Another fantasy baseball scoring period with limited middle tier options to plug into your lineups for two starts. Fortunately, there are a number of top-level pitchers to rely upon with their dual start status in Week 22. Unfortunately, there are again those arms you will want to avoid using for both their trips to climb the hill this week, and those populate the bottom tier as per usual. Once the week gets underway, there are also a number of streaming options to consider snagging off the wire or adding to your roster as a free agent to aid in your quest to find fantasy dominance as we head into the final weeks of the 2023 season.  Do not be hesitant to peruse the other valuable fantasy information that our site holds, as Fantasy Alarm seeks to guide you in all your fantasy sports endeavors. Saturday saw the latest Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire and MLB Streaks & Trends articles go live. Last check, fantasy football is soon to begin for real, and drafts are certainly taking place for many leagues-how about checking out the coverage we provide and the latest Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet? Here are this week’s two start pitchers:

 Start 'em If You Own 'em 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Zac Gallen@ LADvs. BAL
ARIBobby MillerJack Flaherty
 Mon, 8/28, 10:10 PMSun, 9/3, 4:10 PM
Blake Snell@ STLvs. SF
SDAdam WainwrightAlex Cobb
 Mon, 8/28, 7:45 PMSat, 9/2, 8:40 PM
Justin Steelevs. MIL@ CIN
CHCCorbin BurnesBrandon Williamson
 Tue, 8/29, 8:05 PMSun, 9/3, 12:10 PM
Kevin Gausmanvs. WAS@ COL
TORJosiah GrayAustin Gomber
 Mon, 8/28, 7:07 PMSun, 9/3, 3:10 PM
Clayton Kershawvs. ARIvs. ATL
LADMerrill KellyCharlie Morton
 Tue, 8/29, 10:10 PMSun, 9/3, 4:10 PM
Andrew Abbott@ SFvs. CHC
CINAlex CobbJameson Taillon
 Mon, 8/28, 9:45 PMSat, 9/2, 6:40 PM
Charlie Morton@ COL@ LAD
ATLPeter LambertClayton Kershaw
 Tue, 8/29, 8:40 PMSun, 9/3, 4:10 PM
Bobby Millervs. ARIvs. ATL
LADZac GallenBryce Elder
 Mon, 8/28, 10:10 PMSat, 9/2, 9:10 PM
Seth Lugo@ STLvs. SF
SDZack ThompsonTBD
 Tue, 8/29, 7:45 PMSun, 9/3, 4:10 PM

Only nine top notch pitchers to feature in the top tier this week, but each has the potential to provide a couple of stellar starts for your squad(s), as the season heads into the final weeks. These are the arms to turn to for both their trips to the middle of the diamond, and you should rely on their skills to prevail for the most part. Admittedly, sometimes an ace will disappoint, but the odds are good if you have one or more of these hurlers on hand to plug into your rotation, you will be pleased with the results doubly.

 Maybe Yes, Maybe No 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Brandon Williamson@ SFvs. CHC
CINTBDJustin Steele
 Tue, 8/29, 9:45 PMSun, 9/3, 12:10 PM
Tarik Skubalvs. NYY@ CHW
DETJhony BritoMichael Kopech
 Tue, 8/29, 6:40 PMSun, 9/3, 2:10 PM
Chris Salevs. HOU@ KC
BOSJose UrquidyZack Greinke
 Mon, 8/28, 7:10 PMSun, 9/3, 2:10 PM
Bryan Woovs. OAK@ NYM
SEATBDDavid Peterson
 Mon, 8/28, 9:40 PMSun, 9/3, 1:40 PM

Williamson tossed his second quality start (QS) in his past four starts against the host Diamondbacks, in a no-decision effort. He was one out from picking up a third QS on the road in Pittsburgh, and he has held opposing offenses to just two earned runs over the course of those contests. He has picked up his K production of late, with 34 whiffs over his last 28.1 IP (10.8 K/9) and has improved his control as well. 

Skubal is another great creator of swings and misses by opposing hitters, posting a superb 10.2 K/9 over his limited 44.1 IP to date this season. He is also demonstrating superior control, as evidenced by his 1.6 BB/9 rate and 1.08 WHIP. He is pitching deeper into games as well as he settles back into his spot in the Tiger rotation following his activation in July following recovery from his elbow issues. The matchups in Week 22 are good, with the visiting Yankees being a sub-.500 team away from Yankee Stadium this season, and the White Sox simply a below .500 team no matter the venue.

Chris Sale is coming off a not exactly terrible road start against the Astros, where he struck out nine Houston hitters, and now opens Week 22 against that same team, this time at home. He then has a choice matchup against the Royals, albeit on the road, where he has had some troubles this season…but it is the Royals. He offers increasing value as he is pitching deeper into contests, and may be shedding the inning limitation the team has imposed since he was activated in August.

Woo handled the host White Sox in his first pitch count limited start after returning to action coming off forearm inflammation, allowing just one run (earned) on three hits and one free pass. Presuming he is healthy, he should be allowed to pitch deep enough into contests to potentially collect some more victories in his rookie campaign. A game against Oakland at home looks tasty for fantasy purposes, and while the Mets are a better team at home, they are not exactly intimidating opponents. 

 Not On My Roster 
Starting Pitcher1st Start/Opponent/Date2nd Start/Opponent/Date
Bryce Elder@ COL@ LAD
ATLAustin GomberBobby Miller
 Mon, 8/28, 8:40 PMSat, 9/2, 9:10 PM
Jesus Luzardovs. TB@ WAS
MIAAaron CivaleJosiah Gray
 Tue, 8/29, 6:40 PMSun, 9/3, 1:35 PM
Taijuan Walkervs. LAA@ MIL
PHILucas GiolitoWade Miley
 Mon, 8/28, 6:40 PMSun, 9/3, 1:05 PM
Johan Oviedo@ KC@ STL
PITZack GreinkeAdam Wainwright
 Mon, 8/28, 8:10 PMSun, 9/3, 2:15 PM
Wade Miley@ CHCvs. PHI
MILJameson TaillonTaijuan Walker
 Mon, 8/28, 8:05 PMSun, 9/3, 1:05 PM
Jose Urquidy@ BOSvs. NYY
HOUChris SaleJhony Brito
 Mon, 8/28, 7:10 PMSun, 9/3, 7:10 PM
Josiah Gray@ TORvs. MIA
WASKevin GausmanJesus Luzardo
 Mon, 8/28, 7:07 PMSun, 9/3, 1:35 PM
Jameson Taillonvs. MIL@ CIN
CHCWade MileyAndrew Abbott
 Mon, 8/28, 8:05 PMSat, 9/2, 6:40 PM
Luis Severino@ DET@ HOU
NYYReese OlsonJustin Verlander
 Mon, 8/28, 6:40 PMSat, 9/2, 7:10 PM
Michael Kopech@ BALvs. DET
CHWGrayson RodriguezTarik Skubal
 Mon, 8/28, 7:05 PMSun, 9/3, 2:10 PM
Austin Gombervs. ATLvs. TOR
COLBryce ElderKevin Gausman
 Mon, 8/28, 8:40 PMSun, 9/3, 3:10 PM
Reese Olsonvs. NYY@ CHW
DETLuis SeverinoMike Clevinger
 Mon, 8/28, 6:40 PMSat, 9/2, 7:10 PM
Adam Wainwrightvs. SDvs. PIT
STLBlake SnellJohan Oviedo
 Mon, 8/28, 7:45 PMSun, 9/3, 2:15 PM
Xzavion Curry@ MINvs. TB
CLEDallas KeuchelZack Littell
 Mon, 8/28, 7:40 PMSun, 9/3, 4:10 PM
Zack Greinkevs. PITvs. BOS
KCJohan OviedoChris Sale
 Mon, 8/28, 8:10 PMSun, 9/3, 2:10 PM
Jhony Brito@ DET@ HOU
NYYTarik SkubalJose Urquidy
 Tue, 8/29, 6:40 PMSun, 9/3, 7:10 PM
Jon Gray@ NYMvs. MIN
TEXTylor MegillBailey Ober
 Mon, 8/28, 7:10 PMSun, 9/3, 2:35 PM
Lucas Giolito@ PHI@ OAK
LAATaijuan WalkerTBD
 Mon, 8/28, 6:40 PMSun, 9/3, 4:07 PM
Alex Cobbvs. CIN@ SD
SFAndrew AbbottBlake Snell
 Mon, 8/28, 9:45 PMSat, 9/2, 8:40 PM

Plenty of pitchers in the bottom ranks to avoid despite the attraction of getting a pair of starts out of these pitchers. There are few potential streaming options here this week, too; merely many chances to harm your ratio stats without the benefit of great counting statistic accumulation. As is said week after week, unless you have a desperate need for a starting pitcher to provide innings, avoid plopping any of these arms in your starting lineup. 

Potential Streaming Options for Week 22

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:

Zack Thompson, St. Louis Cardinals vs San Diego Padres

The second-year southpaw has moved into the starting rotation in St. Louis due to injuries, and has looked quite comfortable. Over his 19.0 IP twirled in August, he has posted a nice pair of ratios with a 2.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP to go with a 23:3 K/BB ratio (10.9 K/9, 1.4 BB/9). The mound opponent is pitching well of late, so this is not a superior matchup, but it is at home where he has been superb in a small sample size.

Kutter Crawford, Boston Red Sox vs Houston Astros

The Boston 27-year-old righty collected a QS in his last outing, something he has lasted deep enough in a game to do only twice before in 2023. He frequently is out of the action before tossing enough innings to qualify for a decision, so that is not his strong point. Other than the short stints on the mound, he offers good ratios and K numbers: 3.66 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 94:24 K/BB ratio through 96.0 IP. Despite the opponent’s recent less than stellar efforts on the diamond, his home struggles temper expectations for this streaming opportunity.

Brandon Pfaadt, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers

The Diamondback rookie finally picked up his first MLB victory, a 5.1 IP, three-hit and one-walk effort at home against the Red. He also tossed a QS in the previous start, a no-decision on the road in San Diego where he allowed no runs on a single hit (three walks). He has had better luck pitching away from his home park this season, so despite the difficult matchup, he has his road success on his side of the ledger here.

Pedro Avila, San Diego Padres vs San Francisco Giants

The Padres have turned to the young right-hander to bolster their rotation, turning away from the struggling veteran Rich Hill. He has had one start this season, a 4.0 IP one run effort at Coors Field, and has excelled since that August 1st start as a multi-inning reliever, posting a stellar 1.29 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over 14.0 IP. He gets the Giants at home, and San Francisco is a two game under .500 team on the road as of this article being written.

Javier Assad, Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds

The second year right-hander has been effective, filling in for the injured Marcus Stroman, compiling a 1-0 record with two QS. He has a 2.45 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over those 18.1 IP. Strikeouts are not his forte, as he also produced a below-average 4.9 K/9 rate over those contests. Despite his success on the road, the venue is of concern given his recent propensity to allow dingers, so be advised if you want to employ his services in this game.

Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels @ Oakland Athletics

The Angel second year righty had been looking strong until he stumbled in his last outing, handing out five hits and three walks, leading to five earned tallies by the Rays at home in Anaheim. Prior to that suspect outing, he had posted a 1.59 and 0.88 ERA and WHIP respectively over the previous 22.2 IP with a superb 12.3 K/9 rate. He will look to rediscover his superior skillset against the woeful Oakland offense. Now he did leave Saturday’s game after being hit in the head by an errant throw from a teammate so his status is worth keeping an eye on.

Dakota Hudson, St. Louis Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The steady-performing Hudson has two QS in his last four games. Over that stretch, he has put up an attractive 3.75 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, with average K production (7.1 K/9 over those 24.0 IP). He generates a ton of groundballs, which should help keep the ball inside PNC Park on this road trip to Pittsburgh.

Alex Faedo, Detroit Tigers @ Chicago White Sox

Faedo tossed a no-decision QS against the visiting Cubs and will have another contest to take the hill in against the Astros (another home game) before he heads to the southside of the Windy City to face the White Sox for this game. He is an above-average K producer with good control, and the Tigers seem to be ready to ensconce him in their rotation for the current time.

Jake Irvin, Washington Nationals vs Miami Marlins

The rookie righthander has twirled a pair of QS in his last two times climbing the bump, although he was no-decisioned in both those games. He will look to continue his success on the hill against a team that does not find tremendous success on the road. He provides average K potential, although be advised that his peripherals hint that he may be due for negative regression sometime soon.

Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics vs Los Angeles Angels

His last six outings have seen him collect four QS and a pair of victories (against one loss), while also collecting a K per inning (36 Ks over 36.0 IP). He pitches for a team that is not known for punishing opponents, yet the veteran righthander continues to deal when handed the ball. He has a matchup against a team that is below .500 on the road, as well.

Zack Littell, Tampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland Guardians

His last five starts have seen him produce a useful 3.54 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a 21:2 K/BB ratio. His peripheral metrics indicate that he could enjoy even better success while toeing the rubber going forward, and he has been quite the road warrior this season, so a trip to Cleveland is not at all daunting. There is not a huge supply of attractive streaming options on the last day of the scoring period, so that speaks for his usage here, too.


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