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, I have highlighted in Green my streaming pick of the day – Yellow if I wouldn’t actually want to stream them (I have to pick one every day!) . These are 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.
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We have a somewhat balanced set of tiers today with a quintet of arms leading off today’s rankings. There may be some heightened concern with Aaron Nola facing the Red Sox or Tyler Glasnow enduring Dunedin, but this is why they have the AGA label – you should still start them.
- Ian Anderson normally sits in the second tier but gets the bump as he faces the questionable Pirates. This should turn out well for Ian as I cross my fingers he can walk two or fewer today.
- The second tier leads with one of the early fantasy MVPs of the season in Carlos Rodón as he squares off against the Yankees. His slider and changeup weren’t as effective as previous outings last time out, though his heater is still sitting 95 mph. It’ll be a challenge as he heads to the Bronx, but this should still help your teams.
- Kyle Hendricks has suggested he’s returned across after eight phenomenal frames against the Tigers and he should be cleared by fantasy managers everywhere as he gets the Cardinals.
- It’s a Stephen Strasburg sighting! He’s returning against Baltimore and while it feels like a Still ILL in the sense that I expect a diminished pitch count, his quality should still be good enough to warrant a start.
- I know it’s the Astros, but Kyle Gibson is on such a roll that you just can’t say no. This is a true Vargas Rule and you must obey.
- In the third tier, despite how well Alex Wood has been performing, it’s a tough ask expect it to keep cruising as he faces the Dodgers. I understand those who can’t hesitate with their faith and I have to acknowledge the risk involved here.
- Kenta Maeda gets a great matchup against Cleveland, but with the way he hasn’t gotten the same results on this slider and splitter this year, I know many are placing him on the bench until they get the results. I’m letting him fly, personally, and it’s your call.
- The last three of this tier could all conceivably be in the final tier and I have zero qualms with those who disagree (I very rarely do! That’s the fun of this.). Tyler Anderson has pitched surprisingly well through the first seven weeks of the season, albeit stumbling in his last outing. Now against Atlanta, it’s a tough call as he could regain his footing or instead continue the spiral to fantasy irrelevance.
- Jeff Hoffman becomes the reluctant streamer of the day as he’s served a delicious matchup against the Brewers – even if Christian Yelich has returned. I generally don’t love Hoffman’s repertoire, but there are worse options for Friday. James Kaprielian is so close behind as he faces the Angels, though there is more haze there than I’d like.
- Speaking of which, I’m electing to stay away from a pair of pitchers with solid matchups. José Ureña faces the Royals but has recently failed to keep his seven-inning promise he established in April. The floor is simply too low.
- Mike Minor seems to be a perfect fit against Detroit as that lineup has notoriously struggled against southpaws, though he hasn’t taken advantage of his solid matchups this year and Mike is still shoving 90/91 mph fastballs instead of the ~93 mph heater we saw in the spring. This seems dangerous.
- Watching Jose Quintana feature a fantastic curveball down in the zone one start, then have a four-seamer perfectly placed at the top of the zone in another is maddening and makes me wonder if he can one combine the two for a moment of glory. A man can dream, can’t he?
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- So many fun pitchers are going on Saturday, with many obvious names in the first tier, though Sonny Gray hasn’t pitched up to the auto-start standard as of late. However, it is the Brewers and I expect his curveball & slider to return as the season develops. You should see a beneficial start here and hopefully the skills to make us encouraged moving forward.
- Pablo Lopez squares off against the injury-battered Mets, making for a clear green light across all formats. Let’s hope his curveball continues its ascension as well.
- Even though he’s starting inside Dunedin, I’m rolling out Robbie Ray across my leagues. The Rays aren’t a team to be afraid of and his WHIP + strikeouts should be at a high level with the main question being his ERA & how many longballs he allows. It’s a risk worth taking.
- Many have been concerned about Dylan Bundy lately, though I wouldn’t be hesitant after enduring the gauntlet of LAD and BOS in his last two outings. The Athletics should put up less of a fight and give Bundy a good chance at success.
- In the third tier, Matthew Boyd is the top choice as he’s shown he can perform well even when he’s not getting the slider whiffs. I’m not solid the pitch will return in this one (despite its results, it wasn’t commanded well last time out), though a strong fastball/changeup approach can still nullify the Royals.
- Kenta Maeda is in the third tier despite getting set up with Cleveland. It’s awkward to see it, but I recognize many want to put him on the bench until he finally puts it together. It makes sense.
- Despite facing Detroit, Brady Singer lands in the third tier as his sinker/slider combo isn’t overpowering too many squads. There’s a chance this outing falls through as well, though I’m starting where I have him in most cases.
- Shane McClanahan finally saw the sixth inning last time out, tossing over 80 pitches. Sadly, he heads to Dunedin, making for a high risk/reward evening. Good luck.
- Dylan Cease gets the Yankees as he’s currently only locked in with his slider and not his four-seamer or changeup. He could pull it off in this one, though, but the floor is mighty low as the Bronx Bombers could punish his mistakes.
- It’s unclear how much we’ll see of Ryan Weathers, however pitching against the Mariners could return quality innings regardless of the volume.
- Adbert Alzolay is today’s streamer as he hovers the 20% rostered threshold. I wasn’t too impressed with his start against Cleveland, but he could provide strikeouts to those that need it against a middling St. Louis offense.
- In the final tier, it’s unclear if we’ll get to see Madison Bumgarner as he heads to Coors. If so, let’s hope he can toss 91+ mph heaters and find a way to evade danger. A bit too risky for me.
- Bryse Wilson and Bruce Zimmermann could be sneaky deep streams for those that need it. For your standard 12-teamers, though, the ceiling isn’t high enough to take on their potential disasters.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)