For those who play in Head-to-Head Leagues, having a handle on which starting pitchers are scheduled to pitch in two game in an upcoming week is invaluable. Of course, if you are an owner in a roto league, and your starting pitching is not looking as good as it did when you drafted your team, or if injuries, demotions to the minors or general poor performance are hurting your placement in the standings, you may want to consider the streaming technique to pep up the rotation. Or you just like to shuffle the deck. Whatever your impetus, if you want to get an idea of who could benefit your squad in the next scoring period, you have arrived at the correct and proper place. On a weekly basis, this series of articles will set forth those starting pitchers that as of Saturday are on deck to take the hill twice.
The format is to put the group of two-start pitchers into three tiers. The first tier is entitled “Start ‘em If You Own ‘em” and consists of those pitchers that are suggested for you to wind up and let go, no matter where they are pitching or what opponent they face. Most, if not all, of these SPs will be owned in your league, but if you own one or two, smile and walk happy.
The second tier is called “Maybe Yes, Maybe No,” and is generally the largest tier. If there are enough members of the tier, then it will be broken down into sub-tiers for convenience in both the ability to provide analysis of the individuals that make up the tier, and to assist our readers in deciding how much risk they are willing to tolerate on a weekly basis. Depending on how many two-start options there are in a given week, the sub-tiers number either two, or at most, three.
The final tier is called “Not On My Roster” which I believe is self-explanatory. If you are absolutely desperate for a two-start option, due to inning minimums in your league settings, or are just a glutton for punishment, then you can consider rostering one or more of these guys. In good faith none of these pitchers can be recommended for one or both of their starts, but then again, it is your team and you are free to manage it as you see fit (a philosophy I would encourage more leagues to adopt instead of micromanaging every team’s moves during the season ).
Please realize that these articles feature most recent rotation information available when the article is written, but that circumstances do change due to weather conditions, injuries and general craziness with managers. If a pitcher listed here as having two starts ends up with one (or perhaps none) in the upcoming week, apologies but this article is meant to provide analysis, it is up to the manager to set the lineups or rotations.
Without further ado, here are this week’s two start pitchers:
There are not a ton of no-question options in Week 3; actually, only five that should be in the top tier this scoring period. If you own any of these starters, plug them in and forget about them for the week.
Fortunately for fantasy players, despite the dearth of top tier SPs, there are still plenty of two-start options to consider in Week 3. These 18 starting pitchers can be divided into two sub-tiers, the first running down through Holland, the second beginning with Nova and ending with Koehler.
Fulmer is part of a youth movement in Detroit in the rotation, joining Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd along with veterans Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann. Fulmer has opened the season with two strong quality starts, posing an 11:3 K/BB ratio. He is due for some regression, with a .235 BABIP and 80% strand rate to start off 2017, but he does have a strong offense backing him, even with a couple of away games in Week 3 against surprisingly effective offenses in Tampa and Minnesota.
Garrett has won his first two starts of the young season, and boasts a 9:2 K/BB ratio over his first 12.2 innings. You do need to worry about his home park, and he has two home starts this upcoming week, but his offense has been effective to start things off this year, so even though facing Baltimore and the Cubs this week, he is a viable two-start option.
Leake is 1-1 on the season, but could easily have two victories to his credit based on how effectively he has been pitching to open 2017. He has allowed just one earned run this season, and handed out just one free pass, with 13 Ks to his credit. His second start against Milwaukee is potentially the tougher outing in Week 3, but he has a hot hand at present so ride it out.
Triggs is another young Oakland SP that is worthy of interest in fantasy, although his lack of strikeout potential hurts his value. Still, he has yet to allow a run in either of his two starts in 2017, and has a pair of home starts in Week 3, albeit against a couple of tough offenses.
McCarthy gets to face the Diamondbacks twice this scoring period, once at home and once at Chase Field. The home start would be the better choice if you do not want to risk two starts on the veteran, as his current 1.50 ERA is due for an adjustment at some point.
Ray offers great strikeout numbers, but he does struggle with his control (eight walks on the season, with 14 Ks). When he pitches away from a hitter’s park, he is an intriguing option, so his first start in Week 3 at Dodger Stadium looks promising. The second start at home against the visiting Dodgers might be a time to sit him down, though.
Lynn is coming off Tommy John surgery, and is experiencing inconsistency as a result. His first start against the Pirates at home, whose offense is scuffling to open the season, makes for a tempting start. When he leave St. Louis, however, and heads to Milwaukee at the end of the week, you may want to consider benching him. Wait for his command and control to return to their former levels before fully relying on him.
Wheeler is another SP coming back from injury, having undergone Tommy John surgery back in 2015, and it looks as though he still needs to build up his strength to pitch deeper into games, as he seemed to run out of gas in the sixth inning in his latest start against the Phillies (a victory, nonetheless). The strikeouts will return, although his control looks to be in place, as he has only walked two in 9.2 innings over two starts. He has two home starts, although facing Max Scherzer and the Nationals in his second start does give some concern.
Snell’s control continues to be an issue, and he has yielded eight walks over his two starts in 2017 as opposed to six strikeouts. Heading to Boston, then hosting Houston is not the best situation for the young southpaw, but he is certainly worth holding onto just due to his potential to become a future star.
Miller is a much better SP option when away from Chase Field, thus the first start in Week 3 in San Diego is the better option for the 26-year old righty with his mid-90s fastball and elite strikeout ability. When the Diamondbacks host the Dodgers at the end of Week 3, you should probably look for another starting option.
Nelson is racking up some tasty fantasy numbers over his first two starts: 1.38 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 13:2 K/BB ratio. He has already handled the Cubs nicely in his first start of 2017, and then gets the scuffling Cards at home for his second outing. If he had a better track record, he would be a no brainer for two starts, but history has a way of coming back to normalize his abnormally effective start to the season.
Holland would be more interesting if pitched for Texas still, but he has been having success to open this season on the South Side of Chicago with the White Sox. This early success (two earned runs over 12 innings) will not last, and heading to Yankee Stadium for his first start may take the bloom of the rose, although being a left-hander should keep the short right field porch less in play. He has also handled the Indians in his second start of the season, so the home start against Cleveland is not necessarily fatal to his viability as a two-start option this week.
Nova begins the second sub-tier, which consists of SPs that are start-worth in deeper leagues. He has the ability to shine brightly, as he did in his return from mediocrity in 2016, but with just five Ks on the season, his fantasy utility is limited in most leagues. He has pitched much better at home than on the road the past season, so the second start against the Yankees in Pittsburgh is the better option in Week 3.
Rodriquez is a better road option based on his last two seasons of work, so two road starts makes him more appealing this scoring period. The start against Baltimore is more worrisome, as the first opponent, the Blue Jays, are currently last in offense in all of baseball. He is backed by a strong offense, and the potential is certainly there for him to perform well, but at present, hedge your bets until he shows more consistency on the mound.
Hahn has a pair of home starts, and it is always nice to see an Oakland pitcher in his home park for two appearances. He has allowed 13 hits over his 12 innings pitched to open 2017, but a 10:3 K/BB ratio is tempting. He needs to pitch well to remain in the rotation, with Sonny Gray due to come back soon from his back issues, and these two upcoming games can make or break his season as a member of the Oakland rotation. No pressure there, right?
Montgomery has a pair of decent starts ahead of him in Week 3, facing off against the White Sox at home, then heading to a generally safe pitchers’ park in Pittsburgh for his second start of the week. Neither opponent is tearing it up offensively, and he did manage to rack up seven Ks over his first start that lasted 4.2 innings. He does have limited experience above Double-A ball, so beware of some regression as the season progresses.
Anderson has had two stellar starts to start of the season, allowing just one earned run over 13 innings pitched, with a favorable 11:3 K/BB ratio to go along with a 0.69 ERA. Neither the Cubs nor the Cards are bashing the ball right now, while the Brewers are showing a strong offense to open the season. Anderson gets a chance to continue his strong opening to the season, but based on past history, he is not a sure thing to keep up this level of performance.
Koehler wraps up the bottom sub-tier, and is only saved from the bottom tier due to his current 3.27 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He has two road starts this week, although both venues are not horrible places to pitch, even if not as enticing as his home park in Miami. He is not much of a strikeout artist, and as such, is just a desperation two-start option going forward.
There are plenty of two-start pitchers that have little to recommend them this week, as witnessed by the 19 names that populate the bottom tier. You may want to take a risk with one or two of these SPs, but it is recommended that you just avoid them. Seeing Jason Hammel in this tier is painful, but there is not denying that he is not performing like a starting option early in the season. Questions about any of these bottom tier denizens are welcome, such as which of their two starts are safer. The better course, though, is to just let them sit on the sidelines in Week 3.
Please note that the Fantasy Alarm Forums are now open for your use, to ask questions or provide your own commentary and wisdom. I enjoy responding to comments, or if you do not want to put your question out for public consumption, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more personal response to your specific issue. The more detail you can provide about your team and league, including settings (H2H vs roto, points or categories, weekly or daily moves, roster size, league size, etc.) the better my response will be suited to your individual situation. I am open to questions about issues apart from starting pitching, too, as I play fantasy sports as well as serve as an analyst. As ever, good luck and Godspeed in all your fantasy endeavors.