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This Week In Streaming Strategy: Week 4

As sample sizes grow larger and become more defined over the course of the season, streaming matchups become less about guesswork and more about trends. We're still pretty early in the year, but here are some matchups that could prove beneficial over the next several days, particularly for those in deeper mixed leagues...

Mark Buehrle (Yahoo: 21% | ESPN:  6%) and J.A. Happ (Yahoo: 13% | ESPN: 5%) -- Buehrle faces the Yankees on Thursday, and Happ gets the nod on Saturday. Both will face a Yankees lineup that's been absolutely abysmal versus left-handed pitching. As a team, the "Bombers" (I have to use that term facetiously given the context) have hit .190/.262/.299 against lefties. Buehrle faced them last week and whiffed seven hitters with one run allowed in seven innings. Happ, who's actually a strikeout pitcher unlike Buehrle, could break double-digit Ks as they flail away.

Edwin Jackson (Yahoo: 44% | ESPN: 37%) and Carlos Villanueva (Yahoo: 30% | ESPN: 28%) -- Both righties are going to take on the Marlins this week, with Jackson going on Thursday and Villanueva getting the nod on Sunday. We all know the Marlins can't hit, but they've at least held their own against left-handed pitching (if ranking 20th with a .645 OPS is considered "holding your own," anyway). Against right-handers, the Fish are batting an impossibly bad .199/.250/.255. Jackson and Villanueva should both turn in quality starts (and likely considerably better) with strong K numbers against that anemic offense. Scott Feldman will face the Marlins as well, but he's considerably less talented than the first two names here and has shown command issues thus far. He's a riskier stream but should be available in just about any format short of "Chicago players only."

Wade LeBlanc (Yahoo: 1% | ESPN: 0%) -- LeBlanc is probably a better stream for deeper mixed leagues than standard 12-team or shallower, but his FIP (3.98) is more than two runs better than his ERA (6.27), and he's pitched right around that level for the past two seasons (4.04 FIP in '11; 3.98 in '10). The Cubs are hitting .196/.265/.311 against lefties. LeBlanc does carry a reverse-platoon split, but that actually bodes well for him as nearly all of the Cubs starters are right-handed hitters. It's that tired old "reverse-platoon lefty against a bunch of righties who can't hit lefties" matchup that you hear about ad nauseum.

Gavin Floyd (Yahoo: 6% | ESPN: 3%) -- Floyd's 4.98 ERA isn't exactly dazzling, but his 3.99 FIP and 3.22 xFIP are considerably stronger. He also faces a Rays team that ranks 25th in OPS against right-handed pitching. Floyd has been plagued by homers but the Rays are a middle-of-the-pack team in long balls versus righties, and no team has hit line drives at a lower clip against righties than Tampa Bay's meager 15.6 percent. Floyd has 24 Ks in 21 2/3 innings this season as well, so he can contribute in multiple facets.

David DeJesus (Yahoo: 3% | ESPN: 2%) -- DeJesus is hitting .405/.500/.811 over his past 10 games with three homers. He's starting every game versus righties, and he'll have a run of pretty underwhelming righties coming up in the form of Kevin Slowey, Alex Sanabia and Ricky Nolasco.

Jesus Montero (Yahoo: 50% | ESPN: 35%) -- Montero finally hit his first homer last night, and he'll face Garrett Richards, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas in the Thursday-Sunday series with the Angels. The Halos are the most homer-prone team in baseball, and while manager Eric Wedge has limited Montero's playing time (because getting Kelly Shoppach ABs is crucial for the Mariners' long-term outlook or something) hopefully Monday's bomb gets him in the lineup more. If Kendrys Morales is available in your league he's probably the preferred Mariners add. If you're feeling lucky, slightly delusional, just plain bored or all three... you can roll the dice on Justin Smoak as well, but the power has just never developed for him.

Jeff Baker (0% in both Yahoo and ESPN) -- Baker's not owned because Baker doesn't do a whole lot for fantasy players except mash left-handed pitching. Luckily, he's facing a pair of low-strikeout lefties in Pedro Hernandez and Scott Diamond in the Rangers' upcoming series with the Twins. Baker is 4-for-12 with a homer in four starts against lefties this season, and for his career he's triple-slashed .297/.347/.502 against them. He's unlikely to be pinch-hit for late in a game either, as Minnesota's closer Glen Perkins is of the left-handed variety.


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