A lot is going to change.
That’s been the theme of my articles for the past couple of weeks. With MLB’s trade deadline less than a week away, some of these listed pitchers will be with other teams and won’t make their listed two starts. Adjust as you need to.
The list of pitchers looks so much better than last week. And that’s something we really have to focus on this time of year. Each and every start matters as you attempt to maintain or gain ground in the standings. If you don’t feel very, very confident that a pitcher will return positive value, pass on him.
Like I do every week, I’ll break down the two-start pitchers into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice – These are your aces that you start no matter what.
- Widely Owned Options – Players rostered 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 Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues – These guys should live on the waiver wire, but you can start them this week.
- Streamers Rostered 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 take a look at those pitchers scheduled to make two starts for the upcoming week, as projected on CBS as of 7 p.m. ET on July 25.
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Don’t Think Twice
Justin Verlander (7/30 @CLE, 8/4 vs. SEA)
Shane Bieber (7/30 vs. HOU, 8/4 vs. LAA)
Max Scherzer (7/30 vs. ATL, 8/4 @ARI)
Caleb Smith (7/29 vs. ARI, 8/4 @TB)
Charlie Morton (7/30 @BOS, 8/4 vs. MIA)
Patrick Corbin (7/29 vs. ATL, 8/3 @ARI)
Noah Syndergaard (7/30 @CHW, 8/4 @PIT) Note: Trade rumors have intensified late in the week. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Mets are “fully intent” on trading Syndergaard before the deadline.
Widely Owned Options
Dallas Keuchel (7/29 @WAS, 8/3 vs. CIN)
Keuchel has put together a great stretch recently, scoring at least 20 fantasy points in three of his past four outings. His most recent start saw him strike out 12 Royals in six innings. Lock him in your lineups this week.
David Price (7/30 vs. TB, 8/3 @NYY)
Price has notoriously struggled against the Yankees in his Red Sox career, so be wary of a bad start on the back end of his week. The Rays aren’t a walk in the park either, but you’re not sitting Price this week.
Yu Darvish (7/30 @STL, 8/4 vs. MIL)
Darvish struggled against the red-hot Giants (yes, that’s a real thing now, apparently), but he seems to be back for the most part and has figured out his walks issue. He’s just on the periphery of a top-30 pitcher going forward.
Marcus Stroman (7/29 @KC, 8/3 @BAL)
If I had any faith that Stroman would be a Blue Jay through next week, he’d be in the category above. However, he now seems like the most likely candidate to be moved by Wednesday’s trade deadline. Take that into account when setting your weekly lineups.
Jake Odorizzi (7/30 @MIA, 8/4 vs. KC)
So, that was fun while it lasted for Odorizzi. In July, he has a 9.35 ERA after allowing nine runs to the Yankees on Wednesday, and opponents are hitting .319 off of him. The matchups are great, but I’d have a hard time rolling him out there given his recent struggles.
In the Danger Zone
Jon Gray (7/30 vs. LAD, 8/3 vs. SF)
There are two checks against Gray here. The first is that he left his last start early after getting hit in the calf on a comebacker. The second, and most important, is that he has two home starts lined up. That’s a pass for me.
Kenta Maeda (7/29 @COL, 8/3 vs. SD)
Maeda is frustrating fantasy managers once again, as he has the unique incentives built into his contract that the Dodgers try to avoid so they don’t have to pay him more. Add to the uncertain usage a start in Coors, and I’m fading him this week.
Julio Teheran (7/30 @WAS, 8/4 vs. CIN)
On one hand, Teheran has a 1.14 ERA in July. On the other hand, he still has one of the worst SIERAs (5.05) this season. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but I have a feeling he’s going to crash like Odorizzi, Zach Davies, and Jhoulys Chacin did before him.
Ross Stripling (7/30 @COL, 8/4 vs. SD)
Stripling is dealing with a neck injury and admitted he’s uncertain if he will make his next start. Per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the righty gave it a “50-50” chance. Missing his next start would actually help him, as he’s slated to take the mound in Colorado. Here’s to hoping he’s a one-start pitcher in San Diego next weekend.
J.A. Happ (7/30 vs. ARI, 8/4 vs. BOS)
The Yankees said that Domingo German could move to the bullpen if they acquire a pitcher. That means Happ’s spot in the rotation is safe, but it shouldn’t be safe on your fantasy roster. Don’t start him. Don’t trust him. Don’t roster him.
John Means (7/29 @SD, 8/4 vs. TOR)
See Teheran, Julio, as Means is the American League version.
Rick Porcello (7/31 vs. TB, 8/4 @NYY)
Over the past month, here are Porcello’s points per start in Yahoo points leagues: -1, -11, 6.5, 9, 2, 18.5. Points leagues are supposed to be his format. No chance I’m starting him.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
Merrill Kelly (7/29 @MIA, 8/4 vs. WAS)
Tanner Roark (7/29 vs. PIT, 8/3 @ATL)
Reynaldo Lopez (7/30 vs. NYM, 8/4 @PHI)
I like all of these guys to different extremes. Kelly was superb in his past nine starts before getting blown up for seven runs against the Orioles. Roark has only one start this year where he’s allowed more than four earned runs. Lopez has been lights out since the All-Star break, registering a 1.71 ERA and 25 strikeouts in three starts. I’m OK starting all three of these guys next week.
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
Brad Keller (7/29 vs. TOR, 8/4 @MIN)
Dinelson Lamet (7/29 vs. BAL, 8/4 @LAD)
Mike Leake (7/30 @TEX, 8/4 @HOU)
Over the past 30 days, Keller is a top-20 pitcher in points leagues. I don’t have the guts to roll any of these guys out there, but I’d consider Keller in a points league where I can use him as a reliever if desperate.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Tyler Beede (7/30 @PHI, 8/4 @COL)
Jordan Lyles (7/29 @CIN, 8/4 vs. NYM)
Jhoulys Chacin (7/30 @OAK, 8/4 @CHC)
Vince Velasquez (7/30 vs. SF, 8/4 vs. CHW)
Kyle Freeland (7/30 vs. LAD, 8/4 vs. SF)
Jaime Barria (7/29 vs. DET, 8/4 @CLE)
Jordan Zimmermann (7/29 @LAA, 8/4 @TEX)
Lucas Sims (7/30 PIT, 8/4 @ATL)
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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.