There is a distinct line drawn in the MLB sand between the teams contending for the playoffs and the teams throwing in the towel. Watching teams like the Mets, Pirates and Royals suffer through their August tailspins can be brutal if you’re a fan, but if you’re a fantasy baseball player, you should be licking your chops at the idea of streaming starters against baseball’s bottom-feeders.
Your diligence on the waiver wire is going to be paramount as we head into September, so it is time to grab that pen and paper and start jotting down some potential arms to target over the next few days.
The Pirates are an easy mark. They have been the league’s worst offensive team throughout August, and though they were once a disciplined group at the plate, their rising strikeout rates should put opposing pitchers on your radar.
Following a quick two-game set against the White Sox, the Pirates face the Cubs and Tigers to open September. Neither club has been exciting to watch, but all we care about are the potential arms who could be at our disposal.
Cubs right-hander Zach Davies has endured his struggles against the better teams, but we’ve watched him dispose of some light-hitting clubs in recent outings. You can’t expect him to shut anyone out, but his 23 strikeouts over his past 18 ²/₃ innings should catch your eye for streaming purposes. A start from him might be particularly helpful in the head-to-head playoffs if you’re looking for a cheap win and some extra strikeouts.
When the Pirates and Tigers face off, Detroit’s Tarik Skubal and Tyler Alexander should be candidates to add to your roster. Pittsburgh’s 29th-ranked .293 wOBA against southpaws this season has been brutal and their strikeout rate has jumped from 19 percent to 22.2 percent since July. Both hurlers, if available, should find success as they audition for next season’s rotation spots.
It doesn’t take much to stay on top of the September schedule and find the softest pitching matchups. The Mets and Marlins square off for six games to open the month, and no one sees fireworks coming in those games. The Royals and Orioles face each other for four games following Labor Day weekend, and keep tabs on the Angels’ and Diamondbacks’ starters as they open next month with the lowly Rangers.
With the fantasy playoffs approaching and roto leagues finishing out the final month, you need to be proactive with your moves. Stay three steps ahead of your league mates whenever you can. Don’t just set up this week’s rotation. Map out your September game plan now and follow through to the championship.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.