MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Heyward, Rizzo, Russell set to show muscle

Cubs stars could be joined by Betts, Maeda as Thursday's stars

Heyward, Rizzo, Russell set to show muscle

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.

Addison Russell: The second-year shortstop owns a lifetime .755 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .504 mark vs. lefties. Russell could provide production at a premium position when he faces Brewers righty Taylor Jungmann (career 4.36 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Jason Heyward: As a big leaguer, Heyward has produced an .833 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .658 mark vs. lefties. From the two-hole in a talent-laden Cubs lineup, the outfielder could reach base often and score multiple runs against the righty Jungmann (8.47 ERA in 2016) and a Brewers relief corps that is dealing with injuries to multiple key members and ranks 27th in the Majors with a 5.07 ERA.

Anthony Rizzo: With 39 homers, 123 RBIs and 18 steals since the outset of 2015, Rizzo has proven that he can contribute to DraftKings squads in multiple ways. The first baseman has the plate skills to thrive against the right-handed Jungmann and the speed to swipe a base against Jonathan Lucroy, who has allowed more than steals than any other catcher in 2016.

Must C: Rizzo's two home runs

Kris Bryant: With a lifetime .289/.379/.506 slash line against right-handers, Bryant could put a ball into the outfield seats when he faces the righty Jungmann and an inconsistent Brewers bullpen. The third baseman also gets a boost from batting at his home, Wrigley Field, which is friendly to right-handed sluggers.

Gregory Polanco: With notable lifetime splits -- including a .761 OPS vs. right-handers that exceeds his .531 mark vs. lefties -- the outfielder could reach base often or score multiple runs when he faces righty Tyler Chatwood (career 4.29 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Polanco could also thrive late in the game against a Rockies relief corps that ranks 28th in the Majors with a 5.84 ERA.

John Jaso: As a big leaguer, Jaso has posted a .800 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .542 mark vs. lefties. The first baseman could have a terrific game when he faces the righty Chatwood (career 4.58 FIP) and a shaky Rockies bullpen at Colorado's offense-inducing venue.

Jaso's RBI double

Carlos Gonzalez: In his career, the outfielder has fared best when facing right-handers (.303/.367/.566 slash line) and batting at his hitter-friendly home park (.331/.391/.621 slash line). Set to face Pirates right-hander Juan Nicasio (career 4.86 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) at Coors Field, CarGo -- who is hitting .321 across 81 at-bats this season -- may warrant a major expenditure in DraftKings contests.

Gerardo Parra: The outfielder owns pronounced career splits, with a .765 OPS against right-handers that exceeds his .604 mark vs. lefties. Set to bat at his offense-inducing home park, Parra could reach base often or drive in multiple runs against the righty Nicascio (career 4.24 FIP). He could also swipe his sixth base of the season against Francisco Cervelli, who allowed more steals than any other catcher in 2015.

DJ LeMahieu: With balanced career splits and a lifetime .313/.362/.415 slash line at Coors Field, LeMahieu could thrive at the dish in a home matchup against Nicasio. The second baseman -- who has notched 26 steals since the outset of 2015 -- could also swipe a base at the expense of Cervelli.

Matt Adams: Adams has long fared best vs. right-handers, against whom he has posted a lifetime .819 OPS (.541 vs. lefties). The first baseman could rip a round-tripper when he takes on righty Rubby De La Rosa (career 4.58 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) at homer-happy Chase Field.

Matt Carpenter: From his perch atop the lineup, Carpenter could reach base often or score multiple runs when he faces De La Rosa (4.78 ERA, 1.35 WHIP since the outset of 2015) at Arizona's offense-inducing venue. With 31 homers since the outset of 2015, the third baseman is also a candidate to put one of De La Rosa's (career 1.3 HR/9 rate) offerings into the outfield seats.

Randal Grichuk: With 23 homers across 498 career at-bats, Grichuk is emerging as one of the most powerful outfielders in the Senior Circuit. He could go deep or drive in multiple runs when he brings his lifetime .863 OPS against right-handers (.734 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the homer-prone De La Rosa at Arizona's hitter-friendly park.

Mookie Betts: Hitting out of the leadoff spot, the outfielder may maximize his opportunities for success when he brings his lifetime .282/.339/.467 slash line against right-handers into a matchup with righty Jhoulys Chacin (career 4.03 FIP, 1.33 WHIP) and a Braves bullpen that ranks 24th in the Majors with a 4.86 ERA. Betts could also swipe a base against A.J. Pierzynski or Tyler Flowers, as both catchers ranked among the top-10 catchers in steals allowed last year.

Jake Arrieta: Dating back to Aug. 4, 2015, Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters and logged a 0.53 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP across 16 starts. The right-hander could have a game-changing total in DraftKings contests when he works at home against the Brewers in a seemingly advantageous matchup with Jungmann.

Arrieta twirls a no-no in Cincy

Tanner Roark: The right-hander owns a solid lifetime 3.09 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, and he fanned 15 batters in his most recent start. Roark could be a productive second arm in DraftKings contests when he works at home against a Phillies lineup that ranks 22nd in the Majors with a .698 OPS against righties.

Kenta Maeda: After posting a lifetime 2.39 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in the Japan Central League, Maeda has logged a 0.36 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP across his initial four starts in the Majors. The right-hander could continue to dazzle when he works at his pitcher-friendly home park against a Marlins lineup that ranks 19th in the Majors with a .699 OPS against righties.

Maeda off to a hot start in LA

Clay Buchholz: With a 6.33 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP this year, the right-hander could be a cost-effective second starter in DraftKings contests when he plies his trade at home against a Braves lineup that ranks 28th in the Majors with a .620 OPS against righties. Atlanta's offense could be impacted by working without injured leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte.

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.