Schedules are more critical than ever this time of year, as teams with nothing to play for often rest their veterans to get a look at younger players and those they’ll need to make decisions about in the offseason. Rotations are also variable, with more teams using a sixth starter than usual. The best players to target are those on teams that need to win and face an opponent planning for 2024.
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Top 50 Starting Pitchers: Sept. 11 – Sept. 17
Our weekly rankings start with FantasyPros’ rest-of-season Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and are fine-tuned based on the Pitcher Planner, the players’ season-to-date stats, and their recent performance. Always double-check the planner before making any roster decisions based on the schedule, especially this time of year.
The complete top 50 is below, but let’s review a few of next week’s easiest and toughest schedules first:
Two-Start Starters with Excellent Matchups Next Week
Sixteen of our Top 50 starters appear headed for two starts next week, including the first seven on our list. Of those, we love the matchups for the Brewers duo of Freddy Peralta (SP – MIL) and Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL), who are slated for two home games against the Marlins and Nationals (although the Marlins’ offense has been cooking lately). Framber Valdez (SP – HOU) has been up and down lately, and Dylan Cease (SP – CWS) has struggled. However, we’d roll with both next week, with Valdez facing Oakland at home and KC on the road and Cease the Royals and Twins in Chicago.
Elsewhere, the Rangers’ Max Scherzer (SP – TEX), our #1 starter this week, and Nathan Eovaldi (SP – TEX) face a relatively tough Blue Jays’ offense to start the week, followed by the Guardians in Cleveland. Both teams are in the playoff hunt, making the matchups a bit more challenging, but their offenses aren’t too scary, especially Cleveland’s.
Two-Start Starters with Challenging Matchups Next Week
Conversely, it’ll be a tough call for managers with Lance Lynn (SP – LAD) on their roster. After a promising start with the Dodgers, Lynn was shelled his last two times out and now is scheduled to face the Padres at home and the Mariners in Seattle. Charlie Morton (SP – ATL) has been pitching well, but we’re not thrilled about facing the Phillies and Marlins on the road. Miami isn’t scary, but Philadelphia has been raking. Last, Chris Bassitt (SP – TOR) has to face the Rangers and Red Sox, but at least both games are in Toronto.
One-Start Starters with Excellent Matchups Next Week
Several players listed below have one favorable matchup on paper next week, meaning they’ll square off against the White Sox, A’s, Tigers, Pirates, Angels, Nationals, Giants, Royals, or Diamondbacks. Pablo Lopez (SP – MIN) gets the Chi Sox on the road, while Andrew Abbott (SP – CIN) travels to Detroit. Several of our starters face the Athletics, including teammates Justin Verlander (SP – HOU) and Hunter Brown (SP,RP – HOU) at home and Seth Lugo (SP,RP – SD) in Oakland.
Meanwhile, Kodai Senga (SP – NYM) gets the D’Backs at home, while Justin Steele (SP – CHC) will take them on in Arizona. Luis Castillo (SP – SEA) and George Kirby (SP – SEA) have a date with the Angels in Seattle, and so does Tarik Skubal (SP – DET), though his game will be in Anaheim. Last, Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY) will take on the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and Mitch Keller (SP – PIT) and Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL) get home matchups against the Nats.
One-Start Starters with Challenging Matchups Next Week
On the flip side are starting pitchers who must face a high-powered offense from the likes of the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, Astros, Phillies, Padres, or Rockies at home. Logan Webb (SP – SF) is one such starter who’s scheduled to go in Denver. Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR) and Tanner Bibee (SP – CLE) will have home starts against the Rangers in common next week, while the red-hot Cole Ragans (SP,RP – KC) will be tested by the Astros in Kansas City.
Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI) and Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA) will continue their playoff pushes with home games against Atlanta, while Blake Snell (SP – SD) will try to boost his free agency against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Finally, the Braves’ Max Fried (SP – ATL) and Spencer Strider (SP,RP – ATL) have dates at their division rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.
|1||Max Scherzer (SP – TEX)||@TOR, @CLE|
|2||Tyler Glasnow (SP – TB)||@MIN, @BAL|
|3||Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)||MIA, WSH|
|4||Freddy Peralta (SP – MIL)||MIA, WSH|
|5||Framber Valdez (SP – HOU)||OAK, @KC|
|6||Sonny Gray (SP – MIN)||TB, @CWS|
|7||Joe Ryan (SP – MIN)||TB, @CWS|
|8||Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY)||@PIT|
|9||Luis Castillo (SP – SEA)||LAA|
|10||Dylan Cease (CWS)||KC, MIN|
|11||Spencer Strider (SP,RP – ATL)||@PHI|
|12||Zac Gallen (SP – ARI)||@NYM|
|13||Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL)||WSH|
|14||Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR)||TEX|
|15||Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)||@PHI, @MIA|
|16||Chris Bassitt (SP – TOR)||TEX, BOS|
|17||Pablo Lopez (SP – MIN)||@CWS|
|18||George Kirby (SP – SEA)||LAA|
|19||Justin Verlander (SP – HOU)||OAK|
|20||Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI)||ATL|
|21||Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)||@SEA|
|22||Logan Gilbert (SP – SEA)||LAA, LAD|
|23||Carlos Rodon (SP – NYY)||@BOS, @PIT|
|24||Blake Snell (SP – SD)||@LAD|
|25||Kodai Senga (SP – NYM)||ARI|
|26||Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)||@STL|
|27||Zach Eflin (SP,RP – TB)||@BAL|
|28||Nathan Eovaldi (SP – TEX)||@TOR, @CLE|
|29||Max Fried (SP – ATL)||@PHI|
|30||Justin Steele (SP – CHC)||@ARI|
|31||Jose Berrios (SP – TOR)||BOS|
|32||James Paxton (SP – BOS)||NYY, @TOR|
|33||Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI)||@NYM|
|34||Hunter Greene (SP – CIN)||@NYM|
|35||Kyle Bradish (SP – BAL)||STL|
|36||Andrew Abbott (SP – CIN)||@DET|
|37||Logan Webb (SP – SF)||@COL|
|38||Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA)||ATL|
|39||Tanner Bibee (SP – CLE)||TEX|
|40||Lance Lynn (SP – LAD)||SD, @SEA|
|41||Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)||@LAA|
|42||Hunter Brown (SP,RP – HOU)||OAK|
|43||Eduardo Rodriguez (SP – DET)||CIN|
|44||Bobby Miller (SP – LAD)||@SEA|
|45||Jordan Montgomery (SP – TEX)||@TOR|
|46||Cristian Javier (SP,RP – HOU)||@KC|
|47||Dean Kremer (SP – BAL)||STL, TB|
|48||Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)||WSH|
|49||Seth Lugo (SP,RP – SD)||@OAK|
|50||Cole Ragans (SP,RP – KC)||HOU|