Head-to-head fantasy managers are in the thick of the playoffs now, so every decision counts now more than ever. Having said that, there's no sense in getting cute and changing your process now. Stick with what got you here, and there's a good chance it'll lead you to a fantasy championship.
Here's a look at the day's top streaming options, focusing on players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to Stream
Matthew Boyd (L), rostered in 25 percent of ESPN leagues, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals: The matchup here is what initially jumps off the page. The Royals are, after all, one of the worst offenses in baseball, ranking 23rd in wRC+ (89), 25th in wOBA (.303), and 27th in ISO (.145). They also sport the third-highest chase rate in baseball at 33.2 percent. That said, let's not overlook just how good Boyd has been in September. The left-hander holds a 2.95 ERA and 0.76 WHIP across three starts this month while sporting a 6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Boyd also has a 2.44 ERA at home this season. The 27-year-old is set up for success in this prime spot on Thursday.
Edwin Jackson (R), 19 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels: The underlying numbers don't necessarily support Jackson's 3.17 ERA, but it's tough to argue with the veteran's consistency this season. The 35-year-old has put up an ERA of 3.86 or lower in every month this season, allowing more than four runs in a start just once in 15 outings. The lack of swing-and-miss stuff (6.5 K/9) limits the upside, but Jackson still finds himself in an appealing spot on Thursday, squaring off against an Angels team that ranks 25th in MLB with an 85 wRC+ over the last 30 days.
Cody Reed (L), fewer than 1 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins: While the results haven't always been there, Reed offers some intriguing upside for a hurler rostered in fewer than one percent of ESPN leagues. In 15 appearances (five starts) this season, he's whiffing more than a batter per inning with an elite 59.2 percent ground ball rate. In fact, Reed is coming off a dominant performance against the Cubs in which he spun five shutout innings while fanning 10. He'll look to build off that performance against the Marlins, the worst team in the National League against left-handed pitching (82 wRC+).
Matt Shoemaker (R), 12 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics: Shoemaker has made three starts since returning from forearm surgery, and the results have been mostly positive, demonstrated by a 3.68 ERA with a 9.2 K/9. He's yet to go more than five innings in a start, so it's unlikely the Angels will extend him much on Thursday, but he can still provide value as a streaming option. While facing off against a tough A's team isn't ideal, the Oakland Coliseum is one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball.
We spend much of this space each day analyzing starting pitchers, but saves are still important, too. Despite being available in half of ESPN leagues, Sergio Romo has been a top-10 closer over the last month, registering a 1.93 ERA to go along with seven saves. The veteran right-hander is in a good spot to get another opportunity on Thursday against the Blue Jays.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Kurt Suzuki (R), 45 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Velasquez has electric stuff when he's on his game, but that's something that happens all too infrequently. The right-hander owns a 6.75 ERA over the last month and hasn't registered a quality start in any of his last seven outings. Meanwhile, Suzuki has produced a .354/.389/.646 slash line over the last 30 days and has hit seven of his 12 homers against righties.
Yonder Alonso (L), 35 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): Not only does Alonso sport a .200 ISO against right-handed pitching this season, but 37.8 percent of his hits against righties have gone for extra bases. On Thursday, he matches up well with Shields, who has allowed an .890 OPS to righty bats over the last three seasons.
Starlin Castro (R), 46 percent, Miami Marlins vs. Cincinnati Reds (LHP Cody Reed): Castro is sporting a solid .287/.347/.460 triple slash over his last 24 games and gets the platoon advantage against the left-handed Reed. While Reed has flashed at times, he doesn't have great control and he's allowed five dingers to right-handed batters in just 25 innings in 2018.
Johan Camargo (B), 42 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Vince Velasquez): Camargo continues to be underappreciated in fantasy. Since the All-Star break, he's batting .304/.362/.515, including .315/.385/.533 over the last 30 days. According to the ESPN Player Rater, Camargo has been a top-10 fantasy third baseman in those 30 days. Velasquez, meanwhile, is allowing an .861 OPS to righty hitters this season.
Matt Duffy (R), 15 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sam Gaviglio): Duffy doesn't offer much from a power perspective, but he's batting .298 with a .357 OBP against same-side pitchers in 2018. Gaviglio is the perfect foil as he's sporting a generous 1.44 WHIP for the season, including a bloated 1.59 mark since the break. Remember, depending where you are in rotisserie standings and contrary to popular belief, it's still not too late to gain points in batting average or on-base percentage
Ryan Zimmerman (R), 44 percent, Washington Nationals vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): Zimmerman has become a no-brainer streaming option whenever a lefty is on the mound. Not only is he batting .302/.382/.570 since the break, but he's crushing lefties to the tune of a .373/.463/.672 slash line this season. Zimmerman should stay on a roll against Vargas, who's allowing a .907 OPS to righty swingers.
Jose Fernandez (L), 1 percent, Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics (RHP Edwin Jackson): Fernandez hasn't been tearing it up since his September 1 recall, but he's making solid contact, whiffing only 13 percent of the time. This is relevant since he's been moved to No. 2 in the order versus right-handers, with David Fletcher nursing a sore hamstring. Jackson continues to pitch surprisingly well, despite a pedestrian 6.4 K/9.
Daniel Palka (L), 4 percent, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians (RHP Josh Tomlin): There are plenty of flaws in Palka's game, but what he does well is provide plenty of thump against right-handed pitching. He's cracked 22 of his 24 homers against righties, culminating in a .275 ISO. Tomlin, meanwhile, is allowing a bloated .366/.413/.750 slash line to righty batters.
Scott Schebler (L), 17 percent, Cincinnati Reds at Miami Marlins (RHP Jeff Brigham): Brigham has only two big league starts under his belt, so it's hard to draw too many concrete conclusions. Still, those two outings were pretty ugly. He's walked more than he's struck out and has surrendered six runs in 7 2/3 innings. Schebler is in a good position to do some damage here, with a career .227 ISO against righty pitching.
Christin Stewart (L), 2 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jorge Lopez): While Stewart is still looking for his first major-league homer, he doesn't appear to be overmatched, fanning at a reasonable 20 percent clip while walking 12 percent of the time. This makes him a sneaky play in points leagues, since the power will eventually manifest. After a pair of excellent efforts --including a flirtation with perfection -- Lopez is now coming off a stinker where he allowed nine hits and three runs to the Twins in just 4.1 frames, fanning only one.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.