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: 82-63
Today’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- We have some of your standard aces in the top tier, with Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, and Brandon Woodruff ready to kick off your weeks. Zack Wheeler now has the Monday start after getting pushed back on Sunday for a bullpen game in Philly.
- I stuck Sonny Gray at the end with a start against the Cubs + three straight starts of 2 ER combined. You should be completely safe here.
- The second tier is slim and begins with Kevin Gausman as he heads to Coors. His splitter was better last time out, but we’re not completely back to the same standing we were earlier in the year. And hey, this is Coors.
- Tarik Skubal can dominate with a four-seamer and slider + changeup and it’s a safe play against the Pirates.
- The third kicks off with our streaming pick of the day in Bailey Ober. He gets a weak Cleveland offense and has embraced the BSB with high heaters and sliders for strikes. I’m all for taking the chance here for your fantasy playoffs (at the risk of having everywhere yell at me on Twitter for it).
- It’s a tough matchup for Jameson Taillon against the powerful Jays and he’s not at the same level of his incredible July stretch. Proceed with caution.
- It’s been a struggle watching Hyun Jin Ryu across the last few months and who knows, maybe the Bronx is the perfect place for Ryu to turn it around. I’d consider what’s on the wire in all my leagues before trusting this one.
- Kyle Freeland was on a hot streak and then a hip injury ended his last start early. The Giants are a touch draw inside Coors and there’s too much risk surrounding this one, even if his new curveball widens my eyes.
- There are some deeper options that could work out here. Logan Allen and Bryse Wilson don’t have terrible matchups and could provide early value, while Jaime Barria and A.J. Alexy each could survive against frail lineups.
- There’s still upside contained inside Yusei Kikuchi’s repertoire, but I’d rather not take the chance against the mighty Houston bats.
Tomorrow’s Starting Pitcher Rankings
- I think we can all agree on the top tier, even with a date in Coors for Logan Webb. That man is cruising like it’s USA and it doesn’t matter who he faces. Just start him.
- Blake Snell certainly deserves a spot in this tier as well considering his run in the second half. As long as he can get breakers in the zone, he will excel.
- The second tier has big names against weak lineups, but plenty of concern. Carlos Carrasco gets the Marlins a second time after stumbling a bit in his last outing. Let’s hope the slider can complement the changeup properly in this one.
- It’s been all kinds of rocky this season for Aaron Nola, yet I’d still start him against the Brewers. The ceiling is too dang high and he should avoid disaster in Milwaukee.
- In the third tier, I don’t love trusting Eduardo Rodriguez on a given day, but his four-seamer is an excellent pitch and only needs decency from his changeup and/or cutter to survive the Rays.
- The streaming pick of the day is Jackson Kowar, who came out firing last time out, tossing six shutout frames against Cleveland. His heater sat 96 mph and the changeup hinted at plus ability. As a right-hander against the Orioles, this could be a strong outing despite pitching in Camden.
- It’s unclear if the Dodgers will lean on Mitch White in the first place, let alone how they’ll use him. They could use an opener and set him up for a Win, though it may spell a short outing.
- Hey, it’s Aaron Civale! I’m excited to see him return to the bump, though I would classify this as a Still ILL. We just don’t know what we’re going to get.
- I debated slotting Edward Cabrera in the bottom tier given his lackluster results in his first two starts. I believe his stuff speaks to success, though, and fading him after just two starts is too soon to believe it won’t come. Feel free to bench him if you’d rather wait and see first.
- It was tough placing Logan Gilbert on the bench after having his slider and an extra tick of velocity last time out against the Astros, but after two months of struggling, it’s hard to believe he’s suddenly safe in a repeat matchup against Houston. It’s too risky.
- It’s been fun watching Drew Rasmussen dial up the velocity with 97+, but he doesn’t have a whole lot else in his arsenal to turn him into a legit SP play + the Rays are hesitant to let him go deep into games. I’d be careful leaning on him against the Red Sox.
- Steven Matz and James Kaprielian earned the Toby labels this year, but both have difficult matchups in the Yanks & ChiSox, respectively. Don’t chance it.
Photo by Tom Hagerty | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)