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: 90-72
Today’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.It’s Luis Castillo instead today after yesterday’s rainout and you’re obviously starting him.
- There is no second tier today. Instead of changing how I feel to satisfy the tiers, I just won’t have someone in the second tier. I got you.
- 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.
- Our streaming pick of the day is now Glenn Otto as he’s been bumped to today against the Orioles. I love his slider that could demolish the Baltimore bats in a hurry. Don’t expect much more than five frames, though.
- 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, there is a chance Alex Cobb could pull off a decent outing. 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.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- Keep in mind, Dylan Cease is now slated to start for the White Sox on Friday, so make sure he’s in your lineup. This may be a huge impact play for your weekend.
- Corbin Burnes is also moving up to Friday’s start and you obviously can’t miss that start against the Mets. Not a chance.
- After the rainout yesterday, Sonny Gray is now pitching on Friday, when he’ll square off against the Nationals. Following 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.
- Don’t overlook Nathan Eovaldi shifting to Friday’s spot as well and I’d let him fly against the Yankees. There’s a bit more volatility in this outcome, but given how well his curveball has performed all year, I’d have faith he helps more than hurts.
- In the third tier, there’s a chance Ryan Yarbrough is sitting on your wire and could be a great play as he faces the Marlins. He currently holds a 31% rostership rate and may open the door for a smooth stream to kick off the weekend.
- The real streaming pick of the day is José Suarez as he gets the Mariners. Suarez has a 21% SwStr changeup paired with a 35% CSW curveball he’s able to land for called strikes. It paves the way for production against a pedestrian Mariners lineup.
- Many managers dropped Carlos Hernández after his cataclysmic start last time out, but he could bounce back against the Tigers. I prefer the two above when scouring the wire, though Carlos could come through with his 96+ heater and pair of whiffable breakers.
- I’m excited to watch the return of both Jack Flaherty and Shane Bieber from their extended IL trips, though it doesn’t mean you have to play them in your lineups. I expect Bieber to go longer than Flaherty, but he gets the tougher matchup & we just don’t know if they are in rhythm yet. Be cautious here.
- In the final tier, there are very few options. J.A. Happ gets the Cubs in the most acceptable option of the tier with the ability to earn a Win and survive against the Cubs, but don’t look down: his floor is as terrifying as they come.
- Some may be tempted to go for Tony Gonsolin against the Diamondbacks, yet I’m staying away after his recent poor relief appearance. I don’t anticipate a lengthy outing and it’s no lock the innings he does toss will be of quality.
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