Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. The first tier features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by a tier of pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players inside Questionable Starts are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be avoid. Pitchers labeled Bench should be avoided despite their dual week ahead.
Masahiro Tanaka (LAA, DET)
Cole Hamels (HOU, @SEA)
Joe Ross (@CHW, PHI)
Steven Matz (@PIT, @MIL)
Jacob DeGrom (@PIT, @MIL)
Madison Bumgarner (BOS, LAD)
Jon Lester (@PHI, @ATL)
Carlos Carrasco (@SEA, @LAA)
Michael Fulmer (TOR, @NYY) – Fulmer has been exceptional since including his Changeup prominently into his mix and should be relied upon even with the questionable Toronto matchup.
Dallas Keuchel (@TEX, @TBR) – Keuchel looked better in his last two starts and he features a reward that’s worth the risk given his opponents.
Matt Shoemaker (@NYY, CLE) – Shoemaker has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball through his last three starts and he gets a pair of below average lineups to keep his fire burning.
Aaron Sanchez (@DET, BAL) – Sanchez has been steady regardless of his opponents and should be started this week.
Sean Manaea (@MIL, @CIN) – Can’t say I’m a huge fan of Manaea, but those matchups are too good to pass up from a guy that could rack up the Ks in a hurry.
Chris Archer (@ARI, HOU) – Archer hasn’t looked on top of his game nor are these ideal opponents for the Rays’ ace. Still, his upside is too high to ignore, barely giving him the edge to move out of the questionable tier.
James Paxton (CLE, TEX) – It’s possible Paxton doesn’t get the opportunity to stick in the rotation for both of these starts, but the kid was hurling upper 90s in his first start of the season and could express his high ceiling as he faces the Tribe + Rangers.
Mike Leake (@CIN, @PIT) – Leake has been on a roll and it should continue as he faces the Reds. The Pirates may be a bit of an obstacle, though.
Adam Conley (@MIN, @ARI) – Conley has been off-and-on all season, which means a matchup with the Twins could be great, while an evening in Arizona could end poorly.
Michael Pineda (LAA, DET) – Pineda looked as good as he’s been all year last night against the Tigers, and it could carry over in his repeat matchup in a week. Meanwhile, he gets the Angels as a stop gap that could be a huge boost to your week. Just don’t forget about the floor.
J.A. Happ (@DET, BAL) – Happ is as boring of a producer as you can find, and there are arguments for him to be benched through the week. He could eek out a pair of wins, though, without demolishing your WHIP along the way.
Rick Porcello (@SFG, @MIN) – Porcello has slowed down tremendously from his hot April, making his matchup against the Giants worrisome. Note: Porcello might not get a second outing given the pair of days off for the Sox next week.
Mike Fiers (@TEX, @TBR) – Fiers isn’t dependable enough to be raised into the next tier, but he’s looked a bit better lately and starting him may work out in your favor.
Hector Santiago (@NYY, CLE) – The velocity was a bit up last start and the trend may continue against the Yanks and Indians. Or it may not and Santiago will tear apart your week.
Danny Duffy (@BAL, @CWS) – There is some upside to be found in Duffy and it could come out against the White Sox, though the O’s are a force to be reckoned with.
Zach Davies (OAK, NYM) – Davies has allowed 2 ER or fewer in five of his last six starts and gets a pair of below average lineups. The floor is low, but this could be serviceable.
Robbie Ray (TBR, MIA) – I can see Ray squeezing into the Questionable tier, but he’s too big of a risk in most leagues.
Pat Dean (MIA, BOS) – Dean isn’t fantasy relevant, especially against the Red Sox.
Mat Latos (WSH, KCR) – Latos is not someone you want to be rostering right now.
Trevor Bauer (@SEA, @LAA) – Bauer is way too inconsistent to rely on.
Wade Miley (CLE, TEX) – Miley has been poor against some of the worst offenses around, making it tough to believe Week 9 will be a major shift.
Colby Lewis (HOU, @SEA) – Sorry Lewis, you’re just too boring to risk sending out there.
Williams Perez (@SDP, CHC) – That game against the Padres could be okay, but the Cubs are way too mighty to endure.
Adam Morgan (CHC, @WSH) – Morgan hasn’t looked good all year and there’s no reason that should change now.
John Lamb (STL, OAK) – Despite the date with the A’s, I wouldn’t bet on Lamb expressing his upside.
Jon Niese (NYM, STL) – Niese doesn’t have the upside he once had, and the Cards are enough to bench him for the week.
Juan Nicasio (NYM, STL) – I can see Nicasio being in the other tier, but that game against St. Louis is too much of a fright to put him up against the Mets.
Eddie Butler (@LAD, SDP) – I don’t like trusting Butler for one start regardless of the matchup, let alone two.
Tyler Chatwood (@LAD, SDP) – Same goes for Chatwood.
Mike Bolsinger (COL, @SFG) – Bolsinger has a chance to be removed from this tier if given the right opponents. That’s not the case this week.
Christian Friedrich (ATL, @COL) – Even with an evening with Atlanta, Friedrich isn’t someone you want to pursue.