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This Week In Streaming Strategy: August 13-19

We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of fantasy seasons, and if you're in a head-to-head league, you've even got your playoffs coming up soon.  An extra hit here or an extra strikeout there could turn a league, so these streaming tips have never been more important.

* Wilson Betemit.  Mannymania may be running wild in Baltimore, but one of the men that the marvelous Manny Machado displaced at third base is still a valuable asset to the Orioles.  Betemit's fielding at third may be akin to watching Scrat try to hold onto an acorn but Betemit has been a force (.873 OPS) against right-handed pitching this season.  The O's are set to face right-handed starters in all six of their games this week so Betemit is a good bet to start every game at either first base or DH.  Betemit is a cheap power source for your fantasy lineup and he can fill more than one hole given his eligibility at first, third and outfield.

* Ben Revere.  The Twins led baseball in runs scored during July, which is pretty jaw-dropping considering how poor this lineup was over the first three months of the season.  Between the Twins in July and the Pirates having a historically low-scoring April and May before leading the league in June runs, it's anyone's guess as to who will lead the league in scoring in August.  I predict it will be the 1906 White Sox, who end up traveling through time and switching places with the current Sox after A.J. Pierzynski invents a real-life flux capacitor.  Anyway, one of the big reasons behind the Twins' offensive surge was Revere, who is your classic top-of-the-lineup speed threat that also has a .350 OBP, to boot.  The left-handed hitting Revere has been a reverse-splits this season (.365/.389/.394 against lefties, .297/.330/.365 in over twice as many plate appearances against righties), but I'd still consider him a good play this week when the Twins face right-handed starters in five of six games.  Revere has 27 steals in 32 chances this year and since nothing can grab a fantasy owner's attention like cheap stolen bases, I'd recommend picking up Revere since he isn't just empty-calorie steals; he can also help you in the average and runs categories.

* Gavin Floyd.  The Blue Jays' injury problems have reached critical mass, leaving behind a starting lineup that's essentially just Edwin Encarnacion and a Triple-A barnstorming team.  (So maybe the Jays will end up leading the league in runs scored in September?)  When a team can't hit, however, there's fantasy gold to be mined from streaming a pitcher who can benefit from Toronto's misfortune.  Five of the seven starters -- Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Ryan Dempster and Matt Harrison -- scheduled to face the Jays this week are almost surely already gone from your waiver wire, and the sixth is Francisco Liriano, who is so unpredictable I wouldn't trust him against an actual minor league lineup.  That leaves just Floyd, available in only 27% of Yahoo fantasy leagues and a good bet to pick the bones of the makeshift Blue Jays lineup.  Floyd has average numbers across the board for the season as a whole but he shown good recent form, posting a 2.63 ERA over his last eight starts.  He's slated to start against the Jays on Wednesday so keep him in mind for a mid-week pitching boost.

* Hunter Pence.  Giants GM Brian Sabean says his team has the financial resources to extend both Pence and Melky Cabrera but if I'm Sabean, I'm focusing on the Melkman this offseason and leaving Pence to prove himself worthy of a new deal over the course of the 2013 season.  Pence has been in a calamitous slump for over a month, hitting just .163/.207/.221 since July 8.  He's just the kind of good-but-not-elite player who can kill a fantasy season by going bad --- fantasy owners coast on Pence's reputation and don't stop saying, "oh, he'll snap out of it" until it's too late.  This upcoming week doesn't provide many hitting breakout opportunities for Pence, as the Giants face Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg this week and then play a three-game series at Petco Park.  If you have other outfield options, I'd recommend giving them a shot and relegating Pence to the bench.

* Martin Prado.  Speaking of bad slumps by good players who have five-letter last names that start with P, here's Prado.  The Braves outfielder has hit .252/.317/.319 since June 23, throwing shade on what was looking like a breakout fantasy campaign.  Prado, a right-handed hitter, has a .710 OPS against right-handed pitching this season, so I'd play him on Monday and Tuesday (against Padres southpaws Eric Stults and Clayton Richard) but then think about benching him for the rest of the week, as Atlanta is scheduled to face just one more lefty starter.  He just isn't a player you can plug into your fantasy lineup and forget about, especially at this time of the season.  Fun fact: both Prado and Pence are on my team in the MLBTR fantasy league.  *forehead slap*

* Josh Beckett.  So you're sitting at your computer and looking at this week's available two-start candidates on your league's waiver wire.  Beckett's name unsurprisingly pops up -- he's owned by just 65% of Yahoo fantasy owners and 53.9% of ESPN fantasy owners -- and your mind starts racing.  "Hmm, well, hey, it's Josh Beckett, right?  I know he's struggled this season but man, he's just got so much stuff.  Maybe if I stream him for just a start or two I can catch lightning in a bottle and then quit while I'm ahead."   At this point, I dive through the window screaming NOOOOOOOOO!!!! before you can click the 'add player' button.  After taking a few minutes to clean up my wounds (after all, I did just dive through glass), I quickly point out that Beckett's two starts this week are against the Orioles and Yankees.  No good can come of this.  Relieved and still a little taken aback by the whole melodramatic window entrance, you agree to leave Beckett on waivers for good.  I walk off into the sunset, off to another town to help another woebegone fantasy owner.


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