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 towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game 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's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
One of Thursday's most intriguing matchups is a divisional bout between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, as they jockey for top position in the NL East. Taking the ball for the Mets is Jacob deGrom, who has, frankly, been other-worldly since returning from the injured list. In three starts, the right-hander has a 1.62 ERA with a 0.42 WHIP and a 50 strikeout rate. When healthy, deGrom is the best pitcher on the planet and he's clearly healthy right now. In DFS lineups, fade deGrom at your own risk.
In other Mets news, the team called up top third-base prospect Brett Baty from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday. Prior to his promotion, the 22-year-old hit a combined .315/.410/.533 with 19 homers in 95 games between Double- and Triple-A. With Luis Guillorme landing on the injured list earlier this week and Eduardo Escobar sporting an 85 wRC+ this season, the Mets need a jolt at the hot corner, and they hope Baty can provide it. If he hits in the majors the way he has all year in the minors, there will be fantasy value here, so put Baty on your radar.
It's tough to find many quality streaming options on this 11-game slate. While Dane Dunning (6% rostered in ESPN leagues) wouldn't stand out on most days, he's in the streamer discussion for Thursday. The right-hander hasn't shown much start-to-start consistency this season, but he sports a 2.82 ERA over his last four starts and gets an extremely favorable matchup against the Oakland Athletics, who have put up a bottom-five wRC+ (85) and wOBA (.280) in August.
Andrew Heaney (75%) left his last start after getting hit on his left arm by a line drive, but it sounds like he's ready to go for Thursday's outing against the Milwaukee Brewers. Even before exiting early last Saturday, the left-hander hadn't lasted more than 4 2/3 innings in any start since joining the Dodgers' rotation in late July, so it's hard to expect him to go deep into this contest. That said, Heaney has registered an impressive 1.16 ERA with a 12.2 K/9 in seven starts this season, so there's still value in starting him. Should the Dodgers loosen the reins a bit, there's nice upside against a Brewers team that has trouble against lefties, illustrated by their 86 wRC+ and 24.9% strikeout rate.
Lars Nootbaar (2%) has been working his way into the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup on a daily basis, including serving as the leadoff hitter against right-handers. With a .320/.413/.560 over his last 28 games, he's certainly earned that opportunity. On Thursday, Nootbaar will set the table against Antonio Senzatela, who is allowing a .323/.378/.455 slash line to left-handed swingers. Dylan Carlson (56%), Nolan Gorman (15%), and Paul DeJong (8%) are other widely available Cardinals batters worth considering in this prime matchup.
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.
Patrick Wisdom (CHC, 3B -- 45%) at Watkins
Nick Madrigal (CHC, 2B -- 26%) at Watkins
Terrin Vavra (BAL, 2B -- 0%) vs. Sampson
Oneil Cruz (PIT, SS -- 34%) vs. Winckowski
Tucupita Marcano (PIT, 2B -- 0%) vs. Winckowski
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Thursday
Travis d'Arnaud (ATL, C -- 63%) vs. deGrom
Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS -- 97%) vs. deGrom
Michael Harris II (ATL, CF -- 64%) vs. deGrom
Austin Riley (ATL, 3B -- 100%) vs. deGrom
Gavin Lux (LAD, SS -- 74%) at Burnes
Mark Canha (NYM, LF -- 59%) at Fried
Max Muncy (LAD, 2B -- 90%) at Burnes
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Thursday
Prop of the Day
Charlie Culberson total bases: Over/Under 0.5 (-205/+150)
THE BAT X sees Culberson putting up 0.71 total bases for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 55.7% of the time. THE BAT X believes there is positive value on the UNDER with an expected value of $10.74.
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
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
The Globe Life Field roof projects to be closed today, making conditions in this matchup seven degrees colder than the average outdoor game of all games today - which is favorable for pitching.