Full List of Opening Week's 2-Start Fantasy Baseball Pitchers

Doug Mead@@Sports_A_HolicCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2013

Full List of Opening Week's 2-Start Fantasy Baseball Pitchers

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    With Opening Day for the 2013 MLB season starting at the beginning of the week, fantasy baseball lovers will have a bevy of two-start pitchers to choose from.

    It's all about matchups, home/road starts and previous performances that makes the decision of who to start in your fantasy league a difficult one.

    Pitchers who might have the benefit of making two starts at home in the same week might seem to have an advantage. Others who are facing teams they've historically had success with in the past can be helpful as well.

    For those fantasy baseball aficionados who are struggling with their lineups this week, here is a look at the two-start pitchers for Week 1 in your fantasy league.


    Note: All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Justin Verlander: Detroit Tigers

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ MIN against Vance Worley    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. NYY against CC Sabathia

    Armed with a fresh new seven-year, $180 million contract, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander starts his season off on Monday at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins.

    Verlander enjoys pitching at Target Field, entering the game with a 3-0 record and 2.67 ERA in four starts there. On Opening Day, he is making his sixth consecutive Opening Day start.

    Verlander will have a tougher second start when he faces the Yankees and CC Sabathia. However, he will be in the friendly confines of Comerica Park against a considerably weakened lineup that will be missing Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

    It probably goes without saying, but just about any fantasy owner who has Verlander in his or her lineup is safe starting him in both games.

Clayton Kershaw: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. SF against Matt Cain    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. PIT against A.J. Burnett

    Clayton Kershaw will start his season on Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers' legendary rival and defending World Series champions.

    Kershaw makes both of his first two starts at home in Dodger Stadium—certainly a distinct advantage.

    Kershaw eats up the Giants, with a lifetime 1.37 ERA in 16 starts. He's 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts against the Pirates as well. Very favorable matchups in both games for fantasy owners.

CC Sabathia: New York Yankees

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. BOS against Jon Lester    
    Sunday, April 7 @ DET against Justin Verlander

    All signs point to go with New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia as he works his fifth straight Opening Day start in pinstripes and 10th overall.

    Sabathia appears to be fully recovered from offseason arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. He's got two tough matchups right out of the gate, however.

    Sabathia has never had great success against the Red Sox, posting a career 8-9 record and 4.23 ERA. He's been just okay at Comerica Park against the Tigers with a 9-5 record and 4.26 ERA.

    I'll almost never say not to start Sabathia. However, if there are pitchers on your fantasy team with more favorable matchups, it might be worth thinking about.

Yovani Gallardo: Milwaukee Brewers

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. COL against Jhoulys Chacin    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. ARI against Ian Kennedy

    Yovani Gallardo also begins the season with two starts at home, and he loves home cooking, sporting a 39-19 record and 3.34 ERA at Miller Park. Gallardo has an ugly 5.82 ERA against the Rockies all time, but he held them to one run in seven innings in his only start against them last year.

    He loves pitching against Arizona, with a 6-0 lifetime record and 1.02 ERA in seven starts.

    Both matchups favor Gallardo at this point.

Felix Hernandez: Seattle Mariners

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ OAK against Brett Anderson    
    Sunday, April 6 @ CHW against Dylan Axelrod

    It's life on the road for Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez to start the 2013 season.

    Monday will be Hernandez's sixth Opening Day nod, and he gets the start at O.co Coliseum—a road park that's been kind to him through the years. He has a 6-2 record and 3.21 ERA in 13 starts in Oakland.

    Starting against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field will be a bit of a tougher task. King Felix is more pedestrian pitching there, with a 1-4 record and 4.75 ERA in seven starts.

    A no-brainer to start Hernandez on Opening Day, but sitting him against the White Sox should be considered.

Ian Kennedy: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. STL against Adam Wainwright    
    Sunday, April 7 @ MIL against Yovani Gallardo

    Ian Kennedy will start the opener for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second straight season. He'll match up with St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. Kennedy is 1-3 all time against St. Louis with an 8.59 ERA—certainly not a favorable opponent from a fantasy point of view.

    It gets a bit easier for Kennedy against the Brewers. He's posted a 3.03 ERA against Milwaukee in five starts, including giving up five runs in 12.2 innings over two starts last year.

    Sit him against St. Louis, but start him against the Brewers.

Jon Lester: Boston Red Sox

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ NYY against CC Sabathia    
    Sunday, April 7 @ TOR against R.A. Dickey

    Nothing went right for Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester last year. However, judging by his spring numbers (0.75 ERA, 0.50 WHIP in six starts), Lester has turned the page.

    Unfortunately, he starts the season with two road starts. Lester has a 6-2 record and 4.19 ERA in 11 starts at the new Yankee Stadium. At the Rogers Centre, he is 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 starts.

    Lester always toughens up against AL East opponents—start him in both games.

Jered Weaver: Los Angeles Angels

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ CIN against Johnny Cueto    
    Sunday, April 7 @ TEX against Matt Harrison

    Jered Weaver draws his fourth straight Opening Day start on the road at Great American Ballpark against the Cincinnati Reds in the first interleague game in the majors.

    This will be his first-ever start against the Reds, which could actually work to his advantage. He'll have a very familiar opponent in his second start against AL West division rival Texas Rangers.

    Weaver has never fared well at Rangers Ballpark, posting a 4-7 record and 4.88 ERA in 16 starts.

    He's a go for a start on Opening Day, but if a better matchup among your fantasy team's pitchers exists, it may be worth sitting Weaver against Texas next Sunday.

Matt Cain: San Francisco Giants

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ LAD against Clayton Kershaw    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. STL against Adam Wainwright

    Matt Cain draws the first Opening Day of his career for the San Francisco Giants, and it doesn't get much tougher. Cain goes up against Kershaw and Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. But he has performed well there, with a 2-2 record and 3.05 ERA in 11 starts.

    Cain then draws the Cardinals at AT&T Park next Sunday. He struggles a bit against St. Louis, with a 2-3 record and 4.94 ERA in eight starts.

    I'd start Cain in both games. He'll give Kershaw and the Dodgers a battle on Monday, and he's at home next Sunday. It's definitely hard to consider sitting him for either game.

David Price: Tampa Bay Rays

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 1 vs. BAL against Jason Hammel    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. CLE against Justin Masterson

    Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price draws his second Opening Day start against a team he hasn't had many issues with. Price is 6-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 12 career starts against the Orioles.

    His second start of the week is also against a team he has a spotless record against. Price is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts against the Cleveland Indians.

    He is an absolute must as a two-start pitcher for all fantasy owners.

James Shields: Kansas City Royals

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ CHW against Chris Sale    
    Sunday, April 7 @ PHI against Cole Hamels

    As the new ace of the Kansas City Royals staff, James Shields couldn't have drawn two tougher starts in his debut.

    Shields starts the season at U.S. Cellular Field against Sale and the White Sox. He hasn't pitched terribly in Chicago, with a 1-0 record and 4.09 ERA in five starts.

    Shields then travels to Citizens Bank Park to take on the Phillies next Sunday. He is 1-0 in Philadelphia but has an ugly 6.55 ERA in two starts.

    Tough call here, but start Shields on Opening Day and sit him against Hamels and the Phillies.

Stephen Strasburg: Washington Nationals

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. MIA against Ricky Nolasco    
    Sunday, April 7 @ CIN against Johnny Cueto

    Stephen Strasburg makes his second Opening Day start, and this year, the kid gloves are off.

    He opens at home with the Marlins, a team that he's generally pitched well against, with a 4-2 record and 3.17 ERA in nine starts.

    Strasburg has started only once at Great American Ballpark, giving up three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings in 2010.

    He should be starting in both games for his fantasy owners.

Adam Wainwright: St. Louis Cardinals

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ ARI against Ian Kennedy    
    Sunday, April 7 @ SF against Matt Cain

    Adam Wainwright draws two straight starts on the road against two tough NL West opponents.

    He throws well at Chase Field, with a 2.03 ERA in four appearances. He's found the going a bit tougher at AT&T Park, though, with a 1-4 record and 4.11 ERA in five outings.

    Wainwright is a safe start for his fantasy owners on Monday at Arizona, but he might be worth sitting against San Francisco next Sunday.

Cole Hamels: Philadelphia Phillies

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ ATL against Tim Hudson    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. KC against James Shields

    Cole Hamels has finally supplanted the pitchers perceived to be above him on the depth chart in previous years, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. As a result, he makes his first-ever Opening Day start for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Hamels has a tough draw: at Turner Field against Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves. He has mixed results in Atlanta, with a 5-4 record and 4.18 ERA in 14 starts.

    Hamels is back at home against the Kansas City Royals next Sunday. He has never faced the Royals during his career.

    Hamels is an iffy start against the Braves for his fantasy owners. He should be a lock at home against the Royals in his second start of the week.

Johnny Cueto: Cincinnati Reds

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. LAA against Jered Weaver    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. WAS against Stephen Strasburg

    Two starts at the home in the first week is a bonus for Cincinnati Reds starter Johnny Cueto. He's good at home, but not great, with a 30-17 record and 3.50 ERA.

    Cueto draws the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Day, a team he's never pitched against. He'll see a more familiar foe next Sunday when he faces the Washington Nationals. Cueto has a 4-2 record all-time record and 3.72 ERA against Washington.

    He should be a safe start on both occasions next week.

Justin Masterson: Cleveland Indians

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 2 @ TOR against R.A. Dickey    
    Sunday, April 7 @ TB against David Price

    Cleveland Indians starter Justin Masterson is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2012 season. He'll do well to get out of the first week without too much damage.

    Masterson makes his second straight Opening Day start at the Rogers Centre against reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey and the revamped Toronto Blue Jays. He shut out the Blue Jays last year with a sterling seven-inning effort. But that was against a vastly different team.

    Masterson travels to Tropicana Field next Sunday, where he has the unusual task of facing two reigning Cy Young Award winners in one week. He is not a fan of Tropicana Field, with an 0-4 record and 8.44 ERA in five starts.

    Masterson should sit for all of his fantasy owners in Week 1.

    On a side note, it may be the first time in MLB history that any one starter faced reigning Cy Young Award-winning pitchers in back-to-back starts.

    Talk about a tough way to start out.

Vance Worley: Minnesota Twins

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. DET against Justin Verlander    
    Sunday, April 7 @ BAL against Jason Hammel

    Vance Worley draws the Opening Day nod for the Minnesota Twins in his first year there, and he does so against Justin Verlander.


    Worley then travels to Camden Yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles next Sunday.

    Not so sure he is a safe start for his fantasy owners with either start. Facing Verlander anywhere is a challenge, and there simply isn't much to go on in his first year in the American League. Fantasy owners may want to hold off on Worley for Week 1.

Jhoulys Chacin: Colorado Rockies

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ MIL against Yovani Gallardo    
    Saturday, April 6 vs. SD against Edinson Volquez

    Jhoulys Chacin is coming off an injury-plagued year in which he was largely inconsistent. He'll draw the Opening Day nod on the road at Miller Park against Yovani Gallardo. Chacin has made only one start in Milwaukee in the past three years, giving up three runs in seven innings.

    It gets a bit easier for Chacin when he makes his second start at home against the offensively challenged San Diego Padres, who are missing the services of Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal.

    Fantasy owners should sit Chacin on Opening Day but start him against the Padres.

Bud Norris: Houston Astros

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Sunday, March 31 vs. TEX against Matt Harrison    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. OAK against Jarrod Parker

    Houston Astros starter Bud Norris catches a break to start the 2013 season, starting both games at home.

    Considering his home/road splits last year—1.71 ERA at Minute Maid Park, 6.94 ERA on the road—his fantasy owners should be dancing a jig.

    Norris draws the Texas Rangers in the nationally televised game on Sunday night before waiting a week to pitch again against the Oakland A's.

    Norris should be a safe start in Week 1 for all his fantasy owners.

Edinson Volquez: San Diego Padres

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ NYM against Jonathon Niese    
    Saturday, April 6 @ COL against Jhoulys Chacin

    The San Diego Padres turn to Edinson Volquez for the Opening Day start at Citi Field against the New York Mets. Volquez hasn't pitched badly in New York—he has a 3.55 ERA—but he lost both starts.

    Volquez throws against the Rockies at Coors Field on Saturday. Considering the obvious altitude issues in Denver, he hasn't been terrible there, posting a 4.57 ERA in four career starts.

    Considering that San Diego will have some issues scoring runs without Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal, it might be prudent for fantasy owners to sit Volquez in Week 1.

Jonathon Niese: New York Mets

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. SD against Edinson Volquez    
    Saturday, April 6 vs. MIA against Kevin Slowey

    Now that Johan Santana is done for the season, the New York Mets will turn to Jonathon Niese to be their stopper. He'll attempt to start on Opening Day at Citi Field against the San Diego Padres. Niese has one career start against the Padres, losing back in 2011.

    He starts at home again on Saturday against the Miami Marlins. Niese is 2-5 all time against Miami and has a 4.60 ERA in 10 starts. However, he will be up against a lineup that will be challenged to plate runs.

    Niese should be a solid start in both of his Week 1 games for fantasy owners.

Ricky Nolasco: Miami Marlins

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ WAS against Stephen Strasburg    
    Sunday, April 7 @ NYM against Shaun Marcum

    The Miami Marlins face a tough season, and starter Ricky Nolasco faces a tough start to the season.

    He takes on Stephen Strasburg in Washington on Opening Day and then travels to Citi Field to take on the Mets next Sunday.

    Fortunately, Nolasco thrives at Nationals Park, with a 4-1 record and 2.21 ERA in six starts. He's 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field.

    Fantasy owners could consider starting Nolasco against Strasburg if they don't have better pitching matchups. They'd be wise to sit Nolasco against the Mets, however.

Matt Harrison: Texas Rangers

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Sunday, March 31 @ HOU against Bud Norris    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. LAA against Jered Weaver

    The Texas Rangers hand the ball to Matt Harrison for his first-ever Opening Day start, and he'll go against the rebuilding Houston Astros on Sunday night.

    Harrison has made only start ever at Minute Maid Park, giving up five runs on seven hits in six innings in a loss to the Astros back in 2011.

    He'll draw Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels at home next Sunday at Rangers Ballpark. The Angels have given Harrison troubles at times, posting a 3-4 record and 4.71 ERA in 12 outings.

    Harrison is a definite start on Sunday night, but fantasy owners should think long and hard before starting him against Los Angeles.

Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. KC against James Shields    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. SEA against Hisashi Iwakuma

    Chris Sale takes the ball on Opening Day for the first time for the Chicago White Sox, facing off against James Shields and the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

    Sale made six starts against the Royals last season and had a 3.12 ERA in six starts.

    He'll face the Mariners next Sunday.

    Sale was terrific at home last year, sporting a 9-3 record and 2.30 ERA in 14 starts. He should be a solid play for all fantasy owners in both games of Week 1.

R.A. Dickey: Toronto Blue Jays

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 2 vs. CLE against Justin Masterson    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. BOS against Jon Lester

    R.A. Dickey starts all over again in the American League after winning the Cy Young Award for the New York Mets in 2012. But he's doing it with a team that promises plenty of support.

    Dickey opens the season on Tuesday at home against the Cleveland Indians and again at home next Sunday against Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox.

    He has only made three career starts at the Rogers Centre, so figuring out how effective his power knuckler will be is still a bit of an unknown.

    But he should be started by all fantasy owners nonetheless until he proves otherwise.

Jeff Samarzija: Chicago Cubs

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 @ PIT A.J. Burnett    
    Sunday, April 7 @ ATL against Tim Hudson

    In his first full season as a starter last year, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samarzija pitched well considering he played for a 101-loss team.

    He draws the Opening Day nod this year, but he'll make both of his first two starts on the road—first at PNC Park and then at Turner Field.

    It might be a good idea to hold Samardzija back in Week 1 considering the tall task he faces.

Tim Hudson: Atlanta Braves

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. PHI against Cole Hamels    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. CHC against Jeff Samardzija

    Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson loves home cooking. He has a 58-32 record and 3.22 ERA in 116 starts at Turner Field.

    He'll make his first two starts at home this year, making his third Opening Day start for Atlanta, his first since 2008.

    Hudson's first game will be tough, facing the Phillies and Cole Hamels. It gets somewhat easier next Sunday, though, when the rebuilding Cubs come to town.

    Hudson should be a safe start in both starts, but if there's a better matchup on your team for Opening Day, it might be wise to consider it before going with Hudson.

A.J. Burnett: Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. CHC against Jeff Samardzija    
    Sunday, April 7 @ LAD against Clayton Kershaw

    Pittsburgh Pirates starter A.J. Burnett draws the first Opening Day start of his 15-year career on Monday against the Chicago Cubs.

    Burnett has had great success against the Cubs, with a 6-1 record and 3.04 ERA in eight career starts.

    He draws the Dodgers next Sunday against Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. Burnett is 1-3 with a 4.79 ERA in Los Angeles.

    Pretty simple here: Start Burnett on Opening Day, sit him against Kershaw.

Hisashi Iwakuma: Seattle Mariners

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 2 @ OAK against Jarrod Parker    
    Sunday, April 7 @ CHW against Chris Sale

    In Week 1, Hisashi Iwakuma will have to follow up Mariners ace Felix Hernandez twice on the road, first against the Oakland A's and Sunday against Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox.

    I like Iwakuma against the A's—he lost twice against them last year but has never faced the A's on O.co Coliseum. He threw only one inning in relief last year against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

    Fantasy owners could do a lot worse than starting Iwakuma against Oakland, but he should sit against Chris Sale.

Jarrod Parker: Oakland Athletics

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 2 vs. SEA against Hisashi Iwakuma    
    Sunday, April 7 @ HOU against Bud Norris

    Oakland A's pitcher Jarrod Parker will work to build on a hugely successful first season with Oakland when he makes his 2013 debut against the Seattle Mariners at home.

    Parker posted a 2.61 ERA in 15 starts at O.co Coliseum last year. He'll throw in Minute Maid Park for the first time next Sunday against Bud Norris and the Astros.

    Parker is a solid choice for fantasy owners in his first start of the season. He may not be a bad choice for his second start as well considering the lineup he'll be facing.

Jason Hammel: Baltimore Orioles

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Tuesday, April 2 @ TB against David Price    
    Sunday, April 7 vs. MIN against Vance Worley

    This is a pretty basic decision for fantasy owners.

    Jason Hammel is facing reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price on Opening Day on Price's home turf. The advantage clearly goes to Price; fantasy owners need to sit Hammel.

    Next Sunday, Hammel is back home against the Minnesota Twins—a team he handled easily last year, allowing only one run on two hits in eight innings. Absolutely a must-play in his second start.

Brett Anderson: Oakland Athletics

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    Week 1 Scheduled Starts

    Monday, April 1 vs. SEA against Felix Hernandez    
    Saturday, April 6 @ HOU against TBA

    Brett Anderson is likely chomping at the bit as he prepares for his first-ever Opening Day start for the Oakland A's.

    Anderson didn't make his first start last year until Aug. 21. He'll face Felix Hernandez in Seattle, but Anderson beat Seattle at Safeco Field last year, allowing no earned runs on six hits in six innings.

    Anderson will face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.

    He should be a starter against Seattle even though he's facing Hernandez. And he should be a safe start next Saturday as well.


    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.