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Fantasy baseball pitcher rankings, lineup advice for Thusday’s MLB games

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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

  • Thursday’s 10-game slate is headlined by a pair of aces — Alek Manoah and Zack Wheeler — in mouth-watering matchups. Manoah, who has been the picture of consistency, delivering a quality start in 16 of 19 opportunities, matches up against a reeling Detroit Tigers offense that’s the worst in baseball against right-handed pitching (67 wRC+). Meanwhile, Wheeler, the owner of a 2.16 ERA over his last 12 starts, draws a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has produced a bottom-five wRC+ (79) in July. Both hurlers are worthy of being DFS anchors on Thursday.

  • Alex Wood (65% rostered in ESPN leagues) hit a rough patch in mid-June, but he’s rebounded with a 2.05 ERA and 10.6 K/9 over his last five starts. He’s showing more zip on his sinker than he was a month ago when he was struggling, and his 34% O-Swing% (percentage of pitches batters swing at outside the zone) is his best mark since 2019. Pitching against a Chicago Cubs team that’s fanning at a 25% clip in July, Wood finds himself in a high-upside matchup on Thursday’s slate.

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Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias is having another terrific season, but like many hurlers he has struggled in the past at Coors Field.

  • There aren’t many safe streaming options available on Thursday, but Justin Steele (6%) at least deserves some consideration. The 27-year-old lefty owns a 2.85 ERA over his last eight starts and has surrendered only one run in three of his last four turns. Steele’s arsenal, which includes a low-90s fastball and lackluster control, doesn’t necessarily portend long-term success, but he’s making it work for the time being. Although the San Francisco Giants don’t present a particularly enticing matchup, their offense has been slightly below average in July and Oracle Park is a great venue for pitchers, so Steele should be able to get through this outing relatively unscathed.

  • While the Los Angeles Angels’ offense has been virtually non-existent in July, Thursday’s matchup against Spencer Howard is a good opportunity for them to get their bats back on track. Howard has pitched in seven games (five starts) for the Texas Rangers this season, and he’s been hammered for a 7.11 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Brandon Marsh (8%), Max Stassi (2%) and Luis Rengifo (1%) are a few widely available bats to consider in leagues with daily moves.

  • Former No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman (55%) is barely rostered in half of ESPN leagues, but that should be changing quickly. The rookie is batting .325/.462/.625 over his last 14 games with a pair of homers and as many walks (10) as strikeouts (10). If you’re not getting enough production out of your catcher spot, grabbing Rutschman, who has been the No. 8 catcher in fantasy over the last month, is a no-brainer.



Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday

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