This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
After a couple of postponements due to inclement weather, we're left with a bit of an odd schedule Thursday that has games spread throughout the day. There are only three games for the main evening slate, so we don't have a wealth of options to choose from. Let's break things down and discuss how ownership percentages could potentially play out.
Yu Darvish ($36) is the biggest name on this slate and checks in as the most expensive option. He certainly has the highest upside due to his career 29.5 percent strikeout rate. Limited to just 40 innings last year due to injury, he wasn't good when he was actually on the mound considering his 1.43 WHIP. A key area of concern was that he walked 21 batters despite his limited time on the mound. His control was awful in his first start against the Rangers, as well, leaving him to walk seven batters across just 2.2 innings. He should be highly owned based on who else is available, but he comes with plenty of risk.
Believe it or not, Matt Harvey ($31) is the second-most expensive pitching option Thursday. That says more about this limited set of games than it does about Harvey. He recorded a 4.14 xFIP and 1.25 WHIP across 24 starts with the Reds last year, but he also allowed 1.5 HR/9 and only had a 20.6 percent strikeout rate. Now faced with his first stint in the American League as a member of the Angels, he could be in for a tough season. He at least started things off on the right foot by allowing two runs across six innings versus the A's on Friday. The problem from a DFS perspective was that he only recorded one strikeout. Even though this isn't a horrible matchup against the Rangers, Harvey still has limited upside.
Taking a chance on a cheap pitcher might not be a bad idea. That way, you can load up on hitters with good matchups. Max Fried ($30) might not stand out as someone to use against the Cubs, but the bottom-third of their lineup has some holes. Fried also showed some strikeout upside in the minors, posting a 24.4 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A last year.
For those who decide not to roster Darvish, stacking against him could be a popular move. Freddie Freeman ($23) is an on-base machine, so he will likely be the focal point of any Braves stack. Nick Markakis ($13) and his career .358 OBP is also an appealing option at a cheaper price.
Tyler Mahle will be on the mound for the Reds, which should make a Pirates stack one of the top choices for the evening. Not only did Mahle have a bloated 1.59 WHIP last year, but he also allowed 1.8 HR/9. He actually pitched well against right-handed hitters by holding them to a .299 wOBA, but lefties posted a sparkling .415 wOBA against him. Corey Dickerson ($17), Josh Bell ($12) and Adam Frazier ($12) should be the top targets for a stack, just keep an eye on Dickerson's status since he sat out Wednesday with a sore shoulder.
Another player who should he highly rostered for this slate is Mike Trout ($26). While the Angels are off to a slow start, Trout has a .480 OBP. It doesn't get much better than his matchup against Edinson Volquez, who has a career 1.45 WHIP and allowed 10 base runners over four innings during his first start of the season against the Cubs.
Despite Darvish being the most expensive option, don't be surprised if the Braves have a high ownership percentage. Not only do Freeman and Markakis standout, but so does Ronald Acuna Jr. ($22). While he hit left-handing pitching better last year, he didn't exactly struggle with a .377 wOBA against righties.
If it wasn't for the star-power on the Braves, the Pirates might be the highest owned stack of the night. Mahle has been so bad against left-handed hitters that it's hard to pass up the trio of Dickerson, Bell and Frazier. This could also be an opportunity for them to get Colin Moran ($9) in the lineup. If he does start, he could provide excellent value.
While Trout will likely have a high ownership percentage, his teammates might not be too popular based on their struggles. It could create an opportunity to take a chance on them in tournament play while others load up on the Braves and Pirates. Kole Calhoun ($11) and Justin Bour ($8) could be a couple of left-handed hitters to take a chance on in this matchup.