The ideal scenario is to have a team that is so good from the jump that you’ll just watch the waiver wire’s flavors of the week come and go. But that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
With the injuries suffered and general underperforming nature of players — specifically pitchers this season — you need to maximize your adds and drops.
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.
We’re getting a better idea of who guys are a month into the season, but it’s still important to preach patience and look beyond the surface stats.
Overall, the batch of two-start pitchers this week is better than the options in Week 4, but it’s a very top- and bottom-heavy group. Let’s look at the two-start options for Week 5.
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Don’t Think Twice
Justin Verlander (4/29 @MIN, 5/5 @LAA)
Trevor Bauer (4/30 @MIA, 5/5 vs. SEA)
Walker Buehler (4/29 @SF, 5/5 @SD)
Luis Castillo (4/30 @NYM, 5/5 vs. SF)
Patrick Corbin (4/29 vs. STL, 5/4 @PHI)
Blake Snell (4/29 @KC, 5/4 @BAL)
Zack Wheeler (4/29 vs. CIN, 5/4 @MIL)
Wheeler came out dealing last game, striking out 11 batters in seven scoreless innings against the Phillies. He has three straight quality starts, which have erased the early-season concerns from allowing 11 runs in his first two starts of the season. Pitching at Milwaukee is never fun, and I understand if you have hesitancy, but I’m trusting Wheeler to be a top-10 pitcher for the week.
Eduardo Rodriguez (4/30 vs. OAK, 5/5 @CHW)
Some jumped off the Rodriguez wagon too early. He should be nearly universally owned in fantasy leagues after recovering from a rough start. He gets two-plus matchups this week, making him a near lock for fantasy owners. His value takes a hit in leagues that reward quality starts, though.
Chris Paddack (4/30 @ATL, 5/5 vs. LAD)
Paddack’s last outing against Seattle was his flu game. After getting in trouble in the first inning, he retired 18 Mariners in a row. The rookie was straight shoving, and it doesn’t take a lot to see a fantasy ace here. A future innings limits will definitely come into play this year, but worry about that later. While he could have better matchups this week, I’d rather have him hurt me in my lineup than miss out on two gems because I was nervous about the matchups.
In the Danger Zone
German Marquez (4/30 @MIL, 5/5 vs. ARI)
Marquez escaped a bases-loaded situation against the Nationals Wednesday to limit the damage to three runs at home. It could — and should — have been much, much worse. A start at home will always keep a Rockies pitcher out of the “Don’t Think Twice” tier, but when the second start is at Milwaukee, they get close to being a must-sit pitcher for me. Marquez has ace talent, so I can see rolling the dice if you have him.
Frankie Montas (4/29 @BOS, 5/5 @PIT)
Montas added a splitter this year, and it’s had him on the verge of a breakout. The matchup against Boston scares me, and if you’re worried about your ratios, I could see benching him. I’m fairly confident on the return of value, though, especially with the matchup against the Pirates.
Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues
Mike Soroka (4/29 vs. SD, 5/4 @MIA)
Julio Teheran (4/30 vs. SD, 5/5 @MIA)
There are only two pitchers in this tier this week, and they both happen to be Braves. The thing is, one is just a bad pitcher (Teheran) and the other is my favorite pitcher on their staff for dynasty purposes (Soroka). I’m worried the Braves will continue to yo-yo their rotation all year, but I trust Soroka to make two starts this week — both against favorable matchups.
Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues
Jeff Samardzija (4/29 vs. LAD, 5/5 @CIN)
Jake Junis (4/29 vs. TB, 5/4 @DET)
Anibal Sanchez (4/30 vs. STL, 5/5 @PHI)
Tanner Roark (4/29 @NYM, 5/4 vs. SF)
Michael Pineda (4/30 vs. HOU, 5/5 @NYY)
Jake Odorizzi (4/29 vs. HOU, 5/4 @NYY)
Nick Margevicius (4/29 @ATL, 5/4 vs. LAD)
My first takeaway with the names in this tier is that I’m surprised they aren’t owned in more leagues. They don’t have to be widely rostered, but the majority should be owned in at least 50 percent of 12-team leagues with the current pitching landscape. I’d be OK rolling the dice on any of them if I really want a two-start pitcher, but I wouldn’t feel confident in saying that any of them will return a positive value. The order I have them listed matches my comfort level with them this week.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Jhoulys Chacin (4/29 vs. COL, 5/4 vs. NYM)
Homer Bailey (4/29 vs. TB, 5/4 @DET)
Adam Wainwright (4/30 @WAS, 5/5 @CHC)
Ivan Nova (4/29 vs. BAL, 5/4 vs. BOS)
Clay Buchholz (4/30 @LAA, 5/5 @TEX)
David Hess (4/29 @CHW, 5/5 vs. TB)
Jason Vargas (4/30 vs. CIN, 5/5 @MIL)
Hector Velazquez (4/29 vs. OAK, 5/4 @CHW)
Ervin Santana (4/29 vs. BAL, 5/5 vs. BOS)
Daniel Ponce de Leon (4/29 @WAS, 5/4 @CHC)
Chad Bettis (4/29 @MIL, 5/4 vs. ARI)
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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.