Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Fantasy Baseball - Week 3

Miles Mikolas - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Before introducing this week's two-start streaming options at starting pitcher, I have to expound briefly upon one specific topic: Nestor Cortes.

This isn't a victory lap just because I labeled him as a solid streamer last week. I simply want to highlight the value of examining pitching matchups closely each week and identifying the best options. It's too early to tell if Cortes will be the real deal or not but he can't be considered a streamer anymore since he's now rostered in 78% of fantasy baseball leagues. Sometimes you go looking for a streamer and come out with a keeper.

As a reminder, each week this fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups column will identify starting pitchers expected to make two starts in the upcoming fantasy baseball week, ahead of the Sunday night waiver wire runs for leagues with weekly transactions. This list will be limited to players under 50% rostered in Yahoo! and divided into three sections based on recommendation levels. Think of them as green lights, yellow lights, and red lights.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Solid Two-Start Pitcher Streamers

Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals - 35% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs NYM, vs ARI

Mikolas' story is an interesting one. He was mediocre throughout the minors, didn't impress upon being called up and then played in Japan for a couple of years before returning to the majors in 2018. He promptly won 18 games and pitched to a 2.83 ERA over 200 innings. His ERA bloated to over 4.00 the last two years and he dealt with injuries throughout much of 2021. It looks like he may be regaining his old form, though.

After a clean five innings against Miami in which he allowed four hits and walked nobody, his ERA is at 1.76 with a 1.04 WHIP. He doesn't generate too many whiffs, which is why he's so dependent on solid ratios for fantasy value. It's not amazing but a 13/3 K/BB over 15 1/3 innings is solid enough. Mikolas isn't likely to turn in a dominant outing but he is almost a sure bet not to blow up your pitching stats, which is what you really want from a streamer in most cases.

The Mets have been a bit schizophrenic on offense but don't pose a huge threat to Mikolas. Despite an 11-run outburst on Wednesday versus the Nats, Arizona has been mostly toothless on offense. They carry a league-worst .168 team batting average and second-worst .281 slugging percentage even after that performance. Stream Mikolas with extreme confidence and consider holding on over the long haul.

Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals - 38% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs SF, @SF

While Nestor Cortes has been a hot commodity across the waiver wire, Gray hasn't been getting nearly as much attention. Maybe the immaculate inning brought Cortes more attention or the fact he's in New York. Either way, Gray was an excellent streamer last week and it has been overlooked. He allowed a total of one run and four hits with 13 K over his last two outings.

A double-dip against the Giants leaves no concerns; the team is sporting a .224 batting average and strikes out at the fifth-highest clip (25.6%). Add in the favorable park context and Gray is practically a must-add in 12-team leagues or deeper.

Eric Lauer, Milwaukee Brewers - 17% rostered

Scheduled starts: @PHI, vs CHC

The progress Lauer made last season, particularly increasing his K-rate to 23%, has held up so far. He keeps gaining velocity, which is a great sign, and he's gotten better at limiting hard contact. The Phillies will do their best to drive the ball out of the park, which they have 15 times already (fourth-most in MLB), but their homer-or-die philosophy also leaves them susceptible to bad games; they've scored one or zero runs on four occasions. The Cubs have fared well so far but it feels like they are overachieving on offense, mainly riding the tailcoats of Seiya Suzuki. Lauer should avoid trouble long enough to log at least a quality start or two this week.

Chad Kuhl, Colorado Rockies - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @DET, vs CIN

It would usually be a good thing to move out of Pittsburgh but Kuhl seemingly went to a worse situation in Colorado. Turns out, it might have been the best thing for him. The park factor won't help but Kuhl has reworked his pitch mix to include a sinker he's leaned on half the time in his first two starts. He's ditching the four-seamer altogether, which is a great idea since it was never able to sustain an average under .300. So far so good, as he's allowed just four hits and one run in his first 10 1/3 innings (two starts). He gets two struggling offenses, so this might be the week Kuhl jumps on the fantasy radar.


Risky Two-Start Pitcher Streamer Picks

Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks - 28% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs NYM, @ STL

It took a little self-convincing but I'm finally willing to give MadBum at least a yellow light for this week. He's been effectively wild so far, walking 10 batters in 13 innings while striking out nine. Somehow, he's managed to come away with a 1.39 ERA despite a 6.05 SIERA. His high strand rate (84.3% LOB%) and low .189 BABIP indicate some good fortune.

So, why would anyone be willing to risk starting him? He's always been a control-first pitcher with below league-average walk rates. The velocity on his cutter and four-seamer are up a bit. He's looking a little more comfortable with each inning he throws. The matchups aren't great, however, as both the Mets and Cards have been among the better teams at plate discipline thus far. If you play in a 14+ team league or the other options listed here aren't available, Bumgarner isn't the worst choice.

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs - 11% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs PIT, @MIL

Jon Anderson broke down the sustainability of starting pitchers with excessively-high fastball usage such as Justin Steele along with Hunter Greene. For those browsing this under time constraints, let me just say the outlook wasn't pretty. Greene pounds the zone with 100 MPH heat every other pitch. Steele gets about 93 on a good day. That doesn't mean he can't be effective but as a groundball pitcher with a low K%, it makes him far more prone to batted-ball luck. He should be fine versus Pittsburgh but could run into trouble if Milwaukee's bats continue to rouse from their slumber.

Nick Pivetta, Boston Red Sox - 10% rostered

Scheduled starts: @TOR, @BAL

It's been a rough go for Pivetta this year. He hasn't allowed fewer than four ER in each of his three starts, the last of which came against the Blue Jays. They got to him for five runs in four innings and now he'll face that offense in a road matchup. He made strides last year and posted a 26.5% K% but it's bordering on desperation to roll him out in that matchup.

Pivetta gets a reprieve when facing Baltimore later in the week. Only Cincinnati is striking out at a higher rate in the early part of 2022. That could mean plentiful Ks for Pivetta and possibly enough quality innings in the second start to outweigh the rough ones of the first start.

Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds - 24% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs STL, @COL

Lodolo's talent makes him interesting and he's whiffed 12 batters in his first nine innings as a pro but I'm bordering on 'avoid' territory for him. The Cardinals' offense has the lowest strikeout rate and seventh-highest wOBA after two weeks. Even if humidors are now a thing everywhere, pitching at Coors Field is still not a good experience for inexperienced starters and Colorado's .449 SLG leads the majors. This could go either way but only stream him for a boost in strikeouts and know you're assuming risk elsewhere.

Bryce Elder, Atlanta Braves - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs MIA, @TEX

It will be Elder, not Touki Toussaint, filling in the rotation spot vacated by Huascar Ynoa upon his demotion. Elder already has two starts under his belt and they weren't anything special. He is sporting a 7/5 K/BB with five runs allowed over 10 innings. Normally, I'd advise against a pitcher like Elder with no Major League track record but this is yet another talented pitcher in the Braves' farm system who moved rapidly through each minor-league level last season. The matchups are good enough that deep-league managers could consider him this week.

Miami's offense looks pretty similar to what it's been the last couple of years, which is to say not explosive. Texas has yet to reach its offensive potential but they are good at limiting strikeouts on offense, ranking 29th in that category. Elder's output this coming week might look like his current numbers with an ERA in the four range and an underwhelming strikeout total. He's not someone to avoid but I wouldn't make a point of targeting him in non-keeper leagues either.


Stay Away from these Two-Start Pitchers

Yusei Kikuchi, Toronto Blue Jays - 33% rostered

Scheduled starts: @HOU, vs HOU

Kikuchi is a player that analysts always feel should be performing better, but never actually does. Owner of a career 4.93 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in the majors, he earned an All-Star nod last year but then flopped in the second half with a 5.98 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, going 1-5 over his final 13 starts. Don't be fooled by his low ERA over 8 1/3 innings as his peripherals are not good enough to make him trustworthy. It's a good time to catch Houston with Jose Altuve on IL and Kyle Tucker struggling but it's not enough to justify adding Kikuchi.

Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @PHI, vs CIN

Freeland should be celebrating after being extended to a five-year deal worth $64.5 million just days ago. It's hard to imagine the reaction of Rockies fans upon hearing this after the franchise dealt away Nolan Arenado last year and let Trevor Story walk in free agency for nothing in return. Other than a solid year in 2018, Freeland has never been more than an innings-eater and tends to get hit hard on occasion. He also strikes out very few batters.

Unless you're a diehard Denver native, there's not much incentive to roster Freeland.

Chris Archer, Minnesota Twins - 8% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs CHW, @TB

Whether you buy into Archer as a quality starter or not (I don't), his upcoming slate against the White Sox and Rays begs you to stay away. Archer was once a high-end SP in Tampa, but it's been five years since he was truly viable in fantasy. Don't let his early numbers sway you toward buying into a career revival - he's enjoyed a 92% strand rate while his strikeout numbers are down.

Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs HOU, vs ATL

Dunning has never been a high-ceiling guy, striking out 22% of batters faced for his brief career. His swinging-strike rate is just 7.9% over his first three starts this year. In Week 3, he'll face two of the top-five teams in total HR. Hard pass.

Carlos Hernandez, Kansas City Royals - 3% rostered

Scheduled starts: @SEA, vs NYY

See last week's analysis on Hernandez as nothing has changed. He didn't wind up making two starts because of postponements, but in the one game he pitched, he allowed three runs and eight hits in four 1/3 innings.

TLDR - stay away regardless of schedule.

Chris Ellis, Baltimore Orioles - 0% rostered

Scheduled starts: @LAA, vs BOS

While Bruce Zimmermann proved not all Orioles pitchers are to be avoided, I can't in good faith recommend Ellis. The lanky righty is good at avoiding the long ball and won't get rocked too often but we're talking about a pitcher who is sporting a 4.8% K-BB% in the majors and never posted great strikeout numbers in the minors.

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!

More Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Dejounte Murray1 hour ago

Expected To Miss Two Weeks
Jake Mangum2 hours ago

Marlins Acquire Jake Mangum From The Mets
Josh Jacobs2 hours ago

Will Play Versus Rams
Mike Williams2 hours ago

Upgraded To Full Practice
Saquon Barkley2 hours ago

Limited On Thursday
Silvino Bracho2 hours ago

Reds Sign Silvino Bracho To Minor-League Deal
Austin Allen3 hours ago

Signs With Marlins
J.P. Feyereisen3 hours ago

Has Shoulder Surgery
Kris Letang3 hours ago

Skating With Regular Jersey Again
Logan Stanley3 hours ago

Back In Action Thursday
Spencer Knight3 hours ago

Out With An Illness
Aleksander Barkov3 hours ago

Ready To Return Thursday
Pavel Buchnevich3 hours ago

Remains Unavailable
Torey Krug4 hours ago

Sits Out Another Game
T.J. Brodie4 hours ago

Returns For Toronto Thursday
Josh Richardson5 hours ago

Probable For Thursday's Matchup
Keita Bates-Diop5 hours ago

Ruled Out For Thursday
Jae'Sean Tate6 hours ago

Still Out Thursday
Max Strus6 hours ago

Listed As Probable For Thursday
Pascal Siakam6 hours ago

Leads Raptors To Win On Wednesday
Brandin Cooks6 hours ago

Expected To Miss Another Game
Terance Mann6 hours ago

Out Thursday
Nikola Vucevic6 hours ago

Gathers Double-Double Against Washington
Zion Williamson6 hours ago

Scores Game-High 29 Points In Win
Kawhi Leonard6 hours ago

Won't Play Thursday
Jrue Holiday6 hours ago

Drops 31 Points Against Sacramento
Kyle Lowry6 hours ago

Rested On Thursday
Domantas Sabonis6 hours ago

Puts Up Strong Stat Line Against Bucks
Ja Morant6 hours ago

Collects Second Triple-Double This Season
Joe Mixon6 hours ago

Has Cleared Concussion Protocols
Bruno Fernando6 hours ago

Questionable On Thursday With Illness
Josh Christopher6 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable Against Spurs
Nikola Jovic7 hours ago

Available To Play Against Clippers
Duncan Robinson7 hours ago

Probable For Thursday's Game
San Francisco Giants7 hours ago

Giants Acquire Blake Sabol From The Reds
Austin Brice8 hours ago

Diamondbacks Sign Austin Brice To Minor-League Deal
Jason Heyward8 hours ago

Dodgers Sign Jason Heyward To Minor-League Deal
Trevor Williams8 hours ago

Mets Could Reunite With Trevor Williams
Baker Mayfield9 hours ago

Expected To Be Active, Could Start
Marcus Mariota9 hours ago

Benched For Desmond Ridder
Andrei Kuzmenko12 hours ago

Heating Up Again
Josh Jacobs12 hours ago

Expected To Play Thursday Night
Mika Zibanejad12 hours ago

Enjoys A Three-Point Night Versus Vegas
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins12 hours ago

Piles Up Three Points Wednesday
Connor McDavid12 hours ago

Goes Off For Another Four Points
Linus Ullmark12 hours ago

Shuts Out Colorado
Taylor Hall13 hours ago

Grabs Three Points In Wednesday's Win
Patrik Laine13 hours ago

Nets Two Goals Wednesday
Alex Tuch13 hours ago

Posts Career-High Four Points
Kirill Kaprizov19 hours ago

Extends Point Streak In Loss
Alex Ovechkin20 hours ago

Scores Twice In Victory
Joe Jiménez20 hours ago

Braves Acquire Joe Jimenez From Tigers
Xander Bogaerts20 hours ago

Padres Agree With Xander Bogaerts On 11-Year Deal
Tage Thompson20 hours ago

Scores Five Goals In Dominant Victory
Tyler Herro21 hours ago

Probable For Meeting With The Clippers
Buddy Hield21 hours ago

Scores 26 Points In Loss
Tyrese Haliburton21 hours ago

Plays Well In Return From Injury
Dansby Swanson1 day ago

Four Teams Showing Serious Interest In Dansby Swanson
Xander Bogaerts1 day ago

Six Teams Talking With Xander Bogaerts
Pittsburgh Pirates1 day ago

Pirates Take Jose Hernandez In Rule 5 Draft
Ryan Noda1 day ago

A's Pluck Ryan Noda Away From The Dodgers
Boston Red Sox1 day ago

Red Sox Reel In Masataka Yoshida On Five-Year Deal
Cole Hamels1 day ago

Wants To Pitch In 2023
Josh Jacobs1 day ago

Questionable For Thursday Night Football
New York Mets1 day ago

Mets Remain Involved With Kodai Senga
Carlos Rodón1 day ago

Yankees Remain In On Carlos Rodon
Mike Williams1 day ago

Set To Practice This Week
Carlos Correa1 day ago

Giants Have Talked With Carlos Correa
Thad Ward1 day ago

Nationals Select Thad Ward With First Rule 5 Pick
Zach Hyman1 day ago

Set To Return Wednesday
James Van Riemsdyk1 day ago

James van Riemsdyk Returns To Flyers Lineup
Craig Smith1 day ago

Back For Bruins Wednesday
Jimmy Garoppolo1 day ago

A Long Shot To Return In Playoffs
Joe Mixon1 day ago

A Full Participant In Practice
Los Angeles Rams1 day ago

Aaron Donald Ruled Out For Thursday Night
Trevor Lawrence1 day ago

Expects To Play In Week 14
Brooks Raley1 day ago

Mets Acquire Brooks Raley From Rays
Courtland Sutton1 day ago

Unlikely To Play In Week 14
David Njoku1 day ago

Ready To Play
Buffalo Bills1 day ago

Von Miller Undergoes Surgery, Out For The Year
Mark Ingram II1 day ago

Likely Done For The Season
Trevor Lawrence1 day ago

Up In The Air For Week 14
Tua Tagovailoa1 day ago

Expected To Be Limited In Practice
Davis Mills1 day ago

Texans Going Back To Davis Mills At QB
Magomed Ankalaev1 day ago

Can Realize His UFC Dream
Jan Blachowicz1 day ago

Set For Title Redemption
Jared Gordon1 day ago

Has An Opportunity For A Huge Victory
Paddy Pimblett1 day ago

Set To Showcase In UFC 282
Dricus Du Plessis2 days ago

Hoping To Continue To Rack Up Wins
Darren Till2 days ago

Looking For A Key Victory At UFC 282
Ilia Topuria2 days ago

Meets Fellow Top-15 Undefeated Featherweight
Bryce Mitchell2 days ago

Set To Open UFC 282 Main Card
Kevin Holland3 days ago

Takes The Loss In Saturday's Main Event
Stephen Thompson3 days ago

Earns Victory In Main Event
Bryan Barberena3 days ago

Unable To Secure A Win Saturday
Rafael Dos Anjos3 days ago

Rafael dos Anjos Takes Co-Main Event By Submission
Matt Schnell3 days ago

Matthew Christopher Schnell Takes The Loss Saturday
Matheus Nicolau3 days ago

Continues Run With TKO Victory
Tai Tuivasa3 days ago

Suffers Second Straight Loss
Sergei Pavlovich3 days ago

Earns Fifth Straight Victory With Knockout Win
Jack Hermansson3 days ago

Ends 2022 With Losing Record
Roman Dolidze3 days ago

Makes Most Of Opportunity With TKO Victory
Kyle Daukaus3 days ago

Has His Night Come To An Early End
Eryk Anders3 days ago

Gets It Done With A Second TKO Performance
Kevin Holland5 days ago

Hoping To Rebound With Main-Event Victory