MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings: Cubs could don Thursday's crown

Orioles, Twins, A's players could excel too

DraftKings: Cubs could don Thursday's crown

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Thursday.

Joey Votto: The first baseman has used a patient, powerful approach to build an impressive lifetime .316/.434/.547 slash line against right-handers. Votto -- who posted a 1.000 OPS in 2015 -- could reach base often and score multiple runs when he bats at his hitter-friendly home park against Phillies right-hander Charlie Morton (career 4.54 ERA, 1.44 WHIP).

Votto's two-run go-ahead single

Stephen Vogt: The catcher could thrive when he brings his lifetime .765 OPS against right-handers (.633 vs. lefties) into a matchup with White Sox righty Mat Latos, who posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in a 2015 season that included stops with three organizations.

Josh Reddick: The outfielder could drive in multiple runs when he puts his lifetime .770 OPS against right-handers (.681 vs. lefties) up against Latos. After a tough 2015 campaign, Latos posted a 10.38 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP in Spring Training.

Adam Eaton: From his perch atop the lineup, the left-handed-hitting outfielder could reach base often and score multiple runs when he faces A's right-hander Kendall Graveman. Last year, Gravemen registered a 4.05 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP across 115 2/3 innings.

Eaton's third hit of the game

Miguel Sano: Having hit 18 homers across 279 at-bats in his rookie season, Sano has already proven to be one of the most powerful players in baseball. The outfielder will be primed to succeed when he uses his patient, powerful approach against right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (career 4.01 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) at homer-happy Camden Yards.

Joe Mauer: Batting out of a premium lineup spot, the first baseman will be in position to excel when he puts his lifetime .324/.410/.485 slash line against right-handers on the line against Jimenez (4.11 ERA, 1.36 WHIP in 2015) at Baltimore's hitter-friendly road venue.

Pedro Alvarez: Having ripped 114 of his 131 career round-trippers against right-handers, the first baseman could go deep when he bats at his offense-inducing home park against Twins fly-ball-prone right-hander Phil Hughes (4.40 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.7 HR/9 rate in 2015).

Alvarez's fantasy impact on O's

Chris Davis: With 126 homers and 327 RBIs since the outset of 2013, Davis ranks among the most powerful sluggers in baseball. The first baseman could put a ball into the outfield seats when he brings his lifetime .875 OPS against right-handers (.741 vs. lefties) into a matchup at his homer-happy home park against Hughes (career 1.2 HR/9 rate).

Jonathan Schoop: One of the most powerful second basemen in baseball, Schoop is yet another Orioles slugger who could go deep in a matchup against the homer-prone Hughes (career 4.33 ERA) at hitter-friendly Camden Yards. As a big leaguer, Schoop has produced a .731 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .558 mark vs. lefties.

Manny Machado: Having compiled 35 homers, 20 steals and 102 runs in a breakout 2015 season, Machado can do it all from the third-base position. On Thursday, he may make a big impact when he brings his lifetime .803 OPS against right-handers (.745 vs. lefties) into a matchup with Hughes. Additionally, Machado could swipe a base against catcher Kurt Suzuki, who allowed more steals than all but two catchers last year.

Kyle Schwarber: The outfielder -- who is also eligible at catcher in DraftKings contests -- could provide premier production at a premium position when he travels to hitter-friendly Chase Field to face right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (career 4.51 ERA, 1.41 WHIP). Since making his Major League debut on June 16, 2015, Schwarber has posted a .272/.389/.544 slash line against righties.

Schwarber's solo home run

Addison Russell: Russell -- who is eligible at both second base and shortstop in DraftKings contests -- produced a .746 OPS against right-handers in his 2015 rookie season (.527 vs. lefties). He could excel at a hitter-friendly road venue when he faces De La Rosa (4.67 ERA, 1.36 WHIP in 2015) and a D-backs bullpen that lacks a reliable bridge to closer Brad Ziegler.

Jason Heyward: Yet another option for DraftKings participants who wish to create a stack of Cubs hitters, Heyward has traditionally excelled vs. right-handers, against whom he has produced a lifetime .838 OPS (.657 vs. lefties). From his premium lineup spot, the outfielder could reach base often or score multiple runs at the expense of De La Rosa (career 4.54 FIP).

Kris Bryant: Coming off an impressive rookie season in which he compiled 26 homers and 99 RBIs, Bryant is already among the most-feared hitters in baseball. The third baseman -- who hits in the heart of a loaded Chicago lineup -- could smack a homer at offense-inducing Chase Field at the expense of De La Rosa (4.84 FIP in 2015).

Jake Peavy: Peavy was held to 110 2/3 innings in 2015 because of injury, but he posted a solid 3.58 ERA and 1.12 WHIP when on the active roster. The right-hander could serve as a cost-effective starter in DraftKings contests when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against a Dodgers lineup that will be without regulars Andre Ethier, Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal.

Peavy's scoreless start

John Lackey: Lackey could excel in his Cubs debut after posting an impressive 2.77 ERA with the Cardinals last season. Backed by a deep lineup, the right-hander could combine a quality effort with a win when he faces a D-backs lineup that will be without injured superstar A.J. Pollock. A seemingly advantageous matchup with De La Rosa also enhances Lackey's chances of earning a victory.

Danny Salazar: With a lifetime 3.51 FIP and 9.9 K/9 rate, the right-hander is arguably the most talented starter on the Thursday docket. Salazar could post a difference-making total in DraftKings contests when he faces the Red Sox in a seemingly advantageous matchup with Joe Kelly (4.82 ERA, 1.44 WHIP in 2015).

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Tuesday's games.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.