Every week in the Weekend Stream, we’ll give you pitches to add for spot starts who can help you chase down a category or two in head-to-head leagues. All of the pitchers we offer will fall under one of three headings. If a pitcher is a stream candidate in “shallow” leagues, it means he has an ownership rate between 35% and 50%. “Medium” translates to pitchers with ownership rates between 21% and 34%, while those under the “deep” heading are owned in 20% of leagues or less.
An endorsement for a pitcher in a shallow or medium league would also apply to the leagues beneath it, but those of you in deep leagues shouldn’t hold out hope that a pitcher with an ownership rate of 40% will be available.
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Matt Moore, Rays (Saturday vs. A’s)
What are you doing, shallow-league owners? How is it possible that Moore is still available in about three of every five leagues? We are all aware that he has 43 strikeouts in 41 innings, right? And that the high strikeout rate is a bankable skill he has always flashed when healthy? I understand that he has been a bit too hittable in the zone this season, but the whiffs alone make him someone whose ownership rate should be much higher. As for this weekend, the A’s are 25th in wOBA. They’re even worse against lefties specifically, posting a .278 wOBA in 249 plate appearances. Get, and keep, Moore on your roster.
Nathan Karns, Mariners (Friday vs. Angels)
Karns’s ownership rate has finally started to come around, but he, too, is way to available given his skill set. Karns is basically a right-handed version of Moore, striking out 38 batters in 34 2/3 innings with a 3.38 ERA, 4.06 FIP and 1.33 WHIP on the season. Remember, he fanned 145 batters in 147 innings with the Rays last year, so we can trust the strikeout rate. The Angels have been terrible this year, proving once again that no individual player, not even one as good as Mike Trout, can do it alone. They’re 27th in wOBA even though they have the lowest strikeout rate in the league. That tells you just how punchless this team is.
Brandon Finnegan, Reds (Friday @ Phillies)
Finnegan has really cooled off since a hot start to the season, most alarmingly with respect to his strikeout rate. After fanning 14 batters in his first 12 2/3 innings this year, he has just 14 in his last 26 1/3 frames. In three of his last five starts, Finnegan has had two or fewer strikeouts. This, however, is purely a matchup play. The Phillies may have exceeded expectations to this point of the season, but that’s thanks entirely to their rotation and bullpen, not their offense. They rank 29th in the league in wOBA, outpacing only the potentially historically terrible Braves. Their wOBA is 11 points worse against lefties than it is overall, giving fantasy owners another reason to believe in Finnegan this weekend.
Tim Adleman, Reds (Saturday @ Phillies)
You know all that stuff you just read about the Phillies? It all applies to Adleman, too, except for the lefty stuff. Adleman is a right-handed pitcher, but he’s still worth a spot start in deeper leagues this weekend. The 28-year-old rookie has thrown the ball well in his first two career starts, allowing three runs on seven hits with 10 strikeouts in 11 innings. He’s had a little issue with the longball, but the good news is the Phillies don’t hit many home runs. In addition to ranking 29th in wOBA, they’re 28th in slugging percentage and have hit the third-fewest home runs this year. Deep-league owners don’t have many stream options this weekend. Adleman is one of them.
Tyler Duffey, Twins (Sunday @ Indians)
It’s far from the time when we should get excited about these things, but Duffey is someone the fantasy community should be watching closely in his next few starts. The 25-year-old has looked great in three turns through the Minnesota rotation, amassing a 2.60 ERA, 3.49 FIP and 1.15 WHIP in 17 1/3 innings. He has 17 strikeouts against four non-intentional walks, and was hurt significantly by an error in his second start that ran up his pitch count. If he puts together a few more strong outings, he could be worth keeping around in deeper formats. As for this weekend, the Indians are 21st in the league in wOBA, and even with Michael Brantley in the middle of the order, the lineup might not be better than league-average.