A top dual start option was lost this upcoming week when Shohei Ohtani’s start was moved up to Sunday from Monday. Still, there is a baker’s dozen of top options for the scoring period, some of whom may be available in your leagues at this late period in the season. Not so many middle tier options, but certainly a bevy of arms to avoid in the bottom group.

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:

 Start 'em If You Own 'em 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Robbie Ray@ TB @ MIN 
  TORDietrich EnnsGriffin Jax
 Tue, 9/21, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 2:10 PM 
Brandon Woodruffvs. STL vs. NYM 
  MILJon LesterRich Hill
 Tue, 9/21, 7:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 2:10 PM 
Jose Berrios@ TB @ MIN 
  TORMichael WachaJoe Ryan
 Mon, 9/20, 7:10 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:10 PM 
Tyler Mahlevs. PIT vs. WAS 
  CINConnor OvertonJosh Rogers
 Tue, 9/21, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Dylan Cease@ DET @ CLE 
  CHWCasey MizeCal Quantrill
 Wed, 9/22, 1:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Sean Manaeavs. SEA vs. HOU 
  OAKTyler AndersonJose Urquidy
 Mon, 9/20, 9:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 4:07 PM 
Freddy Peraltavs. STL vs. NYM 
  MILJake WoodfordCarlos Carrasco
 Mon, 9/20, 7:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:10 PM 
Triston McKenzievs. KC vs. CHW 
  CLECarlos HernandezTBD
 Mon, 9/20, 4:10 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:15 PM
Ranger Suarezvs. BAL vs. PIT 
  PHIJohn MeansMitch Keller
 Mon, 9/20, 7:05 PM Sat, 9/25, 4:05 PM 
Cal Quantrillvs. KC vs. CHW 
  CLECarlos HernandezDylan Cease
 Mon, 9/20, 4:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Nestor Cortesvs. TEX @ BOS 
  NYYKohei AriharaNathan Eovaldi
 Mon, 9/20, 7:05 PM Sun, 9/26, 7:08 PM 
Jose Urquidy@ LAA @ OAK 
  HOUPacky NaughtonSean Manaea
 Mon, 9/20, 9:38 PM Sat, 9/25, 4:07 PM 
Tony Gonsolin@ COL @ ARI 
  LADJon GrayTBD
 Tue, 9/21, 8:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:10 PM

These 13 SPs are all worthy of consideration for their two-start weeks, Cleveland has a pair of arms that each have a set of home starts to recommend them in McKenzie and Quantrill. There are other hurlers that do not get to savor home cooking but with these pitchers, start them no matter the venue or opponent, as they give you excellent potential for fantasy value late in the season.

 Maybe Yes, Maybe No 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
John Means@ PHI vs. TEX 
  BALRanger SuarezKohei Arihara
 Mon, 9/20, 7:05 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:05 PM 
Josh Rogers@ MIA @ CIN 
  WASTrevor RogersTyler Mahle
 Tue, 9/21, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Huascar Ynoa@ ARI @ SD 
  ATLLuke WeaverJake Arrieta
 Mon, 9/20, 9:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:15 PM 
Jon Grayvs. LAD vs. SF 
  COLTony GonsolinDominic Leone
 Tue, 9/21, 8:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 3:10 PM 
Joe Musgrovevs. SF vs. ATL 
  SDDominic LeoneTBD
 Tue, 9/21, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:10 PM
Framber Valdez@ LAA @ OAK 
  HOUJanson JunkPaul Blackburn
 Tue, 9/21, 9:38 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:07 PM 
Tyler Anderson@ OAK @ LAA 
  SEASean ManaeaPacky Naughton
 Mon, 9/20, 9:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 9:07 PM 
Jon Lester@ MIL @ CHC 
  STLBrandon WoodruffAlec Mills
 Tue, 9/21, 7:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 2:20 PM 

Means was the primary option when considering late draft round Oriole players in March, and despite pitching for the worst team in baseball (by record, at least), he has delivered in terms of ratio stats, with a useful 3.41 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his 132.0 IP in 2021. He also has an attractive 118:25 K/BB ratio on the season. He has been a better pitcher away from Camden Yards, so the first game of the week in Philly is potentially the best start to use him, although the Rangers at home is not horrible.

Rogers has pitched effectively over his three starts for the Nationals, producing a 2.60 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over his 17.1 IP to date. With his team mired in last place in the division, he figures to stick in the rotation for the balance of the season, and certainly will make his two trips to toe the rubber this week.

Ynoa continues to generate the Ks for his owners, with a 10.0 K/9 rate this season, although the 23-year-old righty has not been in the victory column since early May (granted, he was out of action for a big period this season). He gives up runs consistently, despite his attractive 3.26 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He does get a nice matchup to open the scoring period, facing the Diamondbacks on the road before heading to San Diego for a tougher matchup to wind up the week. 

Gray has racked up 15 Ks and allowed just three free passes in his starts since coming off the IL, and now has two home starts in Week 26. He has pitched more effectively at Coors Field this season than on the road, so despite the tougher than wished for matchups against division foes, he projects as a good if not great two start option.

Musgrove has collected eight quality starts (QS) among his last 10 trips to the bump, with his most recent appearance against the host Giants resulting in his 11th victory in 2021. He is striking out better than a batter per inning over that 10-game stretch (9.4 K.9 through 62.1 IP) and his ratio stats are tasty, too: 2.74 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Week 26 provides him with two home starts, as an added bonus.

Valdez is scheduled for two trips to the mound in Week 26, but is dealing with a finger injury, so keep an keen eye on his status if you want to take advantage of his dual start potential. Four of his last seven starts have been QS, and he has a nice 3.26 ERA despite the occasional four earned run allowed start. Despite having two road starts on tap, his home/road splits are fairly even so that is not a negative on this week’s action. The finger injury, however, could muck things up a bit for his owners hoping for two starts.

Anderson has not lasted five innings in his last two starts, and his ERA has been trending upwards since mid-August, although it still is below 4.00 (3.67 at present).  Prior to the last two appearances, he had spun three of four QS in his starts. The matchups in Week 26 play out poor to start, heading to Oakland, but improve when he slides off to Anaheim to take on the Angels.

Lester has been able to put up three QS over the past four outings, and has been lowering his inflated ERA and WHIP, which are still at unattractive levels (4.67 and 1.52 respectively). He and the Cards are on the road in Milwaukee and Chicago for some interdivisional action. The good news for Lester is that his road record is not that different from his home efforts. The better of the two matchups is the second start against the Cubs.

 Not On My Roster 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Marco Gonzales@ OAK @ LAA 
  SEAPaul BlackburnJanson Junk
 Tue, 9/21, 9:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:07 PM 
Alec Millsvs. MIN vs. STL 
  CHCGriffin JaxJon Lester
 Tue, 9/21, 7:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 2:20 PM 
Vladimir Gutierrezvs. PIT vs. WAS 
  CINMitch KellerErick Fedde
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:10 PM 
Dallas Keuchel@ DET @ CLE 
  CHWMatt ManningElijah Morgan
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Fri, 9/24, 7:10 PM 
Carlos Hernandez@ CLE @ DET 
  KCTriston McKenzieWily Peralta
 Mon, 9/20, 4:10 PM Sat, 9/25, 6:10 PM 
Jesus Luzardovs. WAS @ TB 
  MIAErick FeddeMichael Wacha
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Daniel Lynch@ CLE @ DET 
  KCTriston McKenzieMatt Manning
 Mon, 9/20, 4:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 12:10 PM 
Griffin Jax@ CHC vs. TOR 
  MINAlec MillsRobbie Ray
 Tue, 9/21, 7:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 2:10 PM 
Matt Manningvs. CHW vs. KC 
  DETDallas KeuchelDaniel Lynch
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 12:10 PM 
Erick Fedde@ MIA @ CIN 
  WASJesus LuzardoVladimir Gutierrez
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:10 PM 
Luke Weavervs. ATL vs. LAD 
  ARIHuascar YnoaClayton Kershaw
 Mon, 9/20, 9:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 8:10 PM 
Mitch Keller@ CIN @ PHI 
  PITVladimir GutierrezRanger Suarez
 Mon, 9/20, 6:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 4:05 PM 
Chris Ellis@ PHI vs. TEX 
  BALTBDGlenn Otto
 Tue, 9/21, 7:05 PMSun, 9/26, 1:05 PM 
Jake Woodford@ MIL @ CHC 
  STLFreddy PeraltaAdrian Sampson
 Mon, 9/20, 7:40 PM Sat, 9/25, 2:20 PM 
Paul Blackburnvs. SEA vs. HOU 
  OAKMarco GonzalesFramber Valdez
 Tue, 9/21, 9:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:07 PM 
Glenn Otto@ NYY @ BAL 
  TEXJordan MontgomeryChris Ellis
 Tue, 9/21, 7:05 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:05 PM 
Michael Wachavs. TOR vs. MIA 
  TBJose BerriosJesus Luzardo
 Mon, 9/20, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:10 PM 
Kohei Arihara@ NYY @ BAL 
  TEXNestor CortesJohn Means
 Mon, 9/20, 7:05 PM Sat, 9/25, 7:05 PM 
Dominic Leone@ SD @ COL 
  SFJoe MusgroveJon Gray
 Tue, 9/21, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/26, 3:10 PM 
Connor Overton@ CIN @ PHI 
  PITTyler MahleTBD
 Tue, 9/21, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/26, 1:05 PM
Packy Naughtonvs. HOU vs. SEA 
  LAAJose UrquidyTyler Anderson
 Mon, 9/20, 9:38 PM Sat, 9/25, 9:07 PM 
Janson Junkvs. HOU vs. SEA 
  LAAFramber ValdezMarco Gonzales
 Tue, 9/21, 9:38 PM Sun, 9/26, 4:07 PM

Aside from the top couple of SPs here you want to avoid using these arms, especially late in the season where your playoff aspirations are in the balance, or you do not want to suffer any negative regression to your roto or point totals. Gonzales would normally be a middle tier option but he has two road games on the slate. Mills is simply too up-and-down in his production on the hill to be trusted. The rest of these arms are best avoided to avoid any late season damage to your counting and ratio stats.

Potential Streaming Options for Week 

There is no promise that each game day will provide a streaming option. First of all, the pitcher must be available in at least 50% of leagues to be a viable candidate to snag off the wire. Then, the pitchers discussed above are not included as they have a different sort of value, even though some might be available as free agents in your league. Plus, some days the matchups and/or venues just do not figure as positive enough factors to favor plugging the arm into your rotation, even for one start. That all being said, here are this week’s best streaming candidates:

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Adrian Houser MIL vs StL Miles Mikolas

Houser did struggle in most recent trip to toe the rubber against the Cubs, but he gets another home contest here. It is against a divisional rival, so there is that check mark in his favor. He also was sharp in his previous two starts, and his home results have been strong this season. 

Taylor Hearn TEX @ NYY Corey Kluber

As with Houser above, Hearn had been sharp on the hill until his most recent stint there, where he was touched up for seven earned runs in just 3.1 IP. Prior to that, though, he had been dealing up three QS efforts. Despite having to pitch against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, he has been better on mounds away from Arlington this season. He also should be good for some Ks with his 8.4 K/9 on the season.

Alex Cobb LAA vs HOU Luis Garcia

Cobb picked up a victory in his first game back from the IL, shutting out the host White Sox on just two hits and two walks, while striking out five. Cobb will be looking to continue to build on his pre-injury success, and continue his strikeout proficiency (9.7 K/9 through 82.2 IP this season). Not the greatest matchup, but it is at home, where the veteran righthander has been superb this year.

Thursday, September 23, 2021 

Jose Suarez LAA vs HOU Lance McCullers

Back-to-back Angel SPs to stream, and Suarez is coming off a strong effort against the same Astro offense in his last start. The 23-year-old southpaw has been having success on the hill this season, with a 3.59 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over his 82.2 IP in 2021. He is a decent source of Ks, too, with his 8.3 K/9 rate.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Eric Lauer MIL vs NYM Taijuan Walker

That Lauer is potentially available as a streaming option seems hard to believe, but he is available in about 50% of leagues. He has great ratio stats through his 21 appearances (17 starts): 3.10 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The 8.8 K/9 rate shines nicely, too.

Dillon Peters PIT @ PHI Kyle Gibson

In his fifth MLB season, Peters seems to be figuring things out on the mound, putting up a 2.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in his five starts for the Pirates. Although this game is in Philly, in an extremely small sample size, he has been effective on the road this season. He is just an average K producer, and the Phillies are not a particularly free-swinging squad, so do not expect great strikeout production in this contest. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wily Peralta DET vs KC Carlos Hernandez

Peralta was back to pitching deeper into contests, going 6.0 IP against the visiting Brewers, shutting out the Milwaukee offense on two hits and two walks. He has been exceptionally effective pitching at Comerica Park this season, and will look to continue that trend. With the Royals not being much for swinging and missing, and his K rate below average at best at 5.8 K/9 rate over his 76.0 IP this season, do not stream him expecting big K numbers.

Feel free also to send any starting pitching or other fantasy baseball questions to ia@fantasyalarm.com for a private 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 the response will be suited to your individual situation. As ever, good luck and Godspeed in all your fantasy endeavors.