This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
Thursday brought a weird slate across the majors with games spread out at various starting times. Friday is a more traditional schedule, leaving eight games to choose from for the main evening slate on Yahoo. Let's dive right in and see where advantages can be gained over the field.
Even though there are plenty of games, we are short on top-tier pitching options. With a cluster of mid-to-bottom tier starters set to take the mound, it could lead to some varied ownership percentages. Jose Quintana ($34) is probably the biggest name on the slate, but he has a tough matchup against the Brewers in Miller Park. While still a young pitcher, Shane Bieber ($35) could be a popular option in his first start of the season based on the hype that surrounds him in the fantasy industry. Looking beyond his 4.55 ERA last year, his 3.30 xFIP and 24.3 percent strikeout rate leave him with room for improvement. He was also a bit unlucky with opponents posting a .356 BABIP against him. The Blue Jays aren't exactly a tough opponent, which makes Bieber even more appealing.
Joe Musgrove ($34) is in the same boat as Bieber. He's a young pitcher with upside who will finally be making his first start of the season. A couple of encouraging stats for Musgrove last year was that he allowed just a 1.18 WHIP and 0.9 HR/9. The drop in home runs was especially encouraging since he had allowed 1.5 HR/9 in 2017. He has a prime matchup right out of the gate against a struggling Reds team that has only scored 11 runs across their first six games.
A pitcher who might be worth taking a chance on in tournament play is Trent Thornton ($36) for his matchup with the Indians. Thornton had a 23.6 percent strikeout rate at Triple-A last year and recorded eight strikeouts across five scoreless innings against the Tigers on Sunday. The Indians lineup really misses Francisco Lindor (calf/ankle), which has contributed to them scoring just 17 runs over their first six games.
The Red Sox have a high probability of being chalk on the hitting side of things most of the time when they aren't facing a top-tier pitcher. That will certainly be the case for them Thursday in their matchup against Zack Godley. After posting a 1.45 WHIP last year, Godley allowed 11 base runners and eight runs (seven earned) in his first start of the season against the Dodgers. Expect Mookie Betts ($25) to be in plenty of lineups, especially if J.D. Martinez ($26) sits due to their being no DH in the NL park.
Lance Lynn taking the mound against the Angels should mean a heavy dose of Mike Trout ($26) across DFS. Lynn finished with a bloated 1.53 WHIP across his time with the Twins and Yankees last year and was shelled by the Cubs for seven runs across 5.2 innings in his first start. Left-handed hitters posted a .366 wOBA against Lynn last year, so Kole Calhoun ($10) and Justin Bour ($8) also figure to be popular options.
Another pitcher who could be popular target hitters against is Rick Porcello in his matchup with the Diamondbacks. Porcello allowed a combined 65 home runs across the last two years and gave up yet another in his first start when the Mariners torched him for nine runs (four earned) across 2.2 innings. Slugger Christian Walker ($15) is off to a good start and could be a popular choice with Jake Lamb (leg) injured. David Peralta ($20), who had a .251 ISO against right-handed pitchers last year, should also be a top target.
It's going to be hard to resist a Red Sox stack against Godley. If Martinez doesn't play, Andrew Benintendi ($16) figures to be a popular running mate for Betts. Rafael Devers ($19) and Mitch Moreland ($12) check in as a couple of cost-effective options with upside. For those stacking the other side of this game with the Diamondbacks, Eduardo Escobar ($13) is someone to consider along with Walker and Peralta based on his .351 wOBA against right-handed pitchers last year.
If you're looking for some other names outside of the three already mentioned for an Angels stack, it is slim pickings. Brian Goodwin ($7) might not be a crazy option since he's normally in the lineup against righties. With Lynn's propensity to allow base runners and struggles against lefties, Goodwin might be able to find his way on base a couple of times.
For a stack that might not be as popular, turning to the Rangers could prove profitable. Felix Pena will start for the Angels and he wasn't an overpowering force last year with a 21.9 percent strikeout rate. He's also allowed 13 home runs across 96.1 innings during his time with the team, which included a home run in his opening start against the A's. While he held right-handed hitters to a .270 wOBA last year, lefties were more successful with a .338 wOBA against him. The Rangers have a left-handed heavy lineup, including Joey Gallo ($19), Rougned Odor ($15), Shin-Soo Choo ($15), Nomar Mazara ($18), Ronald Guzman ($7) and the switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera ($17).