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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 8/3-8/9

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jul 31, 2020

So, what was the right strategy? We knew the season would be a wild ride, but until it started, we didn’t know just how wild it would be. Teams have been shut down. New rules have been added. Rookies are making their debuts. It makes for an interesting watch, but it also makes roster construction a nearly impossible task.

But we’re going to give it a go anyway, because we are embracing the weirdness that is the 2020 season. You could have went with the aces strategy in hopes that they’d give you the volume that you needed. You could have waited on pitching in your draft, thinking that it’s too much of an investment to make, especially with this season.

No matter the approach you took, you’re adjusting on the fly. Getting two starts from any pitcher in a given week this season will be an added boost, but be prepared to get your heart broken, as news is breaking by the minute. Until we know more, though, we move forward.

Like I do every week, I’ll break the pitchers down the two-start pitchers 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 Friday morning.

*Given the canceled game/series with the Marlins, Blue Jays, Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers and Nationals, we’ll be avoiding these teams and their pitching options with the uncertainty of their schedules

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Don’t Think Twice

Shane Bieber (CLE) (8/4 @ CIN, 8/9 @CHW)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) (8/3 @ ATL, 8/9 vs. MIA)
Jose Berrios (MIN) (8/4 vs. PIT, 8/9 @KC)
Mike Soroka (ATL) (8/3 vs. NYM, 8/8 @ PHI)
Sonny Gray (COL) (8/3 vs. CLE, 8/8 @MIL)
Chris Paddack (SD) (8/3 vs. LAD, 8/9 vs. ARI)
Charlie Morton (TB) (8/4 vs. BOS, 8/9 vs. NYY)

Widely-Rostered Options

Max Fried (ATL) (8/4 vs. TOR, 8/9 @PHI)
Fried looks so good, and his performance Thursday against the Rays was overshadowed by Shane Bieber’s brilliance. He painted the corner at 99 mph. The breakout that everyone was hoping for seems to be arriving. He does face two of the teams who aren’t playing due to COVID-19, though, so be prepared to adjust. 

Kyle Hendricks (CHC) (8/4 vs. KC, 8/9 @STL)
Leave it to Hendricks to throw one of the best starts of his career with a complete game shutout Maddux-style in his first game of the season, only to follow it up with a shellacking at the hands of the Reds in his second game. You want good volume this year, and Hendricks should give you that with his two Midwest matchups.

Madison Bumgarner (ARI) (8/4 vs. HOU, 8/9 @SD)
You have to hold Bumgarner and roll him out for now, but the velocity drop is a huge concern. The matchups, too, could be better. No one will blame you if you bench him this week.

Lucas Giolito (CWS) (8/4 @MIL, 8/9 vs. CLE)
Giolito was smacked around by the Twins on Opening Day, but outside of Cleveland pitchers, who haven’t the Twins done that to? He rebounding against Cleveland — who he has lined up for his second start — so he’s back in your lineups in a two-start week. The matchups, though, are daunting. 

Frankie Montas (OAK) (8/4 vs. TEX, 8/9 vs. HOU)
Montas has been limited to fewer than 80 pitches in both of his starts this season, but we should see that increase with his two starts against the lonestar teams. Being home for both of these should raise his confidence level. Oh, and if you missed it, he’s still really good.

Joe Musgrove (PIT) (8/4 @MIN, 8/9 vs. DET)
You can’t count on wins for Musgrove — and against the Twins, you really hope he just survives — but it’s nice to see him miss more bats. The matchup against Detroit should help Musgrove net you a positive return this week.

Matthew Boyd (DET) (8/3 vs. STL, 8/8 @PIT)
Is Boyd droppable? Well, it depends on who you’re dropping him for, of course, but with a short season, you need to ride the hot hand. If he struggles like he did in his first two starts against the Cardinals and the Pirates, he can dropped for streaming options.

Andrew Heaney (LAA) (8/4 @SEA, 8/9 @TEX)
Heaney was surprised that Joe Maddon pulled him early from his start against the Mariners Wednesday. Welcome to a pitching staff managed by Maddon. He gets those same Mariners Tuesday, as well as a date against the Rangers on the weekend. He should provide you some solid strikeout numbers for the week.

Rich Hill (MIN) (8/3 vs. PIT, 8/8 @KC)
If Hill didn’t have an injury history, wasn’t pushed back from his first start, and wasn’t 40 years old, he’d be in the first tier. He looked good in his debut against the Cardinals, and he has a juicy matchup with Pittsburgh and Kansas City on the schedule. Sit back and watch the crafty magician do his thing.

In the Danger Zone

German Marquez (COL) (8/3 vs. SF, 8/8 @ SEA)
In case you’re new to this column, there is a rule with Marquez. If he has two road starts, he’s in the “don’t think twice” tier. If he has one home start, he’s in the “in the danger zone” tier. If he has two home starts, he’s in the “not unless you’re desperate tier.” It’s a shame, too, because he’s a bonafide ace on the road.

Dustin May (LAD) (8/3 @SD, 8/9 vs. SF)
We all love May, but there may be a few issues working against him here. The first is that Clayton Kershaw looks like he’s set to rejoin the Dodgers rotation next week, which may bump May from his two-start week. The other is that the Dodgers aren’t allowing him to work even five innings in his starts. 

Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues

Zach Plesac (CLE) (8/3 @CIN, 8/8 @CHW)
Plesac looked damn good against the White Sox, where he struck out 11. He gets them again on the backend of a two-start week. He should be rostered in far more than 40 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Brady Singer (KC) (8/4 @CHC, 8/9 vs. MIN)
The youth movement is on in Kansas City, with Singer and Kris Bubic both making their debuts sooner than anticipated. Singer faired well in his first two starts against Cleveland and Detroit, but he gets a tough test this week with the Cubs in Wrigley and, of course, the hard-hitting Twins. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues

Justus Sheffield (SEA) (8/3 vs. OAK, 8/9 vs. COL)
Kyle Gibson (TEX) (8/4 @OAK, 8/9 vs. LAA)
Framber Valdez (HOU) (8/4 @ARI, 8/9 @OAK)
Tyler Mahle (CIN) (8/4 vs. CLE, 8/9 @MIL)

Sheffield turned heads during the spring, but he issued four walks in his first start of the season against the Angels. Framber faces the same Cleveland team who hit him hard in his first start, too, but he does have the high-power offense backing him. It was welcomed news to see Mahle was sticking in the Reds’ rotation. He’s an industry darling, though the matchups aren’t especially intriguing here.

Not Unless You’re Desperate

Johnny Cueto (SF) (8/3 @COL, 8/8 @LAD)
Danny Duffy (KC) (8/3 @CHC, 8/8 vs. MIN)
Carlos Rodon (CWS) (8/3 @MIL, 8/8 vs. CLE)
Kevin Gausman (SF) (8/4 @COL, 8/9 @LAD)
Alec Mills (CHC) (8/3 vs. KC, 8/8 @STL)
Ivan Nova (DET) (8/4 vs. STL, 8/9 @PIT)
Daniel Mengden (OAK) (8/3 @SEA, 8/8 vs. HOU)
Derek Holland (PIT) (8/3 @MIN, 8/8 vs. DET)

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

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