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I like to consider myself a pioneer of the streaming approach. I won a league about seven years ago completely ignoring saves and just stacking up the starts each week. While streaming is undoubtedly more directly associated with pitching, there's plenty of value in streaming for offense as well.

Maybe you have a stacked roster and you can't drop anyone. But for those of us with a couple of guys on the roster fringes, it's never too early to look into targeting a specific player or two to gain an edge in a particular category. This season, I will be making weekly recommendations for extreme short term category specialists every week in three offensive areas: speed, power, and average; and three pitching areas: strikeouts, wins, and ratios (ERA/WHIP).

Below are my Week 3 category streamers for fantasy baseball. All position eligibility and ownership percentages are based on Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!


Head-to-Head Category Streamers to Consider


Michael A. Taylor (OF, WAS) 34% Owned

Has anyone noticed that Yahoo's format for listing players in games is "First Initial. Last Name," yet for some reason Michael A. Taylor is listed as "MICHAEL A. Taylor?" I found it amusing. Anyway, you should pick up Taylor if you need some free stolen bases. With Adam Eaton exactly where you should always expect him to be, on the DL, Taylor is a clear every day starter. As of Wednesday, he had stolen four bases already on the season. He stole 17 last season in just 118 games. You'll be putting you batting average at risk, but the speed is certainly there.

Mallex Smith (OF, TB) 17% Owned

This is Mallex Smith's second consecutive week on this list as his ownership percentage has barely increased since last week. I said the speed was coming and then he went 4/4 on Monday with two stolen bases. He's starting to heat up and could find himself at the top of the lineup sooner rather than later. Mallex's playing time is also becoming more consistent. The Rays want him to be an every day player. If he keeps hitting like he did last week, he will be.



Lucas Duda (1B, KC) 16% Owned

You are not going to like the batting average that comes with Lucas Duda, but the man has pop. He has multiple 30 home run seasons on his resume and his 30 from last year came in just 127 games. The Royals lineup is pretty weak and there's always the risk that Duda doesn't see any good pitches to hit, but when you're shopping at the five and dime, beggars can't be choosers. With the Blue Jays and Tigers on the docket next week, the opposing pitching will not be too imposing.

Albert Pujols (1B, LAA) 53% Owned

I know Albert Pujols is over the 50% ownership threshold, but there's really not much out there right now. While obviously a shell of a shell of his former self, Pujols did manage 23 homers and 101 RBIs in 2017. Over his career, he's averaged a home run every 18.25 plate appearances. As of Wednesday, he had two in 54 plate appearances. That's not where he wants to be, but it's good enough. You know he still has the ability.



Joe Mauer (1B, MIN) 12% Owned

Wait, what year is it? Joe Mauer? Really? Yes. That Joe Mauer. It's been a long time since Mauer was really fantasy relevant. He's always been a bit of an empty batting average type guy. He's a career .309 hitter, but from 2014-2016, he hit .277, .265, and .261. In 2017, he bounced back with a .305 average. As of Wednesday, he was hitting .387 with a BABIP over .400. Yes, the BABIP will unquestionably be coming down, but Mauer has reestablished himself as a guy that can get on base.

Asdrubal Cabrera (2B, 3B, SS, NYM) 48% Owned

Asdrubal Cabrera is a career .270 hitter that was hitting .341 as of Wednesday. While his .344 BABIP is contributing to that, there's reason to think this improvement in average is sustainable. Cabrera's strikeout rate is down about 4% from his career average and his ground ball percentage is also down. Cabrera just looks like an improved hitter at the ripe young age of 32. You could do much worse.



Josh Hader (RB, MIL) 60% Owned

Just leaving him here for the second week in a row to remind everyone that he should be owned in all leagues. You can stream starters looking for strikeouts or you can just roster Josh Hader and his K/9 that was over 20 as of Wednesday.

Sean Newcomb (SP, ATL) 23% Owned

The second year pro posted a 9.72 K/9 in 19 starts in 2017. This season, through two starts, Sean Newcomb's K/9 is at 13.06. His next start will likely come against the Mets, a team in the middle of the pack in team strikeouts.

Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD) 22% Owned

I am not sure if Joey Lucchesi can keep it up with just a two pitch arsenal, but damn he looks good through two starts. Lucchesi completely erased the Rockies' potent offense twice already. His K/9 is 9.19 and his minor league numbers support him as a strikeout pitcher. His next start should be in Arizona, where he can reap the benefits of their new humidor against a team that ranks in the bottom third in strikeouts per game.



Jhoulys Chacin (SP, MIL) 9% Owned

As always with wins, it is less about the pitcher's ability and more about the opponent. Jhoulys Chacin's next start should come against the Marlins. The Marlins are terrible. That's pretty much the formula for streaming for wins.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP, LAD) 14% Owned

I've never been much of a fan of Hyun-Jin Ryu, but the Dodgers have one of the better offenses in the league and his next start should be Monday in San Diego. Aside from PETCO park being favorable to pitchers, the Padres have one of the worst offenses in baseball and they will be without both Wil Myers and Manuel Margot.



Marco Estrada (SP, TOR) 40% Owned

Marco Estrada is off to a hot start this season. He is going to cool off as his .171 BABIP is unsustainable. His 2.77 ERA is excellent, but his peripherals project out to a 5.54 FIP. The regression is inevitable, but I don't think it will happen next week against the Royals. Estrada's strikeout rate is down, but so is his walk rate. The Royals are a favorable matchup for opposing pitchers.

Nick Pivetta (SP, PHI) 18% Owned

This one looks all kinds of legit. Nick Pivetta is experiencing a breakout in his age 25 season and so far, we have every reason to believe it is for real. Pivetta will get the light hitting Braves next week. But more importantly, he's started out the season with a 2.70 ERA that is actually unlucky. His .326 BABIP is relatively high, which is represented in his minuscule 1.31 FIP. He's striking out more than a batter an inning and not walking anyone. Stream him and then probably keep him.


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