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Fred Zinkie

Braun, Schimpf, Nova set to thrive Thursday

Rockies' Arenado, Nationals' Harper could join trio as top picks to click

Braun, Schimpf, Nova set to thrive Thursday

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

The players listed below are in position to provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Thursday.

Ryan Braun: With a lifetime .337/.405/.626 slash line against left-handers, the outfielder has proven to wield a potent bat in those matchups. Hitting .308 with 26 homers and 14 steals across 486 plate appearances this season, Braun has the skills to post a substantial DraftKings total when he faces Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia (4.41 ERA, 1.34 WHIP in 2016).

Jonathan Villar: Hitting .297 with 52 steals across 578 plate appearances, the third baseman is coming down the stretch of a breakout season. Having posted a .918 OPS against left-handers this season (.795 vs. righties), Villar could continue his excellent campaign when he faces the left-handed Garcia.

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Ryan Schimpf: With 17 homers across 208 at-bats, the rookie second baseman is quickly becoming one of the most powerful players at his premium position. Schimpf could put a ball into the outfield seats when he brings his .364 ISO against right-handers (.313 vs. lefties) into a matchup with rookie righty Jeff Hoffman (6.60 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) and a Rockies relief corps that ranks 29th in baseball with a 5.05 ERA.

Travis Jankowski: Leading all rookie with 30 steals, the outfielder has been a factor in many 2016 DraftKings contests. Jankowski may maximize the opportunities of his perch atop the lineup when he brings his lifetime .705 OPS against right-handers (.477 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the rookie righty Hoffman and a Rockies squad that ranks 28th in baseball with a .675 defensive efficiency ratio.

Nolan Arenado: With 36 homers and 117 RBIs across 526 at-bats, the third baseman has been one of the most powerful players in baseball this season. Arenado could drive in multiple runs when he brings his lifetime .285/.357/.509 slash line against left-handers into a matchup with southpaw Clayton Richard (career 4.26 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and a Padres bullpen that ranks 24th in baseball with a 4.39 ERA.

DJ LeMahieu: With a .415/.500/.593 slash line since Aug. 1, the second baseman will bring a red-hot bat and balanced lifetime splits into a matchup with Richard (1.67 WHIP in 2016) and an unreliable Padres bullpen. In his career, Richard has allowed right-handed hitters such as LeMahieu to post an .806 OPS (.609 OPS allowed to lefty batters).

Bryce Harper: The reigning National League MVP could be one of the most productive outfielders in baseball on Wednesday when he brings his impressive lifetime .398 wOBA against right-handers (.341 vs. lefties) into a matchup with righty Alec Asher (career 9.31 ERA, 1.79 WHIP) and a Phillies bullpen that ranks 25th in baseball with a 4.42 ERA.

Daniel Murphy: With 25 homers and 98 RBIs across 490 at-bats, the second baseman has been one of the most productive players in the National League this season. Hitting behind Harper, Murphy could drive in multiple runs when he brings his lifetime .811 OPS against right-handers (.707 vs. lefties) into a matchup with the right-handed Asher and an unreliable Phillies bullpen.

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Logan Forsythe: Hitting leadoff, the second baseman may maximize his opportunities to reach base and score runs when he brings his lifetime 131 wRC+ against left-handers (92 vs. righties) into a matchup at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium against southpaw CC Sabathia (4.20 ERA, 1.35 WHIP in 2016).

Steven Souza Jr.: With balanced lifetime splits, the outfielder could excel at New York's homer-happy venue against Sabathia and a Yankees bullpen that lacks reliable options after trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller in late July. Since the outset of 2013, Sabathia has allowed right-handed hitters such as Souza to post an .813 OPS (.614 OPS allowed to lefty batters).

Franklin Gutierrez: The outfielder owns notable lifetime splits, with an .852 OPS against left-handers that exceeds his .652 mark vs. righties. Gutierrez could provide cost-effective production in DraftKings contests when he faces southpaw Derek Holland (career 4.30 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) and a Rangers relief corps that ranks 27th in baseball with a 4.79 ERA.

Mike Zunino: With balanced career splits, the catcher could excel against the Holland and an unreliable Rangers bullpen. In his career, Holland has allowed right-handed hitters such as Zunino to post a .776 OPS (.648 OPS allowed to lefty batters).

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Nomar Mazara: The rookie outfielder will be in great position to improve on his solid .287/.344/.471 slash line against right-handers when he faces Mariners righty Taijuan Walker, who has produced a 9.55 ERA across his past five starts.

Mitch Moreland: As a big leaguer, the first baseman has produced a .341 wOBA against right-handers in comparison to a .292 mark vs. lefties. Moreland could hit his 23rd homer of the season when he faces the right-handed Walker (4.60 ERA, 2.0 HR/9 rate in 2016).

Alex Cobb: The right-hander had an outstanding return from Tommy John surgery when he struck out seven batters across five innings on Sept. 2. Cobb could continue to excel when he brings his lifetime 3.22 ERA into a matchup with a Yankees lineup that ranks 19th in baseball with a .726 OPS against righties.

A.J. Cole: With a 3.86 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, the young right-hander has shown some positive signs in his three starts this season. Cole could continue to limit the opposition when he works at home against a Phillies lineup that ranks 29th in the Majors with a .689 OPS against righties.

Ivan Nova: With a 28-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio since joining the Pirates on Aug. 1, the right-hander is in fine form heading into a matchup at his pitcher-friendly home park against a Reds lineup that ranks 20th in the Majors in OPS vs. righties (.724) and 25th in OPS on the road (.693).

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.