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Week 18 Two-Start Pitchers: Joe Ryan, Merrill Kelly, Noah Syndergaard (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Aug 13, 2022
Merrill Kelly

We are in the home stretch of the fantasy regular season, so let’s get right into it as we look ahead at Week 18 of the fantasy season.

Like I do every week, I’ll break 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 Saturday morning:

Don’t Think Twice

Widely-Rostered Options

Joe Ryan (MIN) (8/15 vs. KC, 8/21 vs. TEX)

Ryan has been pretty bad of late, posting a 7.52 ERA over his last month. The profile, despite the deceptive release point, leaves little margin for error. I’m OK using him here with the matchups, though I don’t feel too comfortable with it.

Merrill Kelly (ARI) (8/16 @SF, 8/21 vs. STL)

Kelly has had an interesting season, as the velocity gains in Spring Training were the reason for his early-season success. But he’s bounced back after the All-Star break with a 1.64 ERA over the last month. I don’t love the Cardinals matchups, but I’m using him.

Sean Manaea (SD) (8/16 @MIA, 8/21 vs. WAS)

I’m not a Manaea fan, but I absolutely love these matchups. He’s our streamer of the week.

Noah Syndergaard (PHI) (8/15 @CIN, 8/21 vs. NYM)

Syndergaard gets to face the Mets in his new city of Philadelphia. He’s had one good start and one bad start for the Phillies so far, and I expect the same to happen in his two matchups this week.

Marcus Stroman (CHC) (8/15 @WAS, 8/20 vs. MIL)

It’s a great spot for Stroman in Washington, but the Milwaukee matchup is hard to love. He’s been better of late but still a far cry from what we saw last year. I’d fire him up in 12-teamers.

In the Danger Zone

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) (8/15 @ATL, 8/20 @PHI)

I really like the first three names on this list, but it’s really a matchup play more than anything. Carrasco has battled inconsistencies all season, and both Atlanta and Philadelphia could do some damage if he’s off.

Charlie Morton (ATL) (8/16 vs. NYM, 8/21 vs. HOU)

I’ve touted Morton all season, as his underlying numbers were way better than his surface-level stats. But I’m going to bench him in non-points leagues this week given the matchups.

Taijuan Walker (NYM) (8/16 @ATL, 8/21 @PHI)

Walker’s stats last month are skewed from that shellacking against Atlanta where he gave up eight runs over one inning of work. The bad news is, he faces that same Atlanta squad, as well as the Phillies. I’m fading him this week.

Jeffrey Springs (TB) (8/16 @NYY, 8/21 vs. KC)

Springs is a sneaky-good pitcher, but he’s not sneaky enough to warrant using against the Yankees.

Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues

Nick Pivetta (BOS) (8/16 @PIT, 8/21 @BAL)

I hate the thought of using Pivetta, and the Orioles aren’t a set-and-forget team to stream against anymore. That said, he’s fine as a fringe 12-team option this week.

Johnny Cueto (CWS) (8/15 vs. HOU, 8/20 @CLE)

I’m probably fading Cueto this week given the matchups, but it’s fun to see him pitching well.

Jose Quintana (STL) (8/16 vs. COL, 8/21 @ARI)

Quintana has continued to be a fine option for fantasy after the deal to St. Louis. I still don’t think he’s a good pitcher necessarily, but a double-dip against the Rockies and Diamondbacks can make a not-so-good pitcher seem good.

Zach Plesac (CLE) (8/15 vs. DET, 8/21 vs. CWS)

Plesac has been pretty bad of late, save his last start out against the Tigers. He’ll look to build off that with another start against the Tigers and the talented yet underperforming — and injured — South Siders.

Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues

Justin Steele (CHC) (8/16 @WAS, 8/21 vs. MIL)

You can tell it’s almost football season (it’s already futbol season. Go Leeds, I guess!) with Steele rostered in so few leagues. Over his last seven outings, he has a 1.95 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. He’s going to build off that with the Washington outing.

Mitch Keller (PIT) (8/16 vs. BOS, 8/21 vs. CIN)

Keller has fooled us many times, but he’s also been really solid over his last handful of starts. Boston can still get hot at any time, but the matchups aren’t the worst if you really want a two-stepper.

Aaron Civale (CLE) (8/15 vs. DET, 8/20 vs. CWS)

I like the matchups for Civale and feel comfortable with him going at least five innings in both games. The upside isn’t huge, but the matchups are good for a volume play.

Not Unless You’re Desperate

Alex Cobb (SF) (8/15 vs. ARI, 8/20 @COL)

Yusei Kikuchi (TOR) (8/15 vs. BAL, 8/20 @NYY)

Madison Bumgarner (ARI) (8/15 @SF, 8/20 vs. STL)

Zack Greinke (KC) (8/16 @MIN, 8/21 @TB)

James Kaprielian (OAK) (8/15 @TEX, 8/20 vs. SEA)

Jake Junis (SF) (8/16 vs. ARI, 8/21 @COL)

Kyle Freeland (COL) (8/16 @STL, 8/21 vs. SF)

Spenser Watkins (BAL) (8/15 @TOR, 8/21 vs. BOS)

Kris Bubic (KC) (8/15 @MIN, 8/20 @TB)

Patrick Corbin (WAS) (8/15 vs. CHC, 8/20 @SD)

Mike Minor (CIN) (8/15 vs. PHI, 8/21 @PIT)

Glenn Otto (TEX) (8/15 vs. OAK, 8/20 @MIN)

JP Sears (OAK) (8/16 @TEX, 8/21 vs. SEA)

Cole Ragans (TEX) (8/16 vs. OAK, 8/21 @MIN)

Drew Hutchison (DET) (8/15 @CLE, 8/21 vs. LAA)


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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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