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This Week In Streaming Strategy

As a huge fan of both the Ghostbusters movies and cartoons, I can't believe it took me five weeks of writing this fantasy streaming column to realize that I should've titled it, "Don't Cross The Streams."  Unbelievable.  Somewhere, Ernie Hudson is shaking his head in disgust.  Hopefully, I can make it up to Winston, Egon and the whole gang by giving them some good tips for their upcoming week of fantasy action.  (It would delight me to no end to discover an all-Ghostbusters cast fantasy baseball league. At last check, Dan Aykroyd's "Big Ayk Attyck" is in first place, narrowly ahead of Bill Murray's "1908 CurseBusters" and Sigourney Weaver's "There Is No Dana, Only Eveland" squad.)

* Jonathon Niese.  The southpaw signed a niese nice contract extension in April and has lived up to the deal thus far, posting a 4.08 ERA (3.48 xFIP), a 2.67 K/BB ratio and a 52.4% ground ball rate in five starts. I'm recommend Niese as a two-start pitcher to pick up this week because, even though his two starts are slated to be on the road, he'll be in Philadelphia against the light-hitting Phillies and then in the very pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. There's good potential here for Niese to keep up his strong start against these two offensively-challenged NL East rivals.

* Doug Fister. Here's another opponent-influenced two-start pitcher recommendation. Unless there's a last-minute setback in his injury rehab and activation from the DL, Fister is in line to return to the Tigers' rotation on Monday. Fister could hardly have asked for a better way to ease himself back into action as he'll face the Mariners at Safeco Field and then the Athletics at the Coliseum.  Feel free to activate him from your disabled list and get him in your Monday lineup. If you don't have Fister already, check the waiver wire to see if some short-sighted manager dropped him during his DL stint. 

* Norichika Aoki, Nyjer Morgan. This is a very borderline recommendation based solely on the fact that the Brewers are facing all right-handed starters over their six games this week, meaning these two left-handed hitters have a golden opportunity to get the bats going.  Carlos Gomez is on the DL, too, and while he usually only starts against lefties anyway, his absence means Aoki and Morgan are Milwaukee's only choices in center field. Aoki has shown some good pop against righties (a .273/.385/.455 line against RHP heading into Saturday's action) but Morgan has thus far been a non-entity, with an OPS of just .386 against right-handers. Morgan was a streaming superstar last year and in 2009, always worth a start against right-handed pitching, but his bat has been so cold this season that Aoki could steal his spot in the center-field platoon. If you have Morgan on your roster, this week might be his last stand; another poor week of hitting could earn him an outright release or, at the very least, turn Tony Plush into Tony Bench....hmm, that joke would've worked better if there weren't already an awesome ballplayer actually named Bench.   

* Right-handed Reds. When your only two regular left-handed bats are Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, it helps cover up a lineup's lack of balance. Despite Votto and Bruce both laying the smack down on righties, Cincinnati's team OPS against right-handed pitching is just .677 due to a large number of righty bats who have been quieted by their like-handed mound opponents. The Reds face right-handed starters in five of six games this week, including the likes of Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Jordan Zimmermann. With this in mind, you'll want to consider benching Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco or any other right-handed Cincinnati hitters that you might have in your fantasy lineup and find a more favorable matchup off your bench.

* Hector Santiago. Though Chris Sale had impressed as a starter this year, the White Sox announced that they were turning Sale into their closer due to worries that Sale's elbow isn't up to the workload.  It seemed like Robin Ventura was pulling a rabbit out his hat when he surprisingly made the lightly regarded Santiago the closer out of Spring Training, and the move seems to have backfired.  Without saves to prop up his fantasy value, Santiago can be streamed right off your roster.  Even if your league tracks holds, Santiago still has little value given that the White Sox already have such vaunted "holds guys" as Matt Thornton, Addison Reed and Jesse Crain, all of whom are either more proven bullpen performers or have more overall upside.

* Adam Lind. I recently called 2012 a make or break year for Lind, and thus far, he's still broken. The Blue Jays' first baseman hit his second homer of the year on Saturday night, raising (!) his slash line to .200/.287/.333.  He's been a bit unlucky with a BABIP of .235, but still, a wOBA of .257 is just nowhere near good enough for anyone, let alone a first baseman on a would-be contender in the AL East.  There's still a slim chance that Lind turns it around, so if you're in a deep league, I don't recommend releasing him, but keep him nailed to the bench until his bat shows some signs of life. The Jays have four games against the woeful Twins rotation this week, so only consider Lind a) against a right-handed starter and b) if your regular first baseman is facing a tough matchup.

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