Fantasy Baseball: 5 Streaming Options for Week 4
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!
Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers, 23.3 percent owned
Monday 4/25 against Miami
Saturday 4/30 against San Diego
After two terrific starts, Ross Stripling disappointed in last week's start against the Braves, giving up three runs and being pulled before the end of the fourth inning. He still boasts a 2.65 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through three starts, albeit with limited strikeout numbers.
He'll draw two of the better matchups available for a right-hander this week at Miami and at San Diego. In addition to both playing in pitcher's parks, both teams struggle against righties.
The Marlins ranked dead last in wOBA against righties last season and have only been slightly better this season, ranking 23rd. The return of Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich certainly makes this lineup a bit more intimidating, but not nearly enough to avoid Stripling with his second start coming against the Padres.
San Diego ranked 28th in wOBA against righties last season and struck out at the sixth-highest frequency. Things have been even worse this season, as their .250 wOBA against righties ranks 29th and their 24.8 percent strikeout rate is the sixth-highest.
Stripling probably doesn't have the stuff to be someone you keep beyond this week, but he is certainly one of the most appealing streamers this week and is available in 76.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox, 25.1 percent owned
Monday 4/25 at Atlanta
Saturday 4/30 against New York Yankees
Rick Porcello followed up two terrific outings against Toronto's elite offense with nine more strikeouts and another win last week against the Rays. Through three starts, he has a 2.50 SIERA, 0.93 WHIP, 30.8 strikeout rate, and 3.9 walk rate -- all of which would be career bests.
He will make two starts this week, the first of which is against the light-hitting Atlanta Braves. Atlanta ranked 27th against in wOBA against righties last season, and they haven't been much better this season, ranking 29th in hard-hit rate against righties.
The Yankees are a tough draw, but with the way Porcello has been pitching, you can afford to ignore one difficult matchup when the other is against the Braves.
Drew Pomeranz, San Diego Padres, 29.7 percent owned
Monday 4/25 at San Francisco
Sunday 5/1 at Los Angeles Dodgers
Drew Pomeranz has been nothing short of maginificent in his tenure with San Diego, with a 2.04 ERA and 12.74 K/9 through his first three starts. This hasn't come out of nowhere, either, as his dominance dates back until August 1 of last season, a span in which he has a 2.31 ERA and 12.23 K/9. Granted, nearly half of those innings came out of the bullpen, but the fact remains that Pomeranz has some nasty stuff and can be a strikeout machine.
Don't believe me? See for yourself!
Prior to that game, Pittsburgh had the fourth-lowest strikeout rate against lefties.
His matchups this week are far from easy, as both the Giants and Dodgers have capable offenses. But, both games will take place in pitcher's ball parks, as they have ranked 27th and 28th, respectively, in Park Factor over the past three seasons.
Pomeranz definitely needs to be owned in more than the 29.7 percent of leagues he is owned in right now, especially if you are in a head-to-head points league, where his relief pitcher eligibility gives him additional value. The two-start week is just a bonus!
Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles, 24.6 percent owned
Monday 4/25 at Tampa Bay
Sunday 4/30 against Chicago White Sox
Kevin Gausman is one of the more polarizing young pitchers in the game. Half of the fantasy baseball world has given up on him after seemingly constant disappointment, while half still clings to the hope that he can return to full health and be the ace everyone thought he was going to be.
Regardless of which side you fall on, it's hard not to be excited about Gausman's two-start this week against the light-hitting Rays and White Sox, who rank 26th and 27th in wOBA against righties this season. The Braves have also posted a 27.1 percent strikeout rate against righties, which is the highest mark in the Majors.
I'm not overly excited about Gausman's long-term prospects, but he is certainly worth a look in deeper leagues with two favorable matchups this week.
J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays, 32.7 percent owned
Saturday 4/30 at Tampa Bay
Happ has been excellent for Toronto this season, posting a 2.42 ERA and 1.19 WHIP to go along with a 3-0 record.
His next matchup will come Saturday against Tampa Bay, who has been horrible against righties, which we just hit on with Gausman. Happ likely won't pile up the strikeouts, but the matchup combined with pitching for the best offense in baseball, gives him a very good chance to get another win and pile up some fantasy points. Give him a look in leagues in which you can make daily roster moves.