Pennant races are coming on hot and heavy, and myriad players have rapidly separated themselves from the pack. Meanwhile, other notable stars have cooled off in recent weeks since the All-Star break.
The difficult part with daily fantasy baseball is picking which players will keep producing and which ones will falter Thursday. That's where we come in. Before locking in your lineups, consider starting the studs and ditching these duds.
Joe Ross, SP, Washington Nationals ($8,700)
Looking for a way to build a balanced lineup with a reasonably priced pitcher? Joe Ross is your man.
He's not Zack Greinke or Michael Wacha, but he's also priced far less. In the case of Greinke, nearly $4,000 less. Since the All-Star break, Ross has slowly increased his fantasy value with three straight games over 15 fantasy points.
The Arizona Diamondbacks may have scored 11 runs Wednesday, but Ross has a 2.89 ERA at home in three starts. Expect Ross to put up great numbers again for owners who hope to build a strong lineup starting with out next target.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds ($4,800)
How well-rounded is Joey Votto? Over the last five outings, Votto has just five hits and still averaged nearly nine fantasy points per game. Thanks to his steady approach at the plate, Votto can get the job done with his bat or simply wait for pitchers to make mistakes.
But wait, he's going up against Wacha, one of the best starters going Thursday. Why should you start him? Well, maybe his 12 fantasy points per game against the Cardinals will help. How about going .400/.471/.733 with a homer and two doubles against Wacha? Yeah, there's no reason not to start Votto.
Jace Peterson, 2B/3B, Atlanta Braves ($3,700)
He just won't go away. Jace Peterson, at $3,700, is still a great value pick for a second baseman. While he doesn't provide the power of traditional third basemen to start him at that position, his consistency at second makes him a solid choice.
In his last four games, Peterson has a total of eight hits, two home runs, six RBI and four runs. He's also facing Miami Marlins hurler Jose Urena, who has been tattooed in three of his last four starts. Peterson may not put up another 20-plus point night, but he's a consistent player to target for any lineup at second base.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Boston Red Sox ($9,100)
If you like to roll the dice, maybe Eduardo Rodriguez is for you. For those who enjoy overpaying for a No. 2 starter, Rodriguez is right up your alley. The rest of us, well, we'll steer clear of the inconsistent 22-year-old.
Unlike the previous young hurler on this list, Rodriguez has been getting rocked recently. He had one stellar start against the Detroit Tigers sandwiched between outings where he totaled negative-8.4 fantasy points.
Going against a New York Yankees team that has averaged 8.3 runs over their last 10 games, this likely isn't the game where Rodriguez turns things around.
Adam Lind, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers ($4,000)
Adam Lind is putting together a decent season statistically with a batting average over .280 and 16 homers. He's also recovering from a slump at the end of July with several multihit games. So why is he listed as a dud? Because at this price tag he's simply not the best choice.
When looking for a first baseman, the price can get outlandish quickly. Lind may be a bargain at $4,000, but he's facing off with San Diego's Odrisamer Despaigne. The Padres pitcher isn't a fantasy stud, but he's only allowed seven hits in his last two starts. Lind may finally be getting his bearings under him again, but putting faith in him over other sluggers likely won't pay off.
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays ($5,200)
Thanks to his name alone and the lineup he's in, Jose Bautista still comes at a massive salary on DraftKings. But recent numbers show that the $5,200 mark is not appropriate for the Toronto Blue Jays star.
Over the last 10 games before Wednesday night, Bautista averaged 6.5 fantasy points per game. Take away his 33-point outing on Aug. 1 and he would be averaging 3.6 points. Those aren't No. 1 outfielder numbers.
Even against Minnesota Twins righty Kyle Gibson, who has been erratic since the All-Star break, Bautista simply isn't a smart option at that price. He can always go off with a home run like he did Wednesday, but he certainly won't be the second-best outfielder Thursday.
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