Not only does Thursday bring a limited five-game slate for the featured evening contest on Yahoo, but the night is also extremely thin on viable starting pitchers. It's going to be difficult to find two to even have any confidence in using for your entry. Keeping that in mind, let's try to project how ownership percentages might play out to give you an advantage over the field.
The clear chalk Thursday in the pitching department is going to be Chris Paddack ($45) against the Reds. He's immediately made his mark through three starts, allowing three runs (two earned) while recording 16 strikeouts across 14 innings. He showed plenty of strikeout upside during his time in the minors, so there's no reason to believe that he can't continue at this pace. To further tip the scales in his favor, the Reds have scored the third-fewest runs (58) in the league.
After you get past Paddack, it's hard to get excited about anyone else for this slate. For those looking to attack matchups, Tanner Roark ($34) might be worth considering against the Padres. While the Padres have vastly improved their lineup compared to last year, they are still in the bottom-third of the league in runs scored. The problem with Roark is that his ceiling is limited based on his career 19 percent strikeout rate.
Another matchup to possibly attack is Felix Hernandez ($26) against the Angels. Outside of Mike Trout, the Angels' lineup is severely lacking impact bats. Hernandez faced them in his first start of the season, allowing three runs (one earned) and recording four strikeouts across 5.1 innings. He also pitched surprisingly well in his last start against the Astros by allowing three runs and posting five strikeouts over six innings. The concerning stat that came out of that game was that he allowed two home runs. After allowing at least 1.6 HR/9 in both of the last two seasons, he can be prone to giving up crooked numbers.
It's usually a popular move to attack the Orioles' pitching staff considering they have allowed the second-most runs (118) in the majors. While Thursday's starter Andrew Cashner has a 3-1 record, he hasn't pitched well with a 6.26 xFIP and 1.62 WHIP. Left-handed hitters posted a .361 wOBA against him last year, so expect Austin Meadows ($24) and Brandon Lowe ($21) to have high ownership percentages.
The Rockies have a chance to be among the most popular hitters whenever they play at Coors Field, which will be the case Thursday. They recorded a .852 OPS at home last year compared to a paltry .665 OPS on the road. Phillies' starter Zach Eflin could be in for a world of trouble when you consider he's allowed 1.6 HR/9 for his career. Nolan Arenado ($22) and Trevor Story ($23) should be included in plenty of lineups.
With the Mariners lineup firing on all cylinders out of the gate, they are lined up to be a popular target against Chris Stratton and the Angels. Coming off of a 4.43 xFIP and 1.43 WHIP with the Giants last year, he's been lit up for 16 hits and 10 walks over his first 13 innings with Los Angeles. He's allowed a career .357 wOBA to left-handed hitters, which will make Jay Bruce ($20) and Daniel Vogelbach ($15) popular targets.
Deploying the Rays against Cashner is likely going to be the chalk stack of the night. Not only has Cashner pitcher poorly, but the Orioles bullpen is awful. Outside of Meadows and Lowe, Ji-Man Choi ($17) will likely be a popular option at first base considering Cashner's struggles against lefties and his reasonable price tag.
With all of the injuries that the Rockies are dealing with, finding hitters to stack with Arenado and Story isn't all that easy of a task. Charlie Blackmon ($17) is off to a slow start, but he is 5-for-14 with a double and a triple across the only four games that he has played in Coors Field this season. Garrett Hampson ($7) is 9-for-29 with a home run during current seven-game hitting streak and makes for a great target at this cheap price.
The one wrinkle with going with a Mariners stack against Stratton is that the two lefties who stand out in Bruce and Vogelbach are both only eligible at first base. Which one to roll with will likely depend on how the rest of your entry plays out. While he doesn't have the platoon advantage, Domingo Santana ($20) is still a great option considering he has at least two hits in six of his last 11 games and has a .402 wOBA so far this season.
If you're looking for a contrarian stack to deploy in tournament play, rolling with the Phillies against Kyle Freeland isn't the worst idea with this game being played in Coors Field. Freeland held left-handed hitters to a .234 wOBA, but righties had more success with a .308 wOBA. The trio of Rhys Hoskins ($26), Andrew McCutchen ($26) and Scott Kingery ($10) could prove to be productive.