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Fantasy Baseball Help: Top Week 2 Streaming Options, Including Angels SP Jason Vargas

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Fantasy Baseball: The Best Pitchers to Stream in Week 2

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If you're anything like me, you spend about 50% of your mental capacity making decisions, 30% of your time second-guessing yourself, and 20% of your time triple-guessing yourself. I'm slightly proud of myself for stopping at triple to maintain my sanity. I'd also say that about 45% of my initial decisions revolve around fantasy baseball, so you can imagine how stress the game can sometimes be. "Who should I start? Dayan Viciedo or Coco Crisp? Brandon Belt or Justin Smoak? What's my opponent's password so I can change his team around?" But, most of the time, the primary decision to be made is "What pitcher should I pick up to pitch this week?"

Streaming pitchers can be two things: the most beneficial thing for your team; the most detrimental thing for your team. If you decided to be a streaming team during your draft and therefore picked hitter-heavy, then successfully stream pitchers, well, you're in really good shape. If you do the same thing but unsuccessfully stream pitchers, well, you're in really bad shape. It's awarding, and it's crushing. Assuming you weren't like those smart guys who draft six quality starters and run them out every start stress-free, streaming pitchers could be the end-all, be-all for your fantasy team.

Every weekend, your favorite new fantasy writer, Nick Tom (oh, by the way, I'm your favorite new fantasy writer), will endeavor to help you with your streaming, and will create a list (a slideshow) of your best streaming options for that subsequent week.

We'll give priority to those sweet weekly double-start candidates who might push you to victory in the strikeout category, at that San Diego Padre facing the Houston Astros in Petco, and everything in between.

As a guideline for who will probably be available for streaming and who won't, we'll use SPs owned in less than 50% of ESPN standard leagues. I’ll also give you a ‘confidence rating’ with each player — 10 is ‘extremely confident’, 1 is ‘hey, I just threw a name out there.’

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Jeremy Guthrie, Kansas City Royals

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Jeremy Guthrie signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Kansas City Royals in the offseason. On Thursday, in his first start since signing, he scattered five hits and a walk while striking out nine in six innings. He got the win on the road against the decent-hitting Chicago White Sox, so things are looking auspicious. Guthrie was a victim of Coors Field last year, and pitched much better away from Coors than he did in it —1-5, 9.50 ERA in Coors; 4-2, 2.40 in Kauffman Field. He is usually a slow starter, but after a good opener, a matchup vs. the Twins should be kind. Just don’t expect another nine strikeouts.

Confidence - 7

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Jason Vargas, Los Angeles Angels

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas likes to pitch in Anaheim. At the Los Angeles Angels stadium last season, Vargas was 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA and 4.33 SO/BB against Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Now he has those guys behind him while he faces lefty-heavy the Oakland Athletics in Anaheim. As a fly-ball pitcher, having Trout and Peter Bourjos, the league’s best fielder, behind you is awesome. I like Vargas on Thursday and the rest of the year.

Confidence - 8

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Brandon Maurer, Seattle Mariners

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I wrote about Brandon Maurer two days ago as a preview for his start vs. the Oakland Athletics and mentioned that, often, rookie pitchers have a window in their first few starts where hitters don’t have much of a scouting report about them yet — hitting someone you’ve never seen before can be tough. That theory didn’t prove true (sigh) against the A’s, but there’s plenty of room for error against the Astros. Houston is practically a lineup Maurer would see in AAA, and they’re striking out in about 1/3 of their at-bats this season.

Confidence - 8

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Tommy Hanson, Los Angeles Angels

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Tommy Hanson and his gross wind-up against the Astros is a still pretty good matchup. Just don’t watch the game.

Confidence - 5

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Vance Worley, Minnesota Twins

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like ages ago when Vance Worley hit the Philadelphia scene and took the Phillies by storm, but it was as recent as 2011. Worley unfortunately developed bone chips in his arm early last year, hit the DL, and then ineffectively pitched through pain upon his return. Consequently, Worley went 6-9 with a 4.2 ERA and inflated walk-rate. But after elbow surgery, Worley looks healthy and pitched respectably (6 IP 3 ER) against the Detroit Tigers potent lineup. This time he faces the New York Mets in Citi Field.

Confidence - 6

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