We are heading up to the trade deadline at the end of July, so realize that some of these two-start options may end up in different circumstances in Week 18. I would expect any movement would involve those in the middle tier, so be wary of changes to your well laid plans.

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Start 'em If You Own 'em

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent

Second Start/Opponent

Yu Darvish TEX

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. NYY

@ CLE

 

David Phelps NYY

Trevor Bauer CLE

Madison Bumgarner SF

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. PIT

@ NYM

 

Vance Worley PIT

Bartolo Colon NYM

Stephen Strasburg WAS

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ MIA

vs. PHI

 

Henderson Alvarez MIA

Cole Hamels PHI

Cole Hamels PHI

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ NYM

@ WAS

 

Dillon Gee NYM

Stephen Strasburg WAS

Hisashi Iwakuma SEA

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ CLE

@ BAL

 

Trevor Bauer CLE

Chris Tillman BAL

Tyson Ross SD

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. STL

vs. ATL

 

Lance Lynn STL

Aaron Harang ATL

Jered Weaver LAA

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ BAL

@ TB

 

Chris Tillman BAL

Jake Odorizzi TB

James Shields KC

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. MIN

@ OAK

 

Kyle Gibson MIN

Jesse Chavez OAK

Lance Lynn STL

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ SD

vs. MIL

 

Tyson Ross SD

Kyle Lohse MIL

As with every week, my advice is to wind these guys up and let them go, no matter the opponent or venue. Finally had to admit that Weaver deserves a top-tier roost, although he may still show me that he is not someone that I would trust week in, week out.

Maybe yes, Maybe No

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent

Second Start/Opponent

Marcus Stroman TOR

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ BOS

@ HOU

 

Rubby De La Rosa BOS

Scott Feldman HOU

Jake Odorizzi TB

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. MIL

vs. LAA

 

Kyle Lohse MIL

Jered Weaver LAA

Henderson Alvarez MIA

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. WAS

vs. CIN

 

Stephen Strasburg WAS

Mike Leake CIN

Jorge De La Rosa COL

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ CHC

@ DET

 

Edwin Jackson CHC

Anibal Sanchez DET

David Phelps NYY

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ TEX

@ BOS

 

Yu Darvish TEX

Clay Buchholz BOS

Jose Quintana CHW

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ DET

vs. MIN

 

Anibal Sanchez DET

Kyle Gibson MIN

Ervin Santana ATL

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

vs. SD

@ SD

 

Ian Kennedy SD

Ian Kennedy SD

Aaron Harang ATL

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ LAD

@ SD

 

Josh Beckett LAD

Tyson Ross SD

Trevor Bauer CLE

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. SEA

vs. TEX

 

Hisashi Iwakuma SEA

Yu Darvish TEX

A.J. Burnett PHI

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ NYM

@ WAS

 

Bartolo Colon NYM

Jordan Zimmermann WAS

Jesse Chavez OAK

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ HOU

vs. KC

 

Brad Peacock HOU

James Shields KC

Kyle Lohse MIL

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ TB

@ STL

 

Jake Odorizzi TB

Lance Lynn STL

Homer Bailey CIN

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

vs. ARI

@ MIA

 

Chase Anderson ARI

Nathan Eovaldi MIA

Chase Anderson ARI

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ CIN

vs. PIT

 

Homer Bailey CIN

Vance Worley PIT

Vance Worley PIT

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ SF

@ ARI

 

Madison Bumgarner SF

Chase Anderson ARI

Francisco Liriano PIT

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ SF

@ ARI

 

Tim Hudson SF

Trevor Cahill ARI

Chris Tillman BAL

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. LAA

vs. SEA

 

Jered Weaver LAA

Hisashi Iwakuma SEA

Bartolo Colon NYM

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. PHI

vs. SF

 

A.J. Burnett PHI

Madison Bumgarner SF

Jordan Zimmermann WAS

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ MIA

vs. PHI

 

Nathan Eovaldi MIA

A.J. Burnett PHI

R.A. Dickey TOR

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ BOS

@ HOU

 

Clay Buchholz BOS

Brad Peacock HOU

Ian Kennedy SD

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ ATL

vs. ATL

 

Ervin Santana ATL

Ervin Santana ATL

Anibal Sanchez DET

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. CHW

vs. COL

 

Jose Quintana CHW

Jorge De La Rosa COL

Josh Beckett LAD

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. ATL

vs. CHC

 

Aaron Harang ATL

Edwin Jackson CHC

Mike Leake CIN

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. ARI

@ MIA

 

Trevor Cahill ARI

Henderson Alvarez MIA

Clay Buchholz BOS

7/28/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. TOR

vs. NYY

 

R.A. Dickey TOR

David Phelps NYY

As I do every week, these pitchers are sorted in order of how I would grab them off the wire if they were available.

Our first sub-tier begins with Stroman and runs down to Harang. Stroman has been dominant with only one hiccup in his last six outings, and one hit the BoSox for seven innings in his last start. A case could easily be made for him to join the top tier, and another strong two starts will find him seated there. He's owned in less than half of leagues right now, so go out and snag him if your league mates have been sleeping at the switch. Odorizzi gets two home starts this week, and based on his splits, that is excellent news. He has been dealing for two months now, and while he could have better control, the strikeout rate is superb. Alvarez is another pitcher who likes his home park, and while he doesn't provide anything exciting in terms of Ks, his control has been excellent and if he can keep inducing hitters to drive the ball into the ground (2.61 GB/FB ratio in 2014), he will continue to be effective. Despite racking up 11 strikeouts in his last outing, De La Rosa is below league average in K rate. He does have four consecutive QS in his four July starts, so he is again useful after stinking it up in June. While the Rockies are downplaying his trade availability, he would benefit from a move to a new home park in the right deal. Phelps keeps on plugging along, having allowed two or one earned runs in each of his last five starts. His strikeout rate is only average, and he does allow more walks than I would prefer, although he has exhibited better control in his last two starts, so there is hope. Despite allowing only six earned runs over the 26.2 IP that he has tossed in July, Quintana has been without a decision over the past four starts. With good control and an 8.1 K/9 rate, his fortunes will balance out. Santana has thrown five QS in six of his last starts, With decent K numbers and ground ball tendencies, I really like him at home and on the road against the less than intimidating Padres this week. Harang has been extremely effective over his past six starts, posting a 2.25 ERA over 41 innings. His strikeouts are not great (7.2/9), and his WHIP screams regression, but facing the Padres in San Diego at the end of the week bodes well for continued success, although his first start this period is not so favorable with the Braves on the road in LA to face the Dodgers.

Leading off in the second sub-tier, Bauer has been inefficient when he takes the mound this season, which means he doesn't pitch past the sixth inning in most games. He does provide good strikeout potential, with a 8.7 K/9 rate this season, although his walk rate is a big part of his reason for shortened starts. He does have two winnable starts at home this week, where he has been much better than on the road. Burnett may be moving to another team, and that would prolly help him rack up some more wins. He has average strikeout rates, and his control is spotty to weak. For the most part, however, he pitches into the seventh inning and offers his owners a QS more often than not. Chavez has a couple of good starts this week, and his last outing gives us hope that he is back on track. He held the Astros to two earned runs on four hits while striking out seven, and he gets to face that team again on the upcoming Monday. I also like his chances in his second start at home against the Royals, as his splits favor him in the Coliseum. Lohse has quietly become the Milwaukee ace, with 11 wins and a tasty 3.07 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 21 starts this season. His strikeouts are hit and miss, but the control is steady. Even with his two road starts, he is an attractive option this week.

The third sub-tier begins with Bailey and runs down through Colon. Bailey continues to live up to his name, having given up another three in his last appearance against the Brewers. Couple that wih his inflated walk rate, and he is not a dependable option, but more of a match up starter. This week, he gets the Diamondbacks at home and then the Marlins on the road, so if I were looking for a decent option to plug in for two starts, he would be there on the list, just not at the top of it. Anderson has been up and down with his wins this year, and has tossed a couple of back to back QS, and pitching on the road is in his favor even if his first start is at Cincy. The second against the Pirates is one I might not be willing to risk if I needed a good start to wind up the week. The kid needs to work on his control to offset his average strikeout rate, as well. In limited starts this season, Worley has been a dependable option, posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over seven appearance (six starts). Good control offsets his below average K rate, and he does keep the ball in the park for the most part. Liriano is not excelling as he did in 2013, but most analysts saw that as a likely scenario. He has slowly been ramping up his innings after coming off the DL in July, and his control is improving which if he starts making bats miss his pitches again in an expected fashion, he becomes a valuable pitching asset. Tillman is not an exciting pitching option, but he does get the job done, having pitched four QS in his last four starts. The strikeout rate is poor, as is his control on the season, but that latter problem seems to be coming around. The good news is he pitches at home both of the starts he has this upcoming week, where he has been more efficient. Colon hasn't been tremendously consistent over the past several appearances, but he has a 2.98 ERA and a 64:14 K/BB ratio over his past 12 starts (84.2 innings). Right now it is hit and miss with the big fellow, so even pitching at home I might want to go a different direction this week.

Our final sub-tier leads off with Zimmermann and wraps up with Buchholz. I want to use Zimmermann, and this week may be a time to put that plan into action. His bicep issue appears behind him, and facing the Marlins in Miami and the Phillies at home is a good situation. It is only because of his past two outings where he was shaky that pushes him this far down the middle tier. Dickey has had a couple of poor starts in a row, although most of the damage in his most recent start against the Red Sox occurred in the first inning, after which he settled down. He has been inconsistent this season, so while I like his chances better away from his home park, I still don't fully trust him. Kennedy had been pitching better in July, at least until his last two starts where he yielded seven earned runs in 11 innings, although he did pick up the victory in his last outing. He walks too many to be entirely successful, although he does overcome a lot of problems with his excellent strikeout rate. A trade is still possible for him, and his value going forward could take a significant jump if the right team snags him. Facing the Braves twice should be good for elevated strikeout numbers this period. Sanchez was at one point the only decent Tiger starter, but that situation has reversed itself, with him having given up five and then four earned runs in his last two appearances, although one was a win. He still has excellent control, but the Ks have been inconsistent, so that lessens his value. For whatever reason, he has been better on the road this year, so his two home starts are not necessarily a selling point this period. Leake has become a risky fantasy SP, posting a 4.83 ERA in July and allowing eight or more hits in each of his five starts this month. He will continue to take the ball every fifth day, but his status as a usable starting pitcher is not secure until he limits the hits. Buchholz has given up four earned runs in four of his last six starts, although the other two starts were admittedly gems. The strikeouts are extraordinarily inconsistent, and his control is below average, too. I hesitated before keeping him in this tier, but relented based on the two good starts, and the fact that he faces division foes at home in both of his Week 18 starts. Even so, he is a last ditch option for me.

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Not On My Roster

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent

Second Start/Opponent

Edwin Jackson CHC

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. COL

@ LAD

 

Jorge De La Rosa COL

Josh Beckett LAD

Trevor Cahill ARI

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ CIN

vs. PIT

 

Mike Leake CIN

Francisco Liriano PIT

Tsuyoshi Wada CHC

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

vs. COL

@ LAD

 

Yohan Flande COL

Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD

Brad Peacock HOU

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

vs. OAK

vs. TOR

 

Jesse Chavez OAK

R.A. Dickey TOR

Yohan Flande COL

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

@ CHC

@ DET

 

Tsuyoshi Wada CHC

Rick Porcello DET

Scott Feldman HOU

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

vs. OAK

vs. TOR

 

Jeff Samardzija OAK

Marcus Stroman TOR

Nathan Eovaldi MIA

7/28/2014

8/2/2014

 

vs. WAS

vs. CIN

 

Jordan Zimmermann WAS

Homer Bailey CIN

Kyle Gibson MIN

7/29/2014

8/3/2014

 

@ KC

@ CHW

 

James Shields KC

Jose Quintana CHW

Jackson, Cahill, Peacock, Feldman, Eovaldi and Gibson are just too inconsistent for me to trust at this point. Flande and Wada could move up to middle tier status, but I need to see more from them to make that decision. In any event, you must be terribly desperate to even consider using one of these pitchers in one start, let alone two. Just stay away.

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Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at ia@fantasyalarm.com to continue the discussion.


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About Ivar G. Anderson

I have actively played fantasy sports since 2004, when I was roped into competing in an auto-pick football league on Yahoo. My devotion, and number of teams has continued to grow to the present. I began writing about fantasy sports for FantasyGameday in 2008, and was recruited to join the FantasyAlarm team in 2011, where I cover Starting Pitching on the baseball side of things, and publish a weekly IDP Report and NFL Weather Report weekly during the football season. I can be reached by e-mail at: ia@fantasyalarm.com and my Twitter handle is: @johnwhorfin

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