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This Week In Streaming Strategy, Aug. 27-Sept. 2

I'm going to wait until next week's column to deal with the bounty of streaming possibilities that can stem from the September roster expansions, so it'll be seven days before we look at which unfortunate veterans will have their playing time slashed in favor of the hot new prospects.  It's probably bad marketing to promote the next week's column before getting into the actual column in front of you now, but hey, I'm no Don Draper.  (Though to my female readers, just so you know, I am basically a dead ringer for Don Draper.) 

Here are this week's streaming yays and nays...

* Brandon Moss, Seth Smith.  The A's are scheduled to face right-handed pitchers in their first five games of the week, so you can get some mileage out of the left-handed hitting sides of Oakland's 1B/DH platoons.  Moss has pretty severe splits (.891 oPS vs. righties, .577 OPS vs. lefties) but his emergence has been one of the many reasons why the Athletics are surprise wild card contenders.  As for Smith, he has long been a streaming favorite going back to his days in Colorado, carrying a career .869 OPS against righties and a meagre .590 OPS against southpaws.  Smith's .252/.358/.454 line against righties this season is a bit down from his career numbers but those are still solid numbers for a fantasy lineup.

* Chris Carter, Jonny Gomes.  Of course, with the A's facing all these right-handers, that means Carter and Gomes will platoon themselves onto the bench for much of the week.  Keep them out of your fantasy lineup until the weekend, when the A's are tentatively scheduled to face back-to-back southpaws in Jon Lester and Franklin Morales.  I say "tenatively" since apparently the Red Sox could trade anyone at any time.

* Josh Beckett.  Speaking of that huge Red Sox/Dodgers trade, Beckett's fantasy value shot right up with the news.  Not only did Beckett seem like a player in dire need of a change of scenery, that change brought him to the National League and a pitcher-friendly ballpark.  With all this being said, I would exercise some caution for Beckett's first start in Dodger blue, as it will come on Monday at Coors Field.  Unlike most pitchers, Beckett has solid numbers (3-0 with a 3.60 ERA in four career starts) in the thin air, but given how Beckett has pitched this year and how well the Rockies have hit right-handed pitching, I would exercise caution and keep Beckett on the bench.  Go ahead and start him for his second outing of the week, which will be at Dodger Stadium against the Diamondbacks on the weekend.

* James Loney.  Speaking of a change of scenery, could the much-maligned Loney get a bounce from moving to Fenway Park?  For all his struggles, Loney has always been able to hit right-handers fairly well (career .797 OPS against RHP) but even those splits have cratered this season, as he has just a .667 OPS against righties.  Also, Loney won't get much of a Fenway bump given that the Red Sox are on a west coast road trip in Anaheim and Oakland for the latter six days of the week.  I'm not going out on a limb in saying that Loney is a poor fantasy option and a change of uniform won't help matters...at least not this week.

* Bud Norris.  A Houston Astro having a tough year in 2012?  Shut the front door!  Norris has been something of a fantasy bust given his 5.19 ERA and 5-11 record, but these numbers bear closer examination.  Norris still has 130 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings and his advanced metrics (3.94 SIERA, 4.09 xFIP, 4.37 FIP) indicate that he's been very unlucky...y'know, like he had the worst team in 10 years playing behind him or something.  If the advanced stats don't float your boat, consider simple home/away splits.  Norris has a 2.18 ERA in eight starts at Minute Maid Park and a garish 7.27 ERA in 15 road starts, so maybe Norris' real unluckiness comes from simply having his turn in the rotation come up way more often when the Astros are away from home.  Norris is set for two home starts this week against the Giants and Reds, and despite the stiff competition, Norris' home dominance make him a great two-start option.  He's owned in just 31% of Yahoo fantasy leagues so if you're in need of a streaming starter this week....unavoidable cliche alert....this Bud's for you!

* Derek Holland.  Another Texas-based starter gets my recommendation as a two-start option this week.  Holland's 4.92 ERA looks better in the light of a 4.05 SIERA but overall it's been a roller-coaster of a season for the young left-hander.  This week, however, he is set to face two of the league's worst lineups against left-handed pitching.  The Rays' .685 team OPS against southpaws ranks 22nd of 30 teams, while the downward spiral known as the Cleveland Indians are even worse, ranking 27th with a .659 team OPS.  A word of caution: Tampa Bay's numbers are skewed by having Evan Longoria absent for much of the season, so his presence will obviously make the Rays a tougher test for any lefty.  Overall I'd still feel comfortable starting Holland against the Rays on Monday and then it's all systems go against the Tribe on the weekend.


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