Welcome to this week’s edition of the two-start pitcher rankings!
My rankings have four tiers: Set and Forget, Probably Start, Questionable, and Avoid. Set and Forget starters are simply that; get them in your lineup and don’t think twice. The Probably Start tier includes players with the mix of skill and matchups that make them almost certainly two-start plays, but not without some elevated risk compared to the top tier. Questionable starters are those best-suited for daily lineup leagues where you can bench them against the tougher of their two opponents. Finally, we have the Avoid tier which includes two-start SPs who should remain on your bench or on the wire.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections, and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- After a minor blip on the radar in late July, Kevin Gausman has righted the ship and is back to dominating opposing offenses. With an NL Cy Young race that has honed in on Zack Wheeler, Walker Buehler, and a pair of Brewers as of late, it appears as if we’ve forgotten just how strong a season Gausman has put together in 2021. The Giants ace has sparkling 2.29 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 162 strikeouts so far this season. He should continue to be a steadying presence in your lineup through the remainder of the season.
- Sandy Alcantara has taken fantasy managers on a roller coaster of ups and downs during the second half, but his last start against the Padres shows all that he’s capable of. While he’s allowed some crooked numbers this season, one look at Alcantara’s repertoire, which includes heaters sitting over 97mph, should be enough to remind you he’s an easy decision to start.
- Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt are anchoring the A’s rotation as they commence the annual Oakland tradition of catching fire during the second half. Montas has rattled off six straight quality starts while Bassitt continues to log quality innings during his first All-Star campaign. They’ll have a daunting set of first-place opponents in the White Sox and Giants. While a healthy Chicago lineup is one of the most fearsome in baseball, I’d have no hesitation firing up my A’s this week.
- Framber Valdez has been relatively middling over the course of the last month, often battling issues with walks. Matchups against the Royals and Mariners shouldn’t be too much trouble for the Astros’ lefty. Speaking of lefties, Wade Miley has been nothing short of excellent this year. While a 26.5% CSW doesn’t lend to many high strikeout totals, he’s provided a huge boost to the ratios of fantasy managers who picked him up off the wire early this season. The Cubs and Marlins make for a perfect pairing in Miley’s two-start week.
- This week’s second tier is underwhelming as many of this week’s projected two-start pitchers are matchup-dependent streamers. Adam Wainwright and Nathan Eovaldi are relatively easy decisions to start. Touki Toussaint has an ideal set of opponents. If he’s on your roster, you’re likely starting him. One word of caution, however, is that Huascar Ynoa‘s potential return next week might bounce Touki from the rotation. Keep an eye on news out of Atlanta before making any waiver or lineup decisions regarding Toussaint. On a related note, if he’s still available, Ynoa could make for a great waiver wire pickup as you push for the playoffs.
- We have a smorgasbord of potential streaming options in Tier 3 this week. Unfortunately, very few of the streaming candidates will be viable options for both of their starts.
- While David Price‘s velocity was down last start, I’d definitely have in my lineup against the Pirates. It’s something to monitor in his first start, but if everything checks out, I think he’s a fine option against the Mets. Jake Odorizzi has mostly been able to thrive this season against below-average offenses. If he’s on your wire, he makes for a nice pickup for the next week.
- Despite his sub-3 ERA, I’d strongly consider sitting Marcus Stroman against the Dodgers in his second start of the week. The same goes for two other starters who are likely already rostered in your leagues: Tarik Skubal and Kyle Gibson. I’d be comfortable starting Skubal against the Angels and Gibson at Arizona.
- If you need a one-start streamer, you should have several options heading into the week. My favorites of the week are a pair of Royals, Daniel Lynch, and Carlos Hernandez, against a Cubs lineup that was decimated by the trade deadline. While it is a small sample of under two weeks, the Cubs’ offense has the second-worst BB/K ratio in the majors and a paltry 64 wRC+ since the trade deadline. Chicago is an opponent you should be actively targeting for streaming candidates. Lynch’s upside and Hernandez’s recent run of success are more than enough for me to get them in my lineup against the Cubbies.
- Vladimir Gutiérrez has the best matchups of any two-start streamer widely available on waivers. He’s tallied a win and quality start in each of his last four starts and is in prime position to succeed against the Cubs and Marlins. From a strikeout perspective, the ceiling is limited, but there’s a clear path for a pair of wins and some solid ratios for a pitcher without overwhelming stuff.
- There likely isn’t much debate around any of these pitchers, as the group is likely available on waivers even in deep leagues. Spencer Howard may be of initial interest considering he has prospect pedigree and is now in a Rangers organization that appears to have a knack for helping pitchers make adjustments (Gibson, Lance Lynn, and Mike Minor to name a few). However, any potential enthusiasm around Howard for this week evaporates when realizing he hasn’t even reached 50 pitches since mid-June.
- Andrew Heaney has a home run problem. Calling Yankee Stadium with its short porch in right field his new home will only exacerbate the issue. Unless Matt Blake and the Yankees staff can help Heaney make some changes, he belongs far away from your fantasy roster for the foreseeable future.
Questions? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @AnthonyTucker81 and I’ll be happy to talk two-start SPs and more!
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)