A cavalcade of aces sits atop Wednesday's pitcher rankings for the 15-game schedule. You can even add to this list returning Cardinals phenom Alex Reyes, who is too widely owned to earn consideration for this article but deserves a mention as a reminder for shallow leaguers to pick him up.
Another lineup note: The Nationals add a designated hitter to their lineup for the Beltway Series clash in Baltimore. Plus, it's Derek Holland vs. Jon Gray at Coors Field. Line up your Giants and Rockies bats.
Let's look at rental options who are rostered in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to stream
Ross Stripling (R), rostered in 40.8 percent of ESPN leagues, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies: The fantasy world needs to catch on to this suddenly highly skilled right-hander, who has spun a 1.23 ERA in his past four starts, including 31 strikeouts, only two walks and an increasing innings count in each outing. Philadelphia's 26.4 strikeout percentage against righties ranks as the league's second-highest.
Fernando Romero (R), 47.4 percent, Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals: The intriguing 23-year-old has walked either two or three batters in all five of his starts but has punched out at least five in three of them. Kansas City's questionable offense doesn't strike out much but has scuffled to a .301 wOBA against righties (24th) and owns the third-highest chase rate of pitches outside the zone (a whopping 33.3 percent).
Clayton Richard (L), 9.7 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Miami Marlins: Miami's lineup hasn't stayed afloat to be useful for much of the 2018 season, scuffling with a .300 wOBA against southpaws. Richard's fantasy utility usually is limited to his home outings, even if it's been just a relative advantage (4.08 ERA at Petco Park, 6.26 elsewhere).
Pitchers to avoid
Jon Gray (R), 62.5 percent, Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants: He's at home, where he has a 6.03 ERA. It's the Giants, sure, but the best way to manage the right-hander's fantasy value is to start him when he doesn't have to deal with Coors Field.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. The "*" symbol means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Mitch Garver (R), 0.4 percent, Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals (RHP Brad Keller): The Twins backstop has a clear path to starting now that Jason Castro is out for the year. He's been a pest to righty pitching, rattling off a .283 clip in 53 at-bats. Keller has made 21 relief appearances but has only struck out 13 in 22 1/3 frames.
Yonder Alonso (L), 36.2 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP Reynaldo Lopez): Unsurprisingly, Alonso has continued his platoon leanings in 2018, launching eight of his 11 homers and jotting down a .260/.328/.496 line with a .353 wOBA against right-handers. Lopez's 2.93 ERA hides shaky indicators (6.16 K/9, 3.82 BB/9, .218 BABIP), and he holds a weak 1.40 K/BB against left-handed bats.
Daniel Descalso (L), 19.1 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Sal Romano): Left-handed batters have tagged Romano to a .424 wOBA, the second-highest among qualified pitchers in the majors. Descalso finds himself in a near consistent lineup spot against righties -- hitting cleanup, in fact, in three straight games heading into Tuesday -- so he should get a shot to enjoy his .262/.374/.477 split against them.
Ryon Healy (R), 40.2 percent, Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Matt Moore): Healy: .588 slugging percentage and .385 wOBA against southpaws. Moore: .394 wOBA allowed to righty sticks and arguably one of the easiest starting pitchers to hit in baseball.
Wilmer Difo (B), 4.9 percent, Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles (David Hess): Difo is enjoying a four-game hit streak for an injury-riddled Nationals lineup, including four runs scored and a solo homer. The tepidly skilled Hess has allowed four homers in 17 1/3 innings.
Brian Anderson (R), 25 percent, Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): Despite being listed as a streaming option, Richard is hardly untouchable when trying to find offensive pieces. Anderson has pummeled left-handers for a .296/.377/.481 line, complete with a stellar .372 wOBA.
Kelby Tomlinson (R), 9.2 percent, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (RHP Jon Gray): 2018 numbers don't overwhelmingly favor this righty-on-righty matchup, though Tomlinson likely will be in the lineup at Coors Field against Gray, who has suffered bad luck this year but can only improve on that so much when calling Coors Field home (6.03 ERA there). Across his 55 plate appearances in Denver, Tomlinson has hit .280 with a .345 OBP.
Brandon Nimmo (L), 17.4 percent, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (RHP Julio Teheran): Nimmo will lose at-bats to left-handers now that Jose Bautista has joined the club, but the on-base maven should keep a steady role in the top side. Teheran has a 5.54 ERA at SunTrust Park, which enhances left-handed pop, and has walked 6.26 lefty batters per nine this year and 3.74 for his career, which plays into Nimmo's career 13.9 BB%. The two homers in his past three games and three in his past six don't hurt, either.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (L), 16.2 percent, Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Sam Gaviglio): JBJ's playing time is more certain -- at least against righty hurlers -- after Boston designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment last week. The streaky bat is starting to simmer, at least show some heat, with a 7-for-23 run in his past eight games. Gaviglio's 2.30 ERA in four appearances won't last, and Bradley should join the BoSox's party to help with the correction.
Charlie Culberson (R), below 1 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas): The Mets' initial projected starter was Noah Syndergaard, but he's now on the disabled list with a strained finger. Now that New York is expected to trot out the underwhelming Vargas (10.62 ERA), it opens up recommending Culberson, who's platooning with Preston Tucker while Ronald Acuna Jr. resides on the disabled list. Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo join Culberson as Braves with a favorable matchup.
Hitter matchup ratings
Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth), as well as ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively.
Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.