Fantasy Baseball: 5 Streaming Options for Week 3
If you are unfamiliar with the term "streaming" when it comes to fantasy sports, the idea is to rotate players at a position based on who has the best matchup for that particular game, to give yourself an edge over your opponent. For example, in fantasy football, it is most common to stream defenses, but some also choose to stream quarterbacks due to the depth of the position.
When it comes to fantasy baseball, some stream hitters, but streaming starting pitchers is a much more common practice. Depending on what type of league you are in, you may be able to stream a different pitcher each day, or you may just be able to stream a pitcher for the entire week, in which case finding two-start pitchers is essential.
It's very important when considering streaming that you understand your league rules. Does it allow weekly lineup changes, or daily? Is there a weekly or season-long acquisition limit? These factors must all be taken into consideration if you choose to stream pitchers.
The purpose of this article will be to bring you the five best streaming options for each week that are under 50 percent owned in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. Often times, they'll be two-start pitchers, but sometimes it will just be a pitcher in an exceptional spot that particular week.
Let's get started!
Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies, 15.1 percent owned
Monday 4/18 against New York Mets
Sunday 4/24 at Milwaukee
Jerad Eickhoff dominated in his last start, throwing seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts, but it was overlooked when his teammate Vincent Velasquez outshined him the next day. Eickhoff showed similar promise last season, when he went 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA and .170 batting average against in eight starts down the stretch. He now has a career 2.43 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, along with a 24.2 percent strikeout rate and 6.0 percent walk rate.
He gets two starts this week, the first of which is against the Mets. Eickhoff actually has four career starts against New York under his belt already, so we have a fairly reliable sample size on how he's fared in this matchup. In those four starts, he has a 2.88 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 25 innings. The Mets were average against righties last season, ranking 20th in wOBA.
Eickhoff's second start of the week will come against the Brewers, who were 21st in wOBA against righties and had the eighth-highest strikeout rate against them.
Pick up the youngster now, while you still can. Aside from being an excellent streaming option, Eickhoff is likely to not be available in nearly as many leagues after this week. Just look at three of the featured pitchers from last week's article -- Velasquez (78.1 percent owned), Aaron Nola (60.5 percent), and Joe Ross (56.8 percent).
Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers, 25.1 percent owned
Wednesday 4/20 at Atlanta
Ross Stripling threw 7.1 innings of no-hit ball in his debut and followed that up with a quality start against Arizona. He now boasts a 2.03 ERA and 0.75 WHIP through two starts.
His next matchup comes against the Braves, who ranked 27th in both wOBA and wRC+ against right-handed pitching last season. So far this season, Atlanta has just a 19.1 percent hard-hit rate against righties, which easily ranks last in the league.
Stripling doesn't have huge strikeout potential in this one, but he is a safe option against the light-hitting Braves. He's worth a start in deep weekly leagues, and is especially attractive in leagues with a daily lineup lock.
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox, 12.2 percent owned
Wednesday 4/20 against Tampa Bay
Rick Porcello was due for improvement this season after some extraordinary bad luck last year, but he has been more impressive than anyone could have hoped so far. While his ERA isn't pretty, Porcello has bested one of the best lineups in recent history twice to start the season, and has a 0.89 WHIP and 30 percent strikeout rate to show for it.
Porcello will have things much easier in his one start this week, as the Rays ranked 23rd in wOBA against righties last year. The Rays were one of the few teams Porcello didn't struggle with last season, as he posted a 2.67 ERA in four starts against them. He also struck out 27 batters in 27 innings against Tampa Bay, which isn't surprising considering they had the seventh-highest strikeout rate against righties.
Adam Conley, Miami Marlins, 11.8 percent owned
Tuesday 4/19 against Washington
Sunday 4/24 at San Francisco
Adam Conley earned a starting spot during Spring Training, and he showed us all why in his last start. The youngster held the Mets scoreless in six innings, while collecting nine strikeouts.
He looks to carry that momentum into his two-start week this week. His first start is a tough matchup against Washington, but he at least will benefit from the splits of Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, the two best Washington hitters. Both are lefties and hit righties much better than lefties, which bodes well for the southpaw, Conley.
His second start will come against San Francisco, who hit righties much better than lefties last season. This game will be played at AT&T Park, too, home of the league's worst Park Factor in 2015.
Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals, 9.2 percent owned
Monday 4/18 at Miami
Saturday 4/23 against Minnesota
Tanner Roark's days in the rotation are numbered. Lucas Giolito is coming. Roark will get at least another week to show he deserves a spot, though, and with the two weak opponents he faces this week, he could delay Giolito's ascent a little longer.
Roark is coming off of seven shutout innings against the light-hitting Braves, and will now start against Miami and Minnesota, who rank 21st and 30th in runs scored this year.
Last season, the Twins ranked 26th in wOBA against righties, while the Marlins ranked dead last.
Roark is especially attractive in points leagues, in which you can carry him as a reliever-eligible pitcher. If you're playing in a head-to-head points format and Roark is available, pick him up now!