This is actually a rough week for streaming. There are a few options for the fantasy GM looking for a name off the waiver wire for one start, but you’ll have to dig deep to find reliable two-start options in the AL or NL. This might be a good week not to put in FAAB bids, but there are a few plays for fantasy GMs desperate to catch up in K’s or get lucky with a quality start or two.
Pitchers to Target
There was really one name on the list of starters in the AL that is barely owned, has two starts and might be worth considering. Ready? Hold your nose for this one. Sam Deduno has two starts and neither is really that poor of a match up for an arm like Deduno. He starts the week in Milwaukee and ends the week at home against the Astros. For the uninitiated, Deduno started his career by putting up gaudy K numbers in the high minors, fizzling a the majors and then kinda not being completely awful.
Deduno struggles a little against lefties (.332 wOBA against), but Milwaukee really doesn’t have any lefty bats to hurt Deduno with. Houston is in pretty much the same position as the Brewers are. Does Marc Krauss scare you? You shouldn’t be afraid of Krauss unless he sneaks up behind you or grabs you in a dark room and you certainly shouldn’t be afraid of Krauss in the batter’s box with a bat in his hand. Deduno has a slight home/road split with a 4.07 ERA at home and a 3.63 away from Minnesota, but the Brewers are poor at home (.697 team OPS at home) and the Astros are poor on the road (.681 team OPS on the road). Deduno is capable of striking out a few batters and might nick a W this week. Deduno isn’t a sexy name and he isn’t very safe, but he probably won’t get lit in both of these starts and he might even help your team if the ball bounces his way.
The NL is actually slightly better than the AL this week. There is at least one two-start option that is a better pitcher than Sam Deduno. The option that fantasy GMs should go with is the overlooked Jaime Garcia. Garcia gets the two-start treatment this week. He starts the week with Kansas City in St. Louis and ends the week pitching in Toronto.
Kansas City is a bad, broken offense. They’ve tried to build an offense without a real run producer hitting in the lineup. Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler would be nice pieces if they were surrounded by better hitters, but their considered the “run producers” in this lineup. The KC offense has only four more homers than Nelson Cruz does at this point in the season. They own a .659 team OPS on the road and they won’t have the benefit of a DH this week. They could be facing Sam Deduno and I would probably still bet against them.
Garcia has thrown 19 2/3 innings this year and has yet to walk a batter while striking out almost a batter per inning. His 2.28 xFIP indicates that he’s been betrayed by his defense and there should be a correction. That correction will likely start this week against Kansas City.
Garcia also has to go to Toronto. Not good news. Toronto is the second best offense in the league at home with a .821 home OPS as a team. They also have a .779 OPS against lefties. This a bad matchup for Garcia, but the Kansas City matchup is so tasty that it’s probably still a good idea to roll with Garcia in weekly leagues. It’s a good idea to use Garcia in Kansas City and sit him against Toronto if you can. The only other option for an under-owned two-start option in the NL is Jake Arrieta. Yeah. That’s a scarier pick than Sam Deduno.
Mike Leake is one of the more intriguing one-start names on the waiver wire this week. Leake gets the Giants in Cincinnati this week. The Giants have a competent .698 team OPS on the road and .707 team OPS against righties. This is an interesting matchup because Mike Leake owns a 2.51 ERA at home with 26 K’s and only six BB’s in 28 2/3 innings in the Great American Ballpark this year. Leake is comfortable at home and fantasy GMs should be comfortable rolling with Leake at home.
Pitchers to Avoid
John Lackey gets the two-start treatment this week and these are two starts that fantasy GMs should want to avoid. He gets both Cleveland and Detroit on the road this week. Lackey is better in Fenway (3.13 home ERA) than he is away from Fenway (3.51 ERA on the road). Detroit and Cleveland are the fifth and sixth best offenses against righties and the fifth and seventh best offenses at home this year. These are two tough matchups for Lackey and it might be a good idea to keep him on the bench this week.
Zack Wheeler is turning into East Coast Tyson Ross. Ross is phenomenal at home and really mediocre on the road. Wheeler owns a 3.28 ERA in Metco this year and a 4.97 ERA away from Metco this year. He starts the week on the road against the Cubs and ends it on the road in San Francisco. Wheeler should be on the bench unless he’s in the New York National League ballpark.
Justin Verlander has only one start this week, but it’s at Toronto. The Blue Jays are the second best offense in the league against righties with a .788 team OPS. Verander has struggled on the road this year on the road with a 4.65 road ERA. Verlander profiles as a fly ball pitcher (0.98 GB:FB ratio this year), but he’s only posting a 3.8% HR:FB ratio. There’s a good chance that a diminished Verlander’s HR:FB ratio will go up pitching in Toronto against a red-hot Blue Jays offense. Fantasy GMs probably shouldn’t be benching Verlander if they drafted him, but they probably shouldn’t have drafted Verlander either. Be prepared to go without Verlander this week unless it’s unavoidable.