Welcome Back!  Week 1 is nearly in the books and what a wild ride it has been!  I like to describe Head to Head fantasy baseball as a long race with approximately 25 mini races along the way. The first leg of the race has been interesting, to say the least!  COVID tripped up the Nationals before they could get out of the gate. Yermin Mercedes went from 0-60 in 2 seconds flat!  Nate Lowe got out to a commanding RBI lead and if Fernando Tatis Jr was a racehorse, there would be rumblings about the glue factory.  Please don’t mistake my sense of humor, or lack thereof, for anything short of disappointment for the Padres, and for baseball in general.  I wish Tatis a speedy recovery!  He is just too good of a talent to go to waste.  Let’s turn our attention to Week 2 and which players are going to give you a leg up in your matchups!

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I have waited a very long time to say this, Happy Opening Day!  Now, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.  Your H2H league has drafted, we have an 11-day Week 1 (in most formats), and I am here to help you tighten up those categorical needs to help you win every week.  In this weekly segment, I am going to give you some players that can help you win your categories. Contrary to ROTO, you need to strike while the iron is hot on a week-by-week basis!   While I would love to help you out in your 6-team 15×15 with caught stealing and crotch grabs, I am simply going to look at Runs, RBI, HR, Wins, and Saves.  The Ratios will get some love here and there!  Without further ado, let’s get started!

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This is the end. Beautiful friend, the end. We’re at the end of our 60 game sprint and I hope this finds you in the championship game. This is going to be a tough week to sift through to find viable streamers – both hitters and pitchers – that also have something to play for. Let’s start with Mr. Happy himself, Drew Smyly (3% ESPN, 9% CBS). The Giants lefty has thrown 16 innings and has posted an eye-popping 39.1% strikeout rate. Granted, he’s only gone a max of 4 IP in any start so far, but Smyly should help out in strikeouts and ratios. The Giants are still in the playoff fight and get a matchup at home against the Rockies tonight. Colorado currently has a 1.7% chance of making the playoffs according to ESPN and just placed slugger Nolan Arenado on the IL with a shoulder injury. Over the last 14 days, the Rockies have posted a team wOBA of .286 against lefties. During that time they’ve walked just 1.3% of the time. Check that out. Over 155 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, they’ve walked just 2 times. There might be one more play against the Rockies, but we’ll get to that soon. Let’s take a look at some other under the radar options to help you win your fantasy championship.

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Down the stretch we come. Two weeks remaining of the MLB season and hopefully, this article finds you in the playoffs. I’ve tried to recommend relatively low-owned options all year long and that’s not changing at this point. This week the juggernaut offense of the Miami Marlins gets eight games over the next six days. I jest a little by calling them juggernauts, but over the last 14 days, the Marlins have posted a team wOBA of .334 – good for 11th in the league. Their opponents in this stretch are the Red Sox (3) and the Nationals (5). While they do face Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, none of the other starting pitchers is anything to be scared of. Shoot, even Scherzer and Corbin have combined for a 4.07 ERA this year. After the starters, the Marlins bats will face bullpens that have posted 5.00+ ERAs on the year. So, who can help us this week from the Marlins? Since Jon Berti hit the IL, Corey Dickerson (25.8% ESPN, 35% CBS) has been leading off against right-handed pitchers. Jesus Aguilar (20.1% ESPN, 45% CBS) has quietly had a really nice rebound season. He’s reduced his strikeout rate for the 4th consecutive year and can help you in every category other than stolen bases. Miguel Rojas (10.3% ESPN, 18% CBS) returned from an IL stint and has batted close to .400 and has chipped in a pair of steals over the last two weeks. If you’re desperate at catcher, Jorge Alfaro (7.1% ESPN, 31%) has posted a decent batting average and has chipped in a pair of stolen bases. Finally, Garrett Cooper (10.2% ESPN, 22% CBS) provides multi-positional eligibility and has mashed three homers over the last two weeks. If there’s a specific category you feel that your team is lacking, pick your favorite Marlin. Let’s take a look at some other options to help you out down the stretch.

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We’ve reached the home stretch. If your lineup needs a short shot in the arm heading down the stretch, look no further than Samwell Tarly lookalike, Rowdy Tellez (23.9% ESPN, 20% CBS). The Blue Jays’ power lefty has been on a tear of late and has made some really impressive gains in the plate discipline department. Tellez has cut his strikeout rate nearly in half thanks to a lowered O-Swing rate and an increased Z-Contact rate. For the year, he sports a .383 wOBA and has managed to hit lefties pretty hard. That’s kept his bat in the lineup full time. Just take a look at his Baseball Savant page, it’s full of “Red”. Tellez currently sits as the 14th ranked first-baseman on the ESPN Player Rater and has provided positive contributions in every category except stolen bases. I was very surprised to see Rowdy as low owned as he was, so scoop him up now and ride the hot hand! Let’s take a look at some other pickups to help you down the stretch.

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Pitching, like everything else this year, has been a literal S-Show. My TGFBI team got quickly dismantled thanks to David Price, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Joe Musgrove. That dismantlement forced me to turn to streaming early on. Now that we’re a full five weeks into the season, it’s clear what teams to pick on and what teams to avoid for streaming. For example, Indians versus righties avoid (.364 wOBA over the last 14 days), but those same bats against a lefty have posted a .272 wOBA on the year. Justin Dunn (7.5% ESPN, 10% CBS) has learned well that the Rangers are an awesome team to stream against. He’s faced the Rangers twice already this year going 6 IP in each start and allowing just 2 earned runs. He didn’t do anything exceedingly special. Dunn struck out 8 batters over those two starts, but just let the Rangers do what they do best – suck. As of this writing, Dunn gets a third lucky matchup with the Rangers on September 7th. A little bit of a look-ahead for us, but a great spot for us to attack if you’re looking to improve your ratios or grab a streaming “W”. Let’s take a look at five more streamers this week to get you ahead of your competition.

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The Mariners have been something of an s-show. On one hand, they’ve been an excellent source of cheap speed. On the other hand, Dee Gordon, J.P. Crawford, Shed Long, and Tim Lopes are a combined 9/76 with 3 steals over the last 7 days. Checks notes again. Throws up in mouth. Tosses notes into trash. Praise the fantasy gods for the Mariners newest speed demon Sam Haggerty (.7% ESPN, 1% CBS). The Mariners’ rookie batted second on Sunday and has a pair of steals and a homer in 20 plate appearances. He was never a power prospect in the minors but did steal 20+ bases in 2017 (49), 2018, and 2019. His speed kept his batting average decent due to a high BABIP. Haggerty is the proverbial shiny new speed toy in the Seattle lineup. Starting Friday, the Mariners get a four-game set against the Angels. The Angels have allowed the most stolen bases this year, so if you’re desperate for steals, grab Haggerty now to get ahead of your opponents.

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We’re about a third of the way through the season and time is just flying! So, I guess I’m having fun. This week, we’ll take an alternate look at finding low owned hitters that could help lead your team to victory. Being a Phillies fan, I realized just how many hits/runs/fantasy stats the bullpen was allowing since the arms were pitching like hot garbage. So I started working my way backward in finding hitters to stream by finding bullpens to attack. I don’t want to stream hitters against the Brewers or Dodgers because once the starters are out, my bats are going up against sub-2.50 ERA arms. So let’s take a look at some teams to stream hitters from this week.

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The season is cruising along and just like every year before this, Giancarlo Stanton has hit the IL. Last week I touched on Mike Tauchman saying, “If Gardner continues to struggle at the dish, don’t be surprised if Tauchman gets extra at-bats in his stead.” Turns out it was a Stanton injury that opened to door to regular ABs for Mike Tauchman. In Saturday’s doubleheader, Tauchman played both games, batting 6th and 7th. Looking back to 2019, the lefty slugger was decent against both lefties and righties, posting a .247 ISO vs. righties and a .413 wOBA against lefties. The most impressive part of Tauchman’s abilities is his plate discipline as he put up double-digit walk rates against both lefties and righties. If you’re still searching for speed, grab Mike Tauchman now as he’s only owned in 8.5% of ESPN leagues and 40% in CBS Sports leagues. Let’s take a look at some other players to grab to give you a head start on your opponents.

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What’s up, everybody? We’re working our way through the shortened season while trying to avoid the COVID potholes. The Marlins will be returning to action today albeit with 19 new players as 18 players tested positive and Isan Diaz opted right on out of that clubhouse. One silver lining is the Marlins are calling up Monte Harrison to the big league club. The power/speed prospect played just 58 games in 2019 after having wrist surgery following an injury diving for a ball in the outfield. Harrison still managed 9 homers and 20 stolen bases in AAA before the injury. That’s after putting up a 19HR/28SB performance in AA the year prior. The only knock on Harrison is his plate discipline as the Marlins prospect posted strikeout rates of 36.9% and 29.9% the last two years. Although he did manage to make gains in his walk rate, raising it to 10.2% last year. With Harrison getting the call and starting his service time, the Marlins have no reason to not give him at-bats. Monte Harrison is rostered in just 1.7% of ESPN leagues and 8% of CBS Sports leagues, so if your team needs a shot in the arm, grab him now as he could help out in both homers and stolen bases. Let’s take a look at some other players that may give you a head start on your competition.

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