This is our final Saturday in August, which means we're officially heading into the home stretch as the calendar flips over to September next week. If you're still within clawing distance of the top spot in the standings, keep on grinding. Many fantasy champions are won and lost over the season's final month.
Here are the day's top streaming options...
Pitchers to stream
Blake Snell (L), 13 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals: Snell hasn't yet matched the hype surrounding him when he was still a prospect in the minors, but he's still had fantasy relevance. The young left-hander owns a 3.43 ERA over his last eight starts. Most encouraging is his much-improved 2.7 BB/9 rate in the second half (compared to 5.9 BB/9 before the break). Snell is also coming off his best start of the season, an outing against Seattle in which he spun seven innings of shutout ball with eight whiffs and only two hits allowed. The Cardinals have been one of baseball's better offensive teams in the second half, but they're middle-of-the-road against lefties and Busch Stadium is a pitcher-friendly environment.
Luis Castillo (R), 33 percent, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Castillo continues to impress. In 12 starts this season, he sports a 3.45 ERA with a 9.5 K/9 and a 56 percent ground ball rate. More impressive that is that more than half of those 12 starts came against top-10 offenses. Fortunately, the Pirates don't fall into that category, ranking bottom-five in baseball in runs scored and sporting an 88 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.
Dinelson Lamet (R), 35 percent, San Diego Padres at Miami Marlins: After posting ERAs of 6.33 and 6.10 in July and July, respectively, Lamet has been on a roll. The righty's last six starts have seen him post an ERA of 2.83 with 38 whiffs in 35 frames. His 3.9 walk rate is higher than you'd like, but when you're striking out 11.3 batters per nine, you can live with it. Against a Marlins offense that's been average at best in the second half, Lamet looks like one of the day's better streaming options.
Dillon Gee (R), 2 percent, Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays: Since joining the Twins, Gee owns a 1.93 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 18 2/3 August innings. Although the sample size is small -- he's pitched only 31 2/3 innings this season -- he sports his highest K/9 (7.4) since 2012 and the best swinging strike rate (11.2 percent) of his career. Gee matches up well against the Blue Jays, who rank 24th in baseball with a .312 wOBA against right-handed pitching and sport a .234 team batting average (second-worst in MLB) since the All-Star break.
Pitchers to avoid
Kevin Gausman (R), 67 percent, Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox: At this point in the season, my fantasy team's place in the standings will help dictate how much risk I'm willing to take on with my starting pitchers. If I'm trying to be careful with my ratios, Gausman's situation on Saturday would give me pause. The right-hander has shown improvement in the second half, but he still owns a 4.63 ERA in August with seven home runs allowed in his last four starts. A road matchup against the Red Sox, who boast a .342 team wOBA in August, carries obvious risk.
The Cardinals bullpen is in a state of flux right now. Trevor Rosenthal is out for the season as he's set to undergo Tommy John surgery, and manager Mike Matheny doesn't appear to have confidence in Seung-Hwan Oh right now. The name to keep an eye on is Tyler Lyons. The southpaw has yet to allow an earned run in 14 second-half innings, and his 10.8 K/9 shows he has the stuff to be dominant. It remains to be seen whether he'll actually get a crack at the ninth inning, but it might be worth stashing him away to find out.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Robinson Chirinos (R), 9 percent, Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics (LHP Sean Manaea): Manaea still has a bright future, but he's stuck in a rough patch at the moment. The young lefty owns a 6.96 ERA since the All-Star break, and batters are hitting a bloated .415 against him in August. Meanwhile, Chirinos is batting .321/.410/.585 against southpaws this season, making this matchup somewhat of a no-brainer.
Lucas Duda (L), 11 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Mike Leake): Leake is a hurler you want to attack right now. His ERA has risen every month this season, culminating in a 10.31 ERA so far in August, which includes a 2.13 WHIP and .419 batting average against. Duda sports a .376 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season and has nine homers in just 37 second-half games.
Wilmer Flores (R), 7 percent, New York Mets at Washington Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez): Flores owns a .515 slugging percentage versus left-handed pitching this season. From 2014-2016, his SLG against lefties sits at .544. In other words, Flores' power versus lefties is legit. Although Gonzalez sports a 2.39 ERA, he's been pitching over his head a bit (3.81 FIP, 4.26 xFIP). All 16 of the homers he's allowed this season have been hit by right-handed batters.
Ryon Healy (R), 37 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Cole Hamels): Hamels isn't usually a pitcher we want to pick on. Healy has been so good against lefties, however, that I'm willing to recommend him anyway. After all, the 25-year-old is slashing .347/.365/.624 against southpaws this season. What's most impressive is that he owns a .413 wOBA against them, which ranks ahead of names like Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve and Kris Bryant.
Jorge Polanco (B), 11 percent, Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Marco Estrada): Polanco is on a tear. He's batting .319/.364/.549 in the second half, with homers in four of his last five games. He's also hit better this year against same-sided pitching, which works out perfectly against Estrada, who has also shown reverse splits this season. The right-hander owns a 4.84 second-half ERA and is allowing a .367 wOBA to righty batters.
Mike Napoli (R), 17 percent, Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics (LHP Sean Manaea): Napoli is hitting just .093/.188/.186 against lefties at home this year. When he's on the road, however, he's bludgeoning lefties to the tune of a .319/.360/.787. It's admittedly a strange split - and one I normally wouldn't give much weight -- but Napoli still makes for a high-upside power play against Manaea, who has surrendered at least six runs in three of his last four starts.
Derek Dietrich (L), 2 percent, Miami Marlins vs. San Diego Padres (RHP Dinelson Lamet): Dietrich has struggled this year, but he still owns a .161 ISO against righty pitching. He also posted a .277/.374/.462 slash line against righties from 2014-2016. I like Lamet as a streamer today, but left-handed batters have produced an .891 OPS against him this year.
Kevin Kiermaier (L), 16 percent, Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Mike Leake): This is the second Rays hitter we're targeting against Leake, who is allowing a .296/.358/.432 slash line to lefty swingers. For his part, Kiemaier is hitting .307/.372/.542 versus right-handed pitching this season. He also has four multi-hit efforts since returning to action on Aug. 18.
Rhys Hoskins (R), 39 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs (RHP Kyle Hendricks): A matchup against Hendricks isn't particularly favorable, but this is likely our last chance to discuss Hoskins, whose ownership is skyrocketing. Since his call-up, Hoskins has done his best Giancarlo Stanton impersonation, clubbing eight homers in his first 15 games. Carlos Delgado and Trevor Story are the only other players in history to accomplish that feat. Not only is the power legit, but Hoskins has nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (11), making this a really enticing profile going forward.
Mikie Mahtook (L), 13 percent, Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox (LHP Carlos Rodon): Mahtook makes for an interesting play when a lefty is on the mound. He's batting .283 with a .500 SLG against southpaws this season, and he's hitting .316/.364/.498 since June 1. Rodon has pitched well of late. However, he's still allowed a .200 ISO to righty hitters this season, and he's surrendered 10 dingers over his last eight starts.
Hitter matchup ratings
Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's history (three years' worth, as well as the past 21 days) and 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. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, whereas 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.