Streaming is a time-tested approach prized by fantasy owners of all stripes. Categories in head-to-head leagues can often come down to the thinnest of margins, making the weekend a crucial time to think about streaming pitchers. Below are this weekend's best options -- all owned in 30 percent or less in either Yahoo!, CBSSports or ESPN leagues as of Thursday night.
• Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays -- Odorizzi has been very good in his last two starts after getting shelled by the Red Sox and Marlins in his prior two outings. He first held the Cardinals to one run on three hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking just one. His next time out, he gave up two runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Orioles, fanning five more and issuing two free passes. While it has been a nightmare season overall for the Rays, the 24-year-old Odorizzi is proving himself as a capable piece for the rotation in what is certain to be a post-David Price world. His 4.73 ERA is unsightly, but he has a 3.37 FIP and 3.59 xFIP. Perhaps more importantly for fantasy owners, he has 81 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings, proving to be an asset in strikeouts most every time he takes the mound.
Odorizzi will take the ball at home on Saturday against the Astros. While the Astros have exceeded expectations this year, they're still just hitting .240/.315/.389 and have a 22.6-percent strikeout rate, the fifth highest in the majors. It's a great matchup for Odorizzi, and yet he is widely available in fantasy leagues. Make the add now. He's the best streaming option out there this weekend.
• Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals -- The Royals are the hottest team in baseball, getting production from most everyone on the roster. Vargas isn't any different, having piled up five consecutive quality starts. In that run, he has allowed a total of nine runs on 32 hits with 25 strikeouts in 35 innings. He hasn't just picked on bad teams, either, shutting down the Angels, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Indians and Tigers. This weekend, however, he gets one of those bad teams.
Vargas will start on Saturday against the Mariners, a team with a .238/.298/.368 slash line this year. They rank 28th in the majors with a .294 wOBA and 84 weighted runs created plus. The Mariners also strike out a ton, posting a 21.9-percent strikeout rate this season. Vargas is ready to help fantasy owners this weekend and, like Odorizzi, is a guy who could be worth a longer look in deeper mixed leagues.
• Tom Koehler, Miami Marlins -- Koehler has had a rough stretch of late, allowing at least three runs in each of his last five starts, while going longer than six innings just once in that stretch. In those outings, he has allowed 22 runs and 32 hits in 28 1/3 innings. Clearly, Koehler isn't in the same camp as Odorizzi and Vargas -- two guys who can stick around beyond this weekend.
What Koehler can do, though, is help fantasy owners who are in desperate need of an extra starter with the week winding down. He also starts Saturday, taking on a Mets team that has been among the worst offenses in the league all season. They're hitting .231/.310/.347 with a .293 wOBA and 86 wRC+ this year. Not one regular is hitting better than .300, and Daniel Murphy is the only Met with at least 100 plate appearances and an OBP north of .350. This is a bad offensive team that even a middling pitcher like Koehler can exploit. If you miss out on Odorizzi and Vargas, or just need a bevy of stream options this week, give your attention to Koehler.