It is slowly but surely coming down to the wire in our fantasy baseball leagues. In some H2H leagues, this is the last Max Scherzer Detroit Tigerscouple of weeks before playoffs start. Time to grab those starts from top pitchers before your opponent makes his or her move. That being said, let's take a look at the two start options available for Week 20 of the season.

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Start 'em If You Own 'em

Pitcher Opponent 1 Opponent 2
Max Scherzer DET 8/20/2014 8/24/2014
  @ TB @ MIN
  Jake Odorizzi TB Kyle Gibson MIN
Chris Sale CHW 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. BAL @ NYY
  Bud Norris BAL Michael Pineda NYY
Stephen Strasburg WAS 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. ARI vs. SF
  Chase Anderson ARI Ryan Vogelsong SF
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  @ PHI @ BOS
  Jerome Williams PHI Allen Webster BOS
Jordan Zimmermann WAS 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  vs. ARI vs. SF
  Vidal Nuno ARI Tim Lincecum SF
Ervin Santana ATL 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  @ PIT @ CIN
  Vance Worley PIT Mike Leake CIN
Chris Archer TB 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. DET @ TOR
  TBA Drew Hutchison TOR

It is prolly getting to sound tired for those of you who come back week after week, but I would suggest you insert these pitchers in your lineup and let them go, no matter the venue or the opposition in the dugout across the diamond. Nice to see both Strasburg and Zimmermann going strong as the season winds down toward the post-season. And Scherzer, who admitted that he made a slight adjustment to his mechanics, seems unstoppable right now.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No

Pitcher Opponent 1 Opponent 2
Chase Anderson ARI 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ WAS vs. SD
  Stephen Strasburg WAS Ian Kennedy SD
Tsuyoshi Wada CHC 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. SF vs. BAL
  Ryan Vogelsong SF Bud Norris BAL
Kyle Hendricks CHC 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  @ NYM vs. BAL
  Bartolo Colon NYM Kevin Gausman BAL
Michael Pineda NYY 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. HOU vs. CHW
  Brett Oberholtzer HOU Chris Sale CHW
Brett Oberholtzer HOU 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ NYY @ CLE
  Michael Pineda NYY Trevor Bauer CLE
Ian Kennedy SD 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ LAD @ ARI
  TBA Chase Anderson ARI
Ryan Vogelsong SF 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ CHC @ WAS
  Tsuyoshi Wada CHC Stephen Strasburg WAS
Aaron Harang ATL 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ PIT @ CIN
  Francisco Liriano PIT Alfredo Simon CIN
Vance Worley PIT 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. ATL @ MIL
  Ervin Santana ATL Wily Peralta MIL
Bartolo Colon NYM 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. CHC @ LAD
  Kyle Hendricks CHC TBA
Jason Vargas KC 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  @ MIN @ TEX
  Trevor May MIN Nick Tepesch TEX
Jered Weaver LAA 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ BOS @ OAK
  Allen Webster BOS Jon Lester OAK
Mike Leake CIN 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  @ STL vs. ATL
  Justin Masterson STL Ervin Santana ATL
Trevor Bauer CLE 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ MIN vs. HOU
  Kyle Gibson MIN Brett Oberholtzer HOU
Bud Norris BAL 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  @ CHW @ CHC
  Chris Sale CHW Tsuyoshi Wada CHC
Vidal Nuno ARI 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  @ WAS vs. SD
  Jordan Zimmermann WAS Odrisamer Deaigne SD


Chase Anderson Arizona DiamondbacksNot so many options in the middle tier this week as we normally find, but still some fine choices at the top of the tier. Not exactly chopped liver in the middle sub-tiers, either. Our first sub-tier starts with Anderson and runs down through Kennedy. Anderson is a shining light in the desert, and that is a shame for his fantasy status, as pitching in Arizona is not exactly a great opportunity to rack up wins. He is throwing his sinker for tons of strikeouts, though, and demonstrating great control, so if you need peripheral assistance in the stat department, he's a great pick up. Wada has been pitching as though he is auditioning for a rotation slot in 2015. With three QS in his last four outings, and a 23:5 K/BB ratio over those 25.1 innings, I like his chances. Another Cub SP, Hendricks has strung together five consecutive QS, although the strikeout numbers aren't as impressive as with Wada. He has success by limiting base runners, having allowed only one walk in each of his last three starts, and also holding opposing teams to less than a hit per inning. Pineda is pitching like the sleeper many of us drafted this season, So long as he can effectively throw his slider and fastball and miss bats, he will be successful, even though the shoulder injuries have sapped some of his fastball's velocity. Oberholtzer is severely under owned (11%) for a pitcher coming off six QS in a row. Granted, he is not much of a strikeout source, but there is a place for a SP that doesn't allow earned runs, pitches into the seventh inning and shows great control. The move to San Diego didn't exactly help Kennedy compile a strong W/L record, but it did help him to get his ERA and WHIP back on track. His shaky control worries me, as well as the fact that both his starts this upcoming scoring period are on the road, especially his second start at Arizona, but he is still pitching worthy of be included in your rotation this week if you have him available.

Sub-tier number two opens with Vogelsong and wraps up with Vargas. Vogelson has pitched three consecutive QS, including a complete game beauty against the Metsto start the streak. He has lowered his ERA to 3.71 now with a 1.25 WHIP, and is certainly worth using against the Cubs, although I am reluctant to employ his services in his second start in Washington. Harang has been roughed up by the Dodgers twice in his last four starts, but has been effective otherwise since the beginning of July. He puts too many runners on base to have a usable WHIP, as it currently sits at 1.41, although his ERA is a decent 3.51. He also hasn't been racking up many Ks of late. On the road for two starts this week, I am hesitant to use him, although his record against his old team, the Reds, is much better than that against the Pirates, so consider that if you decide to run him out there. Worley suffered some damage against the Tigers in his last outing, but his curve is still a weapon, and he uses it effectively to miss bats on a regular basis. Not great in terms of match ups, but his team is playing well behind him. Even so, I would err on the side of caution this week. Colon keeps pitching steadily, but has the occasional blow up game. He also pitches for a team that is out of the pennant race, and it shows in their execution on the field. If I had to choose, I would opt for his start at home against the Cubs as opposed to using him on the road at the end of the scoring period against the Dodgers. Vargas rounds out the middle sub-tier, and has been getting the job done since early June, with only a couplc of missteps along the way. Middling strikeout potential, but you have to like the way his team is coming on, as wel as his control. He sports an ERA of 3.27 and a 1.20 WHIP presently, and he has two winnable match ups this coming week, facing the Twins and Rangers. Just be wary of another misstep.

Ryan Vogelsong San Francisco GiantsThe final sub-tier consists of pitchers that may be worth consideration, but only if you are feeling desperate for starts this week. We kick off with Weaver and finalize the middle tier with Nuno. Weaver had made it back to the upper tier, but he is out of my good graces again. He has decent peripherals, but I don't like his K rate, nor his recent trend of only lasting six innigns. Let's face it, he will never be one of my favorites, and with two poor performances in his past four outings, he is at the top of the bottom sub-tier for a reason. Leake, before his last rough start against the Red Sox, had tossed three QS. He worries me that he is back to his ways of allowing four earned runs in his starts, as he did in mid-July. His lack of predictablity makes me shy away. Bauer was superb in his last appearance, striking out nine Diamondback hitters over eight innings, and limiting the opposition to two earned runs on only four hits and two walks. Do I think he turned the corner? Not by a long shot. He will give you the occasional brillant start, then much things up for another two or three games. Not for me, thank you very much. Norris is steadier than Bauer, but is also prone to allowing a bunch of runs in any appearance. At least the strikeouts are increasing, so he has that working for him recently. Nuno hasn't pitched poorly since moving to the Diamondbacks, he just hasn't been overwhelming. He offers a decent number of strikeouts, and generally keeps his team in the game, but with his team, that is not any guarantee of success on the mound. As a last ditch option, maybe I would use him. Certainly the start at the end of the week against the Padres has potential. On the road against the Nationals, not likely.

Not on Your Roster

Pitcher Opponent 1 Opponent 2
Allen Webster BOS 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. LAA vs. SEA
  Jered Weaver LAA Hisashi Iwakuma SEA
Brandon Workman BOS 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  vs. LAA vs. SEA
  C.J. Wilson LAA Chris Young SEA
Justin Masterson STL 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. CIN @ PHI
  Mike Leake CIN Jerome Williams PHI
Kyle Gibson MIN 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. CLE vs. DET
  Trevor Bauer CLE Max Scherzer DET
Trevor May MIN 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  vs. KC vs. DET
  Jason Vargas KC Robbie Ray DET
C.J. Wilson LAA 8/18/2014 8/23/2014
  @ BOS @ OAK
  Brandon Workman BOS Sonny Gray OAK
Jerome Williams PHI 8/18/2014 8/24/2014
  vs. SEA vs. STL
  Hisashi Iwakuma SEA Justin Masterson STL
Alfredo Simon CIN 8/19/2014 8/24/2014
  @ STL vs. ATL
  John Lackey STL Aaron Harang ATL

I cannot in good conscience tell you to start any of these pitchers this week. Of the group, I trust Wilson the most, and I C.J. Wilson Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimdon't feel that he is back to normal at all. Masterson's excellent last start doesn't fool me...yet. String together a few good starts and then let's talk. The rest are either wildly inconsistent or consistently poor options. Avoid these SPs if at all possible.

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




Comments

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Michael Freedman 

I hope you see this before the games start. Pick 4 of the 8 . 1. Iwakuma 2. Pineda 3. Colon 4. Hendricks 5. Worley 6 Masterson 7 Fiers 9 Anderson. I cant tell but it looks like Iwakuma, Pineda, Fiers are all 1 start pitchers. If Elias pitches Monday than Iwakuma wouldnt get his 2nd start this week. Same with Fiers. And is Pineda pushed back. I need 4 guys but really want 2 starts because we dont lose points for a loss

Ivar G. Anderson 

BB: My sources still have Pineda going Tuesday, but I also see Capuano as the Tuesday starter. My advice is find another way to go if you need two starts, as Pineda is not a sure thing. Michael: My choice would be Iwakuma and Anderson, unless wins are important, then I go with Hendricks.

BB 

Sites I am seeing are listing Yankees rotation staying in order w Pineda starting Wed not Tues. Am I missing something??

Michael Freedman 

I need 4 of these 2 start guys in semi finals of playoffs winner of this upcoming week in finals I have iwakuma, colon, anderson, masterson, hendricks, worley, and pineda to choose from. You don't lose any points for a loss but obviously im hoping for 2 quality starts and some k's , wins would be really nice. My opponent has Scherzer and CJ Wilson and 2 , 1 start guys. What to do ???


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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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