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!) – and Red if I really don’t want to start them but have no other choice. 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.
2021 Streamer Record: 61-44
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Few starters are going on Thursday and to be frank, the options aren’t great. The top tier is just three arms long, with Walker Buehler as the clear premier play against the Giants.
- Charlie Morton shouldn’t be overlooked despite a somewhat difficult opponent. He’s been cruising for months and should continue his demolition as he could be auditioning for possible trade candidates.
- The second tier is shakier than I’d like it to be, leading off with Kenta Maeda as he has his true test to determine if his recent success can stick through the second half. If I have him rostered, I’m starting him and cheering heavily, but I understand if you’d rather play it safe.
- Why does Anthony DeSclafani have to face the Dodgers this much? It’s getting out of hand. In the past, I’ve lowered him to the third tier during this matchup, though, I’m raising him to tier this time as his floor hasn’t been so bad to ignore the potential production.
- The final three of the tier should have your eye, even if they’re all scooped up in 30%+ of leagues. Kwang Hyun Kim has silently dominated as of late and the Cubs aren’t much of a deterrent as he faces Adbert Alzolay, who should feast as he follows “The Cardinal Rule”.
- Kicking off the third tier is Jordan Montgomery, who has undulated all season. His changeup and curveball are whiff machines and there’s a chance they can fully blossom against a dangerous Red Sox lineup. There seems to be one small tweak missing from The Bear to turn him into a dependable arm and he could find it this week.
- Look at all of this risk in the third tier. Zach Thompson didn’t have his best secondaries last time and now has to endure the Padres. Blake Snell gets the Marlins…but it’s Snell and he hasn’t looked great for a while. And who knows what PEAS Andrew Heaney will do against the Twins.
- Then there’s Tanner Houck who becomes our streaming pick of the day as he gets a date with the Yankees. With the NYY lineup hurting, this should be a solid play, the only question is how long he’ll be able to go for. He should be good for 5+ frames.
- The Rays have elected to call up Luis Patiño to face Cleveland today. He should be stretched out to at least 80 pitches, making him a worthy option for fantasy teams. I’d pick him up and let him loose if I was on the hunt for a starter.
- In the bottom tier is Mike Foltynewicz against the Tigers. I don’t like this. At all. The Tigers have made a fool of many starters lately and Folty just got trounced by the Jays. Sure, he could pull it off, but I wouldn’t stream him anywhere.
- The only others to actually consider are Josh Fleming and Cal Quantrill, but neither has flexed legit upside and even Quantrill’s last “good” start wasn’t much to talk about. Just listen to the tier name and do not start these fellas.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- It’s wonderful to see a long Tier 1 return to the table as Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler claim the top spots despite above-average offenses. Don’t overthink this, you’re better than that.
- At the bottom of the tier are Frankie Montas and Zac Gallen. Montas is looking fantastic across his last two outings and should be able to feast on Seattle, while Gallen wasn’t pristine in his return from the IL, but should take a step forward against the Cubs. If you have him rostered, you’re starting him.
- In the second tier, I’d feel comfortable starting Zach Plesac despite his struggles last time out. He’ll be another outing removed from his IL stint and I expect he’ll be in a rhythm soon.
- Eduardo Rodriguez has showcased great four-seamer command across the last month and found his changeup in his previous start against the Yankees. NYY is featuring plenty of young hitters in their lineup and can be started against comfortably.
- I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Yusei Kikuchi over his last two starts with diminished fastball velocity. We haven’t hit the third one yet to be confident in a downward trend, making him someone I’d still throw against the Athletics.
- In the third tier, I’m starting Jake Odorizzi in most leagues as he gets the Rangers. It doesn’t come with the same ceiling of those above, pushing him down to the third tier, but he is a step above those at the bottom.
- I’m excited to see what David Price can do in a proper start against Rockie Road as he’ll likely be stretched to 75-80 pitches. This is a relatively safe play.
- There are plenty of interesting streaming options for those that would allow a sub 50% rostership rate. Johnny Cueto against the Pirates and Alex Cobb against the Twins catch my eye, with Cueto having enough in the tank to shove 5/6 frames and Cobb having his splitter working consistently over the past six weeks.
- The actual streaming pick of the day falls to Chad Kuhl, who heads to Oracle Park and faces the oddly dangerous Giants. Kuhl has the benefit of throwing from the right side in the spacious park and could pull this out if he’s hovering 50% sliders once again.
- And yes, I recognize that some of you want to Vargas Rule Detroit’s Wily Peralta, and I want to express extreme caution. He’s a TEEs as we all know this run is not destined to last.
- In the bottom tier, Tylor Megill presents intriguing upside, but a date with the Jays ruins any potential excitement for Friday evening.
- The only other desperate stream I’d consider is Josh Fleming against Cleveland, but even he hasn’t been able to hold his own against decent matchups as of late. I’d avoid him wherever possible.
Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)