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: 89-72
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Take note, Logan Webb could be starting on Wednesday or Thursday right now, with Alex Wood starting the other game. It’s unclear what order they’ll go in as of now. Start them both, regardless.
- Ian Anderson didn’t have the ridiculous curveball in his last start but he should still be a safe play against a questionable Arizona offense.
- Our streaming pick of the day leads off the second tier for a change, with Joe Ryan facing the Cubs. His four-seamer has performed incredibly well and should do a number on Chicago’s weak lineup.
- Luis Garcia has not been his best as of late and even struggled against the Angels just two starts ago. I’m banking on his slider and/or cutter to come through in this one and make it a worthwhile day at the park.
- I debated if Elieser Hernandez belonged in the second or third tier and ultimately placed him above Corey Kluber. Elieser’s slider should propel him at least five innings without destroying your ratios, tacking on a fair amount of strikeouts along the way.
- Y’all know I don’t love Chris Flexen long-term, but this Vargas Rule is still alive and well, forcing you to start him against the Athletics this week.
- In the third tier, Cole Irvin is a standard Toby and should suit you well against the Mariners. It’s that simple.
- After a horrific outing, I’d bank on Carlos Hernández bouncing back to perform against Cleveland. Let’s hope he can recover some of his fastball command and properly set up those whiff-heavy sliders and curveballs.
- I’d be very hesitant to trust
Reynaldo Lópezor Adrian Houser despite their pedestrian opponents. López struggled in his last outing and while he could bring a solid fastball/slider combination for a cheap Win, there is a sizeable risk to consider. Houser had his sinker back for two starts but lost it last time out and now has to face a red-hot Cardinals crew.
- Then there’s Germán Márquez as he’s forced to host the Dodgers inside Coors. I’d be more lenient with his rank if his slider and curve were performing well, but they’ve been underwhelming across the last month. Proceed with heavy caution.
- In the final tier, I urge you to bench Kyle Hendricks against the Twins. It’s been a rough second half for The Professor and only name-value holds him onto most fantasy teams at this point. I won’t ignore the chance he pulls it off here, but you’re better off playing the odds and not taking the risk.
- I really wish Josiah Gray was in a better place at the moment. He’s struggled mightily over the last month, failing to take advantage of a luscious schedule, and I have little faith he can seize this opportunity against the Marlins.
- The Tigers vs. White Sox game has been postponed. Reynaldo López and Casey Mize will not pitch today.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Aces are here to help your fantasy leagues with 1/3 of Thursday’s pitchers sitting in the top tier. Yes, Max Scherzer is still the #1 play despite tossing the pearl in Colorado.
- I wouldn’t have concerns about Aaron Nola going against the Pirates. His stuff is still legit + the Pirates make life a bit easier for everyone.
- The second tier is short and sweet: It’s Sonny Gray as he squares off against the Nationals. After a string of five 2 ER or fewer starts, Gray faced the Dodgers and was a touch worse all around. Don’t discredit him a ton and let him start against the mediocre Washington lineup.
- No, we don’t have Yu Darvish inside this tier. He’s a premium Cherry Bomb at this point and it comes down to his command being on or off. The Giants have the lineup that can take full advantage of poorly located pitches and let’s hope for the best.
- Continuing in the third tier, Yusei Kikuchi is fresh off a successful start against the Sneks, Kikuchi wasn’t up to snuff against the Royals last time out. Now he gets the Athletics with a fastball at 94 mph and I’m worried it could be shaky once again. The ceiling is strong but you may be better off taking other options.
- Steven Matz is a Toby and could squeeze a PQS from the Twins. Not much more to say here, he’s a middling option for your Thursday lineups.
- It’s great to see Chris Bassitt make a return to the field after his terrifying injury. Bassitt tossed 30 pitches in a sim game and will likely be around 50 pitches or so against the Mariners. It caps his ceiling but I wonder if he can take advantage of his limited time on the bump to help your teams.
- I don’t have a whole lot of faith in either Aaron Civale or Adrian Houser in their respective starts, though I recognize both can be their best selves and produce for your squads. Just don’t expect a super high ceiling and avoid the risk if you’re in a dangerous situation.
- In the final tier, we have our reluctant streaming pick of the day in Alex Cobb – There is no pitcher above him with a 20% or lower rostership. If Cobb is able to steal called strikes with sinkers and curveballs & his splitter is earning whiffs, this can return value for managers even against the Astros. It is worth the spin of the wheel? Likely not, but it’s the best shot you have in the bottom tier.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)