Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with overnight pitching changes and weather-related postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Thursday
By Mike Sheets
Josh Winder (21%) has made a strong impression since entering the starting rotation, spinning 12 scoreless innings while fanning 15 and handing out only one free pass. The 25-year-old features a four-pitch mix but relies heavily on his four-seamer and a swing-and-miss slider, which has helped him generate a 12.9% swinging-strike rate (top-10 in the American League). You'll want to be careful using Winder on Thursday against the Houston Astros, but you may want to go ahead and stash him in deeper formats.
Why Kolten Wong is an underrated fantasy option
Eric Karabell explains why he believes Kolten Wong should be rostered in more fantasy leagues.
It's been a rough go for Joan Adon, who has been blasted for a 6.99 ERA over six starts. Things won't get any easier for the 23-year-old on Thursday, when he matches up with the New York Mets, the second-best offense (125 wRC+) against right-handed pitching. While the Mets bats make for an intriguing DFS stack, Dominic Smith (2%) is an under-the-radar bat to consider. He's hitting just .204/.290/.259 on the season, but his 50% hard-hit rate may portend better times ahead.
The New York Yankees have opted to promote Luis Gil for Thursday's matchup versus the Chicago White Sox. There's certainly some optimism surrounding the 23-year-old, who posted a 3.07 ERA and a 11.7 K/9 over six big-league starts in 2021, but it might be best to take a wait-and-see approach here. Despite a 13.2 K/9 rate at Triple-A, he owns a 6.4 walk rate and a bloated 9.53 ERA through five outings. Put the young right-hander on your watch list, but there's little reason to trust him right now.
JT Brubaker may hold a 5.68 ERA on the year, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The right-hander has a career-best 10.7 K/9, and his 3.45 xERA suggests he's had some misfortune and deserves better. What's most important is that, on Thursday, Brubaker draws a tasty matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, who sport an MLB-worst 77 wRC+ this season. He actually faced the Reds in his last start, too, and he delivered five innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts. On this shortened slate, Brubaker is a worthy streaming option.
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday
Best sub-50% rostered hitters for Thursday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
Ben Gamel (PIT, LF -- 4%) vs. Overton
Tommy Pham (CIN, LF -- 39%) at Brubaker
Yoshi Tsutsugo (PIT, 1B -- 2%) vs. Overton
Jonah Heim (TEX, C -- 30%) vs. Heasley
Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Thursday
Tyler Stephenson (CIN, C -- 83%) at Brubaker
Gavin Lux (LAD, SS -- 57%) vs. Wheeler
Jeimer Candelario (DET, 3B -- 51%) vs. Kaprielian
Cody Bellinger (LAD, CF -- 96%) vs. Wheeler
Gleyber Torres (NYY, SS -- 71%) at Cease
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Thursday
Prop of the Day
Dylan Cease pitching outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-130/-110)
THE BAT X sees Cease recording 15.3 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 35.3% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $25.83.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
Cease projects as the 15th-best pitcher in baseball, according to THE BAT X.
Cease has averaged 95.1 adjusted pitches per game per started this year, grading out in the 82nd percentile.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Yankees project as the fourth-best offense on today's slate.
Guaranteed Rate Field grades out as the No. 1 ballpark in the majors for home runs, via THE BAT X projection system.
The weather report calls for the third-most favorable pitching weather of all games on today's slate.
The White Sox infield defense grades out as the worst of all teams today.