three RBI in that stretch. He’s still striking out too much, but he’s starting to make more solid contact, and that has helped raise his slash line on the season to .272/.338/.440.
Outfield: Lorenzo Cain ($4,100) @ New York Yankees, Nathan Eovaldi; Jackie Bradley Jr. ($3,700) vs. Houston, Dallas Keuchel; Odubel Herrera ($3,500) @ Atlanta, Aaron Blair
It was a slow start to the year for Cain, but he has started to turn it on over the last week or so, even before his three-homer game on Tuesday. Cain’s on a six game hitting streak, during which he has gone 11-for-25 with those three homers, one double, seven RBI and two walks. He completes our mini-Royals stack, joining Hosmer in the lineup. Whether or not Bradley is breaking out before our eyes, one thing is certain, which is he’s one of the hottest hitters in the league. Bradley has a 17-game hitting streak, and he has had multiple hits in each of his last four games. In just those four most recent games, he’s 10-for-17 with three homers, two doubles and 13—yes, 13—RBI. Finally, the on-base machine Herrera has turned himself into a fallback of sorts. Only have about $3,500 left to spend? Well, Herrera’s a good bet to get on base a couple of times, might as well plug him into the lineup. The matchup with Blair shouldn’t scare anyone.