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.
Edwin Jackson, Cubs – Oh, Edwin. If we kept track of the frequency with which pitchers have been included in the Weekend Stream, Jackson would almost certainly be at the top. He hasn’t done a lot well this season, but one thing he does do is miss bats. He has nearly a strikeout per inning over 101 2/3 frames this season. Take a look at his game logs and you’ll see a lot of crooked numbers in the earned runs column, but you’ll also see a lot of games with at least eight strikeouts -- five of them, to be exact, all of which have happened in the last two months. On Saturday he'll take on the Braves, who have the fifth-highest strikeout rate in baseball this year. Jackson may not help your rate categories this weekend, but if you’re chasing down strikeouts, there’s no pitcher likely to be available in your league who makes a better option than the veteran right-hander.
Charlie Morton, Pirates – One of our favorite things in the Weekend Stream is finding available pitchers who should be rostered beyond this weekend. Morton is just that type of pitcher. He has been quite good this year, putting up a 3.10 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 113 1/3 innings. The biggest difference this season is Morton’s increased reliance on his curveball, which has been one of the best deuces in the majors. He’s throwing the pitch nearly one-quarter of the time this season, up from 21.8 percent last year. According to FanGraphs, Morton has saved 1.38 runs per 100 offerings of his curveball, making it the 12th-most effective curve in the majors this season.
He’s slated to take the ball Saturday against the Reds, who are dealing with injuries to a few of their starters. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are on the DL. Billy Hamilton is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and the Reds could very well rest him this weekend and take advantage of the All-Star break to get him a full week of rest. This could be a very depleted Cincinnati lineup opposing Morton on Saturday. Go ahead and give him a whirl, and keep him around for an extended period. He has earned the fantasy community’s trust.
Jacob deGrom, Mets – It’s a bit of a surprise that deGrom isn’t more widely owned given that he has been a rather productive pitcher in his 11 starts this year. He has a 3.38 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings. Those aren’t world-beating numbers, but they’re plenty useful, especially in deeper leagues. The Mets’ rookie didn’t post nearly as impressive strikeout numbers in a little more than 100 innings spread over two seasons with Triple-A Las Vegas, but he has thrown enough innings to take his whiff rates at face value.
deGrom will take the ball on Sunday against a Marlins squad that strikes out 23.1 percent of the time, the second-highest rate in the league, and is in the middle of the pack in wOBA and weighted runs created plus. In other words, this is an average offense that strikes out a ton. Go ahead and add deGrom if you need some last-minute help this weekend.