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 fewer.
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.
Wade Miley, Orioles (Sunday at Yankees)
Miley continues to get the job done for the Orioles. He picked up his first loss of the season in his last trip to the mound, but allowed just two runs on four hits in seven innings in that outing. He struck out eight but was done in by six walks, the second time this season that he issued at least free six passes in a start. On the whole, Miley has been quite effective, and his 32 strikeouts in 26 innings certainly catch the eye. Even in shallow leagues, he can stick around on a roster beyond this weekend.
Francisco Liriano, Blue Jays (Saturday vs. Rays)
Liriano shouldn’t be a fixture on a roster in any fantasy formats at this stage of his career, but he can still miss bats. He has fanned 19 batters in 17 2/3 innings this season, and held his own in starts against the Orioles and Red Sox, two of the best offenses in the league. The Rays roughed him up for five runs in just 1/3 of an inning in his first start of the season, but don’t let that sway you from considering him this weekend. Liriano has been much better since that outing, surrendering four runs on 14 hits and seven walks in his last 17 1/3 frames
Zack Wheeler, Mets (Sunday vs. Nationals)
You can’t force things on the Weekend Stream, and the bottom line is there aren’t that many palatable options out there for owners in any size league this week. Things are especially bereft in medium-sized leagues, which house most fantasy owners. Wheeler is the one guy those of you in a 12-team mixed league can turn to for a spot start this weekend. After a tough outing against the Marlins to start the year, Wheeler has allowed eight runs on 12 hits and five walks over his last 17 2/3 innings, a stretch spanning three starts. He has 21 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings this year, so he can really be an asset for those of you chasing strikeouts this weekend.
Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers (Saturday vs. Phillies)
Ryu has been surprisingly effective through his first four starts after missing all of the last two seasons due to various arm injuries. He has a 4.64 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, but a 3.16 FIP better illustrates how well he has pitched this season. Ryu has 20 strikeouts against five walks in 21 1/3 innings, a ratio that makes him forever attractive as a spot starter in deep leagues. He has gotten into trouble with the longball, surrendering six homers, but you already know you’re not going to get a pristine outing from him if you use him this weekend. He’s coming off his best start of the season, a six-inning, one-run tough-luck loss to the Giants.
Chad Kuhl, Pirates (Sunday at Marlins)
Do what you can to ignore Kuhl’s last outing, in which he surrendered nine runs on eight hits and four walks to the Cubs in 1 2/3 innings. Before that, he had allowed five runs on 13 hits in 17 1/3 innings all season, which includes a start against the Red Sox in which he held one of the best offenses in baseball to one run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking none. Kuhl was excellent in 16 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis last season, posting a 2.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 66 strikeouts against 16 walks in 83 2/3 innings. There’s certainly enough to like here to give him a spin against the Marlins this weekend. Even though he’s listed in the deep section, owners in 12-team mixers can consider him, too, if they need the help.