There are days when finding viable streaming options is a challenge, and then there's Monday slate. The technical term is "yuck." There are only seven contests to kick off the fantasy week, naturally limiting choices. It's so weak, I strongly considered listing Matt Moore as a spot-starting candidate. Don't worry, in the end, cooler heads prevailed.
Pitchers to stream
Tyson Ross (R), rostered in 31 percent of ESPN leagues, San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals: The track record of hurlers returning from thoracic outlet syndrome is varied. Some refuse an assignment to Triple-A and are designated for assignment; others pick up right where they left off. Ross is the latter, as he's revisiting his 2015 form, only better. His long-term prognosis is still up in the air, but so long as he's healthy, Ross should be on far more rosters. If he doesn't let Washington's pesky leadoff hitter beat him, Ross should be able to keep the rest of the lineup in check, as Washington sorely misses both Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton, especially with a right-hander on the hill.
Fernando Romero (R), 11 percent, Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals: With Phil Hughes having mercifully been moved to the bullpen, Romero is getting a look in the Twins rotation. This isn't a team looking to see what they might have down the line. No, this is a club with playoff aspirations, suggesting it feels Romero can be an asset now. Romero throws hard, touching 98 mph in his MLB debut, though perhaps not surprisingly, he struggled throwing strikes. Romero won't have to face a designated hitter, and he'll have the element of unfamiliarity, which is enough to give him the nod on this vapid ledger.
Zach Eflin (R), 1 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants: On paper, the Giants have a middling offense. However, prior to their date with Michael Soroka on Sunday afternoon, they had scored 29 runs in their past three games. Eflin is best suited for those in points leagues without too many negative categories, or on a fantasy club with other good starters to buffer a potential rough outing. That said, Eflin doesn't beat himself with walks, but he doesn't fan many, either. He needs to keep the ball in the yard, something he can do facing a lineup not known for its slugging prowess.
P.J. Conlon (L), under 1 percent, New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds: After first reporting that Jacob deGrom would start and be ordered not to lift the bat off his shoulder when at the plate, the club decided discretion to be the better part of valor and disabled their ace right-hander. Conlon steps in to face the Reds, sporting the fourth-worst lineup with a left-hander on the hill. Conlon's numbers are uninspiring, so the hope here is he keeps a weak offense in check while his teammates pick on Homer Bailey, the lowest-ranked arm on the card. If he can last a few frames, perhaps the Mets relief corps can steal Conlon (and your team) a win.
Pitchers to avoid
Jarlin Garcia (L), 49 percent, Miami Marlins at Chicago Cubs: I've seen Garcia and his 1.09 ERA pitch. I also note his pedestrian 6.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 along with a luck-ridden .151 BABIP, 95 percent LOB, and 6.1 percent HR/FB. Regression is coming, and it won't be kind.
Dallas Keuchel (L), 97 percent, Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics: Don't be fooled by the perception on either side. Keuchel hasn't looked sharp all season, missing fewer bats and without the pinpoint control. In addition, he has surrendered seven homers over his past four starts. The Athletics are no longer an OBP machine, but a free-swinging group near the top of the league in all of the power categories.
Maybe this section should be renamed "Cardinals bullpen." My intent wasn't to focus on the Redbirds again, but with Bud Norris nursing a sore right triceps, the attention is back on St. Louis -- especially since they play a winnable game on Monday. The top choices are the struggling Greg Holland and lefty Tyler Lyons. It will likely be a matchup scenario, however, as Lyons has recorded just one out for four straight appearances, focusing primarily on left-handed hitters.
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.
James McCann (R), 13 percent, Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers (LHP Matt Moore): Lefties hit Moore better for average, while righties hit him for power. That's all you want from McCann -- to run into a long ball in power-friendly Globe Life Park.
Joe Mauer (L), 23 percent, Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP John Gant): Either Mauer or Logan Morrison will sit, as this is an interleague tussle. Whoever is playing is in good shape facing Gant, filling in for the still-injured Adam Wainwright. Use any Twins player you can muster, as this is likely going to be a parade of relievers from a depleted bullpen not only missing Norris, but also Dominic Leone.
Scott Kingery (R), 40 percent, Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants (RHP Jeff Samardzija): Samardzija is off to a sluggish start, fanning fewer hitters while also issuing a bunch of free passes. He should come around, but until he does, he's fair game for both righties and lefties. Kingery is going through the usual peaks and valleys of rookie hitters. Often, improved contact is a precursor to getting back on track, and he has been whiffling less of late.
Derek Dietrich (L), 10 percent, Miami Marlins at Chicago Cubs (RHP Kyle Hendricks): Hendricks is uncharacteristically giving up homers, serving up eight over his past five games. Dietrich historically hits righties well.
Addison Russell (R), 36 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Jarlin Garcia): I detailed Garcia's woes above. Russell had been slow out of the 2018 gate but has posted three multihit games over the past week.
Matt Adams (L), 10 percent, Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres (RHP Tyson Ross): Adams has done his part in trying to lend Bryce Harper a hand, smashing four long balls in the past week. Ross has been frugal with homers, but not many hitters have the pure power Adams can exhibit.
Jurickson Profar (B), 5 percent, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers (RHP Michael Fulmer): Fulmer is a very effective pitcher, but he's not dominant -- which plays into Profar's good plate skills. Points league players should especially note Profar's 13 percent walk rate, spurring a .315 OBP through Saturday's games.
Stephen Piscotty (R), 35 percent, Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros (LHP Dallas Keuchel): Piscotty will be the featured Oakland hitter, but anyone available from the right side is in play against the suddenly homer-generous Keuchel. Other options include Mark Canha, Chad Pinder and Jonathan Lucroy.
Brandon Nimmo (L), 1 percent, New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds (RHP Homer Bailey): It's not a sure thing that Nimmo will be in the lineup, as the Mets haven't demonstrated a noticeable lineup pattern as of late, but Nimmo has hit leadoff recently with a righty on the hill. Bailey is the lowest-ranked pitcher on an ugly docket, putting Nimmo (as well as Adrian Gonzalez) in a good spot to do some damage.
Jake Marisnick (R), 1 percent, Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics (LHP Brett Anderson): It's hard to claim any Astros hitters off the waiver wire, since most are already on rosters. The exception is Marisnick when a lefty is on the hill. He typically hits ninth but makes up for that one fewer expected at-bat with such strong hitters to drive him in at the top of the Houston lineup.
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.