Another scoring period in the fantasy season where the middle tier options are limited, this week to just a half dozen arms to consider relying upon for a pair of trips to the center of the diamond. Fortunately, there is an affluence of top tier hurlers to plug in for their dual start benefits. A surfeit of bottom tier arms to avoid, as is the usual course this fantasy baseball season. A relative glut of streaming options helps temper the potential damage that bottom group of two-start could inflict on your late season fantasy efforts.

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
Gerrit Colevs. DETvs. MIL
NYYMatt ManningCorbin Burnes
 Tue, 9/5, 7:05 PMSun, 9/10, 1:35 PM
Justin Steelevs. SFvs. ARI
CHCLogan WebbMerrill Kelly
 Mon, 9/4, 2:20 PMSat, 9/9, 2:20 PM
Clayton Kershaw@ MIA@ WAS
LADJesus LuzardoTrevor Williams
 Tue, 9/5, 6:40 PMSun, 9/10, 1:35 PM
Corbin Burnes@ PIT@ NYY
MILLuis OrtizGerrit Cole
 Mon, 9/4, 6:35 PMSun, 9/10, 1:35 PM
Zach Eflinvs. BOSvs. SEA
TBKutter CrawfordBryan Woo
 Tue, 9/5, 6:40 PMSun, 9/10, 1:10 PM
Pablo Lopez@ CLEvs. NYM
MINLucas GiolitoJose Quintana
 Mon, 9/4, 6:10 PMSun, 9/10, 2:10 PM
Aaron Civalevs. BOSvs. SEA
TBBrayan BelloBryce Miller
 Mon, 9/4, 4:10 PMSat, 9/9, 4:05 PM
Bryce Miller@ CIN@ TB
SEAHunter GreeneAaron Civale
 Mon, 9/4, 4:10 PMSat, 9/9, 4:05 PM
Merrill Kellyvs. COL@ CHC
ARIPeter LambertJustin Steele
 Mon, 9/4, 4:10 PMSat, 9/9, 2:20 PM
Cole Ragansvs. CHW@ TOR
KCJesse ScholtensJose Berrios
 Mon, 9/4, 2:10 PMSun, 9/10, 1:37 PM
Bryan Woo@ CIN@ TB
SEATBDZach Eflin
 Tue, 9/5, 6:40 PMSun, 9/10, 1:10 PM
Logan Webb@ CHCvs. COL
SFJustin SteelePeter Lambert
 Mon, 9/4, 2:20 PMSun, 9/10, 8:10 PM
Kyle Hendricksvs. SFvs. ARI
CHCSean ManaeaBrandon Pfaadt
 Tue, 9/5, 7:40 PMSun, 9/10, 2:20 PM
Tanner Bibeevs. MIN@ LAA
CLESonny GrayTBD
 Tue, 9/5, 6:10 PMSun, 9/10, 4:07 PM

There are a whole lotta top-tier arms to plug in to your rotations this week. A couple of rookies in the persons of Woo and Bibee and second-year southpaw Ragans are fresh blood to join the other aces in this group. All are worthy of being utilized for both their times atop the hill in Week 23.

 Maybe Yes, Maybe No 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Andrew Heaneyvs. HOUvs. OAK
TEXJ.P. FranceKen Waldichuk
 Mon, 9/4, 4:05 PMSun, 9/10, 2:35 PM
Peter Lambert@ ARI@ SF
COLMerrill KellyLogan Webb
 Mon, 9/4, 4:10 PMSun, 9/10, 8:10 PM
Jesus Luzardovs. LAD@ PHI
MIAClayton KershawRanger Suarez
 Tue, 9/5, 6:40 PMSun, 9/10, 1:05 PM
Brayan Bello@ TBvs. BAL
BOSAaron CivaleJack Flaherty
 Mon, 9/4, 4:10 PMSun, 9/10, 1:35 PM
Matt Manning@ NYYvs. CHW
DETGerrit ColeJesse Scholtens
 Tue, 9/5, 7:05 PMSun, 9/10, 1:10 PM
Andre Jacksonvs. MIL@ ATL
PITBrandon WoodruffDarius Vines
 Tue, 9/5, 6:35 PMSun, 9/10, 1:30 PM

Heaney continues to miss bats consistently, racking up seven Ks against the host Mets in a no-decision outing. The veteran southpaw is getting credit for better than a K per frame (9.4 K/9 on the season), but because of a pitch limit, his value as a fantasy SP is limited to an extent. During the month of August, he was stingy with the runs, racking up an excellent 2.39 ERA but offering his owners an inflated WHIP of 1.33 due to allowing better than a hit per inning (the control was effective at 2.4 BB/9 over those 26.1 IP). Two home contests on the slate, but he has been a better road pitcher this year, albeit not by a huge margin. 

Lambert, on the other hand, has two road games in Week 23, a good thing generally for a Colorado SP. Over his last four starts, he has compiled an attractive 3.52 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and has been credited with a pair of QS during that stretch of games as well.  

Luzardo has not allowed a run, earned or otherwise, over his last two starts. He has also provided his owners with a useful 15:3 K/BB ratio over those outings. The two contests this scoring period are not ideal, but the tougher opponent is coming to Miami, where the 25-year-old southpaw is decidedly more effective this season. The game in Philly is a better bet for him to collect strikeouts from the opposing batters.

Bello has a couple of tougher matchups on the schedule this coming week, facing the two top AL teams. He had hoped for a third consecutive quality start (QS) in his last outing, but the Astros handed him a loss after he dealt up a pair of dingers in the first frame. He is an average K producer (7.3 K/9 over his 131.0 IP) with good control. His peripheral metrics do hint that some negative regression could be in the future as the season heads into the final weeks.

Manning has tossed three consecutive QS, and has only allowed one earned run over his last four trips to toe the rubber for the Tigers. His 0.38 ERA and 0.68 WHIP are stellar ratios, but are offset by a sub-par 3.8 K/9 rate over those 23.2 IP. Still, the parsimonious run prevention makes him desirable, especially at home against the White Sox, although his home/road splits do not suggest the game at Yankee Stadium is one to avoid using him, either.

Jackson has pitched well since coming to the Pirates from the Dodgers, and has posted a useful 2.81 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over his last three outings. He is a good K producer (9.1 K/9 over his 42.1 IP on the season with both teams) and has good control overall (2.1 BB/9, which has risen a bit in his three starts for the Pirates to 2.8, still in useful range). Not exactly the best matchups, and thus his lower ranking in the middle tier.

 Not On My Roster 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Jose Berrios@ OAKvs. KC
TORKen WaldichukCole Ragans
 Mon, 9/4, 4:07 PMSun, 9/10, 1:37 PM
Yu Darvishvs. PHI@ HOU
SDTaijuan WalkerJ.P. France
 Mon, 9/4, 6:40 PMSun, 9/10, 2:10 PM
Reid Detmersvs. BALvs. CLE
LAAGrayson RodriguezLucas Giolito
 Mon, 9/4, 9:38 PMSat, 9/9, 9:07 PM
J.P. France@ TEXvs. SD
HOUAndrew HeaneyYu Darvish
 Mon, 9/4, 4:05 PMSun, 9/10, 2:10 PM
Jose Quintana@ WAS@ MIN
NYMMacKenzie GorePablo Lopez
 Tue, 9/5, 7:05 PMSun, 9/10, 2:10 PM
Lucas Giolitovs. MIN@ LAA
CLEPablo LopezReid Detmers
 Mon, 9/4, 6:10 PMSat, 9/9, 9:07 PM
Ken Waldichukvs. TOR@ TEX
OAKJose BerriosAndrew Heaney
 Mon, 9/4, 4:07 PMSun, 9/10, 2:35 PM
Luis Ortizvs. MIL@ ATL
PITCorbin BurnesCharlie Morton
 Mon, 9/4, 6:35 PMSat, 9/9, 7:20 PM
Darius Vinesvs. STLvs. PIT
ATLZack ThompsonAndre Jackson
 Tue, 9/5, 7:20 PMSun, 9/10, 1:30 PM
Jesse Scholtens@ KC@ DET
CHWCole RagansMatt Manning
 Mon, 9/4, 2:10 PMSun, 9/10, 1:10 PM
Zack Thompson@ ATL@ CIN
STLDarius VinesHunter Greene
 Tue, 9/5, 7:20 PMSun, 9/10, 1:40 PM
Brandon Pfaadtvs. COL@ CHC
ARIKyle FreelandKyle Hendricks
 Tue, 9/5, 9:40 PMSun, 9/10, 2:20 PM

Berrios tops the bottom tier, and might intrigue you due to his good matchups this week, but his recent struggles on the bump suggest he be avoided despite facing the A’s and Royals. The Atlanta rookie Vines had success at Coors Field in his first start for the Braves, but the small sample size makes him risky…yet a potential diamond in the rough if you feel lucky. The balance of this group are not worthy of two starts assuredly, but if desperate, pick and choose based on venue and opponent.

Potential Streaming Options for Week 23

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 6. 2023

Cristopher Sanchez, Philadelphia Phillies @ San Diego Padres (Michael Wacha)

His last trip to the hill ended his three game QS streak, and might have been a blip on the radar, given his recent success. He is on the road for this start, and his tendency has been to pitch well when away from Philly (limited sample size, though). He does sport an impressive 69:12 K/BB ratio over his 75.0 IP, covering his 14 starts to date.

Jordan Wicks, Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants

Jakob Junis, San Francisco Giants @ Chicago Cubs

We have a pair of starters who have extremely limited action as SPs this season. Wicks himself has just one start for the Cubs, although he was extraordinarily effective in that 5.0 IP stint on the bump, racking up nine Ks. Junis has been serving as a multi-inning reliever, and will be part of multiple hurler approaches in his starts, likely not lasting long enough to collect a win. He does have a 10.1 K/9 ratio on the season, so both arms here are good for racking up the counting stats.

Thursday, September 7. 2023

Javier Assad, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Slade Cecconi, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Chicago Cubs

Another game where both sides of the starting pitching options are worthy of consideration for streaming purposes. Assad has accumulated three QS among his last four trips to the hill, posting excellent ratio stats over those contests: 2.13 ERA, 0.91 WHIP. The K numbers are below average, with just 17 Ks over those 25.1 IP. The Arizona rookie has allowed just a single earned tally in each of his last two starts. With just 21.0 IP on the season to his credit, the sample size is too small to worry about home/road splits just yet, but he has accrued a stellar 2.57 ERA and 0.90 WHIP to date.

Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels vs. Cleveland Guardians (Logan Taylor Allen)

The Angel righty punched out nine Mets in a QS for his most recent time atop the bump, and gets a home start against a sub-.500 Cleveland team in this matchup. The K numbers will likely be down, as the Guardians are the least-susceptible to swing and miss in the majors this season. He seems destined to stick in the rotation now that Shohei Ohtani is not going to pitch anymore this season.

Friday, September 8. 2023

Ty Blach, Colorado Rockies @ San Francisco Giants (Kyle Harrison)

The Colorado southpaw held the host Orioles to a single earned run in a QS he most recently tossed for the Rockies. He is scheduled to face the Blue Jays at home this weekend, but no matter the results of that outing, he seems locked into the rotation due to injuries. Do not expect a ton of Ks, as his rate is severely below average at 4.9 K/9 on the season over his limited 48.0 IP.

Paul Blackburn, Oakland A’s @ Texas Rangers (Jordan Montgomery)

The Oakland righthander has put up a string of three consecutive QS, and has lowered his ERA below 4.00 (3.93 to be precise) with that recent string of superior pitching efforts. He continues to strike out just over a batter per inning (9.1 K/9 over his 84.2 IP) and limits the damage from the long ball effectively (0.7 HR/9). Not the greatest matchup, but he has settled in as the A’s ace.

Cole Irvin, Baltimore Orioles @ Boston Red Sox (Tanner Houck)

The Oriole southpaw has been more of a road warrior this season, so the game in Boston plays to his strength. He does offer decent K production, with an 8.2 K/9 rate over his limited 84.0 IP on the year. Another point in his favor is that his peripherals hint he has been slightly unlucky thus far this season.

Saturday, September 9. 2023

Brandon Williamson, Cincinnati Reds vs St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright)

The rookie lefty has been up and down in August, but here he has a matchup that profiles as a potential positive against a struggling Cardinal team. His K rate has improved in August, while his control has also come into line during the past 31 days: 10.2 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 over his most recent 34.1 IP.

Michael King, New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Wade Miley)

The 28-year-old righty has had limited starting experience, and was limited to just 4.0 IP in his most recent effort as a SP, a no-decision on the road at Comerica Park in Detroit. He does feature a 2.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, nice ratios if he will be allowed to pitch deeper into contests. The 10.7 K/9 rate is inflated perhaps due to his primary role as a reliever, but he did rack up five Ks against the Tigers over those 4.0 IP.

Jake Irvin, Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Bobby Miller)

With three consecutive QS to his credit in recent action, and 16 Ks over those 18.1 IP, the rookie righthander is looking attractive for fantasy purposes. He does have a home start against the formidable Dodger offense. If not for the recent success, there would be little reason to consider this a streaming option, but the hot hand is available as an incentive to use Irvin in this contest.

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.