Is it really a smart idea to stream during the playoffs? I know those of you in roto leagues need specific categories; maybe those extra Strikeouts or Wins can move you up a spot or two. The flip side is you get no wins, a short outing with limited K’s, and your ERA and WHIP move in the opposite direction. In H2H leagues you can stream away if ERA and WHIP are no longer in play, but if things are close, one wrong decision can (and will) end your season.
Streaming a starting pitcher is no different than gambling on sports. In fact, it is even riskier. At least with sports betting you can pick and choose which games to wager on and are not limited to a handful of high-risk games. It is the same thing in daily fantasy sports with an open field of players and zero limitations. With streaming you are limited to what is available on waivers, which is a nice way of saying you have your pick of pitchers that no other team wanted – the best of the rest as I like to call them.
Does make all of them bad? Not at all, even a low-odds bet can pay off if things fall right. But, one bad stream can lead to taking a bigger risk the next day in an attempt to get even. And when things go south on that stream you start throwing darts at the board trying to regain any ground you can. At that point you are basically the guy who keeps making bigger bets in the hopes of making up for the money lost on his previous bet. At the end of the day, though, he still has to pay his bookie – either that or get worked over in some dark alleyway.
I had a point before I got sidetracked. Oh yea, stream with caution. Crunch some numbers on the guy you’re considering, what he has done, what his opponent can do. Also look at your opponents lineup; how many pitchers does he have going? Depending on how many starts he has you may not need to stream. And even if you don’t need to stream, pick up a few of the top streaming options anyway. Better to have those possible good numbers on your bench than on a potential opponents team. OK, on to this weeks streamers, but first…
Before we get to this week’s streamers we need to see how things panned out last weekend. Last week’s streamers went 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Overall a solid showing, and a 300% improvement over last week.
|What Have Yous
Now that we’ve had our review, on to this weeks streamers… for real this time.
*Ownership rates under 50% in Yahoo and ESPN
Anthony DeSclafani vs San Diego Padres
Disco Inferno has been my go to streamer, although he has not paid me back for that support, posting three sub-par games after rattling off three seven inning gems. A nice game against the Padres might be what the doctor ordered. The Padres are dead last in batting average and OBP, and only the Marlins and Royals have scored fewer runs. They did show some signs of life in August, but that offensive outburst quickly faded once the calendar turned to September. I see a worst case scenario being a six-inning quality start, but I expect a lot better.
Austin Gomber @Detroit Tigers
Gomber has successfully transitioned from the pen to the starting rotation. Over his last five starts he has gone at least five innings (six innings in three starts) and allowed two or fewer runs in each start – five total runs over 29 innings. He is a little hittable and the control can be spotty, but he does a great job keeping the ball in the yard (3 HR over 55 innings).
The reason for optimism here is the Tigers are 28th in OBP, 29th in walks and 29th in home runs. Even if Detroit manages to connect on a few pitches the damage should be minimal, even if they are slightly better against lefties. After Detroit Gomber heads home to face the Pirates so if you pick him up for Friday, hold onto him for the next playoff round.
Dan Straily @Pittsburgh Pirates
Straily walks a few too many (52 over 117.2 innings) and gives up a few too many homers (19 and counting), but somehow he has manged to produce a streamable ERA and WHIP (4.13, 1.32). In fact, he has been a solid streaming option since 2016, we just tend to overlook him because he is an ordinary everyday pitcher – nothing special. Sometimes those are exactly the type of arms you need which is why Straily is an option today. He is coming off two high-quality starts and that could be extended to three given Friday’s opponent.
The Pirates may be 10th in batting average, but they ranked in the bottom-third in August and September along with their OBP, and that’s equal to where there run and home run production is for the season. Even a bad team can surprise, and Straily is in no way a guaranteed starter to stream, but he has a better than average chance at a solid game, quality start, a handful of K’s, and maybe a W.
Wei-Yin Chen @Pittsburgh Pirates
I have to admit, until I saw his name in Hunters Fantasy Stock Watch article the other day I had completely overlooked/ignored what Chen has done this year. His season numbers are nothing special – probably the reason I hit the ignore button, but he has been on a nice stretch of late, with a 1.75 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over his last 25.2 innings. I’m gonna gamble based on Hunter’s advice he can keep this going, at least for one more start. I discussed the Pirates offense, or lack-thereof, above so you know the potential is there for a solid outing.
Ivan Nova vs Miami Marlins
If you don’t like the Miami boys then maybe take a look at their opponent. Like Straily above, Nova will not impress you with his seasonal stats. His last 30 days, however, look a lot more appealing. During that span he has a 3.63 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP over 22 innings. Yes he was blown out in his last start, but prior to that he rattled off three consecutive quality starts, each with two or fewer runs allowed. Given his recent run of good fortune combined with his home numbers (3.30 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) I like his chances here.
The Marlins are 25th in batting average and OBP and dead last in runs and home runs. Their only positive attribute is they are slightly better on the road, but PNC Park will not do them any favors. I don’t see a win in Nova’s future, but he could churn out a quality start to help pad your ratios.
Edwin Jackson vs Texas Rangers
Raise your hand if you knew Jackson had an ERA under 3.00 through 13 starts. With a 25% ownership rate on Yahoo it appears the rest of you didn’t get the memo. His 2.91 ERA is something we haven’t seen since he got a cup of coffee in 2003. His 1.13 WHIP is a career low as is his .212 BAA. There is a lot of BABIP love going on here (.227), the hard hit rate is a career high, and his contact rate hasn’t seen the mid 80s since 2008. Still, the man is on a roll with only a few starts left so stop thinking he is going to regress; he may just carry this lucky through September.
The Rangers are a strong team when it comes to OBP and runs scored, but that is overall. When you take things on the road they are 23rd in OBP, 28th in runs scored and dead last in batting average. The Coliseum is one of the worst road parks for a team like the Rangers, and with the A’s dialed in for a potential post-season run the team, and Jackson, have some extra incentive. Stream with confidence.
Trevor Williams finally jumped the 50% ownership mark so he missed the cut this week, but he is under 60% and playing the Marlins. If he is out there he shouldn’t be and makes a great back of the rotation arm for the remainder of the season.
Touki Toussaint @Arizona Diamondbacks
The former first round pick posted a 2.93 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in double-A over 16 starts (86 innings) prompting a promotion to triple-A. There he continued to dominate, turning in a 1.43 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 8 starts (50 innings) which in turn earned him an opportunity in the majors. While his second start didn’t go smoothly (it was the Red Sox so we’ll give him a mulligan), he did hold the Marlins to one run on two hits over six innings in his first.
The Diamondbacks rank 27th in batting average and barely crack the top-20 in OBP, runs and home runs. Both the average and OBP are better at home, but those extra hits and walks do nothing to increase the run total for the team. While Chase Field may be a scary park for pitchers, the D’Backs have done little to instill fear into the pitchers visiting there. Toussaint is highly under-owned but a highly recommended stream.
John Gant @Detroit Tigers
The only thing I can point to as a negative for Gant is innings. He has held opponents to two or fewer runs in each of his last six starts. However, in two of those games he didn’t escape the fifth inning and he only made it to or past the sixth inning twice. That puts a quality start in jeopardy. He also has six K’s in three of those starts but four or less in the other three, making strikeouts less of a guarantee. Still, he did manage three wins over those last six games and holds a 3.19 ERA and 1.26 WHIP on the season over 96 innings so you’ll get some nice ratios.
I’ve already discussed the Tigers lack of offense above with Gomber. Gant gets the nod here being a righty, and with inconsistent Michael Fulmer opposing him the Cardinals have a better than average chance at getting him the win.
That’s all I got… go on, get out of here… go stream!
Need more streamer options or potential two-start pitchers, head on over to Fantasy Rundown