Sunday's slate has everything, starting with the clubhouse leaders for each league's Cy Young Award. More importantly for fantasy purposes, there are seven pitchers featured as possible streaming options. As Sunday is the last day of most scoring periods, there's no sense in holding back.
Good luck to those in head-to-head battles with playoff implications. Here are some players to consider for your lineup, all available in 50 percent or more of ESPN leagues.
Pitchers to Stream
Luke Weaver (R), rostered in 47 percent of ESPN leagues, St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals: Since a shellacking by the Braves to end June, Weaver has posted a respectable 3.31 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in the ensuing 32.2 innings, featuring 29 whiffs with only four homers allowed in that span. The Royals don't offer much strikeout upside, however they're one of the weaker lineups versus right-handers.
Marcus Stroman (R), 44 percent, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Stroman's second-half surge hit a speed bump against the Athletics two starts ago, however, he rebounded nicely with seven strong against the Red Sox before leaving with a dreaded blister. He's fine for Sunday, which is a good thing considering he faces a Rays offense nestled in the bottom third of the league in terms of production with a righty on the hill.
CC Sabathia (L), 41 percent, New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: This is the classic case of "something has to give." The Rangers' lineup features several strong lefty swingers yet still performs well when facing a southpaw. Sabathia is far more effective versus left-handed batters. The matchup versus Martin Perez significantly favors Sabathia, so if you're chasing an extra win, Sabathia is in play, regardless of the risk.
Trevor Cahill (R), 35 percent, Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels: Here's another matchup featuring, on paper, a productive offense. However, when said lineup is without the best hitter in the game, the pendulum swings towards the pitcher. For the most part, Cahill has done a good job traversing the opposing order a couple of times before passing the baton to the stacked bullpen. Without having to deal with Mike Trout, this task is made much easier.
Matthew Boyd (L), 18 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins: Small sample alert: Since the break, the Twins have been by far the league's poorest team when a lefty is on the hill. Part of that is a healthy 26 percent strikeout rate. Boyd's 4.33 ERA is a little high compared to a tidy 1.17 WHIP, primarily due to a low left on base mark of 69 percent (72 is league average). His 8.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 are both a tick better then league average.
Joey Lucchesi (L), 14 percent, San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies are surprisingly 20th in runs per game, in large part due to struggles versus lefties. Lucchesi isn't likely to go deep into the game, but with Petco Park at his back, he's in play facing a beatable offense.
Wei-Yin Chen (L), 3 percent, Miami Marlins vs. New York Mets: For the season, the Mets have been the worst team facing left-handed pitching. Even with some recent personnel changes, they still are a bottom 10 team in that department. Chen has been nails at home, boasting a 1.94 ERA in 51 frames in Marlins Park.
Ninth-inning shakeups continue with the Dodgers and Twins the latest to join the fray. With Kenley Jansen out with an irregular heartbeat, Scott Alexander and perhaps Kenta Maeda (recently moved to the bullpen) should see the save chances.
The Twins will choose between Trevor Hildenberger, Addison Reed and perhaps Trevor May now that Fernando Rodney and his imaginary quiver have been dealt to Oakland. Many are advising Hildenberger or hoping May gets a chance. My dart throw is on Reed and his heftier contract, signed through 2019.
The Angels are joining the bullpen game brigade as they're short in the rotation with Nick Tropeano on the shelf due to shoulder inflammation. The plan is for Taylor Cole to start, but since he's only slated for a couple of innings and nobody else in the Los Angeles pen is likely to pitch any more than a frame or two, there's nothing here of fantasy interest.
Projected game scores
Sandy Leon (B), 1 percent, Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Part of the challenge when looking for a catcher is landing on someone likely to be in the lineup. If Chris Sale is on the mound, book it, Leon will be giving the signals behind the dish. Cobb has pitched better lately, but we're taking about the most prolific offense in the league. Even at the bottom of the order, Leon should have chances to produce, with the bonus of enjoying the platoon edge when the Orioles' depleted relief corps is called in.
Tyler White (R), 1 percent, Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners (RHP Erasmo Ramirez): Ramirez returns from the disabled list to take over Felix Hernandez's spot in the rotation. Out since April with a sore shoulder, Ramirez recorded a 2.41 ERA while rehabbing at Triple-A Tacoma, fanning 17 hitters in 18 frames. The initial plan was for Ramirez to get one more start with the Rainiers but, with the immediate opening, plans were changed. As such, Ramirez isn't stretched out enough to toss more than five frames, putting White in play as he's been playing regularly against both righties and lefties. The 27-year old may be too old to be a post-hype prospect. Whatever the label, he's taking advantage of his opportunity with five homers in just 82 plate appearances.
Kolten Wong (L), 2 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals (RHP Jakob Junis): I pored over the numbers, looking for an alternate that hasn't frequented this space so often. However, the way the positions fleshed out, in order to get exposure to the vulnerable Junis, Wong is the obvious Cardinals batter to plug. That said, Wong's performance warrants inclusion as he's slashing .350/.409/.450 in August, helping to fuel an .877 OPS the past month.
Colin Moran (L), 6 percent, Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants (RHP Dereck Rodriguez): The initial plan was for Josh Bell to be the highlighted Pirate, but the position puzzle landed on Moran. Both are in play against a righty outpitching his peripherals. Rodriguez's 4.01 xFIP is more indicative of his skills than his actual 2.34 ERA, buoyed by just four homers allowed in 73 innings pitched. Neither Moran nor Bell are bona fide sluggers, but they're both capable of taking advantage of the big gaps in AT&T Park.
Marcus Semien (R), 36 percent, Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels (Bullpen game): The Athletics' lineup has been one of the most prolific in the league since the break. Semien has more pop and hits higher in the order versus lefties, but he holds his own without the platoon edge, and has helped Oakland take over the second wild-card spot. With a right-hander slated to open for the Angels, Semien will likely be down in the order, but he'll still see chances to be productive in what should be another high-scoring affair for the slugging Athletics.
Luke Voit (R), under 1 percent, New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers (LHP Martin Perez): The Yankees are playing Voi against southpaws and though he's failed to reward the decision to date, Voit displayed pop in the Cardinals' system before being dealt to the Bronx.
Niko Goodrum (B), 6 percent, Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins (RHP Kohl Stewart): Being a switch-hitting middle infielder with power and speed will help you feature in this article regularly. The switch-hitting element comes even more into play as Stewart, making his MLB debut, isn't likely to work deep into the contest. The already weak Twins bullpen just dealt their closer, Rodney, as discussed earlier.
Melky Cabrera (B), 1 percent, Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (RHP Dylan Covey): It took almost three quarters of the season, but Yonder Alonso finally eclipsed the 50 percent level used for eligibility in this article. Jason Kipnis is also in play, but today's featured Indian is the veteran Cabrera, who will be counted on to shore up Cleveland's outfield with Leonys Martin out.
Joc Pederson (L), 32 percent, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies (RHP Chad Bettis): Bettis has been horrid at home, sporting a 9.74 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in 52.2 innings at Coors Field. This puts the Dodgers' leadoff hitter in a great spot to do serious damage.
Roman Quinn (B), under 1 percent, Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres (LHP Joey Lucchesi): This is a gut call, directed to those trolling for a steal or two to close out the week. Quinn is a reserve but reserves usually see action on Sunday. Looking at the stolen base rankings, the Phillies check in at 8, so they're in good shape against the Padres' battery. Quinn is one of the fastest runners in the league in a good spot to use it to his advantage.
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.