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H2H Category Streamers - Week 20 Waiver Wire


There are plenty of strategies that fantasy managers explore in hopes of getting 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!

 

Steals – Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Cavan Biggio (2B/OF, TOR) - 29% Owned

Often forgotten behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and now Bo Bichette, rookie Cavan Biggio has had a successful first year and is heating back up after hitting the skids for most of July. Over his last 10 games, Biggio is slashing .262/.380/.571 with four home runs, 11 runs scored, with three stolen bases and a 149 wRC+. This week, Toronto has six games at home against the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, thereby facing two of the league's worst catchers at stopping stolen bases, with Jeff Mathis of the Rangers and Omar Narvaez of the Mariners tied for the 3rd-most, with 47 bags swiped on their watch. Given that, it's reasonable to assume that Biggio will continue to get a green light this week on the basepaths.

Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT) - 21% Owned

Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman hadn't been running since the All-Star break, going the first 16 games after without a bag swiped. But the rookie has been running lately and now has three stolen bases in his last 10 games. Newman and the Pirates have three road games against the Angels before heading home for a series against the Cubs. It's in the first series with the Halos when Newman should have the best opportunity for larceny, going up against one of the worst catching tandems in the league when it comes to stopping thieves. Jonathan Lucroy and Kevan Smith have allowed a combined 62 stolen bases in their combined 800 innings caught, which is not quite in the territory of Wilson Ramos-levels of swiss-cheese defense, but they're in the conversation.

 

Home Runs – Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX) - 14% Owned

It came as a surprise when Texas outfielder Willie Calhoun was demoted shortly after the All-Star break as the rookie had slashed .277/.313/.489 over his first 99 plate appearances, with five home runs, 13 RBI, and 15 runs scored. Regardless of the reasoning, the demotion didn't last long as Calhoun was called back up July 26 after Joey Gallo broke his hamate bone and since then Calhoun has hit like a man who has no intention of being sent back to the minors, with four home runs, 12 RBI, and nine runs scored in his ten games since returning. Over those last 42 plate appearances, Calhoun is hitting the ball with real authority posting a .450 ISO, .453 wOBA, and a 45.2% hard-hit rate. This week Calhoun has some juicy matchups, first traveling to Toronto to face a suspect pitching rotation before heading back home for four games in the hot Texas weather against the Minnesota Twins. We've been waiting a long time for a true Calhoun breakout and if this is the start, then his ownership won't stay low for long.

C.J. Cron (1B, MIN) - 35% Owned

After missing two weeks with thumb inflammation, C.J. Cron's ownership has dipped but should now be back on the fantasy radars of teams in search of power. In his four games since returning, the 29-year old first baseman is slashing .313/.313/.500 with one home run and three RBI. It's just four games but Cron has a total of 19 home runs in his 366 plate appearances in 2019 with a career-high 14.7% barrel-rate that is in the top-5% of the league, as well a 43.3% hard-hit rate that's also a career-high. This week Cron has two games in Milwaukee before heading to Texas for a four-game set with temperatures forecasted in the high 90's. With pitcher's parks and hot temperatures, don't be surprised to see Cron start going deep.

 

Batting Average – Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Jose Osuna (1B/3B/OF, PIT) – 4% Owned

With teammate Bryan Reynolds and his 46%-ownership finally graduating from this list (now qualified, Reynolds' .334 AVG is fourth in baseball and if still available, should definitely be picked up), teammate Jose Osuna now slides in to take his place. Playing time opened up for the utility-infielder after the Pirates traded Corey Dickerson to the Giants and designated Jung Ho Kang for assignment at the trade deadline and Osuna has responded in his 20 plate appearances since by slashing .471/.550/.882 with four doubles, four RBI, and four runs scored. Over 119 plate appearances in 2019, Osuna has a 43.4% hard-hit rate and a 9.7% barrel-rate that are both career highs. The Pirates have three road games against the Angels before coming home for three against the Cubs, and with his triple-eligibility, Osuna could be a real fantasy asset heading down the stretch.

Jon Berti (2B/3B/OF, MIA) – 2% Owned

Who? Career minor-leaguer Jon Berti, that's who. Totally underwhelming in a utility role for the hapless Marlins in 2019, Berti has been on fire since returning from an oblique injury on July 31. In his 29 plate appearances since then, Berti is slashing .379/.379/.621 with three RBI and three runs scored and is now leading off for Miami now that Miguel Rojas has hit the injured list. Counting stats may be hard to come by at the top of the lineup but Berti has also contributed on the basepaths since his return, with three stolen bases in the past seven games. Berti will face a tough rotation when the Dodgers come into town early in the week but then will go on the road for a three-game set in Colorado with all the loveliness that comes with playing at Coors. With playing time now seemingly assured and with triple-eligibility, Berti is an intriguing stream until he cools down.

 

Strikeouts – Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Anthony DeSclafani (SP, CIN) - 26% Owned

If looking for tight ratios, Cincinnati pitcher Anthony DeSclafani will usually be a dicey play. But whether giving up four runs or one, you can usually mark the Reds right-hander down for at least a strikeout per inning, with a 9.5 K/9 on the year. DeSclafani is set for two starts in Week 20, first going on the road to face the Nationals in the more troublesome of his two matchups, with Washington carrying a 19.7% K-rate against right-handers since July 1. Things get easier in his second start, coming home to face the St. Louis Cardinals, whose 24.7% K-rate against righties is seventh-worst in the league since the beginning of July. Going at least five innings in 11 of his last 12 starts, the likelihood of getting double-digit strikeouts for the week seems very promising.

Dinelson Lamet (SP, SDP) - 20% Owned

Even after striking out 12 over seven innings against Seattle, Dinelson Lamet's ownership is only up 5% from last week and going on the road to face Philadelphia, the 27-year-old righthander will have another chance to pile up the K's. But to be fair, Lamet has that same chance virtually every time he steps on the mound, posting a 12.9 K/9 over his first 30 innings pitched this year. He'll matchup against the Phillies in Week 20, who carries a 22.8% K-rate with only a .728 wOBA versus right-handers this year. Grab him now because if Lamet follows his Mariners masterpiece with another quality outing against the Rockies over the weekend, his ownership will start to rocket up.

 

Wins - Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Ariel Jurado (SP, TEX) - 3% Owned

Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado picked up the loss in his last time out despite going seven strong innings, allowing only two earned runs while striking out five. This week he'll have two opportunities to earn a win, one which is much more manageable than the other. First, the good news, as Jurado goes on the road to face the Toronto Blue Jays, who've lost four of their past six games and hold a .732 OPS against right-handers this year. Things then get dicey when Jurado goes home to face the incoming Twins in likely 100-degree weather, as the Twins are one of the best offenses in baseball and have a .836 OPS against righties this year. You'll have to sweat through the Minnesota matchup but Jurado still looks like a good candidate to stream a win this week.

Brendan McKay (SP, TBR) - 39% Owned

While a lot of the shine has worn off of Tampa Bay pitcher Brendan McKay's prospect hype, the rookie has pitched okay in his two starts since being recalled, going 1-1 while giving up six earned runs in 10.1 innings with 15 K. McKay gets two starts this week, first going on the road to face the San Diego Padres before heading home for a matchup with the visiting Detroit Tigers. He should have a good shot at wins in both matchups as the Padres have lost five of their past eight contests and the Detroit Tigers are one of the worst offenses in baseball, carrying only a .709 OPS and 86 wRC+ against left-handers this year. With a plus four-pitch mix, McKay has an excellent chance of continued success and should be scooped up anywhere he was too hastily dropped.

 

ERA/WHIP - Head-to-Head Category Streamers

Yusei Kikuchi (SP, SEA) – 30% Owned

Formerly an ace for the Seibu Lions, Yusei Kikuchi has had a rough go of it in his first year since coming to the MLB from the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The Mariners were probably hoping for more than a 4-8 record with a 5.34 ERA when they signed Kikuchi for more than $50 million prior to 2019. But things are looking up for the rookie after a positive last outing against the Padres, striking out eight in five innings and giving up only one run on his way to picking up a win. Kikuchi should have a chance to post good ratios this week, with two road starts against subpar offenses. First up are the Detroit Tigers who've been one of the league's worst against left-handers this year, posting a 86 wRC+, .709 OPS, and 24.9% K-rate against them in 2019. They are also one of the worst teams in baseball against sliders, with only a - 26.5 pVal against them this year. In Kikuchi, they will be facing one of the league's best slide-pieces, one that carries a filthy 15.7% swinging-strike rate. The Mariners travel to Toronto next to face a Blue Jay team that hasn't been much better against left-handers, with a 92 wRC+ and a 23.8% K-rate.

Vince Velasquez (SP, PHI) - 20% Owned

Philadelphia Phillie Vince Velasquez has seemingly pulled himself off of the fantasy garbage heap, going 2-1 over his last three starts, allowing only four runs in 17.2 innings pitched. Velasquez has also gotten some of his strikeout mojo back, posting a 10.09 K/9 in his four starts since the All-Star break. This week the 27-year-old right-hander gets a home matchup against the San Diego Padres team whose 26.4% K-rate against righties is second-worst in baseball and also have a surprisingly light .736 OPS. While the chance of a blowup is always right around the corner, Velasques has shown himself capable of having brilliant stretches and we may in the middle of one now. Take advantage while you can.

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