There are abbreviated slates ... and then there's Monday, with only five games on the ledger (including a doubleheader).
While this may seem like a day to take a break from the grind, it's even more important to plug as many holes as possible in what is no doubt a partial lineup. Despite the paucity of options, there is a surprising number of hitting options to do just that. Pitching, on the other hand ... not so much.
Here's what you need to jump-start the week while your competition takes the day off.
Pitchers to stream
Danny Duffy (L), rostered in 27 percent of ESPN leagues, Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels: On a fuller slate, Duffy may not make the cut as he's still not nearly as sharp as we've seen in the past. However, despite the presence of the best hitter in the game, the Angels are a below-average club with a lefty on the hill. There's some risk as Ian Kinsler is heating up and Mike Trout is always dangerous, but this is a day where you can't be as picky as normal.
Clayton Richard (L), 11 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves: There is risk here, as the Braves are crushing lefty pitching, checking in with the league's best weighted on base average versus southpaws. While they're equally dangerous at home or on the road, Petco Park is a park downgrade in terms of hitting. Richard is doing something not many of today's starters do: going deep into games. He is averaging 7.1 frames over his last five outings. In those 36.1 innings, Richard has fanned 27 compared to just five walks, allowing only three homers.
Nick Tropeano (R), 4 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals: Even though he's available in the most leagues, Tropeano is the best of the streaming candidates as he opposes a Royals lineup near the bottom against righties. That said, they don't strike out often, so don't expect a big K total from Tropeano, who brings a modest 7.4 K/9 into Angel Stadium.
Another ploy on a day with limited starters is grabbing as many dominant relievers as possible, even if they aren't the top choice for saves. Examples are Chad Green (Yankees), Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks), Dan Winkler and A.J. Minter (Braves) and Kirby Yates (Padres).
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.
John Ryan Murphy (R), 2 percent, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants (LHP Derek Holland): The Diamondbacks are using a three-man rotation behind the plate with Murphy playing more than defensive specialist Jeff Mathis and lefty swinging Alex Avila. With a lefty on the hill, it will be Murphy or maybe Mathis. With the platoon edge against a weak southpaw, Mathis is in play, but Murphy would be the preferred option. The former Twin has posted a 1.090 OPS the last month while hitting lefties to the tune of a 1.194 OPS for the season.
Greg Bird (L), 45 percent, New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers (RHP Mike Fiers): With the Yankees and Tigers playing two of the five games on the ledger, you'll want as many from both squads, hoping they play both games. Bird will definitely be in the lineup against Fiers, a righty allowing 11 homers in just 54.2 innings this season.
Ian Kinsler (R), 33 percent, Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals (LHP Danny Duffy): We try not to repeat too many players from recent notes, but with such a truncated schedule, it's worth reiterating Kinsler is on a heater, clubbing three doubles and three homers the past week. He squares off with a southpaw who has allowed 25 of 59 hits to go for extra bases when facing a righty.
Jeimer Candelario (B), 29 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees (RHP Luis Severino): Switch-hitters obviously have the best chance of appearing in each game of a doubleheader. He is riding a modest six-game hitting streak heading into Sunday's action, featuring a pair of homers along the way.
Johan Camargo (B), 3 percent, Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres (LHP Clayton Richard): If you're rolling the dice on Richard, you'll want to fade Camargo, as well as teammate Dansby Swanson. Otherwise, they're both options, hitting towards the bottom of the most productive lineup in the league with a lefty on the hill.
Niko Goodrum (B), 5 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees (RHP Luis Severino): Like Candelario, Goodrum hits from both sides of the plate, meaning he is likely to play in at least one of the contests. While he's cooled off lately, Goodrum has earned more playing time with a .881 OPS the last month.
Joe Panik (L), 12 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (RHP Zack Godley): Panik is off the disabled and back in his customary leadoff spot, getting on base in six of nine plate appearances since returning. Godley looked better last time out, but his performances are still a far cry from the guy populating many sleeper lists in the spring. Specifically, Godley is allowing too many base runners, posting a 1.54 WHIP.
Aaron Hicks (B), 44 percent, New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers (RHP Mike Fiers): The Yankees' contribution to the switch-hitter ploy is Hicks. With Bird back, Hicks has been dropped in the order, but the New York lineup is deep enough that he can still be productive.
Travis Jankowski (L), 22 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Julio Teheran): If you're picking up one player on Monday, let it be Jankowski. Not only does Teheran have issues with lefty swingers, but he also struggles to control the running game and doesn't get much help from his catcher when it comes to preventing steals.
Jon Jay (L), 16 percent, Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels (RHP Nick Tropeano): Jay doesn't have much power or speed, but he's quietly getting on base at a 36 percent clip, useful in all formats ... but especially points leagues.
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.