Streaming hitters and pitchers will be essential in order to win leagues in this shortened season. Every at-bat and inning will be vital since the accumulating star players won’t be able to differentiate themselves. With every game mattering, streaming talent starts at the draft. The following are a few players who can be targeted for their early matchups and then dropped.
I’ve written and re-read too many words on why streaming works for The Process. Every week, many players aren’t rostered who are the most productive. While some players are complete surprises, but a decent percentage can be spotted by knowing the opposing teams (hitters and starters) and the expected games. Almost every week there is at least a player or two who should be inserted into a team’s lineup (e.g. any hitters at Colorado).
I’m going to focus on a few options for the first week or two after the draft. The key with these targets, they’re expendable and fantasy managers may not roster them for more than a week if they struggle. For this reason, I’m not considering anyone with a July NFBC ADP under 200. Early picks are good players and should be held as core contributors. The players I’m focusing on aren’t as desirable and can be dropped after the first week or two.
Players To Target
(ranked by my preference)
Alex Wood (241 ADP)
The Dodgers are in the only four-game series and face the Giants. If there is a series to attack, it’s this one. From all reports, it seems like Alex Wood will get the start in game four against whoever the Giants randomly chose. And the Giants lineup will match the starter’s patheticness.
As I noted earlier this preseason, Wood’s fastball velocity was up 2 to 3 mph. He’s never averaged 93 mph so we could see a new talent level. Even taking into account his injury-filled 2019 season’s 5.80 ERA, he owns a 3.40 career ERA. There is no better week one gamble.
If his talent does come back to a sub-4.00 ERA level, the matchups in the over almost the entire season are favorable.
Cesar Hernandez (270 ADP) and Domingo Santana (300 ADP)
Three games against the Royals pitching should give this pair a boost. Both will be hitting in a loaded Indians lineup as the Royals counter with some AAA pitching.
By the time the draft season is over, Hernandez’s ADP main be in the top 200 with the news that he’s going to leadoff.
José Peraza (306 ADP)
Peraza looks to be getting a shot at a full-time role while playing all over the field. The quick series with Baltimore is a great opportunity to see how much he’ll play and hopefully rack up some stats.
With steals at a premium, Peraza could be a cheap source. While he did struggle in all aspects of his game last season, he did steal over 20 bases in 2017 and 2018.
Kolten Wong (228 ADP)
Wong makes it three-second basemen in a row I like. I feel Wong is the safest with little upside or downside. I’m guessing in most leagues, Wong will be rostered until he starts to struggle.
Josh Reddick (715 ADP)
Reddick is the second most boring player behind Alex Gordon. For this week, the Astros have the Mariners flying into town for the three-stretch so it’s time to start Reddick. While Kyle Tucker will eventually take over in right field, Dusty Baker has stated Reddick is the starter.
Miles Mikolas (272 ADP)
Dakota Hudson (459 ADP)
Kwang-Hyun Kim (550 ADP)
Adam Wainwright (659 ADP)
The Cardinals start with the Pirates coming to town, so it’s time to stream for cheap Win. It’s tough to know exactly how the rotation will shake out after Jack Flaherty and possibly Carlos Martinez. One of these four will get that start but I’d not be surprised if it was Adam Wainwright.
Wainwright has seniority and was a decent pitcher last season (14 Wins, 8.0 K/9, 4.19 ERA). Right now, I think he will get one of the two starts. The other one is tougher to predict.
Joey Votto (293 ADP)
I group Votto in with Peraza because more often than not, they are not going to be helpful. There is that slim chance (10% maybe) that Votto returns to his former glory. Why not take that chance with the Tigers in town. If Votto looks good, keep him around. If not, move on.
Matt Carpenter (503 ADP)
See Joey Votto but against the Pirates.
Renato Nunez (287 ADP), Austin Hays (287), and Anthony Santander (557 ADP)
Boston has possibly the league’s worst starting pitching staff and Baltimore gets them to start the season. And for a bonus plan, Baltimore starts with Miami the week with four games.
Harrison Bader (652 ADP) and Tyler O’Neill (613 ADP)
With the DH in the NL, both should see some playing time against the Pirates. While they could put up decent stats, I don’t like their upside as some of the players featured.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (691 ADP)
Any hitter starting against Baltimore is a must-own for that week. It’ll be interesting to see what skill Bradley brings to the table this year. It might be time for a decent batting average.
Nathan Eovaldi (275 ADP)
While the rates may not end up the best, a game against Baltimore is about as close to must-start that a pitcher can have. Gamble play.
Dodger Relievers (various)
With four games, it’s possible for a reliever or two to pitch in three games. A last-round flier on Blake Treinen, Tony Gonsolin, Pedro Baez, or Joe Kelly may pay dividends. It’s just tough to know which one.
Bonus – Week 2 Buys
- Adrian Houser (230): At Pittsburgh and home against the Cardinals
- Tyler Chatwood (678) and Alec Mills (705): Both will get two starts against the Reds and Pirates.
- Chris Bassitt (536): The #4 starter will face the Rockies (at OAK) and Mariners. Might end up being A.J. Puk.
- Anibal Sanchez (491 ADP) and possibly Austin Voth (399): They get the Blue Jays at home and then go to the Marlins. The fifth starter may get skipped because in the first week the Nats get an off day after Opening Day. Max Scherzer could throw again on Tuesday instead of the fifth starter.
- Wade Miley (672 ADP) and Anthony DeSclafani (248 ADP): While the Cubs at home aren’t the best matchup, going to the Tigers should be an easy Win.
- Padres: Seven games with the Diamondbacks (1 game), Giants, and at the Rockies. Several late options exist here with Wil Myers (240), Eric Hosmer (254 ADP), and Trent Grisham (349 ADP).
- Nationals: A four-game split with the Blue Jays and then at the Marlins for three more. Decent reason to give Adam Eaton (206 ADP) or Starlin Castro (253 ADP) a test ride.
- Athletics: Six against the Rockies and Mariners. A fantasy manager might as well see if Mark Canha (245 ADP) will repeat.
- Royals: This will likely be their one good week with seven matchups against the backend of the Tigers and White Sox, but no one is interesting.