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Week 25 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

Fantasy baseball's finish line is in sight! The battle for streamers is an epic one in this final weeks of the season, so picking and prioritizing your spots is critical. We at RotoBaller are here to be an ally in the fight, bringing you our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 25 -- September 16th through September 22nd -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through September 8th.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 25

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

The home stretch of fantasy baseball is upon us. By now, the data for 2019 is plentiful; we know what we know. For the remaining weeks left, we’ll try to stay brief and prep our managers to a strong finish.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Nick Solak (2B, TEX)

26% Owned

Attention fantasy owners, we have a prospect alert in Nick Solak. The Rangers No. 13 prospect hasn’t endured any growing pains since his call-up on August 20, slashing .360/.473/.600 with nine extra-base hits (four bombs), and 32 runs-plus-RBI. He’s turned it up a notch in September, rocking a 1.266 OPS.
A bonafide hitter at every stage of his career, Solak’s supported his lofty numbers with a strong 0.63 BB/K. While the average will surely come down, Solak’s speed can offset that with 48 minor league swipes across four seasons. Solak only has one steal thus far, despite an 83rd percentile sprint speed. This isn’t a tough decision, go get him.

 

Todd Frazier (3B, NYM)

5% Owned

Old man Todd Frazier has endured a bumpy season but has found his stroke in September. Though nine games, Frazier has launched three homers and slashed .333/.440/.857 in limited action. Frazier’s past few years have suggested he’s washed, but the 33-year-old just surpassed 20 homers for the fifth time in six seasons. Frazier should be a reliable bat in deeper leagues with a palatable BB/K (0.35), and certainly against left-handed pitching (.936 OPS).

 

Jason Heyward (OF, CHC)

26% Owned

We’re recycling Jason Heyward in this column as he’s posted his best offensive campaign since 2012. Heyward has launched 21 homers, eight steals and 132 R+RBI while posting a .788 OPS. The 30-year-old has ratcheted his performance in a heated pennant race, with a 1.035 OPS and three dingers in September. Without any glaring indications that Heyward’s year has been fluky (.330 xwOBA), he deserves consideration as a regular OF3 and must-start streamer against righties.

 

Kyle Lewis (OF, SEA)

11% Owned

Another recent call-up is Kyle Lewis, the 2016 11th-overall pick and the Mariners No. 10 prospect. Lewis fell off the radar after a debilitating knee injury in 2017 but he finally appeared healthy this season, posting a .337 wOBA in Double-A this season. Importantly, he was able to log 517 plate appearance and earned a promotion on September 10. Through three games, the 24-year-old has collected homers in as many games and should get plenty of reps on the hapless M’s. One of the brightest prospects before his injury, Lewis should have every opportunity to prove himself in the majors ahead of spring training.

 

Alex Young (SP, ARZ)

37% Owned

Alex Young has been a steady arm in the Diamondbacks rotation since a late-June call-up, recording eight strong outings in 14 appearances (13 starts). The 26-year-old holds a sturdy 3.38 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a cake matchup against the Miami Marlins upcoming. Young doesn’t miss many bats (22 percent strikeout rate), but he’s a four-pitch junkballer that that induces plenty of groundballs. His 4.51 FIP doesn’t necessarily support the results, but he’s 100% worth a stream against Miami and approved for deployment in a not-too-daunting showdown with the Cardinals the following week.

 

Chad Green (SP/RP, NYY)

11% Owned

For our players with innings limitations, Chad Green is a valuable dual-eligibility pitcher to consider. Green has served as both opener and reliever and despite a volatile season holds a 1.23 ERA with an 11-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in September. With a 30 percent strikeout rate, his efficiency is a no-brainer for anyone needing counting stats with restrictive innings. Green’s penchant for taters and a 46 percent hard-hit rate explains his ugly 4.57 ERA, but a 3.68 FIP is comforting. A valuable arm on a team with World Series aspirations, he’s worth the risk.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 25

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 9/16 through 9/22. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 25

Seven-Game Weeks: BAL, CHC, DET, KC, MIL, MIN, SD, STL

 

Stream of the Week

Wil Myers (3B/OF, SD): 63% Owned

Myers’s ownership level is slightly above the threshold I typically aim for in this article, but with so few MLB teams playing a full slate and many fantasy teams already eliminated, Myers is out there in enough leagues that it’s worth checking to see whether he’s available. Myers has feasted on September pitching for a .469 AVG and 1.204 OPS thus far, and has reclaimed an everyday role in San Diego. Myers was a top-100 player coming into the season, and even with his struggles there’s little reason to doubt the raw talent in this profile. The Padres will also benefit from four games in Milwaukee, a much more hitter-friendly park against questionable pitching. Myers is a great player to add for this week and to ride for the remainder of the season.

 

Behind the Plate

James McCann (C, CWS): 52% Owned

If you’re streamer catcher this week, good luck. There aren’t any viable options on full slate teams, so we’re looking at maybe four games from someone with a decent slate of matchups. McCann fits the bill, as the White Sox have three games in Minnesota and three in Detroit, with three total games against left-handed starters. McCann has a .858 OPS and .202 ISO against left-handed pitching this season. This is as good as it gets for streaming catchers.

Roberto Perez (CLE): 18% Owned

If McCann is owned in your league and you still need catching help, then Perez could be a solid alternative. Cleveland has six home games this week, three against Detroit and three against Philadelphia. They also face three left-handed starters, and Perez has a .840 OPS and .241 ISO against lefties this season. He’s in a similar spot as McCann this week but is available in far more leagues.

 

At the Corners

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, BAL): 37% Owned

Baltimore has seven games this week, with six at home and four against left-handed starters. That creates ideal circumstances for Nunez, who thrives at home and against southpaws. Nunez has a .909 OPS and .264 ISO at home against lefties, and a .858 OPS and .245 ISO at home overall. This is free power, sitting out there in 63% of leagues. Nunez is a great option at either corner infield spot this week.

Miguel Sano (1B/3B, MIN): 50% Owned

Obviously, Sano’s back injury needs to heal, but if he returns to the lineup over the weekend he’d be another good streaming choice for power. The Twins have seven home games this week against the White Sox and Royals, which means plenty of mediocre pitching for Sano to crush. As long as Sano can prove he’s healthy, he’s a worthwhile corner infield streamer this week.

UPDATE: Sano is back in the lineup for Saturday. He was scheduled to start Friday as well but the game was postponed.

Also Consider: C.J. Cron (1B, MIN): 30% Owned, Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL): 7% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Hanser Alberto (2B/3B, BAL): 24% Owned

If facing four lefties this week was good news for Renato Nunez, then it’s amazing news for Hanser Alberto. Alberto has terrorized southpaws for a .418 batting average and 1.002 OPS this season. He doesn’t provide much in terms of power or speed, but Alberto could certainly provide a boost in batting average and counting stats this week as he faces some favorable matchups.

Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF, STL): 40% Owned

The Cardinals don’t have the easiest pitching matchups this week, with three games against the Nationals and four against the Cubs, but they do face three left-handed starters. Edman has hit .333 AVG and .908 OPS this season. Edman has overtaken Matt Carpenter as the Cardinals’ every day third baseman, and that gives him plenty of valuable volume in a seven-game week for St. Louis.

Also Consider: Jonathan Schoop (2B/SS, MIN): 39% Owned, Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, MIN): 14% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL): 38% Owned

Who says Baltimore isn’t playing for anything? With their favorable matchups this week, the Orioles will have a big impact on thousands of fantasy playoff matchups. Like the previous Baltimore hitters mentioned, Santander performs well against left-handed pitching, owning a .282 AVG and .845 OPS versus southpaws this season. The switch-hitting Santander isn’t just a lefty-killer though; he has a respectable .276 AVG and .793 OPS against right-handed pitching as well. For those who need to stream an outfielder along with either a middle or corner infielder, Santander pairs nicely with either Hanser Alberto or Renato Nunez.

Trent Grisham (OF, MIL): 7% Owned

In the wake of the Christian Yelich tragedy, Grisham benefits as he will now get every day playing time as Milwaukee’s leadoff hitter while playing right field. The Brewers have seven home games this week and only face one left-handed starter. Grisham has had even platoon splits in his limited playing time regardless, and is in a position to help with moderate batting average, power, and runs contributions this week.

Also Consider: Jason Heyward (OF, CHC): 25% Owned, Alex Gordon (OF, KC): 36% Owned

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 24

Everyone's excited for football season. Except for me. As a Bears fan, this year has gotten off to a rough start. But enough about football. You're here to see who to add for Week 24.

Anthony DeSclafani started off Week 22 strong with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings against Miami, but his second outing got pushed back into Week 23. Because of that, the best two-start pitcher out of the Week 22 column ended up being Steven Brault, who was 1-0 with six strikeouts and a 3.18 ERA over 11 1/3 innings. As for the frontrunner in Week 23, we saw strong performances from Dylan Cease who had 11 strikeouts while allowing four runs in 6 2/3 innings, and Tanner Roark who had six strikeouts over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. But the surprise from Week 23 has to be my lottery pick, Drew Smyly. I thought he could do well in his matchups, but he did even better than I expected as he allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings while striking out eight in his first start of the week.

There's quite a few risky picks this week, but there's plenty of value to be found in this column. Let's dive in.

 

Week 24 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Zac Gallen, ARI - 57% owned

Probable opponents: @ NYM, vs CIN

I know he's above the threshold for this column, but this will probably be the last time this year Gallen is this close to 50 percent ownership. Since coming over to Arizona at the trade deadline, Gallen has posted a 2.25 EA across six starts and he has recorded at least six strikeouts in all but one of those outings. And in his last start, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and ended the night allowing one hit and one walk with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings.

He'll open up this week against the Mets, who are averaging 5.7 runs and 7.0 strikeouts over their last 10 games while hitting .275. Gallen had a solid outing earlier this year against the Mets when he allowed two runs over five innings while striking out five, and he will also benefit from New York's home-road splits as they are hitting slightly worse at home (.249 average, .758 OPS) than on the road (.265, .770). For his second start, Gallen will return to Arizona to take on the struggling Cincinnati Reds who are averaging 3.6 runs and 10.2 strikeouts while hitting .195 over their last 10 games. Gallen will also get an added bonus from the Reds' splits, as they are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.242) than lefties (.258) and they are hitting worse on the road (.239) than at home (.253).

The Mets matchup will be Gallen's toughest outing of the week, but he looks primed for a great fantasy week. Gallen has been nothing short of dominant, and owners who pick him up as a streaming option this week should consider hanging onto him for the rest of the season.

 

Jordan Lyles, MIL - 36% owned

Probable opponents: @ MIA, @ STL

Prior to being traded to the Brewers, Lyles was 5-7 with a 5.36 ERA over 17 starts for Pittsburgh. Since the trade, Lyles has pitched significantly better as he has posted a 5-1 record with a 2.56 ERA over seven starts and in his last three starts, Lyles is 3-0  with a 1.53 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings.

Lyles will get an easy start to the week when he travels to Miami to take on the Marlins. Miami is averaging 3.5 runs and 10.4 strikeouts while hitting .209 over their last 10 games, and they are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.235, .657 OPS) than against lefties (.250, .691). After starting off the weak with a soft matchup, Lyles will have a tougher time in his second start when he faces off against the Cardinals. St. Louis is averaging 5.6 runs and 7.2 strikeouts over their last 10 games, and in their last matchup against Lyles they lit him up for eight runs — five earned — over 1 2/3 innings in his last start with the Pirates. That being said, Lyles did pitch well in his first start against St. Louis this season, allowing one run over six innings while striking out six.

It's a "one good start, one bad start" scenario for Lyles in Week 24. The Miami start should be a great fantasy day for Lyles, and based on his recent track record it seems that he could pitch well enough against the Cardinals. If Gallen is already owned in your league, Lyles has to be the next pitcher you target.

Week 24 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Ivan Nova, CHW - 27% owned

Probable opponents: vs KCR, @ CLE

Nova has struggled in his last two outings, but prior to that he had been riding a streak of solid fantasy outings. During that streak, Nova had posted a 0.94 ERA while going 5-1 across seven starts — including two complete games. He'll start off the week against Kansas City, as they've heated up over their last 10 games by averaging 5.4 runs and 7.8 strikeouts per game. While that seems like cause to avoid Nova, the Royals are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.245, .705 OPS) than lefties (.247, .717) and they're hitting worse on the road (.235, .701) than at home (.255, .715). In his second start, Nova will have a rematch with Cleveland after getting lit up for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in his last outing. Despite that rough outing, the potential is there for Nova to have a solid start as Cleveland is averaging 4.4 runs and 9.8 strikeouts while hitting .236 over their last 10 games.

Starting Nova this week is definitely a risky pickup, but the pieces seem to be in place for him to have a solid bounce-back week. Owners should take a look at the other pitchers in this column first, but if they've been added then Nova should be a solid fall-back plan.

Merrill Kelly, ARI - 17% owned

Probable opponents: @ NYM, vs CIN

Another Arizona pitcher makes this week's column as Kelly enters Week 24 coming off his best start in over a month as he tossed seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against the Padres. Kelly has been very inconsistent throughout this season, but he has shown some signs of improvement over his last six starts, as he has recorded four starts allowing three or fewer runs and has averaged over five strikeouts per game.

Kelly will benefit from the same righty-lefty and home-road splits against the Mets and Reds that Gallen will have this week. He's a risky play because of his inconsistency, but if you like the fantasy matchups against New York and Cincinnati and Gallen is already owned, Kelly should be a decent value this week.

Logan Webb, SFG - 15% owned

Probable opponents: vs PIT, vs MIA

Webb was tagged for eight runs — seven earned — over just 2 2/3 innings his last time out against St. Louis. Before then however, Webb had pitched well in his first three career starts as he posted a 3.52 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings. He'll try to get back on track against Pittsburgh in his first start of the week, but it will be an uphill battle as the Pirates are averaging 6.7 runs and 7.3 strikeouts while hitting .313 over their last 10 games. If Webb can post an average outing against the Pirates, owners will be rewarded with a great outing against Miami. He'll get the same lefty-righty splits benefit that Lyles will have in his start against the Marlins, plus Webb will get the added bonus of Miami's struggles hitting on the road (.234, .657) versus at home (.244, .675).

Much like Lyles, Webb has one good start and one bad start this week. Owners should definitely try to target Lyles first over Webb, but if he gets picked up before you can add him, Webb should be a decent fill-in.

 

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Week 24 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

September brings beautiful baseball weather, championship fantasy weeks and a plethora of fantasy players distracted by fantasy football. I understand playing both games, so how about you let us lighten the baseball load for you? For your consideration, we here at RotoBaller bring you our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 24 -- September 9th through September 15th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through September 8th.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 24

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

After a multi-week hiatus exploring the amazing-but-baseball-free country of Kenya, your author is back and ready to tackle (props to NFL Week 1!) the home stretch of fantasy baseball. By now, the data for 2019 is plentiful; we know what we know. For the remaining weeks left, we’ll try to stay brief and prep our managers to a strong finish.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Starlin Castro (2B/3B, MIA)

41% Owned

We touted Starlin Castro way back in Week 1 as a serviceable rotational infielder and he’s exceeded expectations. The still-just 29-year-old is slashing a steady .273/.299/.421 with 17 bombs and 128 runs-plus-RBI. Yes, the lack of walks is disturbing, but he’s lowered the strikeouts from 19% to 17%. Despite living in anonymity in Miami, Castro has a shot to set career highs in homers (21) and RBI (78). Over the past two weeks, he’s been a top-15 player, crushing six long balls with a .388 average.

 

Albert Pujols (1B, LAA)

11% Owned

Albert Pujols is on pace for his best season since 2016, currently sitting on 21 homers and 132 R+RBI in only 112 games. Although he’s 10 years removed from the glory years, tio Albert still has his excellent plate awareness with a 0.63 BB/K. Pujols has 10 knocks in his last 27 (.370) with five extra-base hits and makes for a viable flyer in deeper and AL-only formats. Take a ride down memory lane!

 

Corey Dickerson (OF, PHI)

40% Owned

Since returning in June, Corey Dickerson has quietly enjoyed a solid comeback. In just 72 games, he’s nearly matched his totals across 135 games in 2018 with nine homers and 51 RBI. He also has 28 doubles+triples and carries a sturdy .888 OPS. After upgrading offenses from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, Dickerson has 26 RBI in 28 games. Recently slotted at leadoff, Dickerson should ride the tailwinds of a strong offense firmly in playoff contention.

 

Jake Cave (OF, MIN)

6% Owned

Upon earning regular playing time after the All-Star break, Jake Cave is slashing .311/.376/.611 with 14 extra-base hits (six homers), liftings his OPS from .572 to .786. While his strikeout rate is atrocious (33 percent), the power stroke should offset the whiff detraction. His 45 percent hard-hit rate suggests the long balls are durable with upside if he can raise the launch angle just a bit from seven degrees. For our matchup junkies, note the lefty Cave enjoys reverse splits, smacking left-handed pitching to a .888 OPS compared to righties (.750).

 

Jordan Lyles (SP/RP, PIT)

37% Owned

Jordan Lyles has been a stud since joining the Brewers, rocking a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, collecting five wins in seven starts. Lyles was buzzy earlier this season after a strong start, but faceplanted between June and July, losing all fantasy momentum. On the Brew Crew, Lyles has re-emphasized his slider and peeled off a mediocre heater, garnering a 13 percent whiff rate on the former pitch. With a solid xwOBA of .313 and a favorable upcoming matchup against the Marlins, Lyles is worth a look in leagues of all sizes.

 

Kolby Allard (SP, TEX)

11% Owned

Touted as the best high school lefty when drafted in 2015, Kolby Allard has shown well in six starts since his call-up. The 22-year-old has posted a 3.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 over 33 1/3 frames. The scouting report suggests Allard doesn’t own the strikeout prowess fantasy owners crave, but he manages great control over a low-90s fastball with two solid complementary pitches. The downside with Allard is the Rangers schedule. The team faces a murderer’s row against the A’s, Astros, Red Sox and Yankees. If he’s lucky, he’ll draw a start when the playoff-bound teams rest their regulars. Regardless, he’s worth a deep dart throw for teams needing a spot start down the stretch.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 24

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 9/3 through 9/9. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 24

Seven-Game Weeks: ARI, ATL, CHC, HOU, MIA, MIL, NYM, NYY, OAK, PIT, SD, SF

Stream of the Week

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD): 48% Owned

Renfroe is in a great spot this week, as the Padres have a seven-game slate facing three left-handed starters and play three games in Coors Field. Renfroe has destroyed left-handed pitching this season for a .952 OPS and monster .373 ISO. Renfroe’s power numbers against lefties are among the best in the league, up there with sluggers such as J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz, and Tom Murphy. You won’t find a better source of power under 50% ownership, so that makes Renfroe an easy choice for stream of the week.

Behind the Plate

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU): 41% Owned

Chirinos is one of the best catchers under 50% owned, and it helps that he has a seven-game week of poor pitching ahead. The Astros start with four games at home against Oakland and finish their week with three games in Kansas City. There isn’t a quality starting pitcher between the two teams (some people may consider Mike Fiers good, but I am not one of them). Chirinos also gets three games against questionable left-handed starters, which is great for Chirinos as he has a .976 OPS and .222 ISO against lefties this season. Chirinos is the top catching option where available.

Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA): 24% Owned

If Chirinos is unavailable, then Jorge Alfaro makes for a nice alternative. Alfaro is sort of profiles as a poor man’s Chirinos anyway, as Alfaro also hits lefties well and has an even higher strikeout rate. He’s also moved up in the order recently, hitting as high as fourth in the last week, and consistently hitting sixth or higher. With a seven-game week ahead Alfaro should have plenty of chances to provide decent volume.

Also Consider: Carson Kelly (C, ARI): 16% Owned

At the Corners

Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL): 7% Owned

It’s kind of curious why Thames isn’t more owned. He has demolished right-handed pitching for a .916 OPS and .279 ISO, and has had a clear path to every day playing time since the Jesus Aguilar trade. The Brewers have a seven-game week ahead, and while they are all road games, there is only one left-handed starter on the slate for Milwaukee. Thames could certainly provide solid power for those in need at first base.

Christian Walker (1B, ARI): 37% Owned

Unfortunately, Walker didn’t turn out to be the superstar he looked like in April, but Arizona’s first baseman still has plenty of upside this week as a streamer. Walker has been hitting well as of late, with a .302 AVG and .860 OPS since the beginning of August. Walker isn’t as interesting as Thames, since the Diamondbacks only face one left-handed starter, but Walker is still a viable corner infield streamer.

Also Consider: Evan Longoria (3B, SF): 22% Owned, Travis Shaw (2B/3B,  MIL): 15% Owned

Up the Middle

Jurickson Profar (1B/2B/3B/SS, OAK): 37% Owned

Profar has been one of the biggest busts in 2019, but the versatile infielder has picked up his game as of late. Profar has a .926 OPS and .318 ISO since August 1. The switch-hitter also performs much better against left-handed pitching, with a .304 AVG and .845 OPS on the year versus southpaws. The Athletics take on four questionable left-handed starters this week, and two of those games occur in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. The ex-Ranger had a .874 OPS and .240 ISO in Texas last season, so Profar could certainly enjoy a nice trip to his old ballpark. His multi-positional eligibility makes him great for daily lineups leagues, and his recent performance makes him great for all formats.

Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL): 43% Owned

Swanson has an excellent situation this week, as the Braves have seven road games against divisional opponents in favorable ballparks. Swanson’s road OPS is 41 points higher than his home OPS, and his road ISO is also 41 points higher than his home ISO. Swanson is hitting .310 with a .866 ISO against left-handed pitching as well, which is great since he gets two games against awful lefties in Jason Vargas and Drew Smyly. Swanson should give owners good volume with upside this week.

Also Consider: Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT): 29% Owned, Starlin Castro (2B, MIA): 17% Owned, Colin Moran (2B/3B, PIT): 13% Owned

In the Outfield

Mike Yastrzemski (OF, SF): 32% Owned

Yastrzemski was a favorite streamer of mine heading into last week, and I’m confident going back to this well again next week. The Giants have a seven-game week coming up, with just one left-handed pitcher on the slate. Yastrzemski has boasted good power against righties this season, with a .272 ISO and .833 OPS. Don’t let seven home games scare you off Yastrzemski either, as he has a respectable .799 OPS and .257 ISO at home this season. Yastrzemski has also been crushing the ball lately, with a .949 OPS and .352 ISO since August 1. Yastrzemski gives us plenty of volume and power as the Giants’ leadoff hitter in a seven-game week.

Brett Gardner (OF, NYY): 21% Owned

Gardner is one of those players that always looks to be free-falling towards the end of his career, but finds a way to bounce back with solid production just in the nick of time. He’s done it again this year, and his production has come over the last few weeks, as Gardner has a .877 OPS and .282 ISO since August 1. The Yankees have a seven-game week thanks to a four-game wraparound series with Boston, and after that game on Monday, they play three in Detroit and three in Toronto. Both of those teams have underwhelming rotations, and outside of Matt Boyd, there isn’t anyone to fear on the slate for the Yankees. Gardner provides both power and speed over these seven games and provides an added boost in OBP leagues thanks to his 10% walk rate.

Also Consider: Kevin Pillar (OF, SF): 46% Owned, Mike Tauchman (OF, NYY): 26% Owned, Manuel Margot (OF, SD): 15% Owned

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Week 23 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

There's no running from the endgame now -- it's September, baby. The month where fantasy baseball dreams are made and broken. Bidding wars for streamers and two-start arms intensify as each matchup inches you closer to glory with that finish line in sight, so it's paramount you look at least two steps ahead. To assist your quest for gold, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 23 -- September 2nd through September 8th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through September 8th.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 23

With rosters expanding this week, we will get the chance to see a lot of interesting fantasy option popping up throughout the league. So keep an eye out next week for some newcomers to potentially make this list.

In the meantime though it's time for our weekly recap. There's no doubt as to who the Week 21 winning pick was, as Dakota Hudson went 2-0 with 12 2/3 scoreless innings and nine strikeouts against the Brewers and the Rockies. As for Week 22, Anthony DeSclafani is the frontrunner from that column after earning the win with seven shutout innings and eight strikeouts against the Marlins.

Let's take a look now at this week's two-start streamers as we kick off the month of September.

 

Week 23 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Aaron Civale, CLE - 49% owned

Probable opponents: vs CHW, @ MIN

Don't let the 2-3 record fool you, Civale has been a force to be reckoned with for the Indians over the last month. Over six outings, he has a 1.96 ERA and five quality starts while striking out 30 in 36 2/3 innings of work.In his last start, Civale allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out five against the Tigers.

He'll start off the week at home against the White Sox, who have averaged 4.0 runs and 9.8 strikeouts per game over their last 10 games. Civale will also have the benefit of Chicago's struggles against right-handed starters, as the White Sox are hitting .246 with a .670 OPS against right-handed starters as opposed to a .273 average and .777 OPS against left-handed starters. His second start will be the tough matchup of the week, as the Twins have averaged 7.6 runs and 10.5 strikeouts while hitting .286 over their last 10 games. Civale has already faced Minnesota once this year, limiting the Twins to just one run over six innings with five strikeouts, and much like Chicago, the Twins have also hit worse against right-handed starters (.268, .829 OPS) than against lefties (.285, .886).

Civale will have a good matchup against the White Sox, and a coin-toss matchup against the Twins. That Minnesota start will be the deciding factor for most owners this week as to whether they will pick him up or not, My money says that Civale should keep the Twins' offense in check this week and will end up as one of the top — if not the top — option from this week's column.

Tanner Roark, OAK - 39% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAA, vs DET

Roark had struggled in his last month with Cincinnati prior to the trade deadline, but since joining Oakland he has been pitching much better. In five starts with the Athletics, Roark is 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 30 innings.

He opens up the week against the Angels, as he makes his second start of the year against them. His last time out, Roark allowed one earned run over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six Angels, but he did not factor into the decision in that game. The Angels will enter the game having averaged 4.3 runs and 8.8 strikeouts while hitting .221 over their last 10 games, and they are hitting slightly worse on the road (.250 average, .743 OPS) than at home (.254, .781). Roark will follow up this start with a matchup against Detroit, as the Tigers are averaging 4.1 runs and 11.0 strikeouts per game while hitting .252 over their last 10 games. The Tigers are also hitting significantly worse against right-handed starters (.229, .659) than lefties (.267, .761), which should benefit Roark.

Roark has to be the next target for owners if Civale is already picked up this week. Civale has slightly higher upside, but a pair of soft opponents this week makes Roark a solid option in most leagues.

Week 23 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Dylan Cease, CHW - 14% owned

Probable opponents: @ CLE, vs LAA

After getting rocked to the tune of eight runs in two innings his last time out against the Twins, Cease will look to rebound this week against the Indians and the Angels. He'll open the week on the road in Cleveland, as he faces an Indians offense that has averaged 4.1 runs and 7.1 strikeouts over their last 10 games. Cease will also benefit from Cleveland's batting splits, as they are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.246, .739) than against lefties (.262, .804). After Cleveland, Cease will return home to face the Angels, who lit him up for five runs over five innings in his last start against them. That being said, Cease should still benefit from the Angels' recent struggles at the plate as well as the home-road splits that Roark will benefit from.

Cease has been pitching a little rough lately, but this week has the potential to be a bounceback week against Cleveland and Los Angeles. Owners should pick up Cease if they're looking for strikeouts and willing to risk a slightly elevated ERA this week.

Mitch Keller, PIT - 10% owned

Probable opponents: vs MIA, vs STL

Much like Cease, Keller enters this week looking to rebound after a rough time out in his last start. Keller lasted only four innings against Philadelphia, allowing eight runs on 11 hits, but he also had eight strikeouts against the Phillies. He'll have a great matchup to get back on track for his first start of the week, as he faces the Marlins at home. Miami is averaging 4.5 runs and 10.7 strikeouts while hitting .228 over their last 10 games, On top of that, the Marlins are hitting 22 points worse against right-handed starters than lefties, and they are hitting 13 points worse on the road than at home. After Miami though, Keller will face a difficult start against the Cardinals, who are averaging 6.6 runs and 6.7 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

This is your "One good start, one bad start" pitcher of the week. Keller should have a great outing against Miami, and while he might take a slight hit to ERA against the Cardinals, he should provide enough strikeout value to make up for it. Between Keller and Cease in Week 23, target Keller first and Cease second based solely on upside from the Marlins start.

Drew Smyly, PHI - 5% owned

Probable opponents: @ CIN, @ NYM

I'm going to be completely honest — Smyly is a desperation, lottery ticket option for this week. He's struggled over his last four starts with a 6.75 ERA, but he does have 18 strikeouts in 20 innings of work over that span. Smyly will start off the week against the Reds, who have averaged 4.0 runs and 9.7 strikeouts while hitting .233 over their last 10 games. He'll then face off against the Mets, who are also averaging 4.0 runs over their last 10 games while averaging 7.5 strikeouts and hitting .243 in that span. Smyly should also benefit from New York's home road splits, as they are hitting 14 points worse at home than on the road.

Like I said, Smyly is a lottery pick that should be available in virtually every league. He's not going to single-handedly win your league this week, but he should provide a solid boost that could help make the difference. Target Smyly last out of the guys on this list, but if you need someone he's in line to help you out for Week 23.

 

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 23

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 9/3 through 9/9. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 23

Seven-Game Weeks: BAL, CHW, CIN, CLE, DET, MIN, OAK, PHI, SF, STL, TB, TEX, WAS

Stream of the Week

Corey Dickerson (OF, PHI): 32% Owned

Dickerson has been on fire in the second half, hitting .320 with seven homers and a .982 OPS since the break. The move to Philadelphia has put Dickerson in a hitter’s park for the first time since his Colorado days, and the change has shown in his performance. He also has seen a big power increase this month, with five home runs and a .305 ISO since being traded to the Phillies. The Phillies are on the road for all seven games, but have four games in Cincinnati, which should be great for Dickerson. He’s been bouncing between cleanup and leadoff for the Phillies, and in either lineup spot, Dickerson is in a premium position. He is an excellent player to stream this week, as he should be a four-category contributor for a high-powered offense.

Behind the Plate

Travis D'Arnaud (C/1B, TB): 36% Owned

Travis d’Arnaud has had a nice career renaissance in Tampa Bay, crushing 14 homers with a .194 ISO in 306 PA this season. He should get plenty of opportunities against bad pitching this week, as Tampa Bay has three games against Baltimore and four games against Toronto. There aren’t many great options at catcher this week, so d’Arnaud is a fine streaming option for those in need.

Roberto Perez (C, CLE): 19% Owned

Perez has been one of my go-to catchers for cheap power all season, and I’m happy to go back to him this week as Cleveland gears up for seven divisional games. They face four bad pitchers to begin the week with a four-game set against the White Sox. The competition becomes a little more formidable in the second half of the week, as Perez and the Indians take on the Twins, but that shouldn’t scare owners off Perez. He’s a nice alternative in leagues where d’Arnaud isn’t available.

Also Consider: Tucker Barnhart (C/1B, CIN): 15% Owned, Kurt Suzuki (C, WSH): 11% Owned

At the Corners

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, BAL): 38% Owned

The Orioles have a seven-game week coming up, with at least three of those games coming against left-handed starters. It’s always good when Nunez faces a lefty, as he’s hitting .277 with a .868 OPS and .259 ISO against southpaws this season. The second half of the week is especially good for Nunez, as Baltimore has four home games against Texas. That series should be high-scoring on both ends, and the Orioles’ cleanup hitter is bound to produce solid power and RBI numbers.

Evan Longoria (3B, SF): 22% Owned

Longoria has been on fire in the second half, hitting .345 with a .928 OPS and .202 ISO since the break. He also has 10 of his 17 home runs since July 1. Longoria hits either cleanup or third for the Giants, and should have plenty of opportunities for run production as the Giants have a seven-game week. Normally, we wouldn’t look forward to seven games in Busch Stadium and Dodger Stadium, but they are both park upgrades for Longoria. He is a sneaky veteran to add for the upcoming week.

Up the Middle

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, CIN): 48% Owned

Galvis has been hitting well since coming to the Reds, posting a .309 AVG, .873 OPS, and .237 ISO in August. He’s in good shape for a productive week too, as the Reds’ have seven home games, with at least four games against left-handed starters. Galvis has hit lefties well this season, with a .292 AVG and .739 OPS on the year. His ownership level has been on the rise over the last few weeks, but Galvis is just below our streamer threshold and out there in enough leagues that it’s worth checking in on the veteran.

Nick Solak (2B, TEX): 6% Owned

To call 38 PA a small sample size would be an understatement, but it’s hard to ignore Solak’s .387 AVG and 1.048 OPS over his first 38 major league plate appearances. Solak has already catapulted to fifth in the Rangers order, and has every day playing time locked down. The Rangers may have seven road games this week, but with three in Yankee Stadium and four in Camden Yards, owners shouldn’t worry too much about Solak getting out of Globe Life Park. He is out there in over 90% of leagues, and a solid streaming option at middle infield.

Also Consider: Rougned Odor (2B, TEX): 44% Owned, Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, MIN): 11% Owned, Eric Sogard (2B/SS/OF, TB): 25% Owned, Willy Adames (2B/SS, TB): 17% Owned

In the Outfield

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX): 38% Owned

Calhoun was once one of the premier hitting prospects in all of baseball, but some of the shine has worn off over the last two years. That seems to have made people overlook him, because Calhoun has been crushing the ball this season. He has a .290 AVG, 16 home runs, and a .286 ISO in 223 PA this season, along with a 16.6% strikeout rate. He’s been hitting cleanup for the Rangers and should be a key cog in what should be a high-scoring seven-game week for Texas. He’s the top streaming option behind Corey Dickerson.

Mike Yastrzemski (OF, SF): 39% Owned

Yastrzemski has been quite the unheralded surprise for San Francisco this season, with 17 home runs and a .837 OPS in 303 PA. He has had a huge uptick in power this month, with eight home runs and a .357 ISO in August. The Giants have a seven-game week this week, with just one game against a left-handed pitcher. Yastrzemski should get plenty of volume as the Giants’ leadoff hitter, and owners can ride his hot hand into September.

Also Consider: Oscar Mercado (OF, CLE): 30% Owned, Kevin Pillar (OF, SF): 49% Owned, Avisail Garcia (OF, TB): 17% Owned

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Week 22 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

With September on the horizon, we're officially nearing fantasy baseball's home stretch. Scout your playoff opponents in head-to-head leagues for weak spots and know exactly what categories are close in rotisserie leagues. To help you towards the mountaintop, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 22 -- August 26th through September 1st -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through September 1st.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 22

Prepare yourself for a rookie heavy column this week, as three of the five starters listed here still have rookie eligibility.

But first a quick recap. I managed to have the absolute worst luck in Week 20, as every single pitcher in that column had their starts moved around and as a result had only one start in that week. That being said, Ivan Nova was the clear frontrunner from the bunch after tossing a complete-game shutout against the Astros. As for Week 21, Dakota Hudson is out in front now after throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Brewers with seven strikeouts.

Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at this week's streaming options.

 

Week 22 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Cal Quantrill, SDP - 51% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAD, @ SFG

Quantrill has been riding a hot streak over his last seven games, going 4-2 in that span with a 1.79 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 40 1/3 innings. In his last outing against Cincinnati, Quantrill allowed three runs over six innings while tying his career-high with nine strikeouts.

He'll open up the week at home against the Dodgers, as he faces off against Los Angeles for the second time this year. Earlier this month Quantrill earned the loss after allowing four runs — two earned — with three strikeouts over five innings against the Dodgers. He's likely in for another challenging start, as the Dodgers are averaging 5.5 runs per game and hitting .254 over their last 10 games. Despite that, Quantrill could still be in for decent value as the Dodgers are averaging 9.5 strikeouts over their last 10 games and they are also hitting slightly worse on the road (.252 average, .808 OPS) than at home (.266, .824). After Los Angeles, Quantrill will travel up the California coast to take on the Giants for the third time this season. In his first two starts against San Francisco, Quantrill is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA and eight strikeouts over 9 2/3 innings. That being said, the Giants have also been on a tear on offense as they are averaging 6.1 runs while hitting .281 over their last 10 games, but they are also averaging 8.7 strikeouts per game in that span. And on top of that, the Giants are actually hitting worse at home (.228 average, .658 OPS) than on the road (.255, .763).

This will be a tough week for Quantrill as he faces a couple of high-scoring offenses. He should be able to provide solid strikeout potential however, and if he can keep the Dodgers and Giants' offenses in check he could end up as one of the better streaming options in Week 22.

Dustin May, LAD - 28% owned

Probable opponents: @ SDP, @ ARI

Three starts into his major league career and May has already shown he can be an effective streaming option in fantasy. May is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 17 innings against the Padres, Cardinals and Marlins, but he earned a loss in his last appearance out of the bullpen where he allowed four runs over two innings against the Braves.

May's first start of the week will come against the Padres, against whom he earned his first loss in his first career start after allowing four runs — three earned — over 5 2/3 innings. He should fare better in this rematch though, as the Padres are averaging 3.5 runs and 10.1 strikeouts while hitting .222 over their last 10 games. After San Diego, May will head on the road once again to take on the Diamondbacks for the first time in his career. This has the potential to be another good start for May, as Arizona is averaging 4.3 runs and 7.4 strikeouts over their last 10 games while hitting .219. On top of that, the Diamondbacks are hitting significantly worse against right-handed starters (.248 average, .753 OPS) than against left-handers (.276, .816).

While he has fewer starts under his belt than Quantrill, May could end up outperforming him in Week 22 going up against a pair of weaker offenses. Quantrill has the slight edge on strikeout potential, but May should be the safer bet for ERA.

 

Week 22 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Anthony DeSclafani, CIN - 24% owned

Probable opponents: @ MIA, @ STL

While DeSclafani has been inconsistent in the ERA department this season, he has been providing plenty of strikeout value with a 9.2 K/9 over 128 2/3 innings. He'll start off the week in Miami, as he comes off back-to-back outings allowing just one run over five or more innings against the Pirates and the Cardinals. The Marlins should provide a good matchup for DeSclafani, because despite the fact they are averaging 4.9 runs per game over their last 10 games, Miami is also averaging 9.1 strikeouts in that span and they are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.237 average, .657 OPS) than left-handers (.257, .699). After Miami, DeSclafani will take on the Cardinals for the sixth time this year in what should be another good start for him. Over five starts against St. Louis, DeSclafani is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 26 innings.

Out of the three guys in the "Under 25%" section this week, DeSclafani might be the best of the bunch for Week 22. He's got solid strikeout potential, and with his success against St. Louis this season he might be the safest bet out of the entire column this week.

Sandy Alcantara, MIA - 10% owned

Probable opponents: vs CIN, @ WAS

After a rough stretch of starts in July, Alcantara has settled down and has put together his best month of the season. Over four starts in August, Alcantara has posted a 2.36 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 26 2/3 innings of work against Atlanta, New York and Colorado. He'll start off Week 22 against the Reds, who are averaging 3.4 runs and 9.3 strikeouts per game while hitting .252 over their last 10 games. While Alcantara will likely have a good outing against Cincinnati, it's his start against Washington that will be cause for some concern for owners. Over their last 10 games, the Nationals are averaging an absurd 9.7 runs per game while hitting .331 in that span. Not only that, but Alcantara has already faced them three times this year and has gone 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA against Washington.

Alcantara is this week's "One good start, one bad start" choice. That start against the Reds should be a good fantasy outing for him, but the combination of the Nationals' red-hot offense plus Alcantara's poor performance against them will give owners some pause. If you're willing to risk the hit to your ERA, Alcantara should be a good strikeout potential only choice for Week 22.

Steven Brault, PIT - 6% owned

Probable opponents: @ PHI, @ COL

Despite the recent struggles Pittsburgh has gone through, Brault has been one of the better pitchers in the Pirates' rotation over the last month. Over his last four starts, Brault has posted a 3.52 ERA and 8.2 K/9 over 23 innings despite going 0-2 in that span. He'll start off Week 22 against the Phillies, who have averaged 6.3 runs and 9.8 strikeouts over their last 10 games to go 7-3 in that span. Brault should get a slight benefit from Philadelphia's batting splits though, as the Phillies are hitting slightly worse against left-handed starters than right-handed starters (.244 vs .247) and they are striking out at a slightly higher rate against southpaws (23.5 percent vs 22.5 percent). In his second start of the week, Brault will face a Colorado offense which is averaging 5.3 runs and 7.7 strikeouts over their last 10 games. He should once again benefit from the Rockies splits, as they are hitting worse against left-handed starters than right-handers (.264 vs .270) and striking out at a significantly higher rate against lefties than righties (26.4 percent vs 21.8 percent).

Owners should look for another solid week of value from Brault against the Phillies and the Rockies. DeSclafani still stands out as the best choice from this section, but Brault should absolutely be the second choice from this group, and conveniently he's available in virtually every league.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 22

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 8/26 through 9/2. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 22

Seven Game Weeks: CIN, COL, KC, LAD, MIA, OAK, PIT, SD, SEA, STL

I've bolded and underlined Cincinnati because they have the ultra-special eight-game week this week thanks to a doubleheader.

Stream of the Week

Raimel Tapia (OF, COL): 14% Owned

Scour your waiver wire for Rockies this week, because Colorado has seven home games on the slate. Raimel Tapia is available in far too many leagues considering his matchups and recent performance. Tapia has been crushing it in the second half, hitting .348 with an .829 OPS since the All-Star break. Tapia also, unsurprisingly, performs well at home. Tapia has hit .330 with an .882 OPS in Colorado this season. Tapia has led off for Colorado over the last few days, and if that continues Tapia could get a nice boost in volume and runs scored this week. Even if he hits lower in the order, Tapia is the safest source of batting average available this week.

Behind the Plate

Francisco Mejia (C, SD): 45% Owned

Mejia has also been hitting much better in the second half, with a .311 average and .952 OPS since the break. He’s also hit six of his eight homers since the All-Star break. This recent performance improvement has helped Mejia get more playing time, and he could be in the lineup for four or five games in a seven-game week for San Diego. He’s also been bumped up to fifth in the order, giving Mejia plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. He’s the top catcher to stream this week.

Tucker Barnhart (C/1B, CIN): 15% Owned

Barnhart is a great alternative for owners in need of a catcher and can’t get their hands on Mejia. Barnhart plays a ton for the Reds, having started five of their last six games. Barnhart has been hitting much better as of late as well, with a .314 average and .936 OPS since the All-Star break. He isn’t sexy by any means, but Barnhart should grind out plenty of volume at a weak position this week, especially as the Reds gear up to play eight games.

At the Corners

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, COL): 38% Owned

The Rockies have seven games in Coors Field. That’s seriously all it takes to get excited about Desmond. Even during the twilight of his career Desmond rakes at Coors, hitting .305 with a .917 OPS and .243 ISO at home this season. That may seem a little underwhelming for Coors Field, but unless your league uses wRC+ as a category, Desmond’s relative performance isn’t anything to worry about. Go out and get Desmond for those home games; this is the only time a player like this is useful.

Josh VanMeter (1B/2B/OF, CIN): 15% Owned

You can play VanMeter just about anywhere, which makes him even more appealing in an eight-game week for Cincinnati. VanMeter is getting every day playing time at first base with Joey Votto on the IL, and he’s moved up to second in the Reds’ order recently. He’s taken advantage of increased opportunities as well, since VanMeter is hitting .333 with a .950 OPS since the break. He should provide lots of volume with a decent batting average this week.

Also Consider: Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA): 47% Owned

Up the Middle

Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA): 14% Owned

Middle infield is loaded with great options this week, and there are none better than Austin Nola. Nola has recently been promoted to third in Seattle’s batting order, and that lineup change coincides with a seven game week that includes four games in Texas. If that’s not good enough, consider that the Mariners take on five left-handed starters this week. Granted, it’s been a small sample size, but Nola has pulverized southpaws during his young major league career, hitting .347 with a 1.184 OPS and .408 ISO against lefties this season. Two weeks ago I recommended Aristides Aquino as a newcomer ready to break out with a juicy schedule, and now Aquino is 80% owned. I bring up Aquino because I think Nola could follow a similar path, making Nola not only a great streaming option, but someone you could add for the stretch run before he becomes the hot player to add.

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, CIN): 37% Owned

Cincinnati’s upcoming eight-game week really has me excited about adding their players, so much so that Freddy Galvis is even an interesting pickup. It helps that Galvis is in the midst of a career year, with a .187 ISO and 21 home runs thus far. He’s also homered three times in eight starts for the Reds, including twice over his last three games. Galvis is the position player equivalent to an innings-eater, which makes me think he’ll be in the lineup for seven or eight games this week, giving us nice volume at either second base or shortstop.

Also Consider: Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT): 9% Owned, Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT): 16% Owned, Jose Iglesias (SS, CIN): 5% Owned, Kolten Wong (2B, STL): 18% Owned

In the Outfield

Alex Gordon (OF, KC): 42% Owned

You know what’s better than a seven-game week? A seven-game week against the pitching of Oakland and Baltimore. It may be hard for some to stomach using Gordon this week given his dreadful August (.143 AVG, .385 OPS), but unless you believe his .151 BABIP presents a new norm for Gordon, there isn’t any reason to shy away from him. He still hits near the top of Kansas City’s order, and will face some abominable pitchers this week. This is the perfect time for Gordon to rebound and try to salvage his month.

Manuel Margot (OF, SD): 16% Owned

If you want speed than look no further than Margot. The speedy leadoff man has swiped six bags in the second half while maintaining a high (for him) OPS of .810. Margot has even crushed four homers in August with an OPS of .273. He hits leadoff every day for San Diego and should be a solid contributor in runs scored and steals, along with providing the highly coveted volume we seek when streaming hitters.

Mark Canha (1B/OF, OAK): 9% Owned

Canha has been crushing the ball for Oakland lately, hitting .344 in August with a .937 OPS. He’s been hitting cleanup against lefties, which is great news since Oakland faces three left-handed starters this week. Canha has always been under-appreciated and under-owned in fantasy baseball leagues, but he should be in for a nice week as Oakland undertakes a hefty seven-game slate.

Also Consider: Dexter Fowler (OF, STL): 4% Owned, Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK): 27% Owned, Josh Naylor (OF, SD): 1% Owned

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Week 21 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

We're on the back nine of August, meaning your path to the championship should be getting clear. Target your needs, whether that be wins, quality starts, ratios or strikeouts, and attack them. To assist your quest for gold, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 21 -- August 19th through August 25th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through August 25th.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 21

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 8/19 through 8/25. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 21

Seven Game Weeks: BAL, CHW, COL, DET, HOU, PIT, STL, TB, TEX, WAS

Stream of the Week

Jesus Aguilar (1B, TB): 40% Owned

Aguilar was one of the biggest busts during the first half, but things have quietly picked up for the slugging righty. He hit .298 in July with a .277 ISO, and is hitting .394 thus far in August. The Rays take on four low-quality lefties next week thanks to a three game series with Seattle followed by four in Baltimore. Aguilar will be hitting cleanup for his new club and should provide plenty of punch in the middle of that lineup. He’s the top streaming option at all positions this week.

 

Behind the Plate

Travis d'Arnaud (C/1B, TB): 54% Owned

Travis d’Arnaud’s hot July hasn’t quite carried over to August, but he’s still in a pretty good spot this week. As previously mentioned, the Rays take on four left-handed starters this week, which is great for d’Arnaud, as he’s hit nine of his 13 homers against lefties with a .286 ISO. The Rays have also used d’Arnaud in premium lineup spots against lefties, with him sometimes hitting first or second in the order. That fact coupled with Tampa Bay’s willingness to use him at first base or DH on occasional should ensure tons of volume for d’Arnaud this week.

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU): 44% Owned

It’s too bad that most of Houston’s hitters are universally owned, because the club has an excellent schedule this week. They have four games at home against Detroit, and are fortunate enough to not face Matt Boyd (although, based on his last two starts the tide may be turning for Boyd). The Astros follow that series up with three home games against the Angels, with two of those games coming against weak left-handed pitchers. Chirinos has been much better against lefties this season, with a .279 AVG and .899 OPS. He’s a great option in leagues where d’Arnaud is unavailable.

Also Consider: Kurt Suzuki (C, WSH): 10% Owned

 

At the Corners

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, BAL): 34% Owned

The Orioles have a nice week in front of them, with seven games in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, and at least four coming against left-handed starters. Nunez has pounded lefties this season for an .849 OPS and .258 ISO. He should have plenty of RBI opportunities as the Orioles’ cleanup hitter, making Nunez one of the best power hitters available to stream this week.

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL): 36% Owned

It can be hard to consider Colorado hitters when they have seven road games, but McMahon still has a solid slate ahead of him this week. The Rockies face only one lefty this week, and McMahon has put up respectable numbers against lefties anyway with am .805 OPS and .198 ISO. There likely won’t be a bidding war on McMahon or any Colorado hitters while they hit the road, making McMahon a sneaky player to add this week.

Also Consider: Ian Desmond (1B/OF, COL): 40% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Rougned Odor (2B, TEX): 53% Owned

Odor may be fighting a battle with the Mendoza line, but the slugging second baseman still provides plenty of power with 21 homers and a .228 ISO this season. He also chips in with a little speed, making him a good choice for those looking to boost counting categories while sacrificing some batting average. Owners may be scared off by the four lefties on Texas’ schedule, but Odor has actually been better against lefties this season. He’s hit .273 with an .891 OPS and .264 ISO versus lefties thus far. Those reverse splits shouldn’t make anyone afraid to pick up Odor for this week.

Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT): 18% Owned

Newman has been a dependable source of batting average and moderate speed all season long, and with even platoon splits and every day playing time, it’s the perfect week to deploy him. The Pirates have seven home games against Washington and Cincinnati, and Newman should be in line for plenty of volume this week. He’s not flashy or high-upside like Odor, but he’ll put up numbers in a few forgotten categories for owners in need.

Also Consider: Willy Adames (SS, TB): 17% Owned, Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT): 9% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Adam Eaton (OF, WSH): 50% Owned

Apparently, it’s the week of reverse splits, as we’re looking at Eaton despite four lefties on the slate for Washington. Eaton has been essentially equal against both righties and lefties this season, putting forth solid, if unexciting production against both. Eaton hits second for Washington every day between Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon, and there aren’t many better places to be in a seven-game week. He’s a good hitter to balance with someone like Rougned Odor, as Eaton provides stability and batting average, while Odor provides power and speed at a cost.

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL): 29% Owned

I love the Orioles’ schedule this week, but unfortunately they don’t have many quality hitters for us to capitalize on their juicy seven-game home slate. Santander is one of their few quality hitters that is widely available, and the switching-hitter outfielder is a great option for batting average and run production this week. With his .297 AVG and 17.8% strikeout rate, we’re getting a solid floor from Santander. We also get a nice ceiling, as Santander has a .925 OPS and .203 ISO at home this season. Owners should be looking to add him where Eaton isn’t available.

Also Consider: Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX): 10% Owned, Dexter Fowler (OF, STL): 2% Owned, Josh Reddick (OF, HOU): 10% Owned, Raimel Tapia (OF, COL): 10% Owned

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 21

We're getting closer and closer to the fantasy playoffs. That means these two-start streamers will be in high demand now more than ever, and owners will need to take care with who they choose.

All that out of the way, Week 19 was a big whiff. I already mentioned last week that two of the guys from the Week 19 column went on the IL shortly after publication. Well as it turns out Daniel Norris was the only pitcher that week to make both of his starts, and, well...it wasn't great. Out of the one-start pitchers that week, Dylan Cease was the best choice after allowing two runs over five innings with six strikeouts to get the win over Detroit. As for Week 20 we already have a couple of strong front-runners. Dillon Peters earned the win in a quality start against Pittsburgh, allowing two runs over six innings with six strikeouts. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova earned a complete-game win over Houston, allowing one unearned run on four hits with three strikeouts.

As the wise warthog Pumbaa once said, "You've got to put your behind in your past." Let's move on from last week and take a look at who to stream in Week 21.

 

Week 21 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Marco Gonzales, SEA - 49% owned

Probable opponents: @ TBR, vs TOR

This isn't Gonzales' first time on this list, which makes sense as he's been arguably one of the top streaming options in fantasy this season. He has recorded a quality start in five of his last seven outings, while posting a 3-3 record and 3.97 ERA in that span. In his last time out, Gonzales took the loss despite allowing three runs over six innings with six strikeouts.

He'll open up the week with a rematch against Tampa Bay after tying his season-high with nine strikeouts against the Rays earlier this month while allowing just two runs over 6 1/3 innings. Gonzales should be in line for a similar performance in Week 21, as the Rays are averaging 4.0 runs and 7.7 strikeouts over their last 10 games while hitting .239. After traveling to Tampa Bay, Gonzales will return home to take on the Blue Jays for what will likely be a more challenging start. Toronto is averaging 6.1 runs over their last 10 games while hitting .253, but they are also averaging 10.0 strikeouts per game in that span. Add on the fact that the Blue Jays are striking out at a higher rate against left-handed starters (26.7 percent) than against right-handers (23.2 percent), and Gonzales could still have decent value against Toronto.

It's the classic conundrum of one good start against one iffy start for Gonzales this week. Gonzales has been a solid starter throughout the season, but he has had some rough outings sprinkled throughout and Toronto has the potential to be a rough start. All that being said, I'm still putting my money on Gonzales to do well this week and he should be one of the top streamers to target.

Zach Davies, MIL - 29% owned

Probable opponents: @ STL, vs ARI

Davies makes his return to the Brewers rotation after a stint on the Injured List and will be in line for a two-start week for Milwaukee. While he struggled in his last three outings before going on the IL to the tune of an 11.77 ERA over 13 innings, prior to that Davies was 8-2 with a 2.79 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 109 2/3 innings.

Starting off Week 21, Davies will head on the road to take on the Cardinals, who are averaging 4.4 runs and 9.1 strikeouts over their last 10 games while hitting .245 in that span. The matchup looks even better when you realize that 24 of the 44 runs the Cardinals have scored over their last 10 games all came in just two games. Davies has also already faced the Cardinals in St. Louis once this year, although owners will hope he does better than his prior performance in which he allowed two runs with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings. In his second start of the week, Davies will return to Milwaukee to face the Diamondbacks, who have averaged 5.2 runs and hit .268 over their last 10 games while going 5-5 in that span. Like with St. Louis, Davies has already faced Arizona once this year, allowing just one run over seven innings to earn his eighth win of the year. Davies should also get a boost in value as the Diamondbacks have hit worse against right-handed starters (.251 average, .761 OPS) than against lefties (.277, . 815).

Davies isn't a high-strikeout pitcher, but he should provide a boost to any team in ERA and wins. Gonzales should be the first pitcher to target from this section, but Davies will be a solid second-choice for owners who miss out on Gonzales.

 

Week 21 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Dakota Hudson, STL - 26% owned

Probable opponents: vs MIL, vs COL

After a rough three-start stretch, Hudson bounced back in his last outing to earn the win and the quality start over the Royals as he struck out four batters over six scoreless innings. Hudson has recorded quality starts in three of his last seven outings with 29 strikeouts in 35 innings, and he'll look to continue that production in his first matchup against Milwaukee since April. Despite allowing nine earned runs in two starts against the Brewers this year, it should be a solid matchup for Hudson as Milwaukee is currently averaging 4.4 runs and 9.9 strikeouts over their last 10 games. Hudson will then have a near identical matchup in his second outing against Colorado, as the Rockies are averaging 4.5 runs and 7.9 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Both of these starts will come at home, which should be a boost for Hudson as he has better numbers in St. Louis (3.60 ERA, 1.517 WHIP) than on the road (4.01, 1.589). Hudson has at least five strikeouts in five of his last eight starts, and owners should expect solid fantasy value out of him this week as one of the safer options in the "Under 25%" group.

Kyle Freeland, COL - 16% owned

Probable opponents: vs CIN, vs MIL

It seems that there's always one guy who shows up on this list for strikeout potential and strikeout potential alone, and this week it's Freeland. In three of his last six starts Freeland has recorded at least five strikeouts, and over he has 14 strikeouts over his last 17 innings of work. He'll start off the week against the Reds, who are averaging 5.1 runs over their last 10 games but are also averaging 7.8 strikeouts in that span. Freeland will then face off against Milwaukee, who as we mentioned before are averaging nearly 10 strikeouts a game over their last 10 games.

Like I said, if you're looking at Freeland this week you're looking for only strikeouts from him. He's pitching at home for both starts, and with the way the Reds' offense is going, Freeland will likely have a bloated ERA. But if you're willing to punt ERA this week, Freeland should be a good option if everyone else on this list has already been claimed.

Kolby Allard, TEX - 3% owned

Probable opponents: vs LAA, @ CHW

OK, I know he's only made two starts this year, but I have a good feeling about Allard this week. Allard was racking up the strikeouts with an 8.3 K/9 in Triple-A, and he has 12 strikeouts over his first 10 innings of the season. He'll start off the week against the Angels, who have averaged 5.1 runs over their last 10 games. While that may be cause for hesitation with a rookie pitcher on the mound, the Angels have also averaged 10.0 strikeouts per game in that span, plus they are hitting worse against left-handed starters (.238 average, .747 OPS) than against right-handers (.259, .769). In his second start of the week, Allard will take on the White Sox, who are averaging 5.0 runs over their last 10 games but are also striking out at a high clip with 8.3 strikeouts per game in that span.

This is a high-risk, high-reward player. Allard will be making career starts No. 4 and 5 this week, and he has never face the Angels or the White Sox before. Both teams have been putting up high-scoring performances over the last two weeks, but I believe that Allard will be the best guy to choose in the "Under 25%" group, and he has a real shot at being the best pick of the entire column.

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Week 20 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

You better not be tiring yet, August means we're nearing those pennant weeks. Make sure you stay aware of your weekly inning minimums and seasonal inning maximums. To usher you towards the championship, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 20 -- August 12th through August 18th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through August 4th.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 20

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

We’re turning towards home for fantasy baseball season. While some league counterparts may be multi-tasking with pigskin prep, it’s time for savvy owners to stay juiced on the diamond! By now, team turnover should be commonplace and most managers have waved goodbye to busted high-round assets. During the dog days, keenness on the waiver could result in celebratory pay days in October.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

J.D. Davis (NYM, 3B/OF)

44% Owned

If J.D. Davis isn’t owned in your league, he will be in the next day or so. Davis has been phenomenal against both righties and lefties, sporting a combined .381 wOBA with a .417 since the ASB. His BABIP isn’t overly high and he’s hitting the ball hard 46% of the time, so his peripherals line up. He’s leading the Mets charge to a playoff berth and is worth an add in any league.

 

Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE)

39% Owned

It's been another solid week for Jason Kipnis, hitting .360 with two home runs, nine RBI, and a stolen base. This Indians offense keeps on rolling and Kipnis is slotted in the heart of it against both lefties and righties. On the season, Kipnis is up to a .338 wOBA on the season with 26 XBH and five stolen bases. The Indians have a friendly schedule coming up and runs will be plentiful. Kipnis was one of the more popular adds last week, so make sure to act swiftly if you need help at second base.

 

Dustin May (SP, LAD)

45% Owned

Dustin May has made two starts so far, and has looked awesome. He has given up a few runs, but if you've watched him pitch, you can tell that he's on a different level than a normal prospect. The only reason he has struggled is a .570 BABIP vs righties. Just ignore that. He's striking out eight batters per nine innings and has walked just one batter through two starts. May is still available in 55% of league's and may the playoff push you need at pitcher.

 

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR)

8% Owned

Teoscar Hernandez had a big week, hitting for a .318 average with three home runs and seven RBI. Hernandez is now up to 18 home runs and 46 RBI with four stolen bases thrown in there for fun. Hernandez is playing every night in the outfield and while he strikes out a ton, his contact rate is up over the last month and he's finally striking out under 30% of the time. The Blue Jays have an extremely friendly schedule coming up for hitters against teams like the Red Sox, Orioles, and Rays. Hernandez isn't the safest option in a points league, but he's on fire and could help you get into the playoffs if you're needing some power.

 

Mark Melancon (RP, ATL)

29% Owned

Melancon is one of the easier adds of the week, as the closer for the Braves (for now). Shane Greene hasn't worked out and Melancon is the closer until further notice. With the fantasy playoffs coming, saves are always a very valuable asset and the Braves are one of the better teams in the NL. Melancon isn't a dominant reliever anymore, but he's posted a combined .321 wOBA and still strikes out a healthy amount. If you're in need of saves, Melancon is the guy to pick up.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 20

Oof. Big oof. That was my reaction after finding out that shortly after publishing last week's column, both Michael Pineda AND Griffin Canning ended up on the Injured List. Then add on to that the fact Jordan Yamamoto's start got pushed back, and...yeah I whiffed on last week's column. My bad guys.

Wrapping up Week 17's list, Reynaldo Lopez was the top choice to go with as he finished 1-0 with five runs allowed over 10 2/3 innings while striking out nine. And taking a look at the two guys from Week 18 still on track to make two starts, Dylan Cease is out in front after allowing two runs over five innings while striking out six en route to his second career win.

Well here's hoping half of this week's list doesn't end up on the IL as well.

 

Week 20 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Zac Gallen, ARI - 54% owned

Probable opponents: @ COL, vs SFG

I know he's technically over the 50% threshold, but Gallen has been dominating teams over his last five starts, as he has posted a 1.53 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 29 1/3 innings. In his Arizona debut on Wednesday, Gallen allowed one hit and three walks over five scoreless innings while striking out six against the Phillies.

He'll open up Week 20 on the road against the Rockies, who have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games while averaging 4.4 runs and 6.8 strikeouts per game in that span. This start could prove somewhat problematic for Gallen, as the Rockies hit significantly better at home (.307 average, .894 OPS) than on the road (.230, 674). But even with those splits, Gallen has shown success shutting down top offenses in Minnesota and Los Angeles, where he held the Twins and Dodgers to a combined four runs — three earned — over 12 1/3 innings, so playing the struggling Rockies should be much of a challenge. After Colorado, Gallen returns home to Arizona where he will face the Giants, who are hitting even worse than the Rockies. Over their last 10 games, San Francisco is averaging 3.0 runs and 8.1 strikeouts per game while posting a 3-7 record in that span.

Despite the potential difficulty of playing the Rockies at Colorado, this week seems to be a relatively easy slate of starts for the rookie. Gallen is riding a hot streak right now, and owners should jump on the bandwagon and target him first and foremost out of this week's column.

Brendan McKay, TBR - 39% owned

Probable opponents: @ SDP, vs DET

Another rookie with a good schedule this week, McKay has taken a hit to this ERA over the past couple weeks but he's continuing to post high strikeout numbers. He has seen his ERA jump from 1.69 to 4.55 over his last three starts, but he has posted four straight outings with at least five strikeouts and he has thrown at least seven strikeouts in three of his last four starts.

Starting off the week in San Diego, McKay will face a Padres offense that is averaging 5.7 runs and 10.0 strikeouts over their last 10 games. While the Padres may be one of the highest-scoring offenses over the last two weeks, McKay will benefit from San Diego's batting splits as they are hitting worse at home (.234 average, .715 OPS) than on the road (.255, .766) and they are hitting worse against left-handed starters (.229, .707) than against right-handers (.249, .750). After San Diego, McKay will return to Tampa Bay to take on the Tigers who have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games while averaging 5.0 runs and 8.0 strikeouts over that span. That scoring average though is quite inflated from the Tigers wins in this span, as they scored 29 of their 50 runs in those three victories.

McKay is the guy to go after from this week's column if you're looking for strikeout potential. As mentioned before, McKay's ERA has climbed over his last few starts, and he'll be facing a couple of offenses that are upping their scoring output over the last few weeks. If you're willing to risk a potential hit to your ERA, McKay should be your first pick out of this column.

 

Week 20 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Ivan Nova, CHW - 17% owned

Probable opponents: vs HOU, @ LAA

After a rough start to the season, Nova has been pitching significantly better over the last two months. Over his last seven starts Nova is 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA and three quality starts while striking out 24 in 44 1/3 innings. Nova will start Week 20 against the Astros, who are averaging 7.4 runs and 7.3 strikeouts over their last 10 games. It's definitely an outing for owners to be wary of, but Nova will have a slight benefit from Houston's splits, as they are hitting worse against right-handed starters (.265 average, .815 OPS) than against left-handers (.292, .876) and they are hitting worse on the road (.266, .818) than at home (.279, .846). Things will look much better in his second start against the Angels, as they are averaging 2.9 runs and 9.7 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Nova isn't a strikeout machine, and owners shouldn't expect much help in that category this week. What Nova should be able to provide a boost to in Week 20 are wins and ERA, and in leagues that count it he could provide at least one quality start. He's not going to single-handedly win the week for you, but he should provide solid help that could push your team over the edge.

Joe Ross, WAS - 2% owned

Probable opponents: vs CIN, vs MIL

Since making the move from the bullpen to the rotation, Ross has been a fairly effective starter. Over four starts, Ross is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings against the Braves, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Giants. He'll start off Week 20 against the Reds, who have heated up at the plate recently and are averaging 5.5 runs and 7.8 strikeouts over their last 10 games. Ross should benefit slightly from the Reds' splits, as they are hitting 25 points lower against right-handed starters and 17 points lower on the road. After Cincinnati, Ross will take on the Brewers, who are averaging 3.9 runs and 10.0 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Ross' value this week is similar to Nova's, in that he won't win the week for you all by himself, but he can provide a solid boost to a strong team. Both of their matchups this week are relatively similar in difficulty and potential, but owners should try to grab Nova before looking at Ross.

Dillon Peters, LAA - 2% owned

Probable opponents: vs PIT, vs CHW

Peters is essentially the American League version of Ross this week. Since making the move from the bullpen to the rotation, Peters has been pitching well with a 3.18 ERA and 19 strikeouts over his last 22 2/3 innings. He'll take on the Pirates first in Week 20, who despite posting a 2-8 record in their last 10 games are averaging 5.3 runs and 7.1 strikeouts in that span. Pittsburgh though is hitting significantly worse this year against left-handed starters (.249 average, .690 OPS) than against right-handers (.270, .766), which should give a boost to Peters' value. His next start will come against the White Sox, who have averaged 4.6 runs and 11.3 strikeouts over their last 10 games. Between the two starts, it will likely be his outing against Chicago that provides the most value for Peters.

While I previously compared Ross' value to Nova, Peters will likely be at almost the exact same level of value as Ross this week. If owners are looking at either Peters or Ross, it will truly boil down to a coin toss as to who you should target first. That being said, my money is on Ross for Week 20.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 20

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 8/12 through 8/18. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 20

Seven Game Weeks: ARI,  BAL, CWS, CIN, CLE, HOU, LAA, NYY, TEX

It's something of a light week as far as seven-game weeks go, however, the Yankees are underlined because they have the mythical eight-game week this week thanks to a doubleheader. While most players won't play in all eight games, the extra game makes their hitters even more attractive for the upcoming week.

 

Stream of the Week

Gio Urshela (3B/SS, NYY): 53% Owned

Urshela is the hottest player in baseball right now, having crushed five homers over his last three games. Chances are his 53% ownership rate is about to skyrocket, so it’s best to preemptively add Urshela if possible. The Yankees have an eight-game week ahead, and with all their injuries Urshela should be good for seven or perhaps even eight of those games. Both of those factors make Urshela the perfect stream of the week.

 

Behind the Plate

Robinson Chirinos (C, HOU): 47% Owned

Houston has a full slate next week, and it’s a full slate of mediocre to bad pitching. They start off with three games at the White Sox and finish with four in Oakland. The Astros only face two lefties next week, but they are Ross Detweiler and Brett Anderson, two pitchers Chirinos could really take to task. Look for four to five starts from Chirinos, with two against those poor lefties. He is the top catcher to stream this week.

Roberto Perez (C, CLE): 28% Owned

The Indians have a seven-game week against Boston and the Yankees, and they take on at least three lefties this week. That’s great for Perez, who has a .865 OPS and .269 ISO against lefties this season. Perez gives us some cheap power behind the plate for those in need and can’t get their hands on Chirinos.

Also Consider: Carson Kelly (C, ARI): 17% Owned, Austin Romine (C, NYY): 8% Owned

 

At the Corners

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, BAL): 46% Owned

The Orioles have a seven-game week ahead, with at least three games against left-handed pitching. Nunez crushes lefties, with a .847 OPS and .279 ISO versus left-handed pitchers this season. With four games in Yankee Stadium and three in Fenway Park, owners shouldn’t be worried about Nunez getting away from Camden Yards this week either. He should be a solid source of power this week.

Christian Walker (1B, ARI): 32% Owned

Walker’s production has picked up as of late, with a .911 OPS in July and .912 OPS in August thus far. He’s in a great position this week, as the Diamondbacks start off with three games in Colorado followed by four games at home against San Francisco. Walker still has eye-popping Statcast numbers, highlighted by a 14.5% barrel rate and 91.6 MPH average exit velocity, suggesting he is capable of sustaining solid production even if his overall numbers have dipped. Hopefully, he makes a big impact in the three games at Coors Field, but with seven total games against weak pitching, Walker should have plenty of chances to produce.

Also Consider: Mike Ford (1B, NYY): 0% Owned

 

Up the Middle

David Fletcher (2B/3B/SS/OF, LAA): 38% Owned

Fletcher is in a prime position this week, as he’s hitting leadoff ahead of Mike Trout in a seven-game week. The Angels face all righties this week, which works out well for Fletcher, who has pronounced platoon splits. He is hitting .301 with a .760 OPS against right-handed pitching this season. His 9.2% strikeout rate and 25% line drive rate means he’ll have tons of high quality balls in play this week. That golden combination has given him a .292 xBA, which is near the top of the league. Fletcher should be a good source of batting average and runs this week.

Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI): 7% Owned

Unfortunately for Ahmed, Arizona only takes on two lefties this week. They are poor quality lefties in Kyle Freeland and Conner Menez, which should help us feel more comfortable with Ahmed. He also gets three games at Coors Field, which will help boost production. Ahmed is a fine alternative to Fletcher if Fletcher is unavailable.

Also Consider: Leury Garcia (SS/OF, CWS): 24% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Mike Tauchman (OF, NYY): 51% Owned

Tauchman is another Yankee that will benefit from the team’s eight-game week. He’s been on fire since the break, hitting .413 with six home runs in the second half. The Yankees only have one game against a left-handed starter this week as well, which in theory is good for Tauchman, although Tauchman has hit .480 against lefties this season. Like with Urshela, Tauchman’s ownership could skyrocket over the next few days, so owners definitely try and add him before it’s too late.

Oscar Mercado (OF, CLE): 48% Owned

Mercado’s place in the two-hole got a whole lot sweeter after the trade deadline, as Cleveland added some serious beef to the middle of their lineup with Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes. Mercado has been on fire in the second half, with a .852 OPS and .227 ISO since the break. A solid five-category contributor, owners should be happy to add Mercado where available. He’s a great play for both volume and quantity in a seven-game week for Cleveland.

Also Consider: Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA): 30% Owned, Brett Gardner (OF, NYY): 21% Owned, Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX): 9% Owned

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Week 19 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

August brings fantasy baseball's marathon miles to the forefront. Don't wait until September's sprint to the finish to create a path to the podium. Monitor your innings and make those pitching decisions count. To help your quest for glory, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 19 -- August 5th through August 11th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through August 4th.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers: Week 18

The trade deadline has come and gone, and while there weren't as many big name starting pitchers on the move this year outside of Zack Greinke, not one but two of the pitchers from last week's column found new homes. So apologies to those of you who grabbed Tanner Roark and Mike Leake for Week 17.

Speaking of Week 17, the results from the first starts of that week's bunch haven't been very impressive. Reynaldo Lopez is leading the way though after allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts against the Mets. As for Week 16, Chase Anderson ended up the top man of that group after allowing four runs over 10 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts against the Reds and Cubs.

Well now that all of the deadline craziness is over with, lets take a look at who to stream in Week 18.

 

Week 18 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Michael Pineda, MIN - 55% owned

Probable opponents: vs ATL, vs CLE

Pineda got off to a rough start this season, but he has settled down considerably and has been one of the better starters in the league over the past two months. Despite owning a 4.15 ERA for the year, Pineda has posted a 2.95 ERA over his last 10 starts while striking out 53 in 58 innings of work. He's been doing even better over his last five outings, posting a 2.37 ERA over 30 1/3 innings while averaging nearly six strikeouts per start.

Both of Pineda's starts this week will come at home, which should provide a small boost to his value as he has posted a lower ERA at home (4.07) than on the road (4.24). He'll start off the week against the red-hot Braves, who are averaging 6.2 runs and 9.8 strikeouts per game while hitting .284 over their last 10 games. But the odds won't be completely stacked against Pineda, as the Braves are hitting slightly worse against right-handed starters (.262 average, .793 OPS) than against lefties (.268, .809) and they are hitting worse on the road (.253, .759) than at home (.275, .838). Pineda will then face another team on a hot streak in Cleveland, who are averaging 5.1 runs and 7.7 strikeouts while hitting .262 over their last 10 games. In one start against Cleveland this year, Pineda threw four shutout innings with five strikeouts, and much like the Braves, the Indians are hitting worse against righties (.241, .714) than against lefties (.264, .822).

It's a tough slate of games this week, but Pineda has shown over the last two months he can be a successful fantasy option. Despite the tough opponents, Pineda should still be in line for another solid week and should be one of the better streaming options to add.

Jordan Yamamoto, MIA - 43% owned

Probable opponents: @ NYM, vs ATL

Yamamoto has been one of the better rookie starters this season, posting a 4-2 record and 3.94 ERA with 49 strikeouts across 48 innings of work. He was roughed up by the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to the tune of 11 runs in eight innings, but he showed significant improvement in his last start against Minnesota where he allowed just four runs over six innings with a career-high eight strikeouts.

The Mets provide an interesting first start for Yamamoto, as they enter the matchup 8-2 over their last 10 games while averaging 4.5 runs and 7.4 strikeouts per game. This could be a perfect storm of splits for Yamamoto, as he has pitched better on the road (2.86 ERA, 0.955 WHIP, 10.2 K/9) than at home (4.85, 1.115, 8.3) and the Mets have struggled more against right-handed starters (.248 average, .741 OPS) than against left-handers (.261, .781). And then after New York, Yamamoto will return to Miami to face the Braves. He'll get the same benefits that Pineda will have against Atlanta, and on top of that Yamamoto has already faced the Braves once this year and shown success against them. Last month he threw six scoreless innings against Atlanta, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Looking at Pineda and Yamamoto, they both look like they're set to have solid fantasy value in Week 18. Owners might want to go with Yamamoto over Pineda just because of the better matchup against the Mets than against the Indians, but it is unlikely you'll be disappointed with either one.

Week 18 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Griffin Canning, LAA - 26% owned

Probable opponents: @ CIN, @ BOS

I'm going to be completely upfront on Canning — pick him up if you're looking for a strikeout boost and you're willing to risk a hit to ERA. He's struggled over the last month — allowing 16 runs in 17 2/3 innings — but he has been consistent with the strikeouts, as he has recorded six or more strikeouts in five of his last seven starts. He'll start off the week against the Reds, who are averaging 7.8 strikeouts over their last 10 games and are hitting 23 points worse against right-handed starters than left-handers this season. After that, he'll head to Boston to take on the Red Sox, who are averaging 9.6 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Like I said before, Canning is a strikeout-upside only pick that you are hoping won't completely kill your ERA. Both the Reds and Red Sox are averaging over five runs per game over their last 10 games, and while Canning did throw six scoreless innings his last time out, it was against the Detroit Tigers. If you're just trying to win strikeouts this week, Canning is your guy.

Dylan Cease, CHW - 14% owned

Probable opponents: @ DET, vs OAK

The highly-touted White Sox pitching prospect has had some growing pains in his first taste of the majors, posting a 1-4 record and 6.43 ERA over 28 innings of work. That being said, this week could be a good bounceback week for the rookie, and it could end up being his best fantasy week of the season. He'll start things off in Detroit, as he looks to repeat his performance from his first career start in which he allowed three runs over five innings while striking out six against the Tigers. The Tigers are hitting .206 over their last 10 games, while averaging 3.0 runs and 10.2 strikeouts per game in that span. Those numbers are very similar to what Cease can expect in the following start against Oakland, as the Athletics are hitting .187 and averaging 3.3 runs and 9.0 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Cease is a lottery pick in Week 18 — you're hoping that he can capitalize on a pair of starts against struggling offenses. The talent is definitely there, and this could be the best week to start him through the rest of the year. Out of the three guys in the "Under 25% Owned" group, my money is on Cease for this week.

Daniel Norris, DET - 3% owned

Probable opponents: vs CHW, vs KCR

Norris' value this week is very similar to Cease, as they have both struggled recently and they will have a pair of relatively easy matchups in Week 18. After posting a 1.76 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 over his last three starts, Norris will open up the week against the White Sox, who are averaging 2.0 runs and 10.7 strikeouts while hitting .198 over their last 10 games. This will be Norris' fourth outing against Chicago this year, as he looks to repeat the success from his first two outings where he limited the White Sox to four runs over 10 innings as opposed to his last start in which he gave up six runs over five innings. Then in his second start of the week, he'll take on the Royals for the third time this year after holding the Royals to just two runs over five innings with six strikeouts in his last start against them. Like the White Sox, the Royals have also struggled as of late, hitting .235 while averaging 3.9 runs and 8.1 strikeouts over their last 10 games.

Looking at that data, you can see how Norris is very similar in value this week to Cease. Norris has had a couple rough starts against Chicago and Kansas City earlier in the year, which is why the edge goes to Cease this week. But if you're in need of a starter and Cease is already gone, Norris should be a solid second choice in Week 18.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 19

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

We’ve hurdled the Midsummer Classic and turning towards home for fantasy baseball season. While some league counterparts may be multi-tasking with pigskin prep, it’s time for savvy owners to stay juiced on the diamond! By now, team turnover should be commonplace and most managers have waved goodbye to busted high-round assets. During the dog days, keenness on the waiver could result in celebratory pay days in October.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Josh VanMeter (2B/3B/OF, CIN)

40% Owned

Since being recalled on July 18, Josh VanMeter has mashed to the tune of a .417/.500/.833 slash and seven extra-base hits (four homers). The 24-year-old rookie has found himself in the heart of the Reds lineup and represents a versatile fantasy piece down the stretch.

VanMeter’s primary asset throughout his seven-year minor league career was plate discipline. He’s ported that skillset successfully through 91 big league plate appearances with a 0.63 BB/K. With a .370 BABIP, the current tear is unsustainable, but VanMeter has developed his power over the last couple years cranking 25 homers in the minors over his last 573 plate appearances. While the average could tick down, the .221 ISO appears fine. It’s common for unsung youngsters to contribute this time of year, VanMeter is looking the part.

 

Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA)

7% Owned

In a similar vein, Austin Nola is another rookie screaming for attention. Except he’s not young, entering his first big league season at 29. Nola hasn’t stopped raking since his call-up with a 1.035 OPS and 11 extra-base hits with 25 runs-plus-RBI in 80 plate appearances.

The knock on Nola is the prevailing 0.21 BB/K, so swinging and missing is his thing. However, he did show walking chops in the minors so the eye could become keener as he acclimates. Fortunately for Nola, he’ll get ample run with the Mariners in the dumps, so he’ll get an opportunity to show his worth. Nola’s profile shows an imminent precipitous decline, but he could serve as a short-term rental until he cools off. At the current rate of production and ownership levels, long-term durability is less relevant.

 

Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL)

31% Owned

Ender Inciarte got off to a slow start after returning with a back injury but is hitting .409 over his last six games with six of nine knocks going for extra bases. With a headline slash of .229/.315/.369, Inciarte’s history of productivity is being masked by the extended absence and poor production.

If he’s fully healthy, Inciarte has a chance to return to being a stolen base machine (50 bags between 2017-18) that can rack up counting stats to support a fantasy roster spot. Inciarte’s role hasn’t been fully defined in Atlanta since returning and his batted-ball profile is a risk, but he might earn more playing time with the recent hot streak. Still just 28 years old and an elite defender, Inciarte’s currently cheap valuation is trending up.

 

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, TOR)

6% Owned

After a miserable first half, Teoscar Hernandez rounded into form in July with eight long balls and a 1.008 OPS. Hernandez created buzz last season with 22 dingers and his present irrelevance is a significant opportunity to buy low.

Contact has always been an issue for Hernandez, but we’ve witnessed baby steps as he’s lowered his strikeout rate to 30% (still terrible) and upping the walks to 9%. The tough luck he’s suffered this year still has room to reverse from a .268 BABIP to last year’s .313. For a guy with contact issues, the gap is material. Intangibly, the recent surge for the Blue Jays could motivate Hernandez to step up his game. With the youth movement underway, it’s time for the 26-year-old to emerge as an elder statesman.

 

Asher Wojciechowski (SP, BAL)

26% Owned

A personal challenge in this next segment will be ensuring Asher Wojciechowski’s name is spelled correctly. There’s one down. At the ripe age of 30, Wojciechowski is making his first major league impact with a 4.15 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 31 percent strikeout rate. Excluding his latest start derailed by a hip injury, Wojciechowski had posted a respectable 3.60 ERA in 30 innings.

Through his 10-year career, Wojciechowski’s only significant MLB stint came in 2017 as a reliever. He’s been a classic journeyman on his seventh team. However, the recent resume has been powered by the development of a cutter to supplement his modest fastball and slider. Swinging strike rates have spiked to 14%. While the FIP could scare folks away (4.55), Wojciechowski has carried a higher FIP than ERA for most of his career. Assuming the bum hip isn’t serious, Wojciechowski is worth a spin for the durable strikeout upside.

 

Freddy Peralta (SP/RP, MIL)

11% Owned

As a converted reliever, the argument for Freddy Peralta is efficient strikeout value. A former starter that was pummeled due to his one-dimensional repertoire, Peralta has succeeded as a long-reliever called upon to soak up innings.

Before a slight stumble in his last two appearances, Peralta had fired five straight scoreless outings. Since his last meltdown start on June 11, Peralta has flourished with a 2.70 ERA from the bullpen with a 12.0 K/9. With an elite fastball and strikeout rate, Peralta’s skillset meshes perfectly as a career reliever. Finally used that way, he can anchor a roster without eating innings.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 19

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 8/5 through 8/11. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 19

Seven Game Weeks: ATL, BOS, CHC, CWS, CLE, DET, KC, MIA, MIN, NYM, NYY, PHI, SF, TOR

Detroit and Miami both have the mythical eight-game week this week due to doubleheaders, which is why both clubs are underlined. While these teams don't have the most appealing lineups, their players are in a good position to produce this week and are widely available.

 

Stream of the Week

Adam Duvall (OF, ATL): 35% Owned

Duvall is back with a vengeance, hitting .500 with four home runs in 26 PA thus far. He was crushing the ball at Triple-A as well, with 29 home runs and a .323 ISO in 398 PA. The powerful veteran has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but he’s got the profile to thrive in the juiced ball era. The Braves have a seven-game slate this week with relatively weak pitching, as they have three games in Minnesota and four in Miami. Owners should be looking to scoop up Duvall for short-term power wherever available.

 

Behind the Plate

Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA): 24% Owned

Alfaro may have a nauseating 11.333 K/BB ratio, but the Marlins’ catcher also benefits from the team’s eight-game week around the corner. Of course, Alfaro won’t play all eight games, but he should play five or six games, giving him great volume for a catcher. With his 91 MPH average exit velocity, Alfaro can put a little thump in the ball when he makes contact. He’s one of the best options out there for those in need of a catcher.

Roberto Perez (C, CLE): 18% Owned

Perez has experienced a power breakout this season, yet is owned in fewer than 20% of Yahoo leagues. The Indians take on six righties this week, which is great news for Perez, as he has 12 home runs and a .241 ISO against right-handed pitching this season. Between three games against Texas and four in Minnesota, it’s a neutral pitching slate, but Perez is more of a volume play this week. He should get plenty of chances to produce with the Indians upcoming slate.

 

At the Corners

Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET): 34% Owned

Cabrera has been pretty quiet this season and looks to be headed towards the twilight of his career. That being said, the future Hall-of-Famer is in a great spot, as the Tigers have a loaded eight-game schedule. It’s a pretty weak pitching slate as well, especially towards the second half of the week, when the Tigers take on a string of bad pitchers. Poor lefties like Ross Detweiler, Danny Duffy, and Mike Montgomery make up the latter part of Detroit’s week, which is perfect for Cabrera. Miggy can still punish southpaws, with a .310 AVG and .888 ISO against left-handed pitchers this season. He’s an under-the-radar streaming option at first base this week.

Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA): 12% Owned

Anderson has a career-high .193 ISO, and has already set his career-high in home runs with 16. He’s in a great spot since the Marlins play eight games, and a young, versatile player like Anderson should be in the lineup for most of these games. He also hits second most days for the Marlins, which should boost his volume even higher. Anderson is perhaps the best option at the hot corner this week.

Also Consider: Gio Urshela (3B/SS, NYY): 27% Owned, Brandon Dixon (1B/OF, DET): 1% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, DET): 26% Owned

Goodrum is eligible at every position and plays eight games this week, so what’s not to love? The versatile young infielder has been all over the place production-wise, but he’s proven to have a good amount of power and speed with 10 homers and 12 steals on the year. He also hits second every day for the Tigers, so Goodrum should rack up volume while also being a plug-and-play option across multiple positions in daily lineup leagues.

Luis Arraez (2B, MIN): 5% Owned

Arraez has been on fire since his promotion, hitting .357 with 1.38 BB/K ratio in 160 PA. He’s fallen under-the-radar in a loaded Twins lineup, but Arraez has plenty to offer in a seven-game week. The opposing pitching is relatively strong, as the Twins take on the Braves and Indians, but you will be hard-pressed to find a better source of batting average than Arraez this week.

Also Consider: Scott Kingery (3B/SS/OF, PHI): 45% Owned, Leury Garcia (SS/OF, 18% Owned), Miguel Rojas (1B/2B/3B/SS, MIA): 7%

 

In the Outfield

Jason Heyward (OF, CHC): 29% Owned

Heyward has kicked off his second half with a bang, hitting .338 with a .835 OPS thus far. He’s also been promoted to the leadoff spot for Chicago, and that lineup spot just got even better with the recent acquisition of Nicholas Castellanos, who hit second in his first game with the Cubs. The Cubs have a seven-game week, starting with three games at home against the Athletics followed by four games in Cincinnati. Heyward is going to be a great source of average and runs in the upcoming week.

Corey Dickerson (OF, PHI): 24% Owned

Dickerson was recently acquired by the Phillies and will be playing every day for his new club. He gets a chance to start off on the right foot as well since Philadelphia has seven games out west this week. Dickerson has hit .316 this season and is hitting .303 since 2018 when he changed his approach and lowered his strikeout rate. He’s one of the safest sources of batting average out there, and should get a healthy boost in power production going from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Dickerson is a nice alternative to Heyward, as the two should provide similar batting average production.

Also Consider: JaCoby Jones (OF, DET): 1% Owned

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Week 18 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

While others drift towards fantasy football and overlook their baseball lineups, those of you with focus will reap rewards down the stretch. Laugh as others forget to put in transactions or start fringe candidates for poor matchups. To assist you, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 18 -- July 29th through August 4th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through August 4th.

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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers: Week 17

Can you believe it's almost the end of July. I don't know about you all, but this summer has just been one giant blur to me. We've seen a lot of great performances out of this column, while others...let's just not think about them.

It's time to crown a champion from the Week 15 list, and if you picked up Anthony DeSclafani to stream that week you are probably pretty happy with his performance. Despite earning a loss (Thanks Cincinnati offense. Couldn't score at least a couple more runs?), DeSclafani posted a 3.09 ERA with 15 strikeouts — including a career-high 11 strikeouts against St. Louis. And as for how Week 16 is shaping up, it's the two most widely available pitchers on that list who are off to the best starts. Chase Anderson allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts against the Reds, while Peter Lambert allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts.

So without further ado, let's dive into the two-start streaming options for Week 17 before we begin focusing on the Trade Deadline.

 

Week 17 Streamers - Under 50% Owned

Reynaldo Lopez, CHW - 26% owned

Probable opponents: vs NYM, @ PHI

It's been a rough and inconsistent season for Lopez, as he has posted a 5.52 ERA and has failed to string together more than three starts in a row with three or fewer runs allowed. While he's been inconsistent overall, he's on a three-game hot streak right now, posting a 1.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts over his last three starts — including a 10-strikeout performance in his last start against Miami.

Lopez will get a double dose of the National League in Week 17, as he faces the Mets at home before traveling to take on the Phillies. The Mets are currently averaging 4.9 runs per game over their last 10 games, but that number is inflated thanks to a 14-run and 11-run outburst in that span. Outside of those two games, New York is averaging just 3.0 runs per game and hitting .196. Add in the fact that the Mets have struggled against right-handed starters and they hit worse on the road than at home, and that shapes up to be a good start to the week for Lopez. Then looking at his start against Philadelphia, and it looks like another promising fantasy day for Lopez. The Phillies are averaging 3.8 runs over their last 10 games while hitting .224 and averaging 10 strikeouts per game in that span. And much like the Mets, the Phillies have hit worse this season against right-handed starters (.242 average, .731 OPS) than left-handers (.247, .757).

This is the high-risk, high reward pick of the column this week. There's no denying that Lopez has been wildly inconsistent this season (which as a White Sox fan this has been killing me), but things seem to be aligning for a good fantasy performance this week. If you're looking for a swing-for-the-fences lottery pick, then Lopez is your guy in Week 17.

Tanner Roark, CIN - 26% owned

Probable opponents: vs PIT, @ ATL

Unlike Lopez, Roark has been more consistent on the mound from start to start this season. Roark is 6-6 on the year with a 3.95 ERA while averaging 5.3 strikeouts per start. While he was lit up for seven earned runs at Colorado, he has thrown back-to-back outings of five innings and two runs allowed against the Cardinals and the Brewers.

First up for Roark will be the Pirates, who are 2-8 over their last 10 games and are currently on a six-game losing streak. During this span, Pittsburgh is averaging 3.7 runs and 8.0 strikeouts per game while hitting .249. Roark will also get the additional bonus of playing them at home, as the Pirates are hitting 16 points lower on the road with an OPS 53 points worse than when playing in Pittsburgh. After Pittsburgh, Roark will then head south to Atlanta where he should have another good matchup with the Braves. Atlanta is averaging 4.0 runs and 9.4 strikeouts over their last 10 games while hitting .248. While Roark won't get the home field advantage, he will still get an advantage over Pittsburgh. The Pirates are hitting 12 points worse against right-handers than left-handers, and they have an OPS 41 points worse against right-handers.

While Roark doesn't have the high ceiling that Lopez has this week, he definitely has the higher floor of the two. If you're looking at these two in Week 17 and you're worried it's going to be a close week, go with Roark as he is less likely to have a bad pair of outings.

 

Week 17 Streamers - Under 25% Owned

Mike Leake, SEA - 23% owned

Probable opponents: @ TEX, @ HOU

Leake has been looking good in Seattle lately, going 2-1 in the month of July with a 2.59 ERA and 22 strikeouts while also recording two scoreless outings. Averaging just over five strikeouts per start since the beginning of June, Leake has thrown six or more strikeouts in five of his last eight outings. He'll start off the week against the Rangers, who are averaging 10.2 strikeouts per game over their last 10 games. Leake has already shown recent success against Texas, having recorded seven strikeouts while allowing three runs over seven innings in his most recent start. After Texas he'll then face off against the Astros, which should prove to be a bit more of a challenge. Houston is averaging 6.1 runs and 8.1 strikeouts per game over their last 10 games while hitting .264. In his last start against Houston, Leake allowed one run while striking out five in a complete-game effort.

This is a case of judging whether one good start will compensate for one potentially bad start. Leake is riding a hot streak, and that Texas start looks very tempting. Owners should try to snag either Lopez or Roark first, but if they're both taken Leake might be the next guy to grab.

Dinelson Lamet, SDP - 15% owned

Probable opponents: vs BAL, @ LAD

Since making his season debut this month, Lamet has been looking good in the strikeout department, but his ERA has been on the high side. He has posted a 25:7 K:BB ratio over his first 18 innings, but that comes with a 5.00 ERA. Lamet will start off the week against the Orioles, who are riding a hot streak with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games while averaging 7.0 runs and 10.2 strikeouts per game. Then he'll face the Dodgers who are 6-4 over their last 10 games and averaging 6.1 run and 8.9 strikeouts per game. Lamet has already gone up against the Dodgers once, throwing seven strikeouts and allowing three runs over five innings in his season debut.

Lamet is the poor man's Lopez in this week's column. He is a high-risk, high-reward player, but his potential value will be slightly lower than Lopez. Owners looking for pure strikeouts and who are willing to risk a blow to their ERA should look to add Lamet this week.

Tyler Beede, SFG - 13% owned

Probable opponents: @ PHI, @COL

Rounding out this week's column is Beede, who has come back down from what was a rough start to the year. Over his last eight outings, Beede has posted a 3.61 ERA while averaging just over five strikeouts per game, including four starts in which he threw seven strikeouts. In his first start against Philadelphia, he will benefit from the same advantage of being a right-hander that Lopez will have in his start with the Phillies. Then Beede will have to travel to Colorado to face the Rockies, which should be somewhat of a challenge. The Rockies are averaging 4.7 runs and 9.6 strikeouts over their last 10 games, but they are hitting significantly better at home (.307 average, .894 OPS) than on the road (.226, .667).

The Colorado start will be a coin toss as to how Beede will fair. Based on his projected starts this week, owners will probably want to look at him as being on a similar level to Lamet. Beede should provide some good strikeout value, but his ERA might blow up based on the start with the Rockies. That being said, between Lamet and Beede, owners should look to target Beede first this week.

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 18

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

We’ve hurdled the Midsummer Classic and turning towards home for fantasy baseball season. While some league counterparts may be multi-tasking with pigskin prep, it’s time for savvy owners to stay juiced on the diamond! By now, team turnover should be commonplace and most managers have waved goodbye to busted high-round assets. During the dog days, keenness on the waiver could result in celebratory pay days in October.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Renato Nunez (1B/3B, BAL)

43% Owned

Nunez continues picking up ownership and he shouldn't qualify for this article next week. Over his last six games, Nunez has 10 hits and three home runs. He's ripping the cover off the ball and is up to a .444 combined wOBA through July. With his home park being Camden Yards, there is always a ton of upside if he's going to continue driving the ball at a 22% launch angle. He's also multi-position eligible, so he's versatile as well. His only real negative is striking out 24% of the time, but even that has been lowered over the last month.

There's not much to dislike about Nunez. He's going to be one of the more popular adds of the week and you should do your best to get him on your squad. He's up to 25 home runs and 61 RBI on the season and could easily finish the year over 35 homers. In a points league, there isn't many negatives to find. The overall Orioles offense isn't great, but they do put up a lot of runs. They just give up even more. Nunez may not be available in your league if it's an intelligent one, but he's available in 57% of leagues, so make sure to give him an add if available.

 

Zac Gallen (SP, MIA)

30% Owned

Gallen is another very easy add. Since coming to the majors, he's sported a 2.76 ERA while striking out 10.74 batters per nine innings. The walks will eventually catch up to him, but I think he was just being careful with a risky Dodgers team and it's inflated his BB/9. He only walked 1.68 batters per nine in the minors, so look for that 4.15 to drastically drop. He just absolutely dominated the White Sox, striking out nine and going 100 pitches.

He has been one of the best pitchers in the minors this year, going 9-1 while striking out 11.71 per nine with an 1.77 ERA. He's far from a fluke if you've watched him. He looks like one of those rare pitchers that controls the game without even trying. He can command his fastball like an ace and his off-speed pitches are insane. Especially the curveball that has exhibited a 38% swinging strike rate. On the shot term, the Marlins will be facing off with Rays and Mets, both of which Gallen would be a great play against. Gallen is an easy addition this week and would be a huge mistake to ignore.

 

Ryan McMahon (1B/3B/2B, COL)

25% Owned

We'll often reach for Rockies bats in hopes that they dominate at home, but that's not what's going on here. McMahon has posted a .383 wOBA in July and has been even better on the road. He did struggle for a lot of the beginning of the year, but it looks like he's truly turned a corner. He's hitting the ball hard 38% of the time and his BABIP has been consistent. He's only 25% owned and can be rostered at three different positions.

He's not a huge power hitter, but more than adamant with 11 homers. He's just as good against both righties and lefties, with a .300+ wOBA against both of them. He is up to 50 RBI and has stolen three bases, so there's more balance here than it may appear. He's hitting behind Arenado and Story, so he will continue to get RBI opportunities game in and game out. You also get half of his games in Coors Field, which brings a ton of upside by itself. With so much flexibility and McMahon appearing to turn a corner, he's worth an add if you need an consistent infielder.

 

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL)

23% Owned

If you've watched the Orioles lately, both Nunez and Santander have been extremely impressive. I don't think it says much for their future success, but it looks like they have found a solid youngster in Anthony Santander. He's a switch-hitting youngster that has been solid against both lefties and righties. He's also shown some power and the ability to hit with RISP (.341 BAA). Since being called up, Santander has posted a . 354 wOBA and has hit eight homers in just 40 games. He's perfect in a points league, as he only strikes out 18% of the time and walks 6%. The Orioles have already plugged him in as the cleanup man following Mancini and Nunez, so the RBI opportunities will come. The Orioles may be terrible as a whole, but there's no arguing that those guys will be on base a lot and Santander will have the platoon advantage no matter the pitcher. He's an easy add if you're looking for an outfielder that can do it all.

 

Tyler Beede (SP, SFG)

12% Owned

Beede added a slider four starts ago, and has since been a very different pitcher. The Cubs finally knocked him around, but he still struck out seven and worked into the sixth innings. It's certainly comforting to see a guy this cheap able to go far while allowing 10 hits and three home runs. The biggest concern for Beede has been his 4.15 BB/9 rate, which is now down to 1.9% since adding the slider. He's a completely different pitcher and will find a ton of success pitching to contact in Oracle Park.

He's owned in just 12% of leagues and gives you a great chance to grab a guy that's completely revolutionized his game and gets to pitch in the best ballpark in the league to reduce runs. He's gone over 100 pitches in three of his last four starts, so the upside is there if he's cruising. In a points league, this is the type of guy you want to own going down the stretch. As long as the match-up is solid, he's reliable as it gets as this price tag.

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Week 17 Starts & Sits - All Starting Pitcher Matchups

As we near the end of July and approach the 100-game mark on the season, each starting pitcher outing feels like it weighs heavier and heavier on us. The margins for victory are slimming and we can't accept anything but victory. Therefore, we here at RotoBaller offer our analysis and dynamic pitching scores for each matchup to frame your start/sit decisions and get you on top of that podium. In case you missed it, this is our sixth year now writing this weekly column, helping fantasy baseball managers pick the best pitchers weekly.

Below are the projected starting pitching matchups for Week 17 -- July 22nd through July 28th -- which will be updated as rotations are announced and tweaked. This column will be continuously updated and adjusted for any postponements or rotation shuffles, reflecting official beat writer speculation for as many unconfirmed rotation slots as possible.

For every week of the fantasy baseball season, we look to analyze all of the projected starting pitcher matchups and put together our optimal lineups. Here at RotoBaller, we believe that it’s key to analyze every SP matchup, each and every week, to help determine which SPs to start/sit and identify some sneaky streams. Let's win some leagues!

 

SP Matchups & Start/Sit Recommendations

This weekly piece considers the pitcher’s opponents, their outlook against lefties and righties, some ballpark factors and historical splits. With all of this information, we then provide our start/sit recommendations for each starting pitcher matchup for the approaching week of fantasy baseball.

Score values typically range from about 40-60, with higher values being superior. A 50 is the theoretical "Start/Sit" cutoff, but you should use the color-coded scores for valuable context to make your own decisions. Streamers and those relying on counting stats more than all-around ratios can target 48s and 49s, for example. Those set for two-start weeks are highlighted in yellow. Openers will have an asterisk if no "true" starter is announced by team beat writers.

This column will be updated daily as more rotations and starters are announced through July 28th.

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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 18

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 7/29 through 8/4. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

 

Bats to Stream and Start in Week 18

Seven Game Weeks: ATL, BOS, CIN, LAD, TOR

As you can see, very few teams have a full seven-game week this week. That means it's going to be slim pickings on the waiver wire. There are still plenty of viable options, but we're going to be focusing on lots of players from the same lineup this week.

 

Streamer of the Week

Scooter Gennett (2B, CIN): 45% Owned

Gennett has gotten off to a slow start since returning from the injured list, but that just means an talented player has slipped below the 50% ownership threshold. The Reds are one of the few teams with a seven-game week, with three home games against weak Pittsburgh pitching.

The Reds do have a pair of games against left-handed starters, but Gennett was more than adequate against left-handed pitching last season, hitting .294 versus southpaws. With such a limited range of options for max volume, I’m looking to trust a proven player like Gennett, even if he’s been subpar in his first 16 games.

 

Behind the Plate

Danny Jansen (C, TOR): 43% Owned

Jansen has picked things up since his pitiful effort in the first two months, and he has a .792 OPS with six home runs since June 1. The Blue Jays are in a great spot this week, with seven games against cellar dweller teams. They face the Royals in Kansas City for three games, and then take on Baltimore at home for four games. The only quality pitcher on the slate would be John Means, and even his success is dubious. Jansen is the top catcher to stream this week.

Will D. Smith (C, LAD): 2%

The Dodgers promoted Smith yesterday, presumably to be their every day catcher as Austin Barnes was demoted to the minors. Smith crushed it in his brief time in the majors this season, clobbering three home runs in 29 PA. He’s also been destroying pitches in the minor leagues, with 20 home runs and a .335 ISO in 268 PA. The Dodgers have one of the most favorable schedules this week, with three games in Coors Field and four home games against the Padres. Smith should get four or five starts this week, and is available in nearly every league.

Also consider: Brian McCann (C, ATL): 9% Owned

 

At the Corners

Justin Smoak (1B, TOR): 31% Owned

Smoak’s production has been dwindling over the past two months, but the veteran first baseman still has value given his solid combination of power and patience. Smoak is particularly interesting in OBP leagues, since his 16% walk rate is sixth-best among qualified hitters. The switch-hitting Smoak has traditionally been better against right-handed pitchers, which is good news since the Blue Jays face five low quality righties this week. The Blue Jays are one of the teams I’m targeting heavily this week, and Smoak is a good option at the corners.

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, COL): 47% Owned

The Rockies don’t have a seven-game week, which is pretty crucial in terms of maximizing volume in our streamers, but Colorado does have six games at home. There’s plenty of scoring to be had with six games in Coors Field, and Desmond is just under the threshold for streaming hitters, making him one of the best choices outside of players on teams with seven games. Desmond doesn’t run like he once did, but he’s got a respectable 13 home runs and .228 ISO on the year. He’s also hitting .302 with an .891 OPS at home in 2019. If you’ve got some Colorado studs on your team such as Nolan Arenado or Trevor Story you should be in for a fun week. If not, you can still get in on the action with Desmond.

Also Consider: Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS): 10% Owned

 

Up the Middle

Eric Sogard (2B/SS/OF, TOR): 21% Owned

Sogard has quietly experiencing a late career breakout at age 33, with a .299 AVG and .843 OPS in 317 PA thus far. The production has come in streaks for Sogard, which is a good thing right now since he’s hitting .321 since the All-Star break. Sogard is great in both batting average leagues and OBP leagues, since he has a 9% walk rate to compliment his .299 average. He hits leadoff for Toronto and should get plenty of high-quality volume in a seven-game week. Whether Sogard can maintain his production all season is another, but for this week he’s the best choice up the middle.

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, TOR): 37% Owned

If you can’t get your hands on Sogard, Galvis presents a solid alternative in the same lineup. Hitting second behind Eric Sogard, Galvis provides a little less batting average safety but a little more punch with the stick. The switch-hitter has been better against right-handed pitching this season, with a .749 OPS and .197 ISO versus righties. Like Sogard, Galvis should provide high-quality volume near the top of Toronto’s lineup.

Also Consider: Cavan Biggio (2B/OF, TOR): 24% Owned, Brock Holt, (2B/SS/OF, BOS): 2% Owned, Ryan McMahon, (1B/2B/3B, COL): 21% Owned

 

In the Outfield

Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD): 44% Owned

Verdugo’s rookie season has flown somewhat under-the-radar, but the young outfielder has been terrific with a .295/.345/.487 triple slash in 345 PA. He’s hitting second in the Dodgers’ lineup, a premium spot in front of Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger. He should get plenty of volume in a seven-game week for Los Angeles, and his production will get a boost thanks to three games in Coors Field. Don’t worry about the two games against left-handed starters either, as Verdugo is hitting .340 against southpaws this season. He’s the top outfielder to stream this week where available.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, BOS): 23% Owned

Bradley has been hot-ish over the last week, with a two-homer game last Saturday and a three hit game last night. He didn’t record a hit in the four games between, but there’s still some signs of life here. Bradley’s value is dinged by hitting low in the Red Sox’ order, but he gets a juicy seven-game week, with four of those games in the lefty favoring Yankee Stadium. Hopefully, Bradley can roll his recent spurts of success into a nice week. He’s more of a high-risk, high-reward option, but for those looking to stream Bradley is a fine OF4 or OF5.

Also Consider: Jesse Winker (OF, CIN): 22% Owned, Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR): 20% Owned

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Points Leagues Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 17

Welcome to the RotoBaller waiver wire column that skews towards points league. Yes, there is positive correlation to standard 5x5 scoring but in our format, specific categories matter less and the accumulation of total stats is the ultimate objective.

We’ve hurdled the Midsummer Classic and turning towards home for fantasy baseball season. While some league counterparts may be multi-tasking with pigskin prep, it’s time for savvy owners to stay juiced on the diamond! By now, team turnover should be commonplace and most managers have waved goodbye to busted high-round assets. During the dog days, keenness on the waiver could result in celebratory pay days in October.

Our points league waiver wire column will default to standard scoring and try to unearth three players under at least 50% ownership and three players under 25% ownership. For each group, we’ll identify an infielder, outfielder and pitcher. Let’s get hunting!

 

Points League Pickups to Consider

Nathaniel Lowe (1B, TB)

31% Owned

It wasn’t long ago Nathaniel Lowe was a buzzy call-up, generating hype after smashing 17 homers in 335 minor league plate appearances in 2018. However, an underwhelming debut in his first 10 games, subsequent demotion and more successful prospect performances have led to Lowe becoming an afterthought.

Time to reset. Since returning on July 4, the 24-year-old is hitting .371 in 11 games with five bombs. His OPS has crept up from .625 to .975. Lowe possesses the traits we like in solid plate discipline, raw power and defense good enough to play every day. He’s thus handled lefty pitching (1.074 OPS) better than righties (.944). With expected stats superior to an impressive prevailing resume, it’s becoming apparent the best is yet to come.

 

Brandon Crawford (SS, SF)

8% Owned

In tune with Lowe’s resurgence, Brandon Crawford has risen from the Mendoza Line, recently snapping an eight-game hitting streak and hitting .368 since July 5 with seven extra-base hits. With the Giants surging and Crawford rounding into form, he’s earned his way back in the deeper league conversation.

At 32 years old, Crawford’s role is unquestioned. A lock for 145-plus games and a run at 140 runs-plus-RBI are within reach. He’s one homer away from his sixth consecutive double-digit dinger campaign and with 18 doubles is threatening his season high in two-baggers (34). A glance at his peripheral numbers confirm he’s doing what he’s always done, quietly plodding his way to another year of solid numbers.

 

Tyler O'Neill (OF, STL)

22% Owned

Tyler O’Neill made a semi-splash last year, posting an .805 OPS and was rewarded with a big league roster spot after spring training. After a month of subpar returns, he was optioned to Triple-A. Fast forward to June 29 and O’Neill has been mashing. Time to take notice.

O’Neill is riding a .365 average since his promotion including a 1.185 OPS and seven extra-base hits with 19 runs-plus-RBI in July. Allotted with a prime cleanup spot in a hot Cardinals lineup, O’Neill should have plenty of opportunities to post fantasy-friendly numbers. Unfortunately, O’Neill’s tear doesn’t seem sustainable as he holds a .490 BABIP and ugly 38 percent strikeout rate, but a 50 percent hard-hit rate should help bolster his stats, at least short term. At this juncture, the player du jour is always worth a look. Just make sure the eject button is nearby.

 

Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

12% Owned

In two years, Manuel Margot has gone from a fantasy sleeper in 2018 drafts to an anonymous one-category fantasy longshot. Without a clear path to at-bats entering the year and a mediocre 2018 (.675 OPS, 11-of-21 on steals), the fade was merited. But since he’s been awarded everyday playing time, Margot suddenly deserves reconsideration.

After a lackluster slugging profile to start the year, Margot has ripped three homers with a surprising 9/7 BB/K in July. For someone with a sub-seven percent walk rate, that is material. The 24-year-old has parlayed the newfound plate discipline into raising his OPS over 100 points to .726. Incorporate a perfect 12-for-12 on the basepaths and Margot has essentially morphed back to the same player the fantasy community fell for in 2017.

 

Homer Bailey (SP, OAK)

17% Owned

Ugh. This endorsement isn’t ringing with conviction, but Homer Bailey is *shudders* fantasy relevant. After a brutal start to the year, Bailey posted a 2.82 ERA in his last six starts with the Royals, earning a trade to a playoff-contenting Oakland A’s. In his new confines, Bailey fired six innings of two-run ball in his team debut on July 17.

Bailey’s improvement this year resides in his .337 xwOBA, a decline of 30 points year-over-year, and a strikeout rate of 21 percent, up six points from 2018. Mix-wise, Bailey has abandoned his slider, leaning on a curveball to supplement his fastball and splitter. Results have improved his pitch quality across the board. Now on the A’s, a rekindling the 2012-13 glory days doesn’t seem farfetched amidst a heated pennant race.

 

Chase Anderson (SP/RP, MIL)

16% Owned

Another blah starter deserving a second look is Chase Anderson. While he hasn’t gone deep into games, the crafty veteran has rattled off five solid starts and a 2.45 ERA in the process. Coupled with a favorable team situation, Anderson should put himself in regular win position if he just meets the minimum qualifications of a decent outing.

Anderson’s biggest improvement in 2019 has been the cutter. By using it 16 percent of pitches, he’s peeled back on an ordinary heater and upped his SwStr% to 12 percent. Correspondingly, he’s in the top-20th percentile for average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. While he’s been a streaming staple the past couple seasons, Anderson’s numbers in 2019 closely resemble his breakout 2017 campaign (2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). Readily available on the waiver, he should be a steady backend option if he keeps up the run rate.

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