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.
Brady Singer, SP (27.3% ESPN, 62% CBS) – These next two plays are just me asking what is wrong with people playing on ESPN? Singer has two starts to end the year – today against the Cardinals and then a matchup with the Tigers on the final day of the season. I don’t know how a two-start Singer facing the Tigers is only 27% owned.
Alec Mills, SP (34.7% ESPN, 61% CBS) – Unlike Singer, Mills gets only one start on Thursday but it comes against the lowly Pirates. Mills struggled his last time out against the Twins, but should have no problem handling a Pirates team that has posted .229 team wOBA against right-handed pitching over the last 2 weeks. That’s D.F.L. in case you were wondering.
Caleb Smith, SP (30.4% ESPN, 33% CBS) – Here’s that second lefty matchup against the Rockies, as Caleb Smith closes out the year with them. Smith has been building himself back up after missing most of the year on the COVID list. He likely won’t go deep enough to earn you a win, but should provide decent ratios and a handful of strikeouts.
Matt Barnes, RP (22.0% ESPN, 35% CBS) – If you’re desperate for saves, there are a couple of closers on bad teams that are available. I don’t love Matt Barnes for his ratios – the 12.5% walk rate ensures his WHIP will be high. That being said, he is closing games out for the Red Sox, who get a three game set against the Orioles starting today.
Stefan Crichton, RP (12.8% ESPN, 17% CBS) – Unlike Barnes, Crichton has decent ratios, but he doesn’t have a high strikeout rate. However, when you’re desperate for saves, you’ll do just about anything. Crichton has picked up 4 saves over the last ten days and the Diamondbacks close the year with six games at home against the Rangers and the Rockies – two of the worst offenses this year. Crichton should be in position to pick up a couple of saves this week.
Miguel Rojas, SS (21.7% ESPN, 24% CBS) – I believe this is the third consecutive week of me writing about Rojas. Batting average beast with a little pop and speed to boot – I don’t know how else to sell you on this one. What’s crazy to me is this isn’t a hot streak. Rojas has batted .343 for the year while walking (13.0%) more than he’s struck out (11.4%).
Brandon Crawford, SS (4.9% ESPN, 7% CBS) – Generally speaking, I don’t think of pop when I think of Brandon Crawford, but that’s exactly what he’s been doing this year. After hitting 14 or fewer homers in each of his last 4 years, he finds himself on pace to hit 18 bombs if we were to be going a full season. The Giants lineup has heated up over the last 7 days and get matchups against the Rockies and Padres to end the year. Generally, I’d be worried about those Padres matchups, but since they’ve already clinched a playoff spot, I’d expect them to be focused on being ready for their playoff matchup. Over Crawford’s last 7 games, he’s posted a .488 wOBA with 7 extra-base hits.
Brewers Hitters – Somehow the Brewers have clawed themselves into playoff contention. Up until about two weeks ago, the Brewers bats were as cold as ice. However, over the last two weeks, they’ve posted a team wOBA of .345 – 4th best in the league. They have two tough matchups against the Red as they see Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer, but then they close out the year against the Cardinals. They get Jack Flaherty, but let’s be honest, he hasn’t been the ace that we’ve come to know this year. From the Brewers, I’d look to Avisail Garcia (33.5% ESPN, 38% CBS) and Ryan Braun (36.8% ESPN, 52% CBS) if they’re available. If you’re looking for deeper options, Dan Vogelbach (3.9% ESPN, 9% CBS) and Jedd Gyorko (2.7% ESPN, 5% CBS) are widely available. Both Vogelbach and Gyorko are on heaters and can provide your team with some cheap homers down the stretch.
Good luck this week and thanks for reading this year!