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This Week In Streaming Strategy

Some pitchers, hitters and platoons are featured in this week's look at how to stream yourself a few extra fantasy points ...

* Bryan LaHair. The Cubs are scheduled to face right-handers in five of six games next week, which is good news for the left-handed-hitting LaHair. All but four of his at-bats have come against righty pitching this season (Jeff Baker plays first against left-handers), and thus LaHair has been on fire, posting a 1.342 OPS against righties through Saturday's action. It's a small sample size, but why not ride LaHair while he's laHot?  The only downside is that two of his matchups against righties this week (against Josh Johnson on Tuesday and Ricky Nolasco on Thursday) will take place at Marlins Park, which is looking like it could be baseball's next great pitchers' park.

* Garrett Jones. The left-handed side of the Pirates' first-base platoon has been off to a slow start, but Jones will have plenty of opportunity to get going this week.  The Bucs face right-handed starters in five of six games this week, with the first three of those games taking place in hitter-friendly Chase Field against the Diamondbacks.

* Chipper Jones. While we're talking about guys named Jones, there's a chance that Chipper's early-season stint on the DL (and general age and injury-prone status) may have left him available in some leagues.  Indeed, Jones has just played in two games this year due to a torn meniscus in his left knee and then swelling in that same knee once he returned from the disabled list.  So, why am I recommending him as a pickup this week?  Simple -- the Braves are playing three games against the Mets. I think Jones could play on one leg and still take it to the Mets, against whom he holds a .318/.414/.559 career line. You can return Jones to your bench or to the waiver wire after the series if you must, but whenever Jones is in the lineup against the Amazins, he is a must-play.

* Jeff Niemann. If Niemann played for any other team, I suspect he'd get a lot more fantasy attention. The big right-hander is currently owned by a measly nine percent of fantasy players on Yahoo Sports, a statistic I can only attribute to Niemann being lost in the shuffle amidst the Rays' ridiculously deep starting pitching corps. He's the fifth starter in Tampa Bay but could easily be a No. 3 on a number of other clubs. Niemann stands out as the most intriguing of this week's widely available two-start starters, slated to pitch on Tuesday in Toronto and on Sunday at home against the Twins. I like his chances at Tropicana Field against the combustible Francisco Liriano and the shaky Twins lineup, though the Blue Jays matchup is a bit tougher. Aside from ERA (5.23), Niemann has pretty solid career numbers against the Jays, so I'd roll the dice and pick up Niemann if you're looking to stream a fifth starter.

* Liriano. Speaking of the Minnesota southpaw, his bandwagon is emptying quickly after two rough starts (10 ER, 15 hits and five walks in nine IP, against just five strikeouts) to begin the season.  Things don't get any easier for Liriano this week with two starts against the Yankees and Rays. If Liriano has already been dropped in your league and you were thinking of sneakily picking him up for a two-start week, just walk away, man. Don't be a hero. Leave the hot crazy girl alone and go with Sarah Niemann, Plain and Tall.

* The Indians lineup. It's been a tough start for the Tribe, who still rank near the bottom of the league in several offensive categories even after scoring 19 runs in two games against Kansas City.  The Indians' lineup is heavy with left-handed bats, so the good news is that they're only slated to face one southpaw (Jason Vargas) in their six games next week. The bad news?  They're playing those six games in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field and the O.co Coliseum, and their right-handed opponents include the likes of Felix Hernandez and Brandon McCarthyCarlos Santana is the only Indian I'd be comfortable with starting for all six games -- even for stalwarts like Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo, I might choose to give them a night or two on the bench this week.


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