Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 9/9-9/15
Like my category analysis piece this week, I’m going to be looking specifically week to week with the final few two-start pitchers columns.
“But, aren’t the two-start pitcher columns always focused on a singular week?”
Yeah, basically…with some suggested long-term pickups sprinkled in, too. But we are going to buckle down with it being the playoffs and focus solely on the players who can make a difference for you. That means it’s okay to drop guys who may rank higher than two-start pitchers if you really need that extra start to push you over the edge against your opponent.
Like I do every week, I’ll break the two-start pitchers down into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice – These are your aces that you start no matter what.
- Widely-Rostered 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 10 a.m. September 5
Don’t Think Twice
- Shane Bieber (9/9 @LAA, 9/15 vs. MIN)
- Jacob deGrom (9/9 vs. ARI, 9/14 vs. LAD)
- Aaron Nola (9/9 vs. ATL, 9/15 vs. BOS)
- Charlie Morton (9/11 @TEX, 9/15 @LAA)
- Zack Greinke (9/9 vs. OAK, 9/14 @KC)
- Jose Berrios (9/10 vs. WAS, 9/15 @CLE)
- Madison Bumgarner (9/9/ vs. PIT, 9/14 @MIA)
- James Paxton (9/9 @BOS, 9/14 @TOR)
Wade Miley (9/10 vs. OAK, 9/15 @KC)
It would be great if Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole could join Zack Greinke with these two matchups, but instead, it’s Miley. Miley has slowed down a bit since the All-Star break, but he’s still not allowing more than three runs in an outing. His last time out, though, he issued five free passes, which is his second such five-walk game in his past six starts. He’s locked in for me with the Royals matchup.
Jose Quintana (9/10 @SD, 9/15 vs. PIT)
It’s a juicy two-start week for Quintana with the Padres and Pirates on tap. The Pirates are dead last in baseball in team wRC+ against left-handers this year. Start with confidence.
Eduardo Rodriguez (9/9 vs. NYY, 9/15 @PHI)
I’m a believer in Rodriguez’ talent, but to an admitted fault. I’m probably benching him here with the Yankees and Phillies on the schedule, even after an impressive outing against the Twins Wednesday night where he allowed no runs, but did walk four.
Lance Lynn (9/10 vs. TB, 9/15 vs. OAK)
It’s been a bumpy ride of late for Lynn, which should surprise no one really. He’s still rostered in more than 80 percent of leagues, though. I’m benching him in my do-or-die playoffs.
Trevor Bauer (9/10 @SEA, 9/15 @ARI)
What in the world is going on with Bauer? He may be a good buy in dynasty leagues this year, because we know if anyone is going to figure out what the hell went wrong, it’s Bauer. I’m going to reluctantly roll with him because the Mariners are just that bad that I can’t see them roughing Bauer up outside of Cincinnati.
Max Fried (9/10 @PHI, 9/15 @WAS)
Fried’s been a little unlucky of late, but I’d be lying if I said I was confident in him against the Phillies and red-hot Nationals. I’m using him, but I’d prefer to be in a points-based league where he can add extra value as a reliever.
Jon Lester (9/9 @SD, 9/14 vs. PIT)
Like Quintana, this is a great week for Lester. He’s scored at least 18.5 fantasy points in three of his last four starts, with one bad start (-5 points) in between. His last two times out against the Pirates, he scored 18.5 and 20 points, respectively. Expect the good production to continue.
Zack Wheeler (9/10 vs. ARI, 9/15 vs. LAD)
I’m kind of done expecting Wheeler to be a top-20 pitcher honestly. If you need a two-start option, fine, but with the Dodgers on the schedule, I’m probably leaning toward sitting him if possible.
In the Danger Zone
Kenta Maeda (9/10 @BAL, 9/15 @NYM)
I’m listing this because CBS has him here, but I’d be shocked if Maeda makes a start with reports of him moving to the bullpen.
Zac Gallen (9/10 @NYM, 9/15 vs. CIN)
Gallen was straight fire Wednesday night, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Padres. This is a pretty good week for Gallen, but we’ve seen the inconsistencies that come with being a rookie pitcher. Still, I like him more than Wheeler or Fried from the tier above.
Anibal Sanchez (9/10 @MIN, 9/15 vs. ATL)
Pass. Just a hard pass. We’ve seen nice outings from Sanchez this year, but there’s no chance outside of a 20-team league where I’m using him against not only the Twins, but also the Braves in the fantasy playoffs.
Tanner Roark (9/9 @HOU, 9/14 @TEX)
Roark is a boring, yet trusty option for fantasy managers, especially since his move to Oakland. But with the Astros on the schedule and pitching in Arlington, I’m going to fade him this week.
Mike Foltynewicz (9/9 @PHI, 9/14 @WAS)
When Folty retires, he’ll be the poster boy for “In the Danger Zone.” You don’t know what you’ll get from him from start to start, and while he’s looked better of late, he faces the same tough matchups that his teammate Fried does. He’s in the Wheeler grouping for me next week.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
- Jordan Lyles (9/9 @MIA, 9/14 @STL)
- John Means (9/10 vs. LAD, 9/15 @DET)
- Trevor Williams (9/9 @SF, 9/14 @CHC)
- Brett Anderson (9/10 @HOU, 9/15 @TEX)
- Ivan Nova (9/10 vs. KC, 9/15 @SEA)
This group is just brutal. Nova’s string of great luck ended with two back-to-back shellackings against the Indians and Braves recently. If you’re in a points league that has 15 or more teams and you’re super desperate (a lot of qualifiers, I know), the matchups don’t get a lot better than Kansas City and Seattle. Of this group, though, I’m leaning Lyles.
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
- Jake Junis (9/10 @CHW, 9/15 vs. HOU)
- Merrill Kelly (9/9 @NYM, 9/14 vs. CIN)
- Chase Anderson (9/10 @MIA, 9/15 @STL)
- Logan Webb (9/10 vs. PIT, 9/15 vs. MIA)
- Elieser Hernandez (9/10 vs. MIL, 9/15 @SF)
Give me Webb and Hernandez here strictly for the matchups. Of the two, I’m leaning Hernandez, because Webb has yet to go six innings in any of his starts.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
- Patrick Sandoval (9/9 vs. CLE, 9/15 vs. TB)
- Dario Agrazal (9/10 @SF, 9/15 @CHC)
- Felix Hernandez (9/10 vs. CIN, 9/15 vs. CHW)
- Robert Dugger (9/9 vs. MIL, 9/14 @SF)
- Edwin Jackson (9/10 vs. NYY, 9/15 vs. BAL)
- Chi Chi Gonzalez (9/10 vs. STL, 9/15 vs. SD)
- Cal Quantrill (9/9 vs. CHC, 9/14 @COL)
- Chris Paddack (9/10 vs. CHC, 9/15 @COL)
- Michael Wacha (9/10 @COL, 9/15 vs. MIL)