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.
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals – The Weekend Stream is admittedly light this week, with the holiday weekend positively littered with starters who are either widely owned in fantasy leagues or too far down the totem pole to trust, even in stream situations. We’re reaching a bit with our first recommendation, as Duffy is a bit more owned than the usual pitcher that you can count on being available for stream purposes.
Duffy just finished off a June in which he went 3-2 with a 1.69 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 0.91 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. His six starts in the month came against the Cardinals, Yankees, White Sox, Tigers, Dodgers and Twins. All but the Twins and Cardinals are in the top half of the league in wOBA, with the Tigers ranking third and the Dodgers seventh. Outside of a two-start blip when he allowed a combined 10 runs on 16 hits to the Angels and Astros, Duffy has been one of the most quietly effective pitchers in the majors this season. Even including those starts, he has a 2.60 ERA, 3.80 FIP and 1.07 WHIP in 72 2/3 innings. He takes the ball on Sunday against an Indians team that ranks 10th in wOBA and eighth in weighted runs created plus. While that’s not the greatest matchup in the world, Duffy is the best of the regularly available pitchers this weekend, regardless of matchup.
Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels – Unlike Duffy, Santiago’s stream case is built largely upon his matchup and ability to miss bats. Let’s start with the former. Santiago will start Saturday with the Angels hosting the Astros. Despite all their pluck and status as a bit of an overachiever this year, the Astros still are not a very good team. They’ve hit .235/.309/.379 with a .307 wOBA and 93 wRC+, and that’s with Jose Altuve slashing .343/.383/.445 on his own. They also lead the majors with a 23.4-percent strikeout rate. Even with Altuve and George Springer providing plenty of hope for the future, this is team that can be exploited in the here and now.
Santiago has pitched quite well in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. He appeared to be well on his way to a win in his last start until a four-hour rain delay forced him to leave the game after four shutout innings. In his three starts since returning from his demotion, he has allowed four runs in 15 1/3 innings, striking out eight batters. Santiago has always been able to miss bats, and that hasn’t changed this year. He has 47 strikeouts in 53 innings, good for nearly eight per nine frames. The Astros make a perfect foil, and he should be especially attractive to owners in need of an extra dose of strikeouts this weekend.