Each week I will take a look at all the two-start fantasy pitchers and give recommendations on who is “safe” to start. Inclement weather could postpone or cancel games at any time; keep this in mind when planning your weekly lineup. A mid-week cancellation could push starters up a day, which means any two-start pitchers who were slated to go on Sunday might get two starts next week instead.
Note that Tuesday starts are highlighted in a lighter font. Take this into account when making your decisions weekly – especially for those players listed under questionable and lower. If you do not love the pitcher’s first start you might want to sit him in case he does not get his second turn. Must and solid start pitchers should be in your lineup regardless.
This week’s notes
– The Dodgers, Angels, and Brewers are off Monday and Thursday so no two-start pitchers for these Teams.
– The New York Yankees placed Monday’s starter Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list. They will need to make a call to the minors. Whoever gets the call would face the Mets and then the Red Sox on Saturday. I like a number of Yankee prospect pitchers, but am not sure I would throw one of them to the wolves against Boston.
– The Toronto Blue Jays list no starter for Monday against Tampa Bay. The Jays are patching together their final two rotation spots and recalled rookie Chris Rowley to start Saturday. As much as I might like the Rays start, any gains could be undone with the second start on the road against the Cubs. Joe Biagini is the front-runner, but I don’t know if he is stretched out enough to start.
– The Philadelphia Phillies placed Tuesday’s starter Vince Velasquez on the disabled list. He had two great matchups on tap, facing the Padres Tuesday and Giants Sunday, both on the road. No word yet on who will take the mound, but you need to consider them a streaming option this week.
– The Colorado Rockies list no starter for Tuesday against Atlanta. With Kyle Freeland close to returning, expect a spot starter Tuesday and maybe Freeland returning Sunday against the Brewers. If Freeland doesn’t return this week I would probably avoid the two home starts even against average competition.
- Jerad Eickhoff @SD, @SF
- Madison Bumgarner @MIA, vs. PHI
- Danny Salazar @MIN, @KC
- Brad Peacock @ARZ, vs. OAK
- Gio Gonzalez vs. LAA, @SD
- Jacob deGrom @NYY, vs. MIA
Eickhoff has turned the corner with strong outings in six of his past seven. In five of those starts he held opponents to two or fewer runs. He is available for streaming in 60 percent of Yahoo and 85 percent of ESPN leagues. Bumgarner should be started regardless of the number of starts, opponent, or venue. Since returning from the DL Salazar has allowed a total of four runs in four starts spanning 25.1 innings. I don’t see the Twins and Royals slowing him down.
You can ignore Peacock’s Aug. 4 blip against Toronto; everyone has a bad game. The start at Arizona is only a mild concern for me given his dominance this season. I keep waiting for Gonzalez to regress, but it hasn’t happened. Keep rolling him out there until you see back-to-back non-quality starts. You’ll need to check the status of deGrom before lineups lock on Monday. Provided his side sessions went well he should be good to go and started as usual.
- Zack Greinke vs. HOU, @MIN
- Jose Quintana vs. CIN, vs. TOR
- Michael Fulmer @TEX, vs. LAD
- Ty Blach @MIA, vs. PHI
- Trevor Bauer @BOS, @KC
- Sonny Gray vs. NYM, @BOS
- Mike Leake @BOS, @PIT
Even with a tough matchup against Houston I can’t see listing Greinke any lower than solid. Quintana hasn’t gained any great ERA advantage with the move to the National League. He does have quality starts in four of his past five, though, and faces two of the poorer hitting lefty squads. Fulmer only missed two starts and returns from the DL this week. I question rushing him back and if the Tigers will limit him in any way after his elbow issue. A healthy Fulmer is a must start. Blach has had five consecutive seven-inning games, has failed to reach this sixth inning twice in his past 16, and 12 of those 16 were quality starts. This is another highly recommended streaming option.
Bauer has turned his season around after posting brutal numbers the first two months. I am highly concerned with the Boston start but believe the numbers against Kansas City will even things out. Gray held his own against Boston earlier this year and has been better than average on the road. I believe any damage done by the Red Sox will be absorbed by the Mets start. For the season Leake has allowed more than four runs twice and exactly four runs three times. That puts his remaining 18 starts in the quality start range. I fear Boston, but am not afraid of a blowout.
- Kevin Gausman @SEA, vs. LAA
- Jake Junis @OAK, vs. CLE
- Ivan Nova @MIL, vs. STL
- Dinelson Lamet vs. PHI, vs. WSH
- Marco Estrada vs. TB, @CHC
- Kyle Hendricks vs. CIN, vs. TOR
Gausman put up a nice stretch of games before meeting up with the Angels on Wednesday. I really want to endorse him this week and am optimistic he has turned the corner. Bump him up a tier if you fully believe. The major league results for Junis are mixed so it’s hard to predict what you’ll get here. I do like the matchups, but a weak-hitting Padres club was able to score three runs off him. Over his past 10 games Nova has four quality starts and five with four or more runs. He has also given up a home run in nine of those 10 with multiple home runs in five.
Lamet held teams to two or fewer runs in four of his five home starts. I like him for this week, but am not confident enough to list him as a solid start. Washington could give him trouble. Estrada has looked good over his past three starts, thanks in part to a .222 BABIP and 98 percent strand rate. Can that good luck continue for another week? While Hendricks has not been as good as he was in 2016, he has been serviceable more often than not. He has struggled with innings since returning from the DL which puts wins and quality starts in jeopardy.
- Collin McHugh @ARZ, vs. OAK
- Sean Newcomb @COL, vs. CIN
- Anthony Banda vs. HOU, @MIN
McHugh is average at best so I’m tempted to sit him at Arizona. However, if you have no better options I am not opposed to starting him – this is just a precaution. The Rockies crush lefties so Newcomb isn’t starting in Colorado in my world. The Reds struggle against lefties, making him a low-end streaming option despite the higher home numbers. At this stage I see Banda as a matchup pitcher, and Houston is not the matchup for him.
START AT OWN RISK
- Antonio Senzatela vs. ATL, vs. MIL
- Doug Fister vs. CLE, vs. NYY
- Adam Conley vs. SF, @NYM
- Jake Odorizzi @TOR, vs. SEA
- Blake Snell @TOR, vs. SEA
- Bartolo Colon vs. CLE, vs. ARZ
- Luis Castillo @CHC, @ARZ
Senzatela is a risk to start in Coors. Higher home numbers and limited innings per start add to the risk. Facing two weaker hitting opponents keeps him (barely) off the avoid list. Judging by the numbers dating to 2015 Fister is a borderline streaming option. His past two starts were solid enough and Cleveland is in a major funk. Conley has somewhat of a safe track record against weaker teams. You still shouldn’t trust him, but the matchups this week make him a low-end streaming option to consider. Every week I lose a little more confidence in Odorizzi. Low innings pitched, home runs, and increased walks make him a risk even against middling offensive teams.
Teammate Snell is having similar issues except his are more pronounced. If he was a right-handed pitcher he would be an automatic sit for me. Some might consider Colon as questionable given his two recent performances combined with the August struggles of both opponents. This could be a sneaky stream or it could ruin your week. Castillo is the only pitcher in the Reds rotation that can be trusted right now. That said, I really don’t like the Cubs matchup and am overly cautious in general when it comes to games in Arizona. For what it’s worth I trust him over all the other risky starters.
- Travis Wood vs. PHI, vs. WSH
- Jharel Cotton vs. KC, @HOU
- Yovani Gallardo vs. BAL, @TB
- Julio Teheran @COL, vs. CIN
- Asher Wojciechowski @CHC, @ARZ
- Rafael Montero @NYY, vs. MIA
- A.J. Griffin vs. DET, vs. CHW
- Martin Perez vs. DET, vs. CHW
- Miguel Gonzalez @LAD, @TEX
Wood was terrible as a reliever with Kansas City and now he is with San Diego. The jury is out on whether or not Petco can salvage his season. With a home ERA over 7.00 I would not trust Cotton against Kansas City. Avoiding the Houston start is self-explanatory. Gallardo failed to make it past the fifth inning in seven of his past eight, and didn’t even complete five innings in four of them. I don’t see the value in starting or even owning him in fantasy. I would not risk Teheran in Colorado given his struggles. He also has a 7.07 ERA and 1.59 WHIP at home, making the Reds a high-risk game. For what it’s worth, he cleared waivers after being dropped in my home league.
Wojciechowski is in the rotation out of necessity, not by choice. The same goes for Montero – why is this guy still in the rotation? Do you remember Griffin giving up 36 home runs in 2013? He has allowed 15 this season in just 50 innings. He also doesn’t have the best track record in Texas. The season-long struggles by Perez combined with the poor home numbers is enough to avoid him. The fact he faces two top-five offensive teams against lefties is the nail in the coffin. Gonzalez is hit or miss when it comes to starts, but even more so on the road (6.27 ERA, 1.70 WHIP).