With the 2021 season, I’m changing how I’m doing my starting pitcher streamers and daily matchup rankings.
Instead of being featured in the SP Roundup, I’ll be highlighting my SP streamer picks for today and tomorrow inside this article, while also introducing four tiers and adding notes to each table.
The four tiers are as follows:
Auto-Start – Just do it. Don’t overthink this, start the man.
Probably Start – I’m likely starting these arms, though I recognize there is more risk than we’d like there to be. Either it’s a tough matchup for a good pitcher or a weak lineup for a volatile arm.
Questionable Start – There are situations where I’d take the chance, either with strong enough upside on the ability side, or a poor offense that a pitcher could take advantage of.
Do Not Start – The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t do it.
Obviously, there will be circumstances where pitchers should move between teams for your situation specifically and these new tiers should act as a little more help than the straight table from last year.
Please keep in mind that streaming is far from a perfect play. In fact, if they work out over half the time, I’d consider it a success. These matchup rankings & streamer picks are going to be wildly different than the actual results through the year, so please, have sympathy before the scathing comments and tweets. I’m only trying to help!
Make sure to read the notes if you’re wondering why I’m favoring certain pitchers over others – I won’t get to everyone and hopefully I answer what questions you will have.
There is a second table for tomorrow’s starting pitcher matchups as well, helping everyone get a jump on their nightly pickups. Please note that these matchups are subject to change, though, and there will be times when I have the incorrect pitcher going. I thank you for your future understanding.
Finally, there are my streaming picks of the day, and please keep in mind that I am forced to pick a streamer every day. Those highlighted in Green are in the second tier and I’d roll with them everywhere. The most common are those in Yellow in the third tier and should be decent if you’re searching for something on a given day. Finally, those are Red are those I really don’t want to start (they are labeled as “Do Not Start”, after all) but have no other choice. Don’t stream these guys until you are truly desperate. A streaming pick is defined as “rostered in 20% or fewer leagues,” which really emphasizes the point that I’d be happy if over 50% of these worked. I could do the whole sub 30/40% rostered, but there’s no fun in that. You can use the rankings to realize who would be those picks, instead.
2021 Streamer Record: 92-77
Friday’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- The top tier is pretty clear as you have five aces + Ranger Suárez, who has taken full advantage of the easiest schedule in the league. You won’t be able to find a manager not starting him against the Marlins.
- There were times that Huascar Ynoa facing the Mets would have returned a placement in the top tier, but he’s been struggling with his heater across the last few weeks. I’d still start him against the struggling Mets, though I recognize the lower floor than we’d like.
- Continuing in the second tier, Marco Gonzales will be starting instead of Tyler Anderson as Tyler tossed a short start earlier in the week. Marco is a “Toby” and fully prepared to take down the Angels and you should feel safe with this start.
- Anthony DeSclafani has had a rough schedule in September and he should feel relieved to see the recent struggles of the San Diego offense. He should be able to hint at his first-half magic in Oracle Park.
- It looks like the Astros are going with Framber Valdez today instead of Saturday – make sure he’s in your lineups.
- The same goes for Steven Matz and Shane McClanahan. They need to be in your lineups as well.
- Also, Kevin Gausman is expected to follow Anthony DeSclafani today, make sure he’s starting for you to get his quality innings for your week.
- In the third tier, Joe Musgrove faces the Giants for the third time in four starts and hasn’t looked like a proper ace in a good while. It’s a coin flip if he’ll be able to be his best self here.
- Sean Manaea dominated the Astros last time out, though he’s been a “Cherry Bomb” through the full month and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to replicate in Houston.
- Speaking of “Cherry Bomb” arms, our streaming pick of the day is Eli Morgan, whose opponents have little bearing on his performance. If he has his fastball command working, this should go well, but if it teeters on acceptable, even the Rangers can make his day miserable.
- It’s been a wonderful story watching Néstor Cortes Jr. excel in the Yankee rotation, but he’s stumbled a bit lately and now has a date with the excellent Rays offense. Take caution here.
- It’s great to see Dakota Hudson get more time on the bump for the Cardinals, though it’s unclear how long he’ll be able to go in this one. He may not make it a full five frames against the Cubs, while the quality of inning should be good enough to take the chance.
- And finally, Eric Lauer has been as hot as anyone, but now gets a challenge in the Dodgers offense. That’s as dangerous of a play you’ll see on Friday.
- In the final tier, Spencer Howard finally tossed more than 60 pitches last time out and could go somewhat deep into this game against Cleveland. I’m skeptical his secondaries are in a good place, though, and I’d like to watch this from a safe distance.
- We’re going to get Tylor Megill today for the Mets and sadly, Megill isn’t in a great place with his repertoire. I’d avoid him against Atlanta, even if they may have a depleted lineup after clinching on Thursday.
- It looks like Adbert Alzolay will get the ball as the Cubs shut down Zach Davies for the season. He tossed 3.2 frames in his last relief appearance and could go five against the Cardinals. Something to consider.
Saturday’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We already had some shifts to rotations, but not much has changed in the top tier for Saturday. Keep an eye on what the Brewers do with Corbin Burnes, though. I imagine if he does start, he could be limited to three innings or so. I’m not changing his ranking because even the sliver of possibility that he isn’t limited means you can’t miss this outing. Just temper your expectations.
- Take note – Alek Manoah is slated to go on Saturday now, not Friday + Kevin Gausman is no longer starting on Saturday as he’s expected to follow in a relief role on Friday.
- In the second tier, we have two strong plays in Zac Gallen and Chris Flexen. Gallen did well against tough teams and now gets a lovely date to end the season hosting “Rockie Road”. Flexen has one more outing to seal his crown as “Spider-Man” and the Angels shouldn’t put up much of a fight.
- Triston McKenzie also finds himself in this tier as he faces the Rangers. McKenzie has been a bit volatile, though his upside when he comes through with breakers in the zone makes this well worth your time, especially with a higher margin for error in Texas.
- The questionable start tier begins with Jordan Montgomery and Shane Baz squaring off. Both have the ability to rack of the strikeouts, but their respective offenses will make it a difficult path to follow.
- I have a tough time deciding if John Means is worth the start against the Jays and flip a coin if you need some help.
- The back half of the third tier is awfully fragile. Antonio Senzatela is the streaming pick of the day after succeeding despite horrific circumstances in Coors. He gets to head to Arizona now and could go 6+ strong.
- I really hope Tanner Houck can come through against the Nationals, but I wonder how many innings he’ll get. He has pitched in extended relief over the past few weeks.
- In the bottom tier, only a few names should be on your radar. Jordan Lyles could churn 6+ frames against Cleveland, but he comes with a terrifying floor. Jhonathan Diaz did well coming in relief of Jaime Barria and could repeat it against the Mariners. And hey, if you need some strikeouts, maybe Griffin Jax pulls it out against the Royals.
- And then there’s Josiah Gray, who finally showed some life two starts ago and has found his slider once again. He had to deal with Coors last time and now gets the Sawx, making this an awfully risky proposition. You may need to take the chance, though.
Sunday’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- This is it. We’ve made it. I added this to the Friday article because why the h*ck not. Good luck everyone.
- As we go through these starts, you have to be careful banking on all of them being made. Many teams scratch their Sunday starters late, in an effort to cut innings or allow a young arm to get another shot before season’s end. Keep your wits about you on Sunday morning.
- As far as the aces go, as of now everything looks normal. Charlie Morton may be rested by Atlanta, Zack Wheeler doesn’t need to make that start but might do it anyway because why not, and Freddy Peralta could go few innings as he is a young Brewer, after all.
- Chris Sale and Walker Buehler are likely making these starts – the Sawx will need a Win + Buehler won’t be needed by the Dodgers until the following weekend. Logan Webb should be fine, too.
- In the probably start tier, I really hope we do in fact see Pablo López make that final start. He tossed three innings in rehab and I’d expect anywhere from 3-5 frames if he gets the start. I imagine they’ll be of quality and the Phillies aren’t a deadly opponent. Let him fly and have some fun.
- Be thrilled – José Urquidy is making a final start against Oakland after all. He’s in a good place and could soar for 5+ frames here.
- In the questionable start tier, the streaming pick of the day is Reiver Sanmartin as he faces the Pirates for a second time. I loved his groundball tendencies and deception that made for a tough evening for the Pirates and hopefully he can do it again.
- Tyler Anderson is getting one more chance of redemption for the Mariners in a must-win game on Sunday as he faces the Angels. He’s on regular four-days rest and despite his 9 ER blowup last weekend, I think he’ll be able to rebound well enough to help your fantasy teams.
- I’m stoked Aaron Civale gets one more chance to start on Sunday, replacing Cal Quantrill who has been shut down for the year. Civale has a kitchen-sink approach that didn’t work against the Royals but may return in full against a week Rangers lineup.
- And hey, let’s not forget The Amish Mustang, Jake Woodford as the Cardinals are sure to let him fly against the Cubs on Sunday. He has the ability for 5/6 innings as he faces a poor lineup and this could be a sneaky play that pulls it out for you on Sunday.
- In the final tier, there’s a chance the Yankees have clinched home field for the Wild Card game, allowing them to rest their starters for Michael Wacha, who has shown legit talent across the last month. Something to monitor.
- The other options are…rough. Everyone from Dane Dunning through Jackson Kowar has the ability to go 5+ frames but I’m not excited about any of them.
- I am curious what Reid Detmers is able to do, though it’s been so long removed that I would love to simply watch from afar.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)
Alex Tran posted a tweet on the discord in Starting Pitchers last night saying that Gausman will be following Tony Disco Friday. Is that still the case? Also, isn’t Max Kranick facing the Reds Saturday, not the Marlins?
Thanks so much TnH! I’m upset I didn’t catch my cross-up on Hans Crouse and none of my sources changed on Kevin Gausman. I’ve updated the tables!