Fantasy Baseball

Field of Streams: Week 25 Weekday Streamers

If you are still playing you are either challenging in your roto league or are entering the championship round of your H2H league. Congratulation to all you front runners, and a big Fantasy Assembly salute to those who are out of it but still playing out the season – we need more dedicated players like you. I’ve got some additional pitching options for you this week, but first it’s review time.

Last week’s streamers went 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Overall our best week yet – we saved the best for the playoffs. There was one lone Out, but considering all the Ins we’ll take the virtual pat on the back.

Mike Minor
6 6 2 1 3 W
Jacob Junis
vs White Sox
Shane Bieber
Anibal Sanchez
Mike Leake
vs Mariners
Trevor Richards
5 7 1 4 2 L
Total 38.2 33 12 10 30 4-1-1

Now that we’ve had our review, on to this weeks streamers. I’ve taken out the days and just went with the best overall pitchers for Monday through Thursday.

*Ownership rates under 50% in Yahoo and ESPN

Tier One Streamers

Brad Keller: Monday @Pittsburgh Pirates

Six consecutive starts of 2 or fewer runs (4QS) with 4 wins. He allowed more than 3 runs in just 4 of his 18 starts so implosion factor is low. Pittsburgh’s middle of the road offense could score a few runs, but Keller should be able to keep the score low and give the Royals a fighting chance. A win is in question since KC is actually worse than Pittsburgh, but ERA, WHIP, QS and a handful of K’s make Keller my top streaming option. He also draws a second start at Detroit so hold him for the weekend.

Felix Pena: Tuesday @Oakland Athletics

Quality starts in 5 of his last 6 and 6 of his last 9 (just missed 8 of 9 by 0.2 innings). Much better on the road (2.21 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) so having the game in Oakland is a bonus. Oakland was on of those two missed quality start opportunities so this will be no cake walk, but Pena showed he can keep things close. I would like trust Pena more if not for the fact that Oakland ranks near the top of the league in home runs and runs scored. Pena ranks on the high-end of the streaming spectrum this week.

Chris Stratton: Wednesday @San Diego Padres

This one is more about the opponent than the pitcher. The Padres rank near the bottom of the league in all offensive fantasy categories. This game is also at Petco so it should be a low scoring contest. Stratton has had his ups and downs, but he does have high quality starts (2 or fewer runs) in 4 of his last 5 starts and holds a 1.38 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 2 starts against the Padres this year. The Giants also rank near the bottom of the barrel in offense so, like most streamers, a win is up in the air, but all the other categories are in play.

Derek Holland: Tuesday @San Diego Padres

Most of the things I discussed with Stratton can be applied here. The difference comes when discussing the pitcher as Holland as shown more consistency. Holland holds a 3.46 ERA on the season, and over his last 10 starts he has held the score to 2 or fewer runs in 9 of them (6 QS and 7 starts with 5+ strikeouts). Holland has had an ERA of 2.89 or lower since June and I don’t see that changing on Tuesday.

The Padres have hit Holland this year, but most of the damage came in April/May when he was still figuring things out.

Matthew Boyd: Wednesday vs Minnesota

Boyd has been one of the few bright spots for Detroit this season. He owns a 3.09 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a .200 BAA since the all-star break (11 starts) along with striking out a batter an inning. During that span he has 6 quality starts and 5 wins, but there were also 3 starts of 4 runs or more so there is some danger here. In 4 starts against the Twins Boyd has a 3.80 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, and a .143 BAA.

The Twins own one of those 3 games with 4 or more runs, in Minnesota, which outlines the risk despite the positive numbers. Minnesota has hit better of late, but so has the Tigers giving Boyd an increased chance at a W.

Tier Two Streamers

Steven Matz: Tuesday @Philadelphia Phillies

Matz is on a nice little run with 4 of 5 starts of 2 or fewer runs – the fifth being a 3-run 6-inning quality start against Miami. His 5 games prior to that he barely squeezed out a lone quality start, allowing 23 runs over 20 innings. He has more good games than bad, but some of those good games had limited innings limiting W and QS potential. The strikeouts have also been hit or miss. Why risk him, especially in Philly? The Phillies rank either in the bottom half or bottom third of the league offensively. Like Matz they have had their big games, thanks in part to the long ball – the one shinning star among their stats.

Matz draws the second tier based on recent production, but his overall track record and venue need to be considered. Stream with caution.

Jason Vargas: Wednesday @Philadelphia Phillies

Vargas comes with the same Philly warnings as Matz. He also has the streaking reputation of Matz and is here based on recent production. Over the last 30 days (6 starts – 32 inning) Vargas has a 3.10 ERA and 1.08 WHIP along with 4 wins. Only half those starts were quality, and in only half those start was the strikeout total useful – meaning he may not deliver full value. In each of the starts prior to his latest run he never reached the 6th inning, and in 7 of those 12 he did not finish 5. The Vargas we’ve seen of late is the boring solid veteran we’ve come to expect.

Is that enough to trust him? I do always say ride the streak. You might have limited options in deeper leagues, but in 12-team format I would see what else is out there.

Wade Miley: Monday vs Cincinnati Reds

One might think based on his season numbers (2.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP over 68.2 innings) Miley would belong in Tier-One. I place him a tier lower based on the fact he has failed to reach 6 innings in 7 of his 13 starts, has just 4 wins, and has 4 or fewer strikeouts in 5 games. Still, it’s hard to argue with what he has done, and even harder to argue with the fact he has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any start. He has faced Cincinnati twice this year, holding them to one run in each contest (both quality starts). The Reds do rank in the top-5 in both batting average and OBP (for the season and against lefties), but are slightly below average when it comes to scoring and hitting homers (Miley has allowed just 3 this year).

Miley has a track record that stinks B.O. plenty, but every player has that one career year they can look back on and smile about. This may be Miley’s year (well, half-year). If he does well you may want to hold him for his Sunday start at Pittsburgh.

Wei-Yin Chen: Thursday vs Cincinnati

This past weekend I recommended Chen, but I also warned you his numbers were abysmal on the road. However, at home he has been a beast, turning in a 1.77 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and a .190 BAA over 12 starts (71 innings). He had quality starts in 8 of those contests; in 3 of them he allowed just one run total and reached the 5th inning. That leaves one poor home start, back on June 11. His only start against the Reds was in Cincinnati – that didn’t go so well. Chen also has home run issues, but part of that could be negated by his home park (5 HR vs 14 on the road).

Chen’s overall line and general inconsistencies warrant hesitation, but if you by the home numbers then this is a solid stream – potentially a Tier-One option as well.

Joe Musgrove: Monday vs Kansas City

Musgrove is a borderline Tier-Two and risky option. His 3.87 ERA and 1.17 WHIP fall within streaming range, but a 4.91 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over the last 30 days has me nervous. You could point to the Brewers and Cardinals matchups as a reason, but that gets shut down when you see he handled the Indians and Rockies (in Colorado) nicely yet barely managed a quality start against the Giants. The good news is that the innings have been solid throughout the struggles, the walks have remained low, strikeouts have improved, and he still does a solid job keeping the ball in the park.

The Royals rank in the bottom-10 for average, OBP and runs scored. However, they rank in the top-10 in all three categories in September – that lines up with Musgrove’s struggles. With some better streams throughout the week it might be best to avoid this one.

Tier Three: High Risk Options

Anibal Sanchez: Tuesday vs St Louis

Sanchez should probably be sitting right next to Miley – you can make that argument. A 3.01 ERA and 1.12 WHIP deserve some respect, right? I’ll give you that. But less than half of his 21 starts have been quality, 8 were 5 or fewer innings, and he has only 2 wins since the all-star break. He is striking out a batter an inning so K’s are one thing you can virtually count on. He BABIP says there is a little luck here, but the FIP and xFIP still put the ERA below 4.00 which lines up with some of past seasons.

The Cardinals have an offense that ranks in the top-half of the league, but both the average and OBP have slipped significantly in September. With a low chance at a win and quality start you are streaming Sanchez with the hope he keeps the score low enough to give you ratios and strikeouts.

Matt Harvey: Wednesday @Milwaukee Brewers

I wasn’t going to include Harvey based on his numbers against Milwaukee this season. I made an exception due to his 2.94 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over the last 30 days (32.2 innings – 6 starts). During that time he has 4 quality starts (3 high quality) and a 5th with one run over 5.1 innings. The lone blowout was against Milwaukee (4IP, 5ER, 11 hits). Harvey did throw a 2-hit 5.1 inning shutout against Milwaukee in their previous meeting. Those two extremes represent the ceiling and floor. I do applaud Harvey for his work since being shipped to Cincinnati, but the work and innings are still spotty.

Despite how scary the Brewers may look, the team ranks outside the top-10 in average, OBP and runs scored. They are one of the top teams for home runs, though, and with 24 homers allowed this season and more balls flying post all-star, this is the one area that could derail Harvey.

Jake Odorizzi: Monday @Detroit Tigers

Odorizzi has innings issues (21 of 30 starts under 6 innings – 8 of those 21 under 5 innings), walk issues (3+ walks in one-third of starts), and strikeout inconsistencies (half his starts have 5+, 9 have 3 or fewer). He is also averaging a win a month and just got that out of the way on Wednesday. Even his two matchups against Detroit – we’ve got one good and one bad.

Odorizzi is here because the Tigers are bad, almost Padres/Marlins/Orioles bad. Surprisingly Odorizzi is owned more than a number of the pitchers above, but he is a dart throw for me. If he were playing a better team he would not be here, but because of the Tigers offense (or lack thereof) and his second start on Sunday at Oakland he draws a consideration, especially for leagues with weekly lineups.

Andrew Suarez: Monday @San Diego

I might as well complete the Giants trio and throw Suarez in here, although he is my least favorite. Over his last 10 starts I see 4 quality starts (3 high-quality) and 4 starts of four or more runs. The remaining two were three run outings over 5.0 and 5.2 innings. Suarez is a matchup pitcher, at best, only to be rolled out against weak opponents in San Francisco (or a comparable pitchers park). In two starts against the Padres (12.2 innings) Suarez has a 2.13 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, but also has a .279 BAA so those hits can come at any time regardless of venue or competition. I’m throwing him out there as an option, but I’d rather roster one of the other two Giants a day or two in advance.


That’s all I got… go on, get out of here… go stream!

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By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.