1. Mike Leake (Cincinnati Reds)
Tuesday vs. San Diego
Until the Padres start showing signs of being able to hit consistently, there's a strong possibility that a pitcher they face will be making these lists. It just so happens that the pitcher they face Tuesday is also pretty good. Leake, owned in 31% of Yahoo! and 13% of ESPN leagues, has solid standard numbers (3.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) while averaging at least 7 innings per start.
Over half of San Diego's batted balls against right handers- and all pitchers for that matter- have gone for grounders and, you guessed it, Leake is a ground ball pitcher. In fact, he's on pace to induce the most grounders in a season for his career. As for the Padres, they are hitting in the bottom third of the league on those ground balls with a .224 AVG. Take Leake and watch solid numbers for your team in IP, WHIP and ERA.
2. Gavin Floyd (Atlanta Braves)
Monday at San Francisco
Wasn't the Braves rotation supposed to be struggling this year due to injury? Floyd had a tremendous start to his Atlanta career against St. Louis Tuesday going seven strong for the win. The velocity on his fastball seems to be back to the 92 average range for the first time since 2010 with the White Sox. It's a small sample size to base a streaming start on, but the Giants offense hasn't exactly been lighting it up against right handers. Against RHP, San Fran has the fifth-worst batting average, a 23.2% K rate (sixth-worst) and a 27th ranked .291 OBP. And no Brandon Belt. Take Floyd's chances against this lineup. He should be an easy pick as his ownership numbers are low- 2% in Yahoo! and 1% in ESPN, respectively.
3. Travis Wood (Chicago Cubs)
Monday at St. Louis
Wood is just too good of a pitcher to get touched up the way he was Wednesday against the White Sox two games in a row. He's owned by 44% in Yahoo!, 9% in ESPN leagues. Although he has a 4.75 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP, Wood possesses a career best 3.33 K/BB rate. His struggles have stemmed mainly around the Cubs lack of defensive range and his inability to get players out with men on base. Luckily for Cubs fans and Wood fantasy owners, he'll face the Cardinals and their third worst .229 AVG against left handers. St. Louis is also hitting .229 with runners in scoring position, good for eleventh worst. Monday's matchup allows a perfect bounce back game for Wood.
4. Tyler Lyons (St. Louis Cardinals)
Monday vs. Chicago Cubs
Nothing like attempting to put a monopoly on starting pitchers facing each other to secure a W, right?! Opponents are hitting just .205 off Lyons in 21 IP so far this season. With a 3.50 K/BB rate, Lyons should pile up those K numbers as the Cubs strikeout the second most at a ridiculous 27.5% K rate. In fact, with similar numbers against lefties as the Cardinals have, there is a strong possibility that Lyons finishes close to his numbers from Tuesday when he went six innings with 7 K and allowed 1 BB, 1 R and 4 hits. His only downside is his inability to pitch deep into games. Only 2% of Yahoo! and 1% of ESPN leagues have him owned.
5. Dallas Keuchel (Houston Astros)
Tuesday vs. Texas
Keuchel offers perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the early week. At 6% in Yahoo! and 2% in ESPN leagues, Keuchel should be available in most leagues. Of all streamers, Keuchel has the most impressive numbers for sustained success: a 3.64 K/BB rate, 73.8% LOB rate and an absolutely mesmerizing 65.6% ground ball rate. Absurd. He should be a shoe in for most weeks. However the Rangers are third-best against left handers with a .291 AVG and fifth best .338 BABIP which means strikeouts could be at a premium for Keuchel. Expect the Rangers hitting and Keuchel's pitching to meet somewhere in the middle.
6. Drew Pomeranz (Oakland As)
Tuesday vs. Chicago White Sox
Ownership: Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 0%. Another SP, RP option in Oakland where versatility could pay dividends. A 21.6% K rate and a silly .191 AVG against could give fits to the White Sox, who are striking out 23.5% of the time on the road. There is some risk: Pomeranz is leaving 98% of baserunners on base and at some point that number will come down.
7. Wei-Yen Chen (Baltimore Orioles)
Wednesday vs. Detroit Tigers
Ownership: Yahoo! 7%, ESPN 5%. Chen is allowing the fewest walks of his career and maintaining his high strikeout numbers. Although his ERA is an average 3.95, his 3.13 FIP means the Oriole defense isn't demonstrating the range it needs to. Baltimore's usually reliable defense will figure it out to help Chen.
8. Tommy Milone (Oakland Athletics)
Wednesday vs. Chicago White Sox
Ownership: Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 0%. Looks like Oakland is the hot team. Milone is coming off his easily best start of the year, and his home splits blow away his away numbers: 1.93 ERA, 2.00 K/BB rate and an 8% decrease in the number of line drives allowed. Go with the hot hand at home with the hot offense.