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Head-to-Head Hitter Streamers and Starts Week 22

Welcome to the hitting streamers column for the week of 8/26 through 9/2. Whether you're looking to maximize the number of games played, exploit favorable matchups, or fill in for injured players, streaming hitters can be a fruitful strategy for those willing to put in a little work every week.

Keep in mind that this column highlights players owned in approximately 50% or fewer of Yahoo leagues who could present nice streaming options for the upcoming week. This applies to any league but specifically is geared toward head-to-head weekly leagues where matchups are more critical.

If the following names aren't available, don't hesitate to check our famous waiver wire pickups list to find some appealing alternatives. Let's get to it.

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Bats to Stream and Start in Week 22

Seven Game Weeks: CIN, COL, KC, LAD, MIA, OAK, PIT, SD, SEA, STL

I've bolded and underlined Cincinnati because they have the ultra-special eight-game week this week thanks to a doubleheader.

Stream of the Week

Raimel Tapia (OF, COL): 14% Owned

Scour your waiver wire for Rockies this week, because Colorado has seven home games on the slate. Raimel Tapia is available in far too many leagues considering his matchups and recent performance. Tapia has been crushing it in the second half, hitting .348 with an .829 OPS since the All-Star break. Tapia also, unsurprisingly, performs well at home. Tapia has hit .330 with an .882 OPS in Colorado this season. Tapia has led off for Colorado over the last few days, and if that continues Tapia could get a nice boost in volume and runs scored this week. Even if he hits lower in the order, Tapia is the safest source of batting average available this week.

Behind the Plate

Francisco Mejia (C, SD): 45% Owned

Mejia has also been hitting much better in the second half, with a .311 average and .952 OPS since the break. He’s also hit six of his eight homers since the All-Star break. This recent performance improvement has helped Mejia get more playing time, and he could be in the lineup for four or five games in a seven-game week for San Diego. He’s also been bumped up to fifth in the order, giving Mejia plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. He’s the top catcher to stream this week.

Tucker Barnhart (C/1B, CIN): 15% Owned

Barnhart is a great alternative for owners in need of a catcher and can’t get their hands on Mejia. Barnhart plays a ton for the Reds, having started five of their last six games. Barnhart has been hitting much better as of late as well, with a .314 average and .936 OPS since the All-Star break. He isn’t sexy by any means, but Barnhart should grind out plenty of volume at a weak position this week, especially as the Reds gear up to play eight games.

At the Corners

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, COL): 38% Owned

The Rockies have seven games in Coors Field. That’s seriously all it takes to get excited about Desmond. Even during the twilight of his career Desmond rakes at Coors, hitting .305 with a .917 OPS and .243 ISO at home this season. That may seem a little underwhelming for Coors Field, but unless your league uses wRC+ as a category, Desmond’s relative performance isn’t anything to worry about. Go out and get Desmond for those home games; this is the only time a player like this is useful.

Josh VanMeter (1B/2B/OF, CIN): 15% Owned

You can play VanMeter just about anywhere, which makes him even more appealing in an eight-game week for Cincinnati. VanMeter is getting every day playing time at first base with Joey Votto on the IL, and he’s moved up to second in the Reds’ order recently. He’s taken advantage of increased opportunities as well, since VanMeter is hitting .333 with a .950 OPS since the break. He should provide lots of volume with a decent batting average this week.

Also Consider: Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA): 47% Owned

Up the Middle

Austin Nola (1B/2B, SEA): 14% Owned

Middle infield is loaded with great options this week, and there are none better than Austin Nola. Nola has recently been promoted to third in Seattle’s batting order, and that lineup change coincides with a seven game week that includes four games in Texas. If that’s not good enough, consider that the Mariners take on five left-handed starters this week. Granted, it’s been a small sample size, but Nola has pulverized southpaws during his young major league career, hitting .347 with a 1.184 OPS and .408 ISO against lefties this season. Two weeks ago I recommended Aristides Aquino as a newcomer ready to break out with a juicy schedule, and now Aquino is 80% owned. I bring up Aquino because I think Nola could follow a similar path, making Nola not only a great streaming option, but someone you could add for the stretch run before he becomes the hot player to add.

Freddy Galvis (2B/SS, CIN): 37% Owned

Cincinnati’s upcoming eight-game week really has me excited about adding their players, so much so that Freddy Galvis is even an interesting pickup. It helps that Galvis is in the midst of a career year, with a .187 ISO and 21 home runs thus far. He’s also homered three times in eight starts for the Reds, including twice over his last three games. Galvis is the position player equivalent to an innings-eater, which makes me think he’ll be in the lineup for seven or eight games this week, giving us nice volume at either second base or shortstop.

Also Consider: Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT): 9% Owned, Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT): 16% Owned, Jose Iglesias (SS, CIN): 5% Owned, Kolten Wong (2B, STL): 18% Owned

In the Outfield

Alex Gordon (OF, KC): 42% Owned

You know what’s better than a seven-game week? A seven-game week against the pitching of Oakland and Baltimore. It may be hard for some to stomach using Gordon this week given his dreadful August (.143 AVG, .385 OPS), but unless you believe his .151 BABIP presents a new norm for Gordon, there isn’t any reason to shy away from him. He still hits near the top of Kansas City’s order, and will face some abominable pitchers this week. This is the perfect time for Gordon to rebound and try to salvage his month.

Manuel Margot (OF, SD): 16% Owned

If you want speed than look no further than Margot. The speedy leadoff man has swiped six bags in the second half while maintaining a high (for him) OPS of .810. Margot has even crushed four homers in August with an OPS of .273. He hits leadoff every day for San Diego and should be a solid contributor in runs scored and steals, along with providing the highly coveted volume we seek when streaming hitters.

Mark Canha (1B/OF, OAK): 9% Owned

Canha has been crushing the ball for Oakland lately, hitting .344 in August with a .937 OPS. He’s been hitting cleanup against lefties, which is great news since Oakland faces three left-handed starters this week. Canha has always been under-appreciated and under-owned in fantasy baseball leagues, but he should be in for a nice week as Oakland undertakes a hefty seven-game slate.

Also Consider: Dexter Fowler (OF, STL): 4% Owned, Stephen Piscotty (OF, OAK): 27% Owned, Josh Naylor (OF, SD): 1% Owned

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