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H2H Category Streamers - Week 8 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

Jarrod Dyson (ARI, OF) – 21% Owned

Cheapest steals on the block these days. Wait, and he’s hitting .290 with a .391 on-base percentage? 11 steals in 33 games? I’m not sure what anyone is waiting for here. Dyson has proven to be a threat every single time he steps on first, and this year it’s been almost 40% of the time that he’s stepped to the plate. You can be pretty confident rolling him out in the games he starts and banking at least one steal per week even if he isn't in the lineup every day.

Mallex Smith (SEA, OF) – 41% Owned

Smith came back from his Triple-A assignment with a homer on Thursday night. Those won’t be nearly as common as the stolen bases that he’ll rack up. He hit ninth on Thursday in his return but if he hits, he’ll quickly be atop the lineup. It looks like he figured out his issue from his awful beginning of the season and should be one of the top base stealing threats in the game. During his “get right” stint he hit .333/.375/.467 with a homer and seven stolen bases. Even when he was hitting a sub-.200 batting average he still stole eight bases in around 100 at-bats.

 

Home Runs - Head-To-Head Category Streamers

Willie Calhoun (TEX, OF) – 15% Owned

Calhoun was up because of an injury to Elvis Andrus and the kid has hit a bomb in each of the two games that he’s played. Before joining the big league club, Calhoun mashed eight homers in 138 at-bats with the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, Round Rock Express. He may not stick around when Andrus comes back because of his limited defensive abilities, but Andrus won’t be eligible to return until next weekend anyway. This will give Calhoun the opportunity to tee off on Mariners pitching, who have allowed the second most homer in the league this year. Oh, and the weekend series will be against the Angels who have let up the third-most homers this year.

C.J. Cron (MIN, 1B) – 26% Owned

Cron makes a nice transition here because he will face that Angels staff at the beginning of the week who have allowed the third-most homers this year. We told you to stream Cron this past week and if you did, you got a homer out of him Thursday and hopefully another over the weekend. A very cheap source of power in a very good Twins lineup is never a bad place to stream. In addition to the Angels, Cron will also see a Chicago White Sox staff who have let up the sixth most homers in the league this year. Cron has hit lefties (.333/.370/.750) better than righties (.243/.313/.452) this year but still has seven homers against righties so far.

 

Batting Average - Head-To-Head Category Streamers

Gregory Polanco (PIT, OF) – 48% Owned

Likely the last chance to stream Polanco (you might consider holding him) because of his nice power/speed profile with decent batting average. He was overlooked in most drafts because of his injury to begin the year, but he will be back on fantasy radars soon if he isn’t already. In only 130 games in 2018, Polanco hit 23 homers and stole 12 bases. His .254 batting average left something to be desired, but he begins the week against some shaky Rockies pitching, which should keep him on a roll. He has a .292/.354/.514 slash through roughly 70 at-bats and is one of three fantasy-relevant bats in the Pirates lineup. There isn’t a lefty or righty advantage with Polanco as he hits them roughly the same based on his 2018 numbers.

Melky Cabrera (PIT, OF) – 5% Owned

So when I said that there were only three fantasy-relevant Pirates bats, I wasn’t really including Cabrera. BUT he is hitting .339/.380/.471 so far this year. The batting average will likely come down a bit but he is a career .287 hitter, so we can bank on at least around there. He’s a very cheap option if you need someone to keep your batting average afloat this week. He also hits both lefties and righties about the same over the past three seasons.

 

Strikeouts - Head-To-Head Category Streamers

Kevin Gausman (ATL, SP) – 46% Owned

Gausman will be coming off extra rest because of his one-game suspension for almost hitting Jose Urena with a pitch in his first May start. His 4.50 ERA isn’t very appetizing but he has actually pitched a bit better than that this year, which is evidenced by his 3.82 FIP and 4.15 SIERA. The 1 2/3 innings that he let up one run in the Marlins start when he was ejected is pulling that ERA down a bit. His strikeout rate has been a solid 25.8 percent and a meeting with a sub-par Giants lineup should do the trick to keep that up.

Chris Bassitt (OAK, SP) – 46% Owned

He hasn’t been pitching against what you would consider top-of-the-line competition, but that continues this week against the Indians. Yes, Lindor is back and Ramirez should be getting better, but what’s after that Jason Kipnis? This is still a lineup that is 26th in batting average against right-handed pitchers (.223) and no one should be scared to stream against them. Bassitt has pitched great and sports a 29.9 percent strikeout rate this year. If I mention his 3.69 FIP and 3.38 SIERA we may lose him as a streamer, but he can help in the 54% of leagues that he’s still available in. Grab him for this week’s start.

 

Wins - Head-To-Head Category Streamers

Corbin Martin (HOU, SP) – 44% Owned

When you have a spot in the Astros rotation, you walk immediately into “stream for wins” territory. It will be interesting to watch him face off against the Red Sox on Saturday, but we don’t have to worry about that. We’re looking at his projected start next Thursday against the White Sox. Before he got the call, Martin held a Triple-A ERA of 1.48 with a 29.8 percent strikeout rate. His walk rate was a bit high at 11.7 percent but the White Sox are the eighth most strikeout-prone lineup this year. Their rough pitching staff and Astros hot lineup should create a lot of run support for Martin which should guide him to a win.

Gio Gonzalez (MIL, SP) – 29% Owned

I don’t think anyone was expecting his name to be here this year, but after some bouncing around Gonzalez has fallen into a good situation in Milwaukee. Not only that, but he’s rocking a 1.69 ERA over the past month. These weren’t easy matchups either, he faced the Mets twice and the Phillies and Cubs each once. Many owners will likely pass on him and expect serious regression, but a meeting with a middle of the pack Reds lineup should provide him a win. Especially at home, where the Brewers hitters immediately become supermen. They’re third in runs scored at home and only 15th in runs scored on the road. Expect a win here.

 

ERA/WHIP - Head-To-Head Category Streamers

Steven Matz (NYM, SP) – 46% Owned

Matz is slated to come off of the injured list on Saturday to pitch against the Marlins. This should be a good tune-up game as he returns from his forearm injury and going into his next week start against the Nationals. Trea Turner may be back for that game, but it’s possible that he will struggle at first to get his timing down. Otherwise, the Nationals haven’t been great lately, ranking 20th in runs scored without Turner and Rendon for a bit. Matz has been good when healthy, pitching to a 3.86 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Pablo Lopez (MIA, SP) – 7% Owned

I know what you’re thinking. The guy who just got ran off the field by the Mets? The one who let up 10 runs in three innings? Yes, him. He’ll line up to face that same Washington team (see Matz above), but this is more about the Pablo Lopez comeback story. Most owners have probably written him off, but let’s just look at what he’s done under the hood this year.

His 5.93 ERA is ballooned by that last start, but his FIP is still a solid 3.82, xFIP3.83, and SIERA even better at 3.78. It seems that what he was doing before the Mets blow up was actually legit. Add in a decent 23.7 percent strikeout rate and low walk rate of 6.2 percent and roll him out next week. Bet on the Lopez we saw before the Mets catastrophe.

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