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.
Brandon McCarthy, Dodgers (Sunday at Diamondbacks)
McCarthy has looked good in three starts this season, totaling a 2.12 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 1.18 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. Even though his mid-career surge was derailed by injuries the last few seasons, McCarthy can still be a top-40 fantasy starting pitcher, especially with the Dodgers offense at his back. It’s hard for starters to crack rosters in shallow leagues, but McCarthy warrants a look beyond this weekend in all formats.
Andrew Triggs, A’s (Sunday vs. Mariners)
Triggs toiled in the minors for nearly five years, after a full college career, before making his MLB debut last season. He made most of his appearances as a reliever, though he did make six starts for the A’s. He broke spring training in the A’s rotation this year, and through three starts he’s making that look like a great decision. Triggs has yet to allow an earned run in 17 2/3 innings, surrendering 11 hits and four walks against nine strikeouts. He’s still no more than a spot starter in shallow leagues, and he could ultimately be that in all formats, but fantasy owners would be wise to ride his hot hand.
Senzatela is the latest in a line of homegrown starters the Rockies hope to quickly acclimate to the harsh pitching environment that is Coors Field. So far, so good for the 22-year-old. He has made three starts this season, pitching to a 2.37 ERA, 2.91 FIP and 0.95 WHIP, with 14 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings. He has made one start at home, allowing two runs in seven innings in a win over the Padres. No matter what happens against the Giants on Saturday, he’s definitely worth keeping around for a while in most standard formats.
Charlie Morton, Astros (Saturday at Rays)
Morton has been a bit fortunate thus far in an Astros uniform, pitching around 17 hits and six walks to allow just five runs in 16 innings. With the way the Astros are playing, though, Morton is a great option this weekend for owners chasing wins. You’ll want to be careful if your rate categories are close, but Morton is the pitcher listed in this entire column with the best chance at a win this weekend.
Before getting lit up by the Cubs for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings in his last outing, Nelson had allowed two runs in his first 13 frames this season. The Cardinals swept the Pirates earlier this week before losing to the Brewers on Thursday, but they’ve had a ton of trouble scoring to start the season They’ve scored 53 runs on the season, the fourth-fewest in the majors.
Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks (Sunday vs. Dodgers)
Miller is doing what he can to put his disastrous 2016 season in the rear-view mirror, racking up a 3.50 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 1.28 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 18 innings across three starts thus far this season. He had his best start of the season in his last outing, allowing one run on four hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings against the Padres. We’ll have to take every start against the Padres this season for what it’s worth, but Miller already looks much better than he ever did last season. He has a tough assignment with the Dodgers in town this weekend, but he’s the best streaming option for those of you in deep leagues.
Dan Straily, Marlins (Saturday at Padres)
You’re an owner in a deep league. Think something along the lines of 14 or more teams, or 12 teams with larger-than-average rosters. It’s the weekend, you’re down in a few pitching categories, and you’re running out of time in your head-to-head matchup. You’re desperate. That’s why you give Straily a spot start. And, hey, at least he’s facing the Padres.