Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: Week 25 (2021)
In many leagues going on, this upcoming week will be either the semifinals or the finals. In every league I run, it’s the finals, and I advocate that you set yours up that way, too.
There’s always a ton of luck that goes into head-to-head leagues, and what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks just adds to that luck. But that luck is avoidable if you end your season sooner.
Teams are going to rest players in efforts to either A. tank, B. save their arms for next year, or C. save the innings for the playoffs. It makes sense for real life, but it’s hell for fantasy.
If you stream two-start pitcher this week, just check Monday morning to make sure that the below-listed options are still lined up for two weeks.
Let’s get to it for Week 25.
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 afternoon.
Don’t Think Twice
Robbie Ray (9/21 @TB, 9/26 @MIN)
Brandon Woodruff (9/21 vs. STL, 9/26 vs. NYM)
José Berríos (9/20 @TB, 9/25 @MIN)
Tyler Mahle (9/21 vs. PIT, 9/26 vs. WAS)
Joe Musgrove (9/21 vs. SF, 9/26 vs. ATL)
Freddy Peralta (9/20 vs. STL, 9/25 vs. NYM)
Ranger Suárez (9/20 vs. BAL, 9/25 vs. PIT)
Jose Urquidy (9/20 @LAA, 9/25 @OAK)
Dylan Cease (9/22 @DET, 9/26 @CLE)
Cease put together three really good starts prior to his last outing, showing the signs that we wanted out of him. But then came the playoffs, where he gave up seven runs to the Red Sox and couldn’t make it out of the third inning. If you somehow survived that start, you have a tough decision. I’m leaning toward starting him despite the inconsistencies based solely on the matchups.
Sean Manaea (9/20 vs. SEA, 9/25 vs. HOU)
Manaea was hit hard against the Royals last time out, and his numbers aren’t great over the past month. The A’s are going to need him in two huge series for them as they try to make the playoffs against the Mariners and Astros. I’m starting him.
John Means (9/20 @PHI, 9/25 vs. TEX)
Means has gotten back into a groove again, as he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since August 17. The Orioles don’t win any games, but the rest of the stats are there. I like him with these matchups.
Triston McKenzie (9/20 vs. KC, 9/25 vs. CHW)
Does the White Sox matchup scare me? Yes. Am I going to avoid using McKenzie because of it? No. He’s earned the trust – especially in a two-start week.
In the Danger Zone
Cal Quantrill (9/20 vs. KC, 9/26 vs. CHW)
I was tempted to include Quantrill with McKenzie as a sure-fire start, but I know that even if McKenzie gets rocked by Chicago, the strikeouts will be there. For Quantrill, we don’t have that safety net to fall back on.
Marco Gonzales (9/21 @OAK, 9/26 @LAA)
Gonzales has been mostly good in the second half of the season, but he’s prone to the explosion now and then. His most recent meltdown happened against Arizona, of all teams. I’m going to use him here in these must-win games for the Mariners. He’s a tier above for quality start leagues.
Huascar Ynoa (9/20 @ARI, 9/25 @SD)
Ynoa has been pretty consistent since coming back from injury. I don’t love the Padres matchup, but the Padres haven’t been the world beaters we thought they’d be. The Arizona matchup and the strikeout floor make Ynoa a start.
Tony Gonsolin (9/21 @COL, 9/26 @LAA)
I’m fading Gonsolin this week, but not because of the talent. It’s due to him being in Coors Field and seeing how the Dodgers will use him as they get ready for their postseason run.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
Nestor Cortes (9/20 vs. TEX, 9/26 @BOS)
Cortes’ two-start week got pushed to this week, which is fine. The Red Sox can turn a good two-start week into a dud really quickly, but Cortes has earned our trust as a streamer in two-start weeks at this point.
Vladimir Gutiérrez (9/20 vs. PIT, 9/25 vs. WAS)
Gutiérrez has cooled off after his hot start, but he can close out a great 2021 season with two-plus matchups. He’s my streamer of the week.
Carlos Hernández (9/20 @CLE, 9/25 @DET)
The last two weeks haven’t been kind, as he’s sporting a 5.06 ERA with seven strikeouts in 16 innings. That’s the risk you take, but the reward is two good matchups. I’m using him in 15-team leagues.
Jesús Luzardo (9/20 vs. WAS, 9/26 @TB)
After Luzardo put together a solid streak of outings that showcased the potential that he has, he gave up four runs to the Nationals. I think he can handle the Nats the second time around, but the Rays give me extreme pause. I’m passing unless it’s a points league.
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
Tyler Anderson (9/20 @OAK, 9/25 @LAA)
Anderson has been a consistent, high-floor pitcher this year, and the results against the Red Sox could – and should – have been worse than they were. I want a nice floor to balance out my pitching week-to-week, so I’m rolling him out there.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Dallas Keuchel (9/20 @DET, 9/24 @CLE)
Jon Gray (9/21 vs. LAD, 9/26 vs. SF)
Connor Overton (9/21 @CIN, 9/26 @PHI)
Josh Rogers (9/21 @MIA, 9/26 @CIN)
Dominic Leone (9/21 @SD, 9/26 @COL)
Kohei Arihara (9/20 @NYY, 9/25 @BAL)
Jake Woodford (9/20 @MIL, 9/25 @CHC)
Paul Blackburn (9/21 vs. SEA, 9/26 vs. HOU)
Glenn Otto (9/21 @NYY, 9/26 @BAL)
Chris Ellis (9/21 @PHI, 9/26 vs. TEX)
Mitch Keller (9/20 @CIN, 9/25 @PHI)
Luke Weaver (9/20 vs. ATL, 9/25 vs. LAD)
Erick Fedde (9/20 @MIA, 9/25 @CIN)
Matt Manning (9/20 vs. CHW, 9/26 vs. KC)
Michael Wacha (9/20 vs. TOR, 9/26 vs. MIA)
Griffin Jax (9/21 @CHC, 9/26 vs. TOR)
Daniel Lynch (9/20 @CLE, 9/26 @DET)
Alec Mills (9/21 vs. MIN, 9/26 vs. STL)
Jon Lester (9/21 @MIL, 9/26 @CHC)
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