Fantasy baseball daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Sunday

Randal Grichuk could pay off on a decision to start him on Sunday. John E. Sokolowski/USA Today Sports

Another fantasy week period comes to a close, leaving just seven weeks left on the season, with only a precious few before fantasy playoffs begin in head-to-head formats. Sunday's slate features former Cy Young winners in both leagues looking to add to their 2019 résumés. Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros wrap up a visit with the Baltimore while Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets continue their improbably playoff drive with the series finale at home against the New York Mets.

Here is the position-by-position tour of available players, all in a good spot to bring him a victory or pad your category totals.


Ryan Yarbrough (L), rostered in 28% of ESPN leagues, Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners: Injuries and the deal sending Ryne Stanek to the Miami Marlins have left the Rays devoid of openers, so pitchers like Yarbrough have been used in the conventional manner lately. While the lefty often took advantage of scoring rules allowing relief wins without throwing five frames, half of Yarbrough's 10 victories have come in outings lasting at least five innings. Facing the top of the lineup right away is less of an issue facing the Mariners as they've been one of the weakest offenses in the game over the second half, fanning at a 30 percent clip, the highest in the league in this span.

Andrew Cashner (R), 15%, Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels: While Cashner went through a stretch earlier in the season where he limited run prevention, this is more a shout out to those needing a win or two on the last day of the scoring period. Run support shouldn't be an issue with the potent Red Sox bats facing Patrick Sandoval. Cashner will be tasked with keeping one of the lowest ranked offenses in check.

Jakob Junis (R), 14%, Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers: Normally, the advantage goes to the home team hurler when both are streaming options. However, in part because he lands higher on today's Pitching Forecaster than mound foe Daniel Norris, Junis gets the nod. The 26-year-old righty continues to tease a breakout, only to revert to his inconsistent ways. Sunday sets up favorably with a tame Tigers offense on the docket.

Dinelson Lamet (R), 8%, San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies: As has been noted in this space several times, the Rockies are the league's poorest offense on the road versus right-handers, in part because they fan 26% of the time in this scenario. Lamet fanned a dozen last time out; he's in a good spot for back-to-back double-digit strikeout performances.

Bullpen: Jump in the DeLorean and set the date to 2015, Mark Melancon is closing again. Atlanta Braves skipper Brian Snitker announced Melancon will handle closing duties, at least for now. Melancon notched 131 saves from 2014-2016, but injuries and lost effectiveness have relegated him to setup since. This season, Melancon has whiffed a reasonable 48 in 49 ⅓ innings, allowing just three homers. However, a 1.37 WHIP is on the high side for a closer.


Catcher -- James McCann (R), 31%, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): After an inevitable cold spell, McCann is back at it again, carrying a modest five-game hitting streak into Sunday's action after getting Saturday off. McCann is 8-for-17 over the stretch.

First Base -- Jose Osuna (R), 2%, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Miles Mikolas): Points-league players take notice; Osuna has quietly been an on-base machine in August. The Pirates are aware, playing Osuna at four different spots to keep his stick in the lineup. Through Friday's games, Osuna has posted a .450/.500/.800 line for the month, including four runs and five RBI.

Second Base -- Jon Berti (R), 1%, Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz): The recent promotion of Isan Diaz may have garnered the attention in South Beach, however it has been Berti getting the fantasy headlines. Filling in for Miguel Rojas at shortstop, Berti hitting .361 in August, swiping four bases. The steals are especially relevant as finding an under-the-radar contributor in the category is often integral to securing championships.

Third Base -- Dawel Lugo (R), under 1%, Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): The recent release of Josh Harrison could open more playing time for Lugo as the Tigers continue to audition players in a rebuilding season. Lugo entered Saturday's action with a modest five-game hitting streak, including a three-hit effort on Friday night.

Shortstop -- Scott Kingery (R), 33%, Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants (LHP Conner Menez): For years, streaming a batter for steals against the Giants was futile. Now, it's recommended as buster Posey isn't playing as much behind the dish and his ability to control the running game has significantly waned. Thus, Kingery poses a dual threat, enjoying the platoon edge on a raw southpaw, albeit in Oracle Park.

Corner Infield -- Cheslor Cuthbert (R), 1%, Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers (LHP Daniel Norris): It's only been 59 plate appearances, but for the season Cuthbert has recorded a 1.068 OPS facing southpaws, including half of his eight homers. More importantly, Cuthbert has been in a groove lately, hitting safely in 11 of 12 contests entering Saturday, so consider holding the platoon edge on Norris a bonus.

Middle Infield -- Michael Brosseau (R), 9%, Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners (LHP Wade LeBlanc): Brosseau is another hitter taking advantage of the platoon bump in a limited sample, slashing .326/.354/.565 facing southpaws. That said, the reason this is a matchup to target is LeBlanc isn't very good at pitching.

Outfield -- Ender Inciarte (L), 49%, Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins (RHP Hector Noesi): It's a cliché, but things usually have a way of working out. When Inciarte was activated from the IL, there were questions concerning a time share with Austin Riley, though Riley's deep slump paved the way for Inciarte to see frequent time right away. With Riley possible out for the season, Inciarte's share seems safe. He's only snared three bags since coming back, but he has gotten on base at a 38 percent clip.

Outfield -- Mike Tauchman (L), 27%, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Trent Thornton): It's been next-man-up for the injury ravaged Yankees all season, with Tauchman front and center. The former Rockies reserve has been a key cog in the Bronx, slashing .301/.375/.581 entering play on Saturday, chipping in a handful of fantasy-friendly pilfers.

Outfield -- Randal Grichuk (R), 22%, Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka): August has been kind to Grichuk's power stroke as the 27-year-old fly chaser has three doubles and the same number of round trippers this month. Since 2017, Tanaka has posted a generous 1.59 HR/9.