This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Thursday night has a slim slate, with one pitcher in a class above the rest. Conveniently, if you spend on Jacob deGrom, there's a viable route for a balanced lineup, as long as you're fine with the Rangers or Marlins.
It's a small slate, so the options are slim. Really slim.
In cash games, there's only a few ways to go unless you're feeling lucky. Jacob deGrom ($11,500), Lance Lynn ($9,300) and Hyun-Jin Ryu ($9,000) are all equally big favorites. Lynn has the best matchup, though his game also has the highest over/under of the trio, partly because he's allowed 15 hits and 10 runs in his last two starts. However, I'm still comfortable using him due to Seattle's 28.4 K% and .288 wOBA against righties in August.
DeGrom is the most expensive due to consistency and a 31.9 K%. He's rarely a bad choice and struck out nine Cubs in six innings earlier this season. Ryu is having similar struggles to Lynn, yet some of that has to do with matchup (Yankees, Braves). He was on a dominant run prior to those starts, but he has better numbers at home, and the Diamondbacks have roped southpaws for a .362 wOBA and solid 19.5 K% in the last month.
Some will stretch for Alex Wood ($7,500) because he faces the Marlins, but he's not a big strikeout guy and has one quality outing in six starts. Jon Lester ($6,600) is a more reasonable GPP play because although he's inconsistent, he's had some decent outings, hitting 37 fantasy points three times since the All-Star break. The Mets also have subpar numbers against lefties with a .327 wOBA in the last month.
Merrill Kelly ($6,200), meanwhile, would be a tad more intriguing with a higher K%, as he went six innings against the Dodgers last matchup and has better numbers at home, allowing a .288 OBP.
Otherwise, Chris Paddack ($7,000) may be the only other pitcher worth using, and the Padres righty has given up 19 runs in his last four starts. You can choose to ignore that because of schedule as his 25.2 K% is worth gambling on, especially at Oracle Park. The Giants are near the bottom of the charts against righty arms this month with a 22.0 K% and .308 OBP.
On the other side of that game, San Francisco righty Dereck Rodriguez ($6,800) is more of a risk with an ugly 14.4 K%. However, it wouldn't be surprising if the Padres, who own a 29.1 K% against righty arms this month, struck out five or six times.
Gonzalez has pitched only nine innings at home this season (26 on road), but that hasn't mattered, as proven by his 6.43 ERA. He's bad against everyone, though a .419 OBP allowed to 74 lefties faced is the relevant number. Bryan Reynolds ($4,100) is at the top of the list with a .466 OBP and .302 ISO in his last 73 plate appearances against righty arms. The other top lefty bats are Josh Bell ($4,300) and Colin Moran ($3,700), while Jose Osuna ($3,200) is a viable righty and provides some value.
Williams hasn't been much better than Gonzalez, allowing at least five runs in three of his last four starts. He's also bad against lefty bats with a .386 OBP and .393 wOBA allowed. Charlie Blackmon ($4,400) is the expensive play, but you can find solid value for the matchup in the likes of Ryan McMahon ($3,500) and Daniel Murphy ($3,300). If you want a righty, Trevor Story ($4,300) has the best numbers this month, hence the price.
You could fill your lineup with Pirates and Rockies like everyone else or take more of a GPP route with other teams. I touch on the Dodgers, Rangers and Marlins for stacks, though we have a couple more pitchers worth going against. Lester has allowed at least three runs in four of his last five starts and has a .346 wOBA allowed to fellow lefties. There aren't a ton of choices, but if you want to bank on that lefty-on-lefty matchup, Jeff McNeil ($2,900) and Michael Conforto ($3,300) both have respectable numbers against southpaws.
The Reds will also be one of the favorites to back as Robert Dugger was recalled Wednesday and is set to start after allowing six runs in his debut earlier this month. Tucker Barnhart ($2,800) and Joey Votto ($2,800) both have OBPs above .440 against righty hurlers in August, but Aristides Aquino ($4,100) will probably be the popular play even though he's cooled off since a hot start. Infielders Freddy Galvis ($2,700) and Jose Iglesias ($3,100) are also in the mix if you want to save more cash.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks (RHP Merrill Kelly)
I lightly suggested Kelly in the pitching section, but he's allowing a .345 OBP to lefties and 1.90 HR/9 to righties. Pollock is smashing righty pitchers with a .469 OBP in August while Muncy and Smith are above .420. If you want another piece further down the lineup, Matt Beaty ($2,800) has a .442 OBP and .267 ISO in his last 52 PA against righties.
Rangers vs. Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez)
The Rangers aren't hitting anyone, but Hernandez can't get anyone out. He's allowed eight homers and 19 runs in his last four starts. Choo is a must in this stack with a career .390 OBP against Hernandez, as well as a team best .426 OBP in his last 68 PA against righty arms. Solak has shown promise in early action and is still cheap, while Santana is a shot in the dark with hopes his power shows up.
Marlins vs. Reds (LHP Alex Wood)
The Marlins may strike out a bunch, but their other numbers are decent against southpaws, including a .185 ISO since the All-Star break. Considering Wood has allowed eight homers to go with a minimal 17.1 K% in six starts, the matchup may be in Miami's wheelhouse. This is about as cheap as it gets for a stack, and if Walker doesn't start, Garrett Cooper ($2,400) can slot in for cheaper. Ramirez is in a funk, but he's been solid against lefty arms with a .400 OBP in his last 40 PA.