With only two night games scheduled on Thursday, we're getting another one of these early afternoon main slates. This one gets going at 12:35 pm ET and runs through the first 10 games of the day.
Our daily helper is available every day to analyze FanDuel's main slate and help give you a starting point when you're building lineups. Be sure to also incorporate our great tools into your research process. Whether you're looking for daily projections, the latest starting lineups and weather, or batting and pitching heat maps to find the best matchups -- we've got you covered!
Let's check out the top options on today's main slate.
Justin Verlander ($10,700): We may only be three starts in, but Verlander looks as good as ever, amassing a 2.81 SIERA, 29.0% strikeout rate, and 5.8% walk rate. While his swinging-strike rate is a bit lower than we'd like to see (9.5%), I'm not about to bet against the former Cy Young winner even at age 39.
The Rangers were supposed to be an improved offense after making a big splash in free agency, but it hasn't materialized yet, as their active roster has a mere 91 wRC+ thus far. While they ought to improve over the course of the season, that isn't expected to happen tonight given their 3.58 implied total.
Verlander's maxed out at 87 pitches so far and probably won't go much beyond that today. But his lack of walks allows him to pitch deep into games, and he's notched quality starts in back-to-back outings.
Michael Kopech ($9,500): The Royals have the slate's lowest implied total (2.85), and with Kopech getting up to 83 pitches in his most recent start, we can have more confidence in his workload moving forward.
There's some light rain expected in Chicago, but it shouldn't prevent this one from playing. We otherwise have some ugly hitting weather with temperatures below 50 degrees and 10 mph winds blowing in.
With all of this in mind, the stage is set for Kopech to have a great afternoon. Although his innings have been somewhat limited due to lower pitch counts, he's posted a 3.43 SIERA and 29.4% strikeout rate, showing that some of the brilliance he demonstrated as a reliever in 2021 could translate in the rotation this year.
Freddy Peralta ($9,100): The Freddy Peralta experience could be a rollercoaster ride all season, but he's capable of piling up fantasy points when he keeps the free passes in check. The good and the bad have been on full display to begin the year with a 28.1% strikeout rate and 14.0% walk rate across his three appearances.
However, we ought to see that walk rate dip closer to his career average (10.4%), which still isn't great but far less scary than what Peralta's shown so far.
But what really grabs our attention today is his matchup against Pittsburgh (3.36 implied total). The Pirates' active roster has actually been respectable at the plate in 2022, but if we expand out to include last year, they rate as the second-worst offense in the league (88 wRC+).
New York Yankees: The Yankees have the slate's highest implied total (4.99) on yet another slate lacking in that department. Cool temperatures won't be ideal for hitters at Yankee Stadium, but 17 mph winds out to right field should give them a nice bump overall.
The tricky thing is that lefty Bruce Zimmermann has actually performed well this year, sporting a 3.24 SIERA, 27.1% strikeout rate, and 8.5% walk rate. So far, he's shown an improved 12.9% swinging-strike rate, as well, so perhaps this isn't entirely a fluke.
However, Zimmermann was pretty meh in 2021 with a 4.59 SIERA and 19.6% strikeout rate, so it comes down to whether you believe some slight changes in pitch mix have turned him into a better arm moving forward.
Even last year, the southpaw had solid marks in lefty-lefty spots, so sticking with right-handed bats should be the primary mode of attack.
Aaron Judge ($3,700) is a top choice as always, and Giancarlo Stanton ($2,800), Josh Donaldson ($3,100), and Gleyber Torres ($2,400) remain in the bargain bin amidst slower starts. DJ LeMahieu ($3,300) is never super exciting to roster, but batting leadoff gives him added value, and his multi-position eligibility makes him easy to fit into stacks.
It's hard to find anything remotely positive in Corbin's metrics, and this will already be his fifth start of the season. He isn't getting punchouts (20.0%) or grounders (42.6%), and his walks have gone through the roof (14.7%).
The lefty also performed poorly in 2021, recording a 4.61 SIERA across 31 starts. He was absolutely pummeled by right-handed sticks, allowing a whopping 2.40 home runs per nine innings.
The other benefit of stacking Miami is that they're predictably low-salaried for the most part. We can roster a solid crew of righties with Jesus Aguilar ($2,400), Jorge Soler ($2,800), Avisail Garcia ($2,800), and Garrett Cooper ($2,800) with little to no effort.
Note, however, that this is another game with less-than-ideal hitting conditions at under 50 degrees.
Houston Astros: I like the Phillies' spot at home against lefty Austin Gomber, but we're looking at another game with lower temperatures and strong winds blowing in from left, which does lessen the appeal.
The Astros give us a nice alternative against another left-hander. I feel like Martin Perez has been a guy to stack against since the inception of DFS, and that's likely to continue this season.
Perez did a good job of inducing ground balls versus lefties last year (56.0%), but that wasn't the case against righties (40.4%). Combine that with a low 19.5% strikeout rate versus those righty bats, and it led to 1.83 dingers per nine innings.
The 31-year-old has actually performed pretty well to begin 2022, but after a career of being mediocre-to-bad, it's hard to be convinced he'll be any different than the same old guy we've seen over the years.
The righties are once again the priority, and outside of Alex Bregman ($3,500), we can actually grab the others at low-dollar salaries between guys likeChas McCormick ($2,200), Yuli Gurriel ($2,800), and Jeremy Pena ($2,900). McCormick has been batting leadoff lately, making him a silly value at almost the minimum.