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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 2 category streamers for fantasy baseball. All position eligibility and ownership percentages are based on Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

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Head-to-Head Category Streamers to Consider


Cameron Maybin (OF, MIA) 8% Owned

It feels like Cameron Maybin has been around forever. That's because he has. Yet, he's still only 31 years old. He stole 33 bases last season in just 450 plate appearances. The man can run. There's not much out there in terms of cheap speed, but the Marlins play six games next week and need to do all they can to start manufacturing runs.

Mallex Smith (OF, TB) 16% Owned

I'm not quite sure why Mallex Smith is more heavily owned than Maybin. Maybe because of his cool first name? Mallex has displayed elite speed at every level of competition. He stole 64 bases way back 2013 in Single-A. Last year, he stole 16 bases in half a season. I think he is capable of much more. He's not an every day player, but if you're in dire need for easy steals, see if he's in the lineup for a particular game and then plug him in. It's early in the season so many players haven't gotten going yet. Mallex is going to run eventually.



Kendrys Morales (1B, TOR) 24% Owned

This one is a little tricky because Kendrys Morales hasn't really played much this season. While eligible at 1B, he's really just a designated hitter and Josh Donaldson has needed to occupy that role given his inability to throw the ball to first base. Donaldson has since returned to third base, allowing Morales' bat to get back in the lineup. Morales hit 28 and 30 home runs the past two seasons respectively. The Indians have a strong rotation, but the Orioles do not. There will be opportunities to use Morales for some pop.



Nick Markakis (OF, ATL) 14% Owned

There is nothing fun or sexy about Nick Markakis. However, he's a career .288 hitter and off a strong start this season as well. Don't use him against Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg, but the rest of his week should present usable opportunities if you just need to prop that batting average up a bit.

Howie Kendrick (2B, OF, WAS) 4% Owned

Yeah, he's still in the league. Howie Kendrick is playing second base while Daniel Murphy is recovering from his back injury. Kendrick is a career .291 hitter and coming off a season where he hit .315. He's a whole lot of empty batting average, but that's what we're looking for here. The Nationals play the Braves and Rockies next week, neither of whom have dominant rotations. Other than Jon Gray, the rest of the pitchers Kendrick may face can be classified as average, at best.



Josh Hader (RB, MIL) 54% Owned

Josh Hader's ownership percentage is over the 50% threshold I particularly prefer to use for this column, but I think it's important to list him here. He was already a recommended add before Corey Knebel's troubling injury Thursday night, but now he's a must-add. Even if he doesn't become the new temporary closer, he has tremendous value.

When trying to accumulate strikeouts, it's rare that a fantasy owner will think of anything other than a starting pitcher. But what would you rather do: stream a below replacement level starter and potentially bury your ERA and WHIP to try and amass three or four strikeouts? Or secure a high-end middle reliever who will make two or three appearances during the week and strikeout as many, if not more? Hader has a career K/9 over 13 and already fanned seven batters in his first three innings of 2018. If he makes three appearances next week, you could very well get the same strikeout output as you would from a starter.

Jake Junis (SP, KC) 28% Owned

Shameless self-promotion alert - I drafted this guy in all of my leagues. He's not just a streamer; he's a streamer plus, which is a streamer that could end up sticking. Jake Junis is just 25 years old and although his low-four ERA from last season isn't all that impressive, he really came on strong late in the season and was striking out around a batter an inning. He struck out six in his first start this season. He's expected to start Monday against the Mariners - not the scariest of opposition.



Seth Lugo (SP, NYM) 2% Owned

Seth Lugo isn't a terrible pitcher. He had a sub 4.00 FIP last season, so he won't completely bury you in ERA and WHIP. He's projected to start against the Marlins next week. That's going to be a theme throughout the season for cheap wins - streaming pitchers against the Marlins. Brian Johnson was a perfect example of this last week, securing a win in a strong performance for Boston. Lugo is next week's version.



Mike Montgomery (SP/RP, CHC) 8% Owned

Middle relievers are a great source of ERA and WHIP. Mike Montgomery threw three scoreless innings to start the season and operates as the Cubs' primary long reliever/spot starter. He's a lot more useful than he gets credit for and since he is eligible at SP, he's a bit of a cheat code. He's like Brad Peacock lite.


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