Fantasy Baseball Weekend Preview: Kirby Yates looks to cement his undisputed closer role

Pitcher Kirby Yates (39)
Looks like there's a new fantasy closer in town for the Rangers. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Fantasy managers should be aware that the list of one-start streamers is already starting to dry up. There is a phenomenon in the early weeks of each campaign in which plenty of appealing streamers remain available on waivers, as the fantasy community usually needs a few weeks to create roster space to add these surprising performers.

But by now, most of the breakout pitchers either have been widely added or have proven that they were fool’s gold. On the hitting side, the weekend streamers should revolve around the Mariners, with contributions also coming primarily from the Rockies and Brewers.

Matchups to Target

Mariners @ Rockies

There are some fascinating matchups in this series. On one side, the Mariners' struggling offense (.643 OPS) takes on the Rockies' ineffective pitching staff (6.01 ERA). On the other side, Colorado’s mediocre lineup faces a couple of Seattle starters (Luis Castillo, George Kirby) who can best be classified thus far as underachieving aces. There are plenty of Seattle hitters to stream, including Mitch Garver (44%), Mitch Haniger (25%), J.P. Crawford (41%) and Ty France (13%). Luke Raley (8%) is also an option in deep formats. The top picks from the Rockies are a pair of outfielders, Charlie Blackmon (15%) and Brenton Doyle (10%).

Reds vs. Angels

Cincinnati hitters are always a threat to go deep at their homer-happy venue, and they will face three unremarkable starters this weekend. With two of the hurlers throwing from the left side, Will Benson and Jake Fraley are poor options this weekend. Jeimer Candelario (49%) is a good alternative, provided that he sheds his day-to-day status, and Stuart Fairchild (1%) could steal a base for those in deep leagues.

Brewers @ Cardinals

Milwaukee hitters should thrive Friday and Saturday against Kyle Gibson and Miles Mikolas before holding their own vs. Sonny Gray. With all three pitchers throwing from the right side, Brice Turang (78%) should be active everywhere, and Sal Frelick (25%) is a great option on the waiver wire.

Guardians vs. A’s

Cleveland hitters should enjoy a series against three Oakland hitters who each own an ERA over 5.00. The Guardians' top four hitters — José Ramírez, Steven Kwan, Andrés Giménez and Josh Naylor — are all lineup locks this weekend. Beyond that group, Bo Naylor (37%) is an attractive catching streamer.

Matchups to Avoid

Tigers @ Twins

Detroit’s offense is unlikely to turn around a lackluster start to the season (.616 OPS) when it faces a trio of right-handed Minnesota starters that includes formidable foes Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. There isn’t a single Tiger whom I would start with confidence, though some managers will need to deploy Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson or Kerry Carpenter.

Giants vs. D-backs

San Francisco could have success against Jordan Montgomery on Friday before facing two tough right-handers, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, on Saturday and Sunday. Matt Chapman and Thairo Estrada should be benched wherever possible.

White Sox @ Phillies

The White Sox have just two hitters who are rostered in more than 30% of leagues, and one of them is on the IL (Luis Robert Jr.). With this underwhelming lineup set to face a trio of tough righties, this is a good weekend to bench Eloy Jiménez and leave the rest of his lineup mates on waivers.

Seeking Saves

Kirby Yates, Texas Rangers (43% rostered)

Yates will head into a series against his former club (Atlanta) with his head held high, as he has taken over the Rangers' closer role. The 37-year-old has been terrific this season (0.00 ERA, 0.41 WHIP), and though Texas will have trouble earning wins against a talented Braves squad, any leads it brings to the ninth inning will likely be narrow ones — and Kirby's to save.

Seeking steals

START: James Outman (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Outman is part of a group of fringe starters — players who are rostered in 50-70% of leagues and are part of daily sit-start decisions — but he should definitely be started this weekend.

Outman and his teammates might steal several bases this weekend against Mets catcher Francisco Álvarez, who ranked second in the majors in steals allowed last year despite sitting outside the top 10 in innings behind the plate. Outman (16 SB in 2023) will be especially dangerous against right-handed starters on Saturday and Sunday.

Streaming Starters

In order, here are the best streamers for the weekend, with their start date and Yahoo roster rate in parentheses.

  • Spencer Turnbull vs. CWS (Friday, 49)

  • Javier Assad vs. MIA (Saturday, 39)

  • Logan Allen vs. OAK (Sunday, 35)

  • Martín Pérez vs. BOS (Sunday, 34)

  • Xzavion Curry vs. OAK (Sunday, 1)

  • Jack Flaherty @MIN (Friday, 44)

  • Reese Olson @MIN (Saturday, 16)

  • Seth Lugo vs. BAL (Sunday, 54)

  • Dean Kremer @KC (Friday, 22)

  • Edward Cabrera @CHC (Saturday, 50)

  • Clarke Schmidt vs. TB (Friday, 19)

  • Ryan Weathers @CHC (Sunday, 8)

  • Triston McKenzie vs. OAK (Friday, 63)

  • Frankie Montas vs. LAA (Sunday, 45)

  • MacKenzie Gore vs. HOU (Friday, 55)

  • José Buttó @LAD (Saturday, 25)

  • Gavin Stone vs. NYM (Saturday, 39)

  • Graham Ashcraft vs. LAA (Saturday, 17)