How many of the top pitchers have returned value so far? The starting pitching landscape is scary right now, which puts an emphasis on streaming two-start pitchers to maximize each and every start.
Unfortunately, the upcoming slate of two-start pitchers is the worst of the year. There are very few set-and-forget options, and I’m ignoring most pitchers unless I’m in the most desperate situation early in the season.
Each week, I’ll look at the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. They are, of course, subject to change, but we want to get them out for you each Friday to help get ahead of your league when it comes to planning.
I’ll break the pitchers down into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice – These are your aces that you start no matter what.
- Widely-Owned Options – Players owned in the majority of leagues who should provide a positive return.
- In the Danger Zone – It’s a dice roll to start them given matchups or other factors.
- Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues – These guys should live on the waiver wire, but you can start them this week.
- Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues – Same as above, but applied to deeper leagues.
- Not Unless You’re Desperate – I don’t recommend these guys unless you’re swinging for the fences.
Most pitchers have made four or five starts at this point in the season, so we are slowly getting more and more data to help set our lineups.
Let’s look at the two-start pitchers for Week 4.
Import your team to My Playbook for instant Waiver Wire advice >>
Don’t Think Twice
Walker Buehler (4/23 @CHC, 4/28 vs. PIT)
Carlos Carrasco (4/23 vs. MIA, 4/28 @HOU)
Cole Hamels (4/23 vs. LAD, 4/28 @ARI)
After a poor Opening Day showing, Hamels has been a solid fantasy contributor. He’d be in the section above if it weren’t for that daunting matchup against the Dodgers. Any pitcher facing them automatically gets bumped down a tier. The matchup against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, on the other hand, should return value.
Joe Musgrove (4/22 vs. ARI, 4/27 @LAD)
A popular sleeper heading into this year, Musgrove has been outstanding so far with a 0.81 ERA. He has the same matchups as Hamels, though, which means he could be in for a rough outing with the Dodgers on the schedule. I’m still starting him with confidence.
Jake Arrieta (4/22 vs. NYM, 4/28 vs. MIA)
Arrieta nearly went the distance for the Phillies Wednesday, throwing 105 pitches in eight-plus innings of work. The Mets are a scary matchup, but having Miami as the second team on the docket increases my confidence in Arrieta for the upcoming week.
Brad Keller (4/22 @ TB, 4/27 vs. LAA)
I’m OK with both of these matchups, though Tampa Bay has been red hot. The Angels lineup besides Mike Trout shouldn’t scare anyone right now. You’ll net a positive return with Keller this week, as long as he doesn’t get suspended for throwing at Tim Anderson. [UPDATE: MLB has indeed suspended Keller five games. He could appeal in order to make his next scheduled start, but his second start will likely get pushed back to the following week.]
Zach Eflin (4/23 @NYM, 4/28 vs. MIA)
He’s been bad two straight starts, but one of those was in Colorado, which is an automatic pass. If owners dropped him, now’s the time to pick him up.
In the Danger Zone
Jack Flaherty (4/22 vs. MIL, 4/28 vs. CIN)
The Brewers are a scary offense, and they hit Flaherty around his last time out. The Reds are finding their groove, too. The solace here is that both games are in St. Louis, which is more pitcher-friendly than Milwaukee or Cincinnati. I’m starting him, but I have my concerns.
Trevor Williams (4/23 vs. ARI, 4/28 @LAD)
He’s eventually going to have the rude awakening that Jhoulys Chacin had, and it will more than likely happen next weekend against the Dodgers. Approach with caution.
Michael Pineda (4/23 @HOU, 4/28 vs. BAL)
Pineda would be bumped up a tier if not for the Houston matchup. His velocity is lower, but his control has been outstanding. Baltimore is always a plus-matchup for a pitcher, especially outside of Camden Yards.
J.A. Happ (4/22 @LAA, 4/27 @SF)
Happ has been brutal so far this season besides his last game against the Red Sox. There’s no other way to put it. He’s only in this spot because of his ownership and matchups.
Kevin Gausman (4/23 @CIN, 4/28 vs. COL)
Every time he takes the bump, we aren’t sure which version of Gausman we will get. That holds true this week, too. The Rockies on the road are a great matchup, so I’m OK streaming him. I’m starting to buy in again. I’ve been hurt before, Kevin. I’m ready to be hurt again.
Corbin Burnes (4/22 @ STL, 4/28 @NYM)
Eleven. That’s the number of home runs that Burnes has given up so far. He gets the Cardinals again, who have teed off on him twice this season. There’s a lot to like about his profile, but Burnes is a dice roll right now.
Nathan Eovaldi (4/22 vs. DET, 4/27 vs. TB)
Eovaldi is droppable in most leagues. I’d like to get the Detroit start if I can, though. I’d put the odds at greater than 50 percent of him returning value in his two-start week.
Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues
Brad Peacock (4/23 vs. MIN, 4/28 vs. CLE)
Mike Minor (4/22 @OAK, 4/27 @SEA)
Zack Godley (4/22 @PIT, 4/27 vs. CHC)
Sonny Gray (4/23 vs. ATL, 4/28 @STL)
I’m verrrry excited that Peacock is back in the rotation. It worries me long term that he’ll be the first to go if and when the Astros need to move someone out of the rotation for any number of reasons, but for now, enjoy the two starts. Even if Francisco Lindor returns for the Indians, the lineup is still below average. Peacock should get you a number of strikeouts with good ratios, and he is in a position to grab two potential wins, too.
Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues
Pablo Lopez (4/23 @CLE, 4/28 @PHI)
Wade Miley (4/22 vs. MIN, 4/27 vs. CLE)
Jake Odorizzi (4/22 @HOU, 4/27 vs. BAL)
Luke Weaver (4/23 @PIT, 4/28 vs. CHC)
I like Lopez and Miley here the most — Miley for the reasons I mentioned above with Peacock. If you read my category analysis published on Thursday, you know that Lopez has really good peripherals. The matchup in Philadelphia isn’t great, but that’s why he’s in this section instead of higher. I’m OK streaming him with Cleveland as the other opponent.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Steven Matz (4/22 vs. PHI, 4/28 vs. MIL)
Kyle Freeland (4/23 vs. WAS, 4/28 @ATL)
CC Sabathia (4/23 @LAA, 4/28 @SF)
Matt Harvey (4/22 vs. NYY, 4/27 @KC)
Marco Estrada (4/22 vs. TEX, 4/28 @TOR)
Lance Lynn (4/23 @OAK, 4/28 @SEA)
Jeremy Hellickson (4/22 @COL, 4/28 vs. SD)
David Hess (4/22 vs. CHW, 4/28 @MIN)
Spencer Turnbull (4/22 @BOS, 4/27 @CHW)
Tyson Ross (4/23 @BOS, 4/28 @CHW)
Felix Pena (4/23 vs. NYY, 4/28 @KC)
Homer Bailey (4/23 @TB, 4/28 vs. LAA)
Erik Swanson (4/23 @SD, 4/28 vs. TEX)
Lucas Giolito (4/22 @BAL, 4/28 vs. DET)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | TuneIn
Get free start/sit and waiver wire advice for your fantasy team >>
Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.