Nestor Cortes [608x342]
Nestor Cortes [608x342] (Credit: Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

CJ Abrams late home run caps Nationals 6-5 comeback over Brewers

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 ESPN BET, and fantasy advice is geared toward ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.

Note: This file will be 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.

Pride of the Yankees

Having lost 14 of their past 18 games, the New York Yankees currently sit three games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The Yankees' struggles have largely been the result of their pitching. Over the past 30 days, the team's 5.41 ERA is second worst in baseball, while its 6.09 mark over the past two weeks is worst in MLB.

Despite the Yanks' overall struggles, Thursday's starter, Nestor Cortes, has continued to contribute for fantasy managers, sporting a 2.83 ERA over his past 10 turns. While his strikeout rate has dropped a tad this season, he's still fanning nearly a batter per inning, and he boasts a career-best 1.6 BB/9 rate, which ranks seventh best among qualified pitchers.

In his last outing against the Boston Red Sox, Cortes averaged a season-best 93.1 mph on his four-seamer, up 1.3 mph from his season-long average. This doesn't necessarily portend future success, as velocity often fluctuates up and down between starts, but it would be a positive development for the veteran if the velo holds.

On Thursday, Cortes grades out as our top starter of the day for his road matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays. Tropicana Field is less favorable than Yankee Stadium for both runs and homers, and it also boosts strikeouts. Rostered in just 59% of ESPN leagues, Cortes belongs on your streaming radar this week.

Everything else you need to know for Thursday After getting roughed up by the Detroit Tigers in his final June outing, Tyler Anderson (31% rostered in ESPN leagues) rebounded with his best start of the season against the Chicago Cubs over the weekend, a performance that saw him fire eight shutout frames with a season-high 10 strikeouts. Now he gets a Seattle Mariners club that ranks 25th in baseball over the last month with a 90 wRC+, not to mention an MLB-worst 30.1% strikeout rate. Anderson, who owns a 2.73 ERA during his past 10 starts, profiles as a quality streaming option. The hot-hitting Mets will provide some stiff competition on Thursday, but it's still hard to ignore MacKenzie Gore (25.3% rostered), who has been criminally undervalued in fantasy circles. The 25-year-old lefty holds a 3.83 ERA and 10.7 K/9 across 18 starts this year, and he has been even better on the road, where he owns a 3.31 ERA (4.11 ERA at home). Gore last faced the Mets in early July, and he limited them to just one run over 5⅔ innings with eight Ks. Consider streaming the Nats lefty for the rematch at Citi Field. Speaking of the Nationals, James Wood, universally regarded as one of the game's top prospects, remains available in more than 70% of ESPN leagues. Through his first 10 big-league games, the 21-year-old has a 138 wRC+ with a homer, a steal and six RBIs. Already entrenched as Washington's No. 3 hitter, Wood carries elite fantasy potential. It's no secret that more highly rated prospects fail than thrive in their first go-round in the big leagues, but there's no harm in rostering Wood for a couple of weeks to see what happens. With Austin Gomber toeing the rubber for the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, it's time to get those Cincinnati Reds bats locked and loaded. Jonathan India (35%), Jeimer Candelario (23%), Noelvi Marte (9%), and Tyler Stephenson (6%) are all widely available and in play Thursday. Gomber has a 7.25 ERA over his last seven outings, and he has actually been worse away from Coors Field this season, posting a 5.44 ERA in 46⅓ innings.

It's never too late to start a free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday. Come and join the fun!

Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday Reliever report

To get the latest information on each team's bullpen hierarchy, as well as which pitchers might be facing a bit of fatigue and who might be the most likely suspects to vulture a save or pick up a surprise hold in their stead, check out the latest Closer Chart, which will be updated every morning. 

Hitting report

Plan ahead in fantasy baseball with help from our Forecaster projections. Each day, we will provide an updated preview of the next 10 days for every team, projecting the matchup quality for hitters (overall and by handedness) as well as for base stealers.

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.

Tyler O'Neill (BOS, LF -- 48%) vs. Luis Medina J.P. Crawford (SEA, SS -- 46%) at Tyler Anderson Masataka Yoshida (BOS, LF -- 48%) vs. Medina Ryan Mountcastle (BAL, 1B -- 47%) vs. Justin Steele JJ Bleday (OAK, LF -- 18%) at Tanner Houck Jonathan India (CIN, 2B -- 37%) vs. Austin Gomber Dylan Moore (SEA, LF -- 5%) at Anderson Tyler Stephenson (CIN, C -- 6%) vs. Gomber Jeimer Candelario (CIN, 3B -- 23%) vs. Gomber Jarred Kelenic (ATL, LF -- 15%) at Brandon Pfaadt Worst over-50% rostered hitters for Thursday Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS -- 80%) at Shane Baz Brice Turang (MIL, 2B -- 81%) vs. Paul Skenes Willy Adames (MIL, SS -- 85%) vs. Skenes Gabriel Moreno (ARI, C -- 52%) vs. Max Fried David Fry (CLE, C -- 57%) at Jack Flaherty Ryan McMahon (COL, 3B -- 62%) at Hunter Greene William Contreras (MIL, C -- 99%) vs. Skenes Logan O'Hoppe (LAA, C -- 52%) vs. Luis Castillo Francisco Alvarez (NYM, C -- 50%) vs. MacKenzie Gore Bo Bichette (TOR, SS -- 73%) at Jordan Hicks