This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
Thursday's main slate starts at an early 12:35 p.m. EDT, as the league's travel schedule creates normal mid-week oddities. There's ample name recognition on the bump, and they are all priced accordingly, which doesn't create great value and seemingly forces spending for two quality arms.
$10 separate the top arm and the sixth-priced option. As such, I'm hoping I can skim a buck or two off of my position players and go up top for a arm (or two). Zac Gallen ($48) is pricy, and is probably due some regression (career-low 9.2 K/9, 1.05 ERA, 3.35 xFIP), but does it come against a Cubs lineup fanning 25.6 percent of the time, which he just show down last outing?
Cal Quantrill ($35) seems to be trending positively. He's gone at least six innings in four straight, allowing three or less runs in three of those. Pair that with a matchup against a Reds lineup that ranks 20th with a .301 wOBA against righties while fanning 24.3 percent of the time, and there's some appeal.
Jordan Montgomery ($38) will be a popular target against the Orioles, who have a meager .276 wOBA and 80 wRC+ against lefties, while fanning 27.9 percent of the time. But he's managed only 15.6 and 14.5 points against the Orioles previously. With expected heavy usage, I'd look to differentiate towards the likes of Rich Hill ($32) and recoup what we may have spent above. Hill gets a Mariners side that fans minimally (22.1 percent) but has just a .298 wOBA against lefties. He won't work deep, or strikeout many, but he's allowed only two earned runs across his last 19.0 innings. Lastly, Marcus Stroman ($33) merits consideration. He could battle Gallen in a pitcher's duel, and is due some better fortunes (5.13 ERA, 3.63 xFIP). He's been worth 46.9 fantasy points across his last two starts, and gets a Diamondbacks side that strikes out 25.5 percent of the time while posing only a .295 wOBA.
The Yankees' lineup is an intriguing case Thursday. On one hand, Orioles' starter Bruce Zimmermann ($33) has limited them to three runs across 9.1 innings, allowing 11 hits while fanning 11 in the same span. On the other hand, Aaron Judge ($27) is 4-of-9 against him with two homers, and has a .413 wOBA, 181 wRC+ and .400 ISO against lefties.
I was surprised to see Jose Altuve ($24) as the Astros' top-priced option. This lineup will be stacked as your budget allows, but if we trust the pitcher splits over the hitter, Altuve is the play. Rangers' starter Glen Otto is allowing a .370 wOBA and modest .857 OPS to righties, as opposed to a .321 wOBA and .069 OPS to lefties. I wouldn't fade any of Houston's big left-handed bats, but Altuve could go overlooked by casual players rolling with an LvR matchup.
If fading Judge above, but still wanting Yankee shares, DJ LeMahieu ($14) makes plenty of sense. He's also 4-of-9 against Zimmermann, just without the homers. Zimmermann is allowing a targetable .375 wOBA to righties on the road to date.
There are never must-own bats in the Royals lineup, but targeting some against Vince Velasquez makes sense. Andrew Benintendi ($17) is the safest, but with Salvador Perez on the IL, minor league home run champ MJ Melendez ($12) figures to be a lineup mainstay, and has gone yard in consecutive games.
Stack to Consider
The White Sox aren't good against righties, but there's no messing around here. Every pitcher Thursday averages double-digit fantasy points except for Hernandez, who sits at a 0.4 average; he's been that bad. Vaughn has a team-leading .337 wOBA against righties, speaking to the team's struggles but he brings power upside at a discount thanks to an IL stint and slow start upon return. Hernandez has been far worse against same-handed bats, allowing a .457 wOBA and 1.062 OPS, so I'll lean on Anderson to set things up, and Abreu's 41.4 percent hard-hit rate against an 8.0 percent soft-hit rate to break out.