Fantasy Baseball 2-start pitcher rankings: Streaming strategy for a rough week ahead

Trevor Williams #32 of the Washington Nationals
Trevor Williams has been surprisingly good for fantasy this season. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Without a doubt, this is the worst week of the season for finding two-start pitchers on the waiver wire, as the group with two starts this week is an even mix of high-end hurlers who are already rostered and men who are the fifth starters on their respective teams.

The outlook is much better for one-start streamers, with several serviceable players who are set to face the weakest lineups in baseball. On the hitting side, managers can chase volume during the next four days with players on the Red Sox, Reds and Astros.

Williams entered the year with low expectations but has pitched well (1.96 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) so far. Most of his changes are unremarkable, although he deserves a bit of credit for slight improvements on his strikeout and barrel rates. The start in Philadelphia is a scary one, but hopefully, he pitches well enough against the White Sox to secure his value early in the week.

Paddack has pitched better than is indicated by his 4.34 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, as his 37:8 K:BB ratio is an excellent mark. Additionally, his ratios have been heavily influenced by one disastrous start in Baltimore on April 16, and he has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his seven outings. Finally, with 10 whiffs in two of his past four starts, Paddack has more upside than most managers realize.

Manaea is keeping the ball in the yard (1 HR) but has otherwise been mediocre (31:19 K:BB ratio). The left-hander is risky at the outset of the week against a Phillies lineup that ranks second in OPS, but at least he gets that matchup at home. His second matchup is the reason he belongs on this list, as the Marlins sit 30th in OPS and 25th in runs scored.

Lorenzen has produced poor fantasy stats (4.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) and unimpressive ratios (23:14 K:BB) in five starts since joining Texas’ rotation. His matchups are against middle-of-the-pack offenses, but at least they are both at home. Overall, Lorenzen starts a new tier on this list, where I would pass in a roto league but stream in a head-to-head format.

Soriano throws hard (98.4 mph average fastball) but doesn’t always know where his pitches are going (11.6% walk rate). He isn’t striking out as many batters (21.9%) as his premium velocity would suggest, which makes him a risky option in roto leagues. I can barely live with Soriano in head-to-head categories for his two-start week, but I would definitely use him in points formats.

Rea has limited scoring this year (3.29 ERA) primarily on the strength of an 81.4% strand rate. His strikeout rate is a career-worst 15.2%, and his matchup in Houston is a tough one. He should fare well enough against the Pirates (27th in OPS) to at least meet the expectations of those in points leagues.

In order, here are the best streamers for the week, with their start date and Yahoo! roster rate in parentheses.

  • Luis Gil vs. CWS (Saturday, 58)

  • Reese Olson vs. MIA (Tuesday, 25)

  • Erick Fedde vs. WSH (Tuesday, 35)

  • Casey Mize vs. MIA (Wednesday, 18)

  • Mitchell Parker @CWS (Tuesday, 25)

  • Cole Irvin vs. TOR (Wednesday, 37)

  • Dean Kremer vs. SEA (Saturday, 44)

  • Andrew Abbott @ARI (Wednesday, 44)

  • Michael Wacha @SEA (Tuesday, 31)

  • Robert Gasser vs. PIT (Wednesday, 8)

  • Cooper Criswell vs. TB (Thursday, 16)

  • Ryan Weathers @DET (Tuesday, 6)

  • Ryan Feltner @SF (Friday, 2)

  • Bryce Elder vs. SD (Saturday, 19)

  • Clarke Schmidt @MIN (Thursday, 44)

  • Mason Black vs. COL (Friday, 4)

  • Simeon Woods Richardson @CLE (Friday, 20)

  • Logan Allen vs. MIN (Sunday, 20)

Red Sox vs. Rays: Although the quality of opposing pitchers is fairly high, Boston presents an easy set of streamers based on facing four right-handers at their hitter-friendly home park over the next four days. Managers should start their search with Wilyer Abreu (41%), who hits high in the lineup against righties. Other options include Vaughn Grissom (26%) and Reese McGuire (2%).

Reds @ D-backs, Dodgers: It’s rarely advisable to stream Cincinnati players on the road, but they are set to face a weak group of four starters between now and Thursday. The plan here is to start Jonathan India (51%) and T.J. Friedl (52%) during the entire stretch and consider Jake Fraley (19%) and Will Benson (17%) against righties on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Astros vs. A’s: Oakland has fared better than expected this year, but it’s still generally advisable to target hitters on teams who face them in a four-game series. Jon Singleton (8%) and Mauricio Dubon (4%) have been playing regularly, and rookie Joey Loperfido (17%) is also someone to consider.