We have reached the point in the fantasy season when managers need to try to make their move in key categories. After all, in most circumstances, waiting until September means waiting too long. And some of the most important roto decisions will need to be made in the pitching categories, where managers need to balance ratio concerns against wins and whiffs. Meanwhile, those in points leagues need to find the smartest path to building the necessary volume of innings.
With those tough decisions in mind, here are the streaming matchups that have thus far been the best targets.
Matchups to target overall
The A’s have the lowest overall OPS in baseball (.617) and sit among the bottom-three teams in OPS against both righties and lefties. And this is a lineup that figures to be even worse after the trade deadline passes in less than a week. Possible streaming targets against Oakland in the coming days include Johnny Cueto (Saturday) and a group of lesser-known Angels hurlers including Jose Suarez and Jansen Junk early next week.
I put the Tigers in this group even though they have been much worse against right-handers (.586 OPS) than lefties (.725 OPS). Overall, this team has scored 25 fewer runs than any other team in baseball, and they are ahead of only the A’s in overall OPS. Possible streaming targets against Detroit in the coming days include Ross Stripling (Saturday), Chris Archer (Monday) and Devin Smeltzer (Tuesday).
The Bucs have been bad in all facets this year, ranking among the bottom-five teams in OPS against both right-handers and lefties. And their weak pitching staff (4.62 ERA) makes it easy for opposing starters to be in contention to pick up a win. Possible streaming targets who face Pittsburgh in the coming days include Bailey Falter (Friday) and Ranger Suarez (Saturday).
Matchups to target with right-handers
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have been one of the best teams in baseball against left-handers (.788 OPS) and among the worst vs. righties (.674 OPS). Their imbalanced splits are not surprising, as Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, Andrew Vaughn and A.J. Pollock all bat from the right side. A possible streaming target against Chicago is Brady Singer (Tuesday), with Paul Blackburn (Saturday) as a deep-league option.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been average against southpaws (.723 OPS) but noticeably worse vs. right-handers (.677 OPS). And with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball (4.69 ERA), Kansas City also offers the potential for a pitcher with a mediocre outing to find his way to a victory. The righties who are scheduled to face the Royals in the coming days are above the level of streamers, but this is a matchup for managers to track down the road, especially with yesterday’s removal of left-handed-hitting Andrew Benintendi from the team, via a trade to the New York Yankees.
Matchups to target with left-handers
The Guardians have been a top-10 team against right-handers this season but rank 29th in OPS against lefties (.615). And their struggles vs. southpaws make plenty of sense, as regulars Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez and Nolan Jones all bat from the left side. Also, switch-hitting superstar Jose Ramirez has been much more effective against righties this year. Possible streaming targets against the Guardians in the coming days include Jeffrey Springs (Friday) and Madison Bumgarner (Wednesday).
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are an offense in free-fall overall, but they have also struggled against left-handers all season (.648 OPS). This is a lineup that lacks depth, and two of their primary contributors — Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh – bat from the left side. Those who have Martin Perez will want to use him on Friday, and Cole Irvin is a left-handed streaming option next Wednesday.
An added bonus of streaming against the Angels: They have struck out more often than any other team in baseball.
Matchups to target in road games
Unsurprisingly, the Reds have been above average when batting at their hitter-friendly home park but among the most futile (.625 OPS) when playing on the road. Their struggles are not surprising, as spark-plug Jonathan India has played in fewer than half of their games, while anchor Joey Votto has regressed badly. Cincinnati heads out on a road trip next week, with Braxton Garrett (Monday) as their first stream-against option.
We see this every year, with the Rockies lineup punishing pitchers at Coors Field (league-leading .819 OPS) and struggling badly on the road (.638 OPS, 27th in baseball). The team is at home for the remainder of this week, but they are someone to stream heavily against when on the road for the remainder of the season. One other note: Colorado sits second in OPS vs. lefties, which should give managers a reason for pause with southpaws in road matchups.
Matchup to target for wins
The Nats have a below-average offense overall (.689 OPS) but managed to barely stay out of the categories listed above. Still, this is a matchup to stream against when looking for wins, as the team has the worst record in baseball (34-66) and the second-worst pitching staff (5.13 ERA). And of course, they will be a much more appealing target if they unload some combination of Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline.
In fact, the Nats may be the best streaming target in baseball by next Tuesday night.