Thursdays tend to be the slowest days around MLB, with teams traveling and often taking the opportunity to get some lesser-used role players into the lineup with day games around the schedule, and this week was no exception.

We're looking ahead to this weekend's games to give you some names to keep an eye on, from struggling stars we'd like to see signs of life from to players we might be rushing to add when waivers run Sunday night.

Frank Stampfl and Scott White broke down everything you need to know from Thursday's action, with a sneak peek at what to expect from Week 11's schedule, too, and we'll have a whole lot more of that for you come Monday. For now, here's your weekend viewing guide: 

Just give us a reason to be optimistic …

Pablo Lopez, Twins @HOU, Friday – I haven't lost faith in Lopez at all, though I know plenty of you probably don't share that. A good outing here could go a long way toward restoring confidence in Lopez, whose strikeout and walk rates remain elite but who has had more trouble limiting troublesome contact than last season. The Astros have a couple of tough matchups in their lineup, to be sure, but they've been surprisingly beatable this season. We'd love to see Lopez continue that trend. 

Blake Snell, Padres vs. NYY, Sunday – I've been tempted to just not move Snell in my rankings at all as a statement of how certain I am that he is going to figure things out. As I wrote earlier this week, as bad as Snell has been this season, it's not even the worst of his career – he had a five-game stretch with an 11.94 ERA in 2019 and then immediately followed that up with a 12-strikeout outing that turned into a four-start stretch where he struck out 31 batters and allowed just four runs (before an injury kept him out for two months). In 2021, he had a five-start stretch with a 9.43 ERA between May and June; he followed up his worst start of that stretch with a 2.81 ERA over his final 13 starts of the season. This is just who Snell is, and there is rarely any rhyme or reason for why he struggles as badly as he does nor for why he turns things around without warning. Can I say with any confidence he'll do that this week against the Yankees? Absolutely not! But it wouldn't surprise me at all, and I am expecting it at some point. 

Framber Valdez, Astros vs. MIN, Saturday – I'm less certain Valdez is going to turn things around than the first two pitchers in this section, and less certain he'll be an impact, ace-level Fantasy pitcher even if he does, just because I'm not sure a low-strikeout rate pitcher matters as much in this pitching-rich environment, especially on an Astros team that no longer seems like a good bet to provide a ton of wins. That he's currently pitching to his 4.33 xERA from last season also suggests that he probably was pretty lucky to be as good as he was. I still believe a turnaround could come, but I'm not necessarily pounding the table for Valdez as a buy-low candidate right now. Let's see if he can prove me wrong. 

Joe Musgrove, Padres @KC, Saturday – In fairness to Musgrove, he's put together three pretty good outings in a row after a disastrous April, but his overall numbers are still quite poor – 5.66 ERA, 5.77 xERA, and a 20.6% K rate are all career-worst numbers for the 31-year-old. The problem is, I'm not sure there's one specific thing we should be looking for here – his velocity is down across the board, so we'd like to see that climb back up, but otherwise, the biggest issue is just that none of Musgrove's pitches has been as effective as they were last year. That kind of holistic struggle is hard to analyze, because the answer is, "Just hope he pitches better." Maybe he will, but the Royals are absolutely the kind of team that will punish you if you don't right now. He's a very risky start.  

Jordan Montgomery, Diamondbacks @NYM, Friday – The primary issue for Montgomery is that his strikeout rate is way down, mostly because his two primary whiff pitches, his curveball and changeup, just haven't been as effective. His velocity is also down 1.7 mph on his fastball, so it could be as simple as, if the velocity rises, Montgomery will pitch better. I'm willing to bet on that being the case, and it's worth noting that Montgomery's fastball velocity was a season-high 92.3 mph in his most recent start. Hopefully that's the start of his rebound. 

Still worth rostering?

Charlie Morton, Braves vs. OAK, Sunday (94%) – The A's have been the solution to what ails a lot of pitchers so far this season, and I actually think he's a pretty fine streamer against them, despite being pretty down on Morton in general. But given the regression we've seen of late from Morton, he's kind of in make-or-break territory right now – I think he's severely over-rostered right now, and I bet everyone is going to agree with me if he struggles in this matchup. Even if he doesn't, I'd need to see something pretty special to view him as anything more than just a streaming option. 

Brayan Bello, Red Sox vs. DET, Sunday (84%) – There's still a lot Bello does right. He gets a lot of ground balls and generates weak contact, and his control remains quite solid, with a 7.5% groundball rate. However, despite throwing his slider more and generally getting pretty solid results from it, he still just isn't generating many strikeouts – his 22.1% mark is a career-high, but is still pretty much dead average. There have been some promising signs lately, but his results are still pretty mediocre. I want to see Bello take that step forward, but with how many great pitching performances are out there, he needs to give us a reason to keep him around beyond vague notions of upside. 

Brandon Pfaadt, Diamondbacks @NYM (79%) – One significant change in Pfaadt's profile so far has been his dramatically improved quality of contact allowed, and if you saw that coming after he allowed 25 homers in 23 starts (including the playoffs) last season, well … my email address is if you have any other hot tips I need to know about. In all seriousness, Pfaadt's current xERA is 2.88, significantly lower than his 4.16 ERA, and if that actually came to pass, he'd be a borderline ace. But he's also not getting many strikeouts overall, so any regression on the quality of contact could render him unusable for Fantasy. He's on a knife's edge right now, and a bad start here could make him droppable. 

Aaron Civale, Rays @BAL, Friday (57%) – I'm not even sure Civale deserved to be this widely rostered coming into the season, though I could at least see the case for it given his solid ERA and the gains he made as a strikeout pitcher after getting to the Rays last summer. After 11 starts with a 5.72 ERA, what's the justification? If you have Civale on your roster right now, you might as well hang on to him to see if he can figure something out against a tough Orioles lineup. 

Casey Mize, Tigers @BOS, Sunday (37%) – Mize has lost some heat off his fastball over the past few starts and it's revealed just how thin his margin for error is at this point, with a 6.56 ERA and just 16 strikeouts in 23.1 innings of work in May so far. He just hasn't found a combination of secondary pitches that works for him, and if his fastball is merely good rather than very good, he just doesn't have enough to consistently work through lineups. Even down to 37% rostered, he looks like one of the most over-rostered pitchers in the game barring a dramatic turnaround. 

Time to buy in? 

Hunter Brown, Astros vs. MIN, Sunday (42%) – Given how bad Brown has been for most of the past calendar year, I certainly understand being hesitant to buy in. But he's been pretty good in the month of May, sporting a 3.41 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 26.1 innings of work, with improved performance from much of his arsenal, especially his splitter and four-seamer. You'd like to see one of his breaking balls take a step forward, and that might be the next step for becoming a more consistent pitcher. It's what I'll be keeping a close eye on for him moving forward, and given the matchup here, I don't mind the idea of Brown as a streamer. 

Tylor Megill, Mets vs. ARI, Sunday (52%) – We've seen Megill pitch in this velocity band before and there was little to get excited about, so it's not the 95.8 mph average fastball velocity we're excited about here. It's the new splitter, which has been a monstrous pitch for him in the early going, accounting for five of his 20 strikeouts with a 63.6 whiff rate. His fastball has always been a good pitch, but the splitter might just be here to finish off Megill's arsenal, giving him a go-to putaway pitch he can lean on, especially against lefties. It's a tiny sample size of just 12 innings, so skepticism is warranted, but another good start here – especially something like his seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts from earlier in the week – might make Megill a must-add player this weekend. 

Ryan Weathers, Marlins vs. TEX, Saturday (39%) – We've seen some truly tantalizing flashes from Weathers, but little consistency, best exemplified by the stretch where he sandwiched one-strikeout efforts around a 10-strikeout outing back in April. Things have been a bit better lately, but his past two starts are still the only time so far Weathers has had consecutive outings with more strikeouts than innings pitched. Can he make it a third? His changeup and sweeper combo gives him the upside if he can find that consistency we've been looking for. 

Mitchell Parker, Nationals @CLE, Saturday (33%) – The Nationals rotation has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the game of late, and Parker might be the most pleasant surprise of them all. His 21.5% strikeout rate doesn't blow you away, but there's reason to think he might have upside beyond that, as both his splitter and slider have been really excellent swing and miss pitches. They are also his third- and fourth-most used pitches, which might explain the underwhelming strikeout rate. There's upside here, let's see if he can tap into it against a very contact-heavy Guardians lineup. 

Albert Suarez, Orioles vs. TB, Friday (7%) – Given their excellent home park and lineup, anyone starting for the Orioles has a chance to be a pretty useful Fantasy option. Suarez has started four games this season and has allowed just four runs with 18 strikeouts and five walks in 19.1 innings of work. On his own, Suarez isn't a terribly interesting player, though I think he could be a league-average pitcher most of the time. In Baltimore, that could make him a pretty interesting Fantasy option.