It’s the weekend, meaning it’s your last chance to flip categories in head-to-head leagues. Every week, Michael Beller will provide you with the best pitchers to stream in shallow, normal and deep leagues. Pitchers with availability rates of 50 percent to 70 percent are considered streamers for shallow-league owners. If a pitcher is available in 71 to 89 percent of leagues, he falls in the normal section. Anyone available in 90 percent of leagues or more is a deep stream option.
Here are Beller’s picks for this weekend.
Jesse Chavez, A’s (Friday @ Giants)
It’s awfully hard to believe that Chavez’s ownership rate remains as low as it is despite a 3.21 ERA, 3.61 xFIP, 1.19 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings this season. Streamers should take advantage of his availability this weekend when he opposes San Francisco. Chavez’s fly-ball tendencies should play well at AT&T Park in the same way they do on the other side of San Francisco Bay. Chavez was excellent his last time out, tossing six shutout innings and striking out nine in a win over the Twins. Let him start your weekend off right on Friday.
Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays (Sunday @ Mariners)
Buehrle is in the midst of another underrated season, compiling a 3.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and an 11-5 record in 128 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays. His limited strikeout upside keeps a ceiling on his fantasy value, but he should be able to take advantage of a matchup with the Mariners on Sunday. The Seattle offense is just 25th in the league in wOBA, falling far short of expectations. So long as Buehrle can make someone other than Nelson Cruz or Kyle Seager beat him, he should be in good shape on Sunday. If you need help on the final day of your head-to-head matchup, Buehrle will be one of your best options.
Miguel Gonzalez, Orioles (Saturday @ Rays)
Gonzalez has been on a bit of a roller coaster in the last month or so, allowing at least four runs in three of his last five starts, but giving up a total of just three in the other two. This, however, should be a good spot to stream Gonzalez. He has already faced the Rays three times this season, getting the better of them each time. In sum, he has thrown 21 1/3 innings against Tampa this year, allowing two runs on 10 hits with 17 strikeouts. That should be enough of a single-season track record for a fantasy owner to trust with Gonzalez taking the ball on Saturday.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox (Saturday vs. Tigers)
Rodriguez got shelled in his last start, surrendering seven runs on six hits—including a pair of homers—in just 1 2/3 innings against the Angels. This should be a better matchup for him, however. For one thing, Miguel Cabrera is on the DL, and that makes this Detroit lineup a whole lot more approachable. The Tigers could very well make a trade by time they see Rodriguez on Saturday, but even if they don’t this is a lineup that shouldn’t bother him too much. Rodriguez also brings strikeout upside to the table, even though he has fanned just two batters in his last two trips to the mound.
Carlos Rodon, White Sox (Sunday @ Indians)
It has been a struggle for Rodon at times in his rookie year, most recently in his last start when he allowed seven runs in four innings against the Cardinals. Still, he has fanned more than a batter per inning across 70 1/3 frames, and matches up quite well with the Indians. Three of Cleveland's best hitters—Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Brandon Moss—are lefties, and Carlos Santana is a switch hitter who is typically more dangerous from the left side. You may be able to find a better option than Rodon if you’re trying to chase down ERA or WHIP, but he is one of the better strikeout options of the weekend.
Aaron Nola (Sunday @ Cubs)
Nola was very good in his major league debut earlier in the week, allowing just one run and striking out six in six innings against the Rays. One of the strengths of the Cubs’ offense is its patient approach and willingness to work a pitcher, but Nola’s above-average command could force Chicago out of that comfort zone. They also strike out more often than any team other than the Astros. Like Rodon, you could probably find a better spot starter if you need help in the rate categories, but Nola’s ability to miss bats makes him a good streamer for owners in need of whiffs.
Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks (Friday vs. Brewers)
Corbin has made three starts since coming back from the DL, allowing eight runs and striking out 13 batters in 15 innings. Corbin missed all of 2014 because of an injury, but he was very good in 2013, amassing a 3.41 ERA, 3.48 xFIP, 1.17 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 208 1/3 innings. His velocity has been right in line with its pre-injury levels and his command has been there in his first three starts of the season. It’s only a matter of time before the results start to line up with his actual performance.
Shane Greene, Tigers (Sunday @ Red Sox)
There’s no way around the fact that Greene has been just as bad since coming back to the majors as he was before the Tigers sent him to Triple-A. There are a few factors working in his favor this weekend, however. The fact that he pitches on Sunday means he’ll be one of the last potential streamers available to owners in deep leagues given that the pitchers listed above who are taking the mound on Sunday are likely owned in such formats. Second, the Red Sox aren’t exactly a threatening offensive team. Even with Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hitting the ball well, and Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup, this isn’t a bad matchup for Greene. You may need to hold your nose while adding Greene, but he’ll be worth it.