How many times have you completely written off Francisco Liriano? Seriously. Probably four or five times, right? I know I’ve uttered the phrase “f**k that guy, I’m never using him again” at least once a year for the last five years. That’s the way it is with him — the K-potential has always made him an interesting option for fantasy streaming, but until this year, I don’t think he’s ever helped my team. Not once. Which is what makes Liriano’s 2013 production so absurd, and it’s definitely no fluke at this point. Through roughly 90 IP he’s posted a 2.23 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while whiffing more than a batter per inning. And given his sub-3 FIP, the peripheral numbers bode well, too. I’m sure I’ll have to write him off again at some point, but it’s amazing to consider the path the 29-year-old Liriano has taken to transition from never-using-him-again streamer status, to one of the best arms in the league. He goes twice this week, making his debut in the must start tier. The rest of the week 18 two-starters are below.
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.
- A couple new names in this tier this week. Start ‘em all.
Zack Wheeler (@MIA, KC); Jeff Samardzija (MIL, LAD); Kyle Lohse (@CHC, WAS); Mike Leake (@SD, STL); Scott Kazmir (CWS, @MIA); Derek Holland (LAA, @OAK); Wei-Yin Chen (HOU, SEA); Felix Doubront (TB, ARI)
- Quietly, Zack Wheeler (40% owned in Y! leagues) has been very effective of late. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s been dominant, but since the calendar rolled over into July, the rookie is 3-0 with a sub-3 ERA through 4 starts. Wheeler gets two cupcakes in week 18 and I’m starting him everywhere I can get my hands on him. Scott Kazmir (16%), who’s allowed only 4 runs over his past 4 starts, gets a friendly schedule in the week ahead, too. Wei-Yin Chen (35%) is another guy who’s been stringing together solid outings. He faces Houston and Seattle next week, so yeah, I’m starting him. I’m also gonna continue riding Felix Doubront (26%) while he’s hot — he hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in two months now. Kyle Lohse (61%) and Mike Leake (72%) are still surprisingly under-owned, but the rest of this group is surely owned.
Jeremy Hefner (@MIA, KC); Nathan Eovaldi (NYM, CLE); Jacob Turner (NYM, CLE); Ricky Nolasco (NYY, @CHC); Esmil Rogers (@OAK, @LAA); A.J. Griffin (TOR, TEX); Bud Norris (@BAL, @MIN); Jake Peavy (@CLE, @DET); Brandon Workman (SEA, ARI); Zach McAllister (CWS, @MIA); Jorge De La Rosa (@ATL, @PIT)
- Tier two features plenty of streamable tw0-start options for week 18. Both Marlins — Nate Eovaldi (3%) and Jacob Turner (25%) — are intriguing options with plenty of upside. I’m confident using either this week, but Turner is the steadier of the two if you’re choosing between them. Brandon Workman (1%) is available just about everywhere, as folks have been slow to take note of his consecutive quality outings versus Oakland and Tampa Bay. Jeremy Hefner (14%) has hit a bit of a rough patch over his past two turns, but starts against the Marlins and the Royals should be able to get him back on track. Zach McAllister (7%) also gets a couple sexy week 18 opponents, facing the White Sox and the Marlins. Esmil Rogers (3%) continues to pop up here in the second tier during his two-start weeks, and that has little to do with match-ups — he’s just been surprisingly reliable as a starter this season. Bud Norris (14%), Jorge De La Rosa (47%) and Ricky Nolasco (40%) are the last of the streamable options for the week ahead.
Ian Kennedy (@TB, @BOS); John Lannan (SF, ATL); Juan Nicasio (@ATL, @PIT); Carlos Villanueva (MIL, LAD); Jake Westbrook (@PIT, @CIN); Mark Buehrle (@OAK, @LAA); Mike Pelfrey (KC, HOU); Roberto Hernandez (@BOS, SF); Alex Wood (COL, @PHI); Brandon Beachy (COL, @PHI)
- Brandon Beachy was a second tier guy when I initially put this together, but I’m not entirely comfortable using him in his first week back in the bigs after a long rehab process. Still, if you’re dipping into tier three this week, you won’t find bigger upside than Beachy. Jake Westbrook continues to pitch to a sub-3 ERA, and he’s a good bet to get a W or two, considering the team he chucks for, but his 4.59 xFIP is tough to ignore. I’m gonna steer clear of that time bomb. I’d do my best to avoid the rest of these guys, too.
- I repeat: don’t start.