Touch of Gray (USAT)
With only seven games in action for Thursday, it's a mandatory time to dip into the streaming pond for both offense and pitching. Here are some of the plays I like; coincidentally, four of them are first-year players.
• Sonny Gray is the most obvious play of the card, at home against Houston and yet still ready to add in 67 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He's piled up 37 strikeouts in 35 MLB innings, and while the Astros will take you deep now and again, they also are the runaway leader in strikeouts. In a big park, Gray can get away with the occasional mistake. The A's should do something on the other side, up against old friend Brad Peacock (5.98 ERA).
[Play fantasy football on the go: Live/mock drafts, real-time scoring and more on iPhone, iPad and Android]
• Tony Cingrani is back in the mix for Cincinnati and up against a struggling Lance Lynn; at home, it's a plus matchup. Make sure the strikeout-gobbling lefty wasn't dropped in your pool. Cingrani picked up a win and seven strikeouts in his first St. Louis start, albeit it lasted just five innings, and he's allowed more than three earned runs just once all year. Cingrani is unowned in just over half of Yahoo leagues.
• Jeremy Guthrie reentered the circle of trust during a handy August (3.60 ERA, five walks, 25 strikeouts), and now he's at home against a mediocre pitcher (Joe Saunders) and a pedestrian offense (Seattle). If you're protecting ratios for a season-long league, I can see why you might pass here. But in head-to-head leagues, anyone favored to get a win is worth a toss of the dice. Guthrie is owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• It took a while for Adam Eaton to get comfortable in The Show, but the Snakes liked what they saw from a .312/.373/.462 August (along with two homers and two steals). He's added another homer and bag this month, and seems locked in as the team's leadoff man against right-handed pitching. Ryan Vogelsong is the opposing hurler Thursday, so look for Eaton to get the call. You can make the add in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• The White Sox are trusting a rookie of their own, and for the last month Avisail Garcia has been up to the task (.333-12-2-11-2). A Thursday start against ordinary Baltimore righty Miguel Gonzalez sounds good to me, especially in Camden Yards. Garcia also has a .830 OPS against righties this year (modest sample and all), so don't worry about platoon splits. Garcia's ownership tag is a modest 16 percent in Yahoo leagues.
- Sports & Recreation