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H2H Category Streamers - Week 2 Waiver Wire


There are plenty of strategies that fantasy managers explore in hopes to get an advantage over their opponent. Heavy lineup, heavy starting pitchers, no catcher, all (or mostly) reliever staff, no reliever staff, etc. Even if you play a balanced lineup, injuries can cause holes. A few weeks without a key player won’t kill a season, but why accept losing when you can stream?

Streaming can be a risky business. If you do it right and check the necessary boxes, you can win the week. This column will do most of the work for you. It’ll cover weekly recommendations for when you need: steals, home runs, average, strikeouts, wins, and/or ratios (ERA/WHIP).

All position eligibility and ownership percentages are based on Yahoo! Fantasy leagues.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Head-to-Head Category Streamers to Consider (Offense)

Steals

Ramon Laureano (OF, OAK) - 36% Owned

Laureano hasn’t quite caught fire, but he’s heating up. He’s also very fast. In the A’s four-game series against Boston, he hit two homers, scored three runs, drove in three runs, and stole a base. His stolen base came on one of the two times he was on base, not counting the two home runs. In 156 at-bats last year, he slashed .288/.358/.474 with five home runs and seven stolen bases. His speed should start to show a bit more as he gets some favorable matchups this upcoming week against the Orioles and the Rangers. His ownership won’t be this low for long.

Josh Harrison (2B, DET) - 46% Owned

Harrison didn’t run much last year, but things look like they’re changing in Detroit. He’s already swiped two bags in seven games, batting leadoff in all of them. Don’t forget that he stole 59 bases between 2014 and 2017, which works out to be an average of about 15 steals per season. I wouldn’t expect much from him at the beginning of the week, in which he’ll face Indians best three starters. Things lighten up for him at the end of the week in a series against the Twins.

 

Home Runs

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) - 35% Owned

After getting pushed out of the starting lineup in three of four games to start the season, Renfroe took matters into his own hands and blasted two home runs in one game against the Diamondbacks. He came into the year as a popular sleeper candidate on the back of his 2018 campaign, where he slashed .248/.302/.504 with 26 home runs in 403 at-bats. There wasn’t much difference in his righty and lefty splits so he’s fair game regardless of the pitcher’s handedness. He also had the same number of homers (13) at home as he did away (13). With Franmil Reyes off to a 1-for-16 start, Renfroe should get his shot to remain in the lineup. He makes for a good stream this week with an opportunity for a seven-game slate starting in San Francisco and then down to hitter-friendly Chase Field against the Diamondbacks.

Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, TB) - 14% Owned

Diaz is hot to start the year, slashing .333/.440/.619 with one home run. He hits the ball hard (93.2 mph exit velocity) and is hitting more fly balls than last year (4.5% increase in fly ball rate from 2018). He also has the benefit of hitting in the heart of the Rays lineup. With some lighter pitching matchups (White Sox and Blue Jays) and a few games at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre in Toronto, it’s only a matter of time before he starts reaching the seats. In a small sample size last year, Diaz had a reverse platoon advantage against righties, slashing .328/.394/.453 in 39 games. I’ll make the bet a power surge begins as he sees four righties this week.

 

Batting Average

Brandon Lowe (2B/OF, TB) - 9% Owned

Another Tampa Bay Ray! The Rays are hot and Lowe has been seeing everyday playing time since Joey Wendle went down with a hamstring strain. He’ll be a lock in the lineup this week except for when the team faces a left-handed pitcher. He did his best work against righties last year, slashing .247/.351/.443 with three home runs and he lines up to likely see four righties this week. Lowe has also been hitting out of the cleanup spot, so he’ll see good RBI opportunities against the White Sox (away) and Blue Jays (away).

Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) - 11% Owned

A lot of fantasy managers have given up on Swanson already, and I don’t blame them. In 2018 he slashed just .238/.304/.395 with a 22.9% strikeout rate and an 8.3% walk rate. He must be feeling the pressure in Atlanta so far because he’s been more patient at the plate (17.4% walk rate), struck out less (17.4% strikeout rate), and hit the ball harder than ever (94.9 mph exit velocity). We can’t take all these stats to the bank just yet because of the extremely small sample size, but this isn’t a year-long suggestion. This is streaming, the hot bat is usually the right bat. Swanson's bat is hot right now. He enjoyed more success against righties last year (.248/.310/.405) than lefties (.204/.281/.359).

 

Head-to-Head Category Streamers to Consider (Pitchers)

Strikeouts

Matthew Boyd (SP, DET) - 49% Owned

With 23 strikeouts in two games, how could I not feature Boyd here? I’ll note quickly that 10 came against the miserable Blue Jays lineup and the other 13 against a limping and already strikeout prone Yankees lineup. However, he’s posted a 20.2% swinging strike rate (league average is 9.5%) over those 11 1/3 innings. If that's not intriguing enough then I’ll also mention that he has not one, but two out pitches in his curveball and slider. The pitch mix and swing-and-miss stuff will be a great play against a struggling Cleveland lineup next week. He won’t be at 49% ownership for long.

Freddy Peralta (SP, MIL) - 43% Owned

Peralta lines up to see the Angels next week so we’re going to pick on them a bit for this one. The Angels rank 24th in runs scored (17), 27th in batting average (.186), and 26th in OPS (.530). Peralta should be licking his chops for this one coming off of an eight-inning, 11 strikeout performance against the Reds. The strikeouts are nothing new for Peralta as he posted a 29.9% strikeout rate in 2018 and shouldn’t have an issue keeping those numbers up against an Angels offense that has done nothing to scare anyone this season.

 

ERA/WHIP

Yonny Chirinos (SP/RP, TB) - 15% Owned

Did you see him absolutely dominate one of the best lineups in the league in his last start? If not, Chirinos took on the Astros and pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, struck out six, and issued no walks. This was his first, and hopefully not last, taste of being a true starter and he excelled. He had mainly been used on bullpen days and was very effective last year posting a 3.51 ERA over 89 2/3 innings with a 20.3% strikeout rate and 6.8% walk rate. There’s a good chance the Rays will let him make another true start as he’ll either take on the White Sox or Blue Jays next week in a plus matchup.

Frankie Montas (SP, OAK) - 6% Owned

This is mainly about facing the Orioles. I’m not buying this “Orioles might be good” deal just yet. We’re seven games in, pump the brakes. Anyway, the Orioles are posting a middle-of-the-pack slash against righties of .239/.301/.366. Montas took advantage of his time last year and threw a 3.88 ERA over 65 innings. He also looked good against the Angels in his first start striking out six over six innings and allowing one run. There isn’t a whole lot of long-term allure here, so we’ll take advantage of the start against Baltimore and probably cut-bait.

 

Wins

Brandon Woodruff (SP/RP, MIL) - 38% Owned

Freddy Peralta (SP, MIL) – 43% Owned

Both should see starts against the Angels (see above) and with a top offense to back them, wins are highly likely.

Marco Gonzalez (SP, SEA) - 37% Owned

Gonzales is probably under-owned because of a couple of four-run outings to start the season. Let’s note those came against the reigning champions the Boston Red Sox and dangerous A’s lineup. He followed those up with an 8 1/3 inning, one run domination of the Angels. Gonzales gets a nice matchup against the Royals on Tuesday, who are currently sporting a .204/.273/.288 slash against left-handed pitchers.

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