Fantasy Baseball: 5 Streaming Options for Week 5
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!
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays, 49.8 percent owned
Tuesday 5/3 against Los Angeles Dodgers
Sunday 5/8 at Los Angeles Angels
Matt Moore has been very impressive to start the season, posting a career-low 3.03 SIERA, along with a 27.1 percent strikeout rate and 5.4 percent walk rate -- also both career bests. He's been a big part of what has been sneakily one of the best rotations in baseball.
He will carry his success into a two-start week in which he draws both Los Angeles teams. In 2016, the Angels and Dodgers rank 17th and 18th in wOBA against lefties, respectively, although neither team strikes out very often.
Moore is a safe option and is very likely to put up serviceable numbers for a streamer in his two-start week.
Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers, 24.3 percent owned
Monday 5/2 against Los Angeles Angels
Saturday 5/7 at Cincinnati
Jimmy Nelson has a 3.16 ERA through five starts and looks to build upon his hot start in two easy matchups this week.
His first start will come against the Angels, who are 27th in wOBA against right-handed pitchers, and his second will come against the Reds, who are 28th. Cincinnati also has a 22.2 percent strikeout rate against righties, which is the 10th-highest in the league.
Nelson should cruise through his two-start week, and is owned in less than a fourth of ESPN leagues.
Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds, 21.9 percent owned
Monday 5/2 against San Francisco
Saturday 5/7 against Milwaukee
Brandon Finnegan's performance has been all over the place through his first five starts this season, but his ERA sits at a respectable 3.86.
He'll draw two starts this week, both at home. He won't have things easy in his first start, as Cinicinnati takes on San Francisco on Monday. His second start will come against the Brewers, who are 25th in wOBA against lefties this season, after ranking 26th last year. Milwaukee also has a 25.4 percent strikeout rate against lefties this season, which is the fifth-highest in the Majors.
If you're in a daily format, you might want to avoid Finnegan against the Giants and wait for his weekend start. However, his two starts make him worth a look in weekly formats, too, especially if you are in a head-to-head points league, in which you can play him at relief pitcher.
Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics, 21.4 percent owned
Wednesday 5/4 against Seattle
Rookie phenom Sean Manaea cruised his way through the first five innings before running into some trouble in the sixth in his Major League debut.
His next start will come against the Mariners, who are a stark contrast from his first opponent, the Astros. Houston ranks fifth in wOBA against lefties, with a .357 mark, but Seattle has just a .299 wOBA against lefties, which ranks 19th among Major League teams.
If the talented rookie is still available in your league, pick him up now. This week is just the start of what should be a successful career for Manaea.
Bartolo Colon, New York Mets, 17.5 percent owned
Monday 5/2 against Braves
Saturday 5/7 at San Diego
Bartolo Colon is again putting up respectable numbers for New York, with a 3.42 ERA and 2.96 xFIP through his first four starts of the season.
He not only draws a two-start week, but gets to face two of the worst lineups in baseball. The Braves have been historically bad this year, and boast the second-worst wOBA against righties.
The one team with a wOBA against righties worse than Atlanta? You guessed it -- the San Diego Padres. Colon faces the two worst offenses against right-handers, and both games will take place in pitcher's parks. He's an excellent option this week and is available in over 80 percent of ESPN leagues.