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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 5/13-5/20

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
May 10, 2019

Kyle Hendricks gets two starts next week after tossing back-to-back gems.

Doing pre-draft rankings is hard. Like, really hard. You can fine-tune them as much as you want based on underlying numbers, a hunch, projections, or even spring training production. But when you hit submit, you’re locked into those rankings.

Even as little as six weeks into the season, you can look at the current leaders at a position, compared to your rankings, and realize how far off you really were.

Pitching is, seemingly, a crapshoot each year. I mean, look at the current ERA leaders:

  1. Tyler Glasnow
  2. Chris Paddack
  3. Zach Davies
  4. Luis Castillo
  5. Hyun-Jin Ryu
  6. Caleb Smith
  7. Spencer Turnbull
  8. Domingo German
  9. Jose Berrios
  10. Charlie Morton

Just like we all thought, right? Of them, Berrios and Castillo are the least surprising, even though they were going around the 25-30 range among starting pitchers.

If you look at the FIP leaders, you’re seeing some of the same names, but also some more established players who just haven’t had their ERA adjust yet.

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Matthew Boyd
  3. Chris Paddack
  4. Tyler Glasnow
  5. James Paxton
  6. Domingo German
  7. Pablo Lopez
  8. Brandon Woodruff
  9. Luis Castillo
  10. Caleb Smith

You could have gotten a lot of these players on both lists — primarily in ERA — off waivers or, at the very worst, late in drafts.

When you’re looking at two-start players to stream, don’t just pick them up with the understanding that you’ll start them for a week and then drop them. Look more closely and see if they have some long-staying potential on your fantasy rosters.

Like I do every week, 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.

Let’s look at the two-start pitchers for Week 7, as projected on CBS as of Friday, May 10 at 2 p.m.

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Don’t Think Twice

Jose Berrios (5/13 vs. LAA, 5/18 @SEA)

Charlie Morton (5/14 @MIA, 5/19 @NYY)

Aaron Nola (5/13 vs. MIL, 5/18 vs. COL)

Shane Bieber (5/13 @CHW, 5/19 vs. BAL)

Jack Flaherty (5/14 @ATL, 5/19 @TEX)

Widely-Owned Options

Kyle Hendricks (5/14 @CIN, 5/19 @WAS)
Hendricks is coming off of two great outings, including a complete-game shutout against the Cardinals. I trust him more in points-based leagues than I do in category-based leagues, but I’m riding the hot hand. The Reds offense is better with Nick Senzel starting regularly, and the Nationals are slowly getting healthy. He should still return plus-value.

Robbie Ray (5/13 vs. PIT, 5/19 vs. SF)
Ray will typically live in the “Danger Zone” section, as it’s a roll of the dice for what you’ll get each time he pitches. He’s failed to go six innings in three straight starts, but he’s facing two below-average offenses at home. Set him and forget him this week.

Joe Musgrove (5/14 @ARI, 5/19 @SD)
No Jameson Taillon. No Chris Archer. The Pirates’ de facto ace is Musgrove. He’s regressed since his fantastic start to the season, and he got shelled on Thursday. However, he gets two solid matchups in two good pitching environments. I’m expecting a plus-return in both despite his recent struggles.

Yusei Kikuchi (5/13 vs. OAK, 5/19 vs. MIN)
Kikuchi is on a solid stretch, allowing two earned runs and striking out 15 batters over his past 15.2 innings. I like the matchup against the A’s, but the matchup against the Twins makes me nervous. He’s scheduled to make two full starts his next two times out, so innings shouldn’t be a concern next week.

In the Danger Zone

Brad Peacock (5/13 @DET, 5/19 @BOS)
I was almost ready to drop Peacock, but he went out and dominated in his last game. Now I feel good running him out against the Tigers, but the Boston matchup makes me nervous. He’s best used as a reliever in points leagues.

Kyle Freeland (5/14 @BOS, 5/19 @PHI)
Freeland survived two straight years as being a “good” pitcher, but the regression hit him fully this year. I’m avoiding him fully until further notice.

Mike Foltynewicz (5/14 vs. STL, 5/19 vs. MIL)
Folty was overpriced during draft season, and he’s over-owned (77 percent) right now. I wouldn’t want him in my starting lineup for either of these two matchups.

Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues

Brandon Woodruff (5/14 @PHI, 5/19 @ATL)

Jerad Eickhoff (5/14 vs. MIL, 5/19 vs. COL)

Tyler Skaggs (5/13 @MIN, 5/19 vs. KC)

Sonny Gray (5/14 vs. CHC, 5/19 vs. LAD)

All of these guys should be owned in more than 50 percent of leagues. Woodruff is my favorite, as he just continues to miss bats. He threw a season-high 103 pitches in his last outing and set a career-high mark with nine strikeouts.

Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues

Kyle Gibson (5/14 vs. LAA, 5/19 @SEA)

Reynaldo Lopez (5/13 vs. CLE, 5/18 vs. TOR)

Jonathan Loaisiga (5/13 vs. BAL, 5/19 vs. TB)

Danny Duffy (5/14 vs. TEX, 5/19 @LAA)

Freddy Peralta* (5/13 @PHI, 5/18 @ATL)

I have an asterisk by Peralta’s name because the Brewers used an opener for him Tuesday. It worked, as he avoided the first inning, which has been his kryptonite, and fired five scoreless frames.

Gibson is my favorite here. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in his past four starts, and he’s coming off of an 11-strikeout game. He’s my top streaming option of the week.

Not Unless You’re Desperate

Brett Anderson (5/13 @SEA, 5/18 @DET)

Wilmer Font (5/14 @WAS, 5/19 @MIA)

Trent Thornton (5/14 @SF, 5/19 @CHW)

Andrew Cashner (5/14 @NYY, 5/19 @CLE)

Jeremy Hellickson (5/14 vs. NYM, 5/19 vs. CHC)

David Hess (5/13 @NYY, 5/18 @CLE)

Manny Banuelos (5/14 vs. CLE, 5/19 vs. TOR)

Shelby Miller (5/14 @KC, 5/19 vs. STL)

Nick Kingham (5/13 @ARI, 5/18 @SD)

Tyson Ross (5/13 vs. HOU, 5/18 vs. HOU)

Ryan Carpenter (5/14 vs. HOU, 5/19 vs. OAK)

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.