Another week, another handful of top tier dual start options to plug and play, and another group of lower tier arms to avoid despite their two-start status. Fortunately, for those seeking some pitching assistance late in the fantasy season, there are a fair number of middle tier possibilities to consider for one or two insertions into your fantasy rotation this scoring period.

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
Walker Buehlervs. ATL @ SF 
 LADHuascar YnoaAlex Wood
 Mon, 8/30, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 7:08 PM 
Zack Wheeler@ WAS @ MIA 
 PHIJosiah GrayEdward Cabrera
 Mon, 8/30, 7:05 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Brandon Woodruff@ SF vs. STL 
 MILJohnny CuetoTBD
 Mon, 8/30, 9:45 PM Sat, 9/4, 7:10 PM
Robbie Rayvs. BAL vs. OAK 
 TORChris EllisCole Irvin
 Mon, 8/30, 7:07 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:07 PM 
Chris Sale@ TB vs. CLE 
 BOSRyan YarbroughZach Plesac
 Tue, 8/31, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Luis Castillovs. STL vs. DET 
 CINJon LesterTBD
 Mon, 8/30, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM
Charlie Morton@ LAD @ COL 
 ATLMax ScherzerGerman Marquez
 Tue, 8/31, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 3:10 PM 
Luis Garcia@ SEA @ SD 
 HOUChris FlexenYu Darvish
 Mon, 8/30, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:10 PM 
Alex Woodvs. MIL vs. LAD 
 SFBrett AndersonWalker Buehler
 Tue, 8/31, 9:45 PM Sun, 9/5, 7:08 PM 

These eight SP’s are the ones you should simply keep in your rotation, certainly this week when they get to make the trip to the top of the hill twice, but also in those weeks when their efforts only grace the field for one contest. Having Sale back in the fold is nice, but what a huge surprise Ray has been for those who believed in his skills way back in March when drafts were taking place. 

 Maybe Yes, Maybe No 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Bailey Ober@ DET @ TB 
 MINTBDRyan Yarbrough
 Mon, 8/30, 2:10 PMSun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Touki Toussaint@ LAD @ COL 
 ATLMax ScherzerGerman Marquez
 Tue, 8/31, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 3:10 PM 
Corey Kluber@ LAA vs. BAL 
 NYYDylan BundyChris Ellis
 Mon, 8/30, 9:38 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:05 PM 
Tyler Gilbertvs. SD vs. SEA 
 ARIBlake SnellChris Flexen
 Mon, 8/30, 9:40 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:10 PM 
Johnny Cuetovs. MIL vs. LAD 
 SFBrandon WoodruffJulio Urias
 Mon, 8/30, 9:45 PM Sat, 9/4, 9:05 PM 
Drew Rasmussenvs. BOS vs. MIN 
 TBNick PivettaGriffin Jax
 Mon, 8/30, 7:10 PM Sat, 9/4, 4:05 PM 
Josiah Grayvs. PHI vs. NYM 
 WASZack WheelerTylor Megill
 Mon, 8/30, 7:05 PM Sat, 9/4, 1:05 PM 
Taijuan Walkervs. MIA @ WAS 
 NYMEdward CabreraPatrick Corbin
 Tue, 8/31, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:05 PM 
Chris Flexenvs. HOU @ ARI 
 SEALuis GarciaTyler Gilbert
 Mon, 8/30, 10:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:10 PM 

Ober has had his pitch count limited in his rookie season, which has impacted his accumulation of counting stats and decisions. He has held opponents to three or fewer earned tallies in his last seven outings, and provides both Ks and control (4.24 K/BB ratio over his 68.2 IP). He has been slightly better away from Target Field this season, so two road games are not an impediment to him being the top dog in the middle tier of dual start options this week.

Toussaint, if the gets these starts, has been pitching extremely well in August and should be considered for both trips to toe the rubber. But…with Ian Anderson returning, make certain to check his status as a starter, as a return to the bullpen may take place. He has been a road warrior in 2021, and is striking out slightly better than a batter per frame (9.2 K/9).  

Kluber is due to come off his rehab assignment for a two-start week. Not having faced a major league lineup since late May means his initial time on the bump may be limited, so the possibility for racking up victories and/or quality starts (QS) will be limited, at least for a time. He should still provide a strikeout per inning assuming he is fully recovered from the shoulder issue that sent him to the IL earlier this season.

Gilbert, in limited action at the major league level, has been looking on the surface as a strong option for a SP add to your roster, but a deeper look hints that some negative regression may be in his future. His FIP outstrips his ERA by over a run (3.65 vs 2.38) and his BABIP of .213 indicates he has been lucky to date. Still, both his trips to the hill this week are at home, so the possibility of his good fortune continuing are improved by that situation.

Cueto left his first start since coming off the injury list early, lasting just 4.2 IP. He did not allow an earned run over that period on the mound (the Mets did score an unearned tally on five hits) and only racked up a couple of Ks. He does have a pair of home games on the schedule in the coming week, although neither matchup is great, taking on the NL Central leading Brewers and division rival LA.

Rasmussen has held opponents to just two earned runs over his most recent 13.0 IP this season, and sports an attractive set of ratio stats: 3.09 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through his 30 appearances (just five starts). His lack of pinpoint control is worrisome (4.0 BB/9) but the 10.0 K/9 rate is favorable. His advanced metrics (3.34 FIP, .276 BABIP, 70.2% LOB) do not raise concern that he has been overly lucky to date, and he does have a pair of home starts on tap.

Gray is working on a three consecutive QS streak, and despite not being as sharp at home as on the road this season so far, there are two home starts in his immediate future, against opponents who are much more beatable when they are playing away from their home parks. In his limited 36.0 IP, he has collected an admirable 42 Ks, resulting in a 10.5 K/9 rate.

Walker has put together three QS over his last four times starting a contest, but only has three losses to show for those stellar efforts, unfortunately. He faces off against the two division opponents languishing behind the Mets in the NL East this coming week, and while not a superb K artist, he still racks up his share of swings and misses at an above-average clip (8.1 K/9 through 129.2 IP.

Flexen has collected four QS in his last five starts, and has been pitching well since allowing seven earned runs to Houston in his final July appearance.  He does have to face those same Astros in his first start in Week 23, but then has the last place Diamondbacks on the slate. He relies on his control (1.8 BB/9 over his 140.0 IP in 2021) as his K rate is mediocre at 6.1 K/9 through 24 starts. 

 Not On My Roster 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Cole Irvin@ DET @ TOR 
 OAKCasey MizeRobbie Ray
 Tue, 8/31, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:07 PM 
German Marquez@ TEX vs. ATL 
 COLJake LatzCharlie Morton
 Tue, 8/31, 8:05 PM Sun, 9/5, 3:10 PM 
Zach Plesac@ KC @ BOS 
 CLEBrady SingerChris Sale
 Tue, 8/31, 8:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Ryan Yarbroughvs. BOS vs. MIN 
 TBChris SaleBailey Ober
 Tue, 8/31, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Blake Snell@ ARI vs. HOU 
 SDTyler GilbertZack Greinke
 Mon, 8/30, 9:40 PM Sat, 9/4, 8:40 PM 
Brett Anderson@ SF vs. STL 
 MILAlex WoodJon Lester
 Tue, 8/31, 9:45 PM Sun, 9/5, 2:10 PM 
Spencer Howardvs. COL @ LAA 
 TEXAustin GomberDylan Bundy
 Mon, 8/30, 8:05 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:07 PM 
Chris Ellis@ TOR @ NYY 
 BALRobbie RayAndrew Heaney
 Mon, 8/30, 7:07 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:05 PM 
Edward Cabrera@ NYM vs. PHI 
 MIATaijuan WalkerZack Wheeler
 Tue, 8/31, 7:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:10 PM 
Dylan Bundyvs. NYY vs. TEX 
 LAAAndrew HeaneySpencer Howard
 Mon, 8/30, 9:38 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:07 PM 
Jon Lester@ CIN @ MIL 
 STLLuis CastilloBrett Anderson
 Mon, 8/30, 6:40 PM Sun, 9/5, 2:10 PM 
Nick Pivetta@ TB vs. CLE 
 BOSDrew RasmussenElijah Morgan
 Mon, 8/30, 7:10 PM Sat, 9/4, 4:10 PM 
Austin Gomber@ TEX vs. ATL 
 COLSpencer HowardHuascar Ynoa
 Mon, 8/30, 8:05 PM Sat, 9/4, 8:10 PM 
Patrick Corbinvs. PHI vs. NYM 
 WASZach EflinTaijuan Walker
 Tue, 8/31, 7:05 PM Sun, 9/5, 1:05 PM 
Zach Davies@ MIN vs. PIT 
 CHCJohn GantTBD
 Tue, 8/31, 8:10 PM Sun, 9/5, 2:20 PM
Yu Darvish@ ARI vs. HOU 
 SDZac GallenLuis Garcia
 Tue, 8/31, 9:40 PM Sun, 9/5, 4:10 PM

Irvin would be a middle tier option were it not for the fact that both his contests are on the road this week. The same fate befalls Plesac, who would be in the middle group with a pair of home games. Anderson is a streaming option for his home contest against the visiting Cards, if you need the late week innings.

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:

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Miles Mikolas StL @ CIN Sonny Gray

Mikolas has only made three starts in 2021, but has probably graduated from a strict pitch count limit after going 4.1 IP last time out against the Pirates. Never a great source of Ks, he has upped his rate in his limited time on the hill this season, and the Reds are in the top third of strikeout producing offenses this year.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

J.A. Happ StL @ CIN Wade Miley

Happ leads off the big streaming option day of the Week 23, following his teammate onto the bump in Great American Ballpark to take on the host Reds. As with Mikolas, he is just an average K producer, although he has twirled two QS out of his last five starts, and came within one out twice of doubling that production. 

Elieser Hernandez MIA @ NYM Carlos Carrasco

Although pitching away from his home park, where he is far more dominant, he has held opponents to a single earned run in three of his last four starts, with a useful 20:4 K/BB ratio in those contests. He has allowed a round tripper at a minimum in each of his five starts, although he also strikes out slightly more than one batter per inning (9.3 K/9), while exhibiting good control as well (1.6 BB/9). 

Kyle Freeland COL @ TEX Jordan Lyles

The Colorado southpaw gets to ply his trade away from the cozy confines of Coors Field in this game, although his home/road splits only moderately favor him on the road. He has compiled six QS out of his last eight starts, and eight of 12, so he has been a consistent producer on the hill for the Rockies this season. This is a good matchup despite the difficulties the Rockies have experienced on the road this season, at least for Freeland and his production as a SP.

Eric Lauer MIL @ SF Kevin Gausman

The big knock on the 26-year-old lefty is his inability to pitch deeper into contests, having gone three consecutive outings without completing five innings. His ERA has been slowly rising, too, although it still sits at a useful 3.61 on the season. His strikeout per inning rate is also valuable to his fantasy owners, and he has been better when on the mound away from American Family Field this season, so a road game is not a negative here.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Nestor Cortes NYY vs BAL John Means

In his last two victories (both QS), the 26-year-old southpaw has allowed just three earned tallies, while racking up 14 Ks. His ratios are steady and attractive, too, with a 2.56 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through 56.1 IP in 2021. Taking on Baltimore is a superb matchup at home, to boot.

Tyler Anderson SEA @ ARI Humberto Mejia

Since arriving in Seattle, the former Pirate has accumulated a nice 3.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, while also providing the Mariners with a 19:3 K/BB ratio over his five starts. Facing the Diamondbacks is an opportunity to pad those K numbers, as well. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Ranger Saurez PHI @ MIA Jesus Luzardo

The stellar 1.46 ERA and 1.02 WHIP are eye-catching, and the 26-year-old has settled into a slot in the Phillie rotation comfortably. His control has been shaky at times, although he collects nearly a K per inning (8.8 K/9). While the Marlins are a tougher opponent in Miami, they are still a decent matchup, with their pitcher-friendly park.

Tyler Alexander DET @ CIN Tyler Mahle

The lefthander is slated to be the primary pitcher behind starter Julio Urena on Saturday, the 28th, but is slated to be the SP the first Saturday in September. Alexander has been effective and ineffective as a starter, although his last two road starts have been among his most effective outings. He has good control and average K potential, although the Reds do help pitchers achieve their best in missing bats this season.

Feel free also to send any starting pitching or other fantasy baseball questions to 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.