Fantasy Baseball Hitting Streamers: Week 1
The MLB regular season commences on Thursday, which means a new year of fantasy baseball. Managers are excited, and everyone believes in their chances of bringing home the championship.
For those in head-to-head leagues, maximizing games played is an important strategy in winning your matchup. This is the kickoff of a weekly column about streaming hitters. Let us jump into it by looking at the slate.
Games begin on Thursday, so we are only looking at four days with the week ending on Sunday, March 31. Sixteen teams have four games in Week 1. The remaining 14 teams have three contests. That means fantasy managers should start their studs. If you drafted a player in the first five rounds of your draft, he starts unless an injury arises.
Managers will want to examine the players that have three games in the back half of their starting lineup. In that case, it is usually wise to stream a player with four tilts. Here is a look at the top additions rostered in fewer than 50 percent of leagues, according to FantasyPros’ consensus.
Randal Grichuk (TOR – OF)
Grichuk is projected to bat second for the Blue Jays this season. He is coming off a season in which he hit 25 home runs in just 462 plate appearances. The Tigers are coming to Toronto, which could mean an opening weekend dinger or two from Grichuk at home against a subpar pitching staff. Add him for what should be a stellar start to his year.
Kevin Kiermaier (TB – OF)
The Rays are hosting the Astros for four games to open 2019. That means they’ll face plenty of difficult pitching, but Kiermaier plays well when healthy. Although he has never had more than 535 plate appearances in a season, the center fielder has a 15-home run year and three with 15-plus steals under his belt. Add Kiermaier this week, as he projects to lead off for the Rays.
Joey Wendle (TB – 2B/3B/OF)
Wendle qualifies for as many as four positions — he played 10 games at shortstop –and is slated to bat third for the Rays on opening night. Wendle looks worth rostering when considering his .300 batting average and .354 on-base percentage from last season. The Astros present a difficult matchup, but he is worth the risk.
Ketel Marte (ARI – 2B/SS)
The Diamondbacks start the season with a four-game series at Dodgers Stadium, but Marte looks like a fine pickup. Although he is slated to start in center field and lead off for Arizona, Marte is only rostered in 39 percent of leagues. He has batted .263 for his career, and the 25-year-old could be on pace for a 15-homer and 15-steal season if he stays healthy.
Evan Longoria (SF – 3B)
The Giants travel to face the Padres, who are projected to start three left-handers (Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, and Matt Strahm) in four games. That should be an advantage for Longoria, who has a career .356 on-base percentage against lefties. Slated to bat fifth, the three-time All-Star could have a massive opening weekend in store for his fantasy managers.
Ian Kinsler (SD – 2B)
The Padres, who enter the year with a formidable lineup, host the Giants for a four-game set. Kinsler is projected to bat leadoff in front of Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, and Wil Myers. He is a candidate to produce 15 home runs and 15 steals with 100 runs if he can stay healthy this season.
Kole Calhoun (LAA – OF)
Calhoun is coming off the worst season of his career, but fantasy managers should give him a chance in the first week. The Angles play four times in Oakland. Calhoun could top the lineup in front of Mike Trout and Justin Upton (if available). That could mean plenty of runs, especially if Calhoun nears his combined .341 on-base percentage from 2016 and 2017.
Brian Anderson (MIA – 3B/OF)
Anderson is projected to bat second for the Marlins, who host the Rockies for a four-game series to open the year. In his first full season, Anderson had a .357 on-base percentage. The Marlins do not have an incredibly strong lineup, but he still scored 87 runs last season. The 25-year old could take another step forward.
Josh Harrison (DET – 2B)
Harrison is projected to bat leadoff for the Tigers this season. They open the year with four games in Toronto, and the Blue Jays’ pitching staff has plenty of question marks at the moment. They are slated to deploy at least three right-handers as well, and Harrison has hit .277 against righties for his career. Do not expect him to set the world on fire, but he could enjoy a strong opening series in Detroit’s leadoff role.
Brandon Drury (TOR – 2B/3B)
Drury is so under-rostered that he did not show up on FantasyPros’ top 300 hitters. He is projected to start at third and bat leadoff for the Blue Jays. Given a full season of at-bats, Drury could hit 20 home runs with a .270 average. It will not be special production, but managers could do worse while he keeps the hot corner warm for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The opening home matchup against the Tigers should lead Drury to a strong start.
Note: Lineup projections courtesy of Roster Resource.
Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.