It's championship week for most fantasy baseball head-to-head leagues, and the streaming is becoming whitewater rapids as titles hang in the balance. When making your picks, look at recent performance compared to season-long numbers. Four arms who've stepped up of late could wind up deciding title matchups.
Pitchers to stream
Tyler Chatwood (R), 7.6 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants: He has allowed just one run in 14 1/3 innings this month and -- more importantly -- boasts the lowest road ERA (2.50) among hurlers with 150-plus visitor innings since last year. Pitcher-welcoming AT&T Park and San Francisco's woeful lineup make him a textbook pickup.
Jake Junis (R), 17.9 percent, Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays: In his last eight games (seven starts), Junis has struck out 38 and walked only four in 44 1/3 innings on his way to a brilliant 3.05 ERA. Toronto has scuffled to a 0.37 BB/K in September, which plays into his control-heavy style. Plus, he's dueling with Brett Anderson, a fine spot for a win.
Dinelson Lamet (R), 33.7 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Lamet carries a 3.00 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 63 frames since the All-Star break. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks sit tied for the third-worst road wOBA (.300) as they've cooled in the second half.
Blake Snell (L), 18.3 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago Cubs: This one's a bit risky because it's the Cubs, but the lefty has improved his control in the second half, walking only 18 in 62 1/3 innings, which looks great compared to his 55 whiffs. Targeting the unexpected win is an interesting way to try neutralizing your opponent if he owns Snell's adversary, Jon Lester.
Wednesday should prove productive for Cardinals bats as the Reds send Rookie Davis to the hill. Davis, whose Sept. 12 outing was his first at the big league level since May 8, likely won't go too long past five innings, which will allow St. Louis to attack the relief corps that is sporting a 4.63 ERA, the sixth-worst among major league clubs.
Projected game scores
GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.
Wilson Ramos (R), 17.2 percent, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago Cubs (LHP Jon Lester): Sure, Lester is typically a tough matchup, and he has looked more like his normal ace self in September, but righties still tag him for a .340 wOBA, and Ramos has a .332 against southpaws. Sounds like a match.
Justin Bour (L), 32.5 percent, Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets (RHP Rafael Montero): Bour's breakout season was interrupted, but few owners have caught on to his return. In his first nine games since resurfacing from the disabled list, he has rattled off a .355/.421/.452 line with five RBIs in 38 plate appearances. Montero will be a welcome platoon target.
Jed Lowrie (B), 32.4 percent, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers (RHP Anibal Sanchez): Sanchez has not held a seasonal ERA below 5.83 since April 12 and holds a 6.42 ERA in his 14 starts. Lowrie's .828 OPS and .354 wOBA against left-handed hurlers make him an automatic click.
Maikel Franco (R), 23.5 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (LHP Alex Wood): Wood's regression meets Franco's .362 wOBA and .855 OPS through 55 plate appearances. The touted but disappointing slugger may be heating up just in time to save owners who stuck with him -- or will embrace him off the waiver wire again.
Alcides Escobar (R), 6.2 percent, Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays (LHP Brett Anderson): Righty Royals bats are go for launch today. Escobar's .717 OPS against lefties isn't great, but it's more than 100 points higher than against the majority. He's 23-for-57 (.404) with two big flies and seven RBIs to start September, so he could help through the end of the season, as well.
Chase Headley (B), 15.5 percent, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Bartolo Colon): Colon typically attracts lefty bats. Their .376 wOBA against him ranks as the fifth-highest in the majors. Headley prefers staring down righties (.349 wOBA, compared to .306 versus southpaws) and has peppered a .339/.367/.500 with three homers over 60 September plate appearances.
Adam Frazier (L), 3 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers (RHP Aaron Wilkerson): Pittsburgh's lefty bats look solid against a 28-year old rookie right-hander, making his first major league start after toiling for Double-A Biloxi this summer.
Hernan Perez (R), 8.7 percent, Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates (LHP Steven Brault): With the lefty on the hill, Milwaukee probably will squeeze Perez into their lineup at second, third base or outfield. Perez's .345 wOBA will play well for needy owners.
Curtis Granderson (L), 20.7 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Jake Thompson): He homered Monday to break out of an extended slump that started around when he joined the Dodgers. Thompson's 3.73 ERA in the second half hides the six homers he has allowed in 31 1/3 innings. Ouch. Granderson can take advantage.
Derek Fisher (L), 2.2 percent, Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): Watch Wednesday's lineup to take advantage of this one. The rookie is splitting outfield time with Cameron Maybin (11.4 percent) and Carlos Beltran (13.9), who would also be fine plug-ins should the lineup include them instead. Shields has allowed the second-highest wOBA to lefty bats (.394), which favors Fisher and the switch-hitting Beltran, though Maybin should have just as much luck.
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.