Fantasy Baseball: 2-start pitcher rankings, streaming tips and more for first week of April

Jared Jones #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Jared Jones has been garnering a lot of hype recently — but should you stream him in fantasy this week? (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

The MLB season is in full swing, and pitching stats from April matter just as much as those accumulated down the stretch. This is a tricky week to target two-start pitchers, as most teams are using their fourth or fifth starters at the outset of the week.

Still, there are some solid options. Let’s look at the players who are primed to make a major impact.

Two-Start Pitchers (listed in order of preference)

Dean Kremer, 17% rostered (vs. KC, @PIT)

Kremer has marginal upside but deserves credit for producing a 3.25 ERA in the second half of last season. He should log helpful ratios in two starts at pitcher-friendly parks against teams who had bottom-10 offenses last year. And his win potential is high while working in front of a talented, ascending team.

Tanner Houck, 7% (@OAK, @LAA)

Houck is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2023 season, but he entered that campaign with a healthy career 3.02 ERA across 146 innings. He fared well in spring training (2.40 ERA, 0.87 WHIP) and opens the season with one golden matchup (A’s) and a respectable second start.

Reese Olson, 17% (@NYM, vs. OAK)

Olson heads into his sophomore season on the heels of a solid rookie campaign that included a 3.99 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He should hold his own in a start at pitcher-friendly Citi Field before having the potential to shut down an A’s offense that is arguably the worst in baseball.

Sean Manaea, 20% (vs. DET, @CIN)

Manaea enjoyed a furious finish to spring training and ended with a sparkling 21:4 K:BB ratio. He should enjoy a favorable start at his pitcher-friendly home park against a Tigers offense that finished 28th in runs scored last season. But his difficult second start in Cincinnati keeps Manaea from rising on this list.

Max Meyer, 47% (vs. LAA, @STL)

Adding Meyer is a combination volume-upside pick. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft could be a helpful hurler during a two-start week, but his placement on this list is also a hat-tip to his substantial long-term upside. Still, Meyer has no track record and is a risk for active use right now.

Luis Gil, 24% (@ARI, vs. TOR)

Gil entered spring training as a rotation afterthought before emerging as the fifth starter due to an injury to Gerrit Cole and his own strong Grapefruit League results (2.87 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 23 SO in 15.2 IP). His matchups are mediocre, but his upside makes him intriguing in deeper formats.

James Paxton, 21% (vs. SF, @CHC)

After logging mediocre ratios with Boston last year (4.50 ERA, 1.31 WHIP), Paxton did nothing of note during spring training. Still, it’s hard to ignore someone who can pile up whiffs while making two starts in front of an ultra-talented Dodgers squad. He’s a no-brainer in 15-team leagues and worth consideration in 12-team formats.

MacKenzie Gore, 44% (vs. PIT, vs. PHI)

Gore is coming off a mediocre spring that included some highlights (19 SO in 15.1 IP) and some lowlights (5.87 ERA, 1.30 WHIP). He is a solid volume play for two home starts, but the expectation here is that his ratios will not be helpful.

One-Start Streamers

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

  • Kenta Maeda vs. Oak (Friday, 46%)

  • Jared Jones vs. BAL (Friday, 33%)

  • Tyler Wells @ PIT (Saturday, 54%)

  • Jack Flaherty vs. OAK (Saturday, 57%)

  • Seth Lugo vs. CWS (Thursday, 17%)

  • Gavin Stone @ CHC (Saturday, 57%)

  • Jordan Hicks vs. SD (Friday, 59%)

  • Reynaldo López @ CWS (Tuesday, 16%)

  • Reid Detmers vs. BOS (Saturday, 23%)

  • Casey Mize @ NYM (Tuesday, 23%)

  • José Quintana vs. DET (Wednesday, 17%)

  • Louis Varland @ MIL (Wednesday, 41%)

  • Garrett Whitlock @ LAA (Saturday, 31%)

  • Steven Matz vs. MIA (Saturday, 5%)

  • Erick Fedde @ KC (Friday, 4%)

  • Ranger Suárez @ WSH (Saturday, 32%)

  • Javier Assad vs. COL (Tuesday, 4%)

Favorable Monday-Thursday hitting matchups

—Red Sox @ A’s: Oakland gave up 23 runs in three games to the Guardians last weekend and could lead the majors in runs allowed this year. All Boston regulars should be in fantasy lineups, and rookie Ceddanne Rafaela (50%) can be added from waivers.

—Marlins vs. Angels: Miami will face the backend of the Angels rotation and staff ace Patrick Sandoval, who was rocked on Opening Day. With two lefties among the three matchups, Tim Anderson (23%) is a strong waiver wire option. As the icing on the cake, Miami faces Cardinals righty Lance Lynn (5.73 ERA in 2023) on Thursday.

—Pirates at Nationals: The Bucs will face three mediocre Washington starters, including righties Trevor Williams and Josiah Gray in the final two games of the series. Jack Suwinski (51%) is a must-start player in five-outfielder formats.

—Cardinals @ Padres: The Cardinals are a nice volume play over the coming days, as they face three right-handers during their series in Petco Park before taking on Marlins lefty Ryan Weathers on Thursday. The trio of righties makes Brendan Donovan (24%) a viable target. Rookie Victor Scott III (43%) can be added by those who seek steals.