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Top MLB DFS building blocks for Thursday's slate

Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has a promising matchup Thursday evening. John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Our experts are here to provide the best hitters and pitchers for you to build your daily fantasy baseball lineups around on Thursday.

Today's panel includes ESPN Fantasy's Eric Karabell, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.


Hitters to build around

Kyle Soppe -- Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

We all, myself included, came into this season excited about Joe Ross' potential, and I still think there may be something there long term. But DFS is a game of "What have you done for me lately?" and the answer to that question from Ross is a simple one: not much. Lefties own a career .301/.372/.477 slash against the Nationals' starter, and he has been picked apart by the Padres and Athletics in his last two starts (19 hits and 11 earned runs in just seven innings of work). Davis has underwhelmed a bit this season, but his .267 ISO against RHPs is no fluke, and I'm stacking him with his left-handed teammates tonight.

Eric Karabell -- Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners

The Twins have to keep sending right-hander Kyle Gibson to the mound due to a lack of options, and that's generally good for opponents, who are hitting a whopping .324 off of him. Left- and right-handed hitters alike are enjoying this, each with an OPS better than .900 against Gibson. So pick a Mariner! Gamel and Guillermo Heredia are candidates to hit 1-2 in the order ahead of Robinson Cano, so why not consider them both? Gamel has shown neither power nor speed in the past month, but he is hitting well over .300 and should get two or three shots at Gibson and then more against a struggling bullpen.

Joe Kaiser -- Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners

Cano is batting .306 with eight home runs, a .928 OPS and more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) against righties this season. Facing Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who has surrendered at least two runs in all nine starts and at least two walks in eight of those starts, Cano is in a good position for another big night on the surging Mariners.

Pitchers to build around

Kyle Soppe -- Tyler Chatwood, Colorado Rockies

I'm staying on brand here in the battle of immovable forces. The Cubs' offense is one that we labeled as elite entering this season and appears to be rounding into form. Thursday, they face the most underrated fantasy option in baseball when pitching away from the thin Colorado air (since 2013, only Clayton Kershaw has a lower road ERA among qualified pitchers). The fact that we've seen Chicago struggle this season (25th in wOBA vs. RHPs) gives Chatwood a higher ceiling than you would have ever thought possible in this matchup, and a low ownership feels like a given. I'll take my chances in a spot with the sixth best ground-ball pitcher squaring off against a team that keeps the ball on the ground more than you'd guess (ninth highest GB% vs. RHPs this season).

Eric Karabell -- Edinson Volquez, Miami Marlins

Don't expect another no-hitter, but Volquez (despite rough season numbers) has pitched better over the past few weeks, and a return to Pittsburgh, to face the team he thrived for in 2014, figures to go well. Volquez has a 3.29 ERA lifetime at PNC Park in 126 innings -- his overall career ERA is 4.41 -- and the current Pirates lineup is pretty average. Volquez boasts a WHIP of 1.00 over his past five outings.

Joe Kaiser -- Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays

On a night that lacks top-flight pitchers with optimal matchups, Odorizzi makes sense against a White Sox team that ranks 25th in batting average (.237) and 29th in OPS (.679) vs. RHPs. Quietly, the 27-year-old has held opponents to two runs or fewer in all but three of his 10 starts this season, and his home numbers (2.90 ERA, 0.94 WHIP in 31 IP) are fantastic.