Fantasy Baseball 2014: Full Breakdown of Next Week's 2-Start Pitchers
The second full week of the fantasy baseball season is in full swing. You'll want to keep an eye on the prize and finish the weekend strong, but there is nothing wrong with a peek ahead.
Here’s a breakdown of the two-start pitchers for the week of April 14-20. I used ESPN to generate the list. Starts are subject to change due to weather and injuries. Check for updates according to your league settings to avoid any surprises.
There aren't many options that fall into the "elite" category this week. To qualify, a pitcher has to be an ace who has two starts and favorable matchups.
Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies faces the Atlanta Braves at home and the Colorado Rockies. Lee is off to a tough start, sporting a 5.50 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.
Over the past three years, he's averaging a 2.80 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 222.3 strikeouts per year. He'll come around.
Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA and 18 strikeouts in two starts. He has a pair of favorable matchups at home against the Chicago Cubs and on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Teams should struggle the first time they face Tanaka.
Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA, but he has already racked up 28 strikeouts. Look for big things on the road against the Miami Marlins and at home against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Near Elite
This group of pitchers features quality options that are off to good starts, have good track records or have favorable matchups.
- Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers: vs. Cleveland Indians, vs. Los Angeles Angels
- Ervin Santana, Atlanta Braves: @ Philadelphia Phillies, vs. New York Mets
- Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates: @ Cincinnati Reds, vs. Milwaukee Brewers
- Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers: vs. St. Louis Cardinals, @ Pittsburgh Pirates
- Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals: @ Houston Astros, vs. Minnesota Twins
Sanchez is winless, but has a 3.00 ERA in two stats. Last year he went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 182 innings.
Santana threw eight scoreless innings in his Braves debut. He should have a chance to win both games while providing solid ERA, WHIP and strikeout numbers.
Cole is 2-0 on the year with a 3.46 ERA. Last year, he was 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA. He's one of the best young pitchers in the game.
Garza is 0-1, but has a 2.57 ERA. He has a career ERA of 3.82 and both of his starts are at home.
Ventura threw six scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. He gets a boost because of favorable matchups against the Astros and the Twins.
The Good Enough
The following pitchers fall short of the elite category, but they are still viable options. These are the players who mostly act as second or third options in most fantasy rotations.
- Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays: @ Baltimore Orioles, vs. New York Yankees
- Jake Peavy, Boston Red Sox: @ Chicago White Sox, vs. Baltimore Orioles
- Jesse Chavez, Oakland A's: @ Los Angeles Angels, vs. Houston Astros
- Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals: @ Miami Marlins, vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- Marco Estrada, Milwaukee Brewers: vs. St. Louis Cardinals, @ Pittsburgh Pirates
- Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres: vs. Colorado Rockies, vs. San Francisco Giants
I love Archer, but his difficult matchup against the O's and Yanks make him a little riskier.
Peavy also faces the O's along with the White Sox. Keeping the ball in the yard could be an issue.
I'm not fully ready to trust Chavez, Erlin and Estrada, but I wouldn't shy away from using them in fantasy baseball leagues that do not allow daily roster changes.
Zimmermann has a 8.10 ERA and a 2.10 WHIP in two starts. I can't call him near elite at this point of the season, but he should be good enough.
The Roll of the Dice
This is a quality group of pitchers, but they have some warts. They are of the "use at your own risk" variety.
- Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays: @ Minnesota Twins, @ Cleveland Indians
- Bronson Arroyo, Arizona Diamondbacks: vs. New York Mets, @ Los Angeles Dodgers
- Juan Nicasio, Colorado Rockies: @ San Diego Padres, vs. Philadelphia Phillies
- Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals: @ Milwaukee Brewers, @ Washington Nationals
- Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles: vs. Tampa Bay Rays, @ Boston Red Sox
Morrow can rack up the strikeouts, but he has a 5.73 ERA on the year and a 1.34 career WHIP.
Arroyo has had a steady track record for a long time, but has a 4.82 ERA. At 37, time could be catching up with him.
Nicasio is off to a decent start with a 3.75 ERA, but he has a career 4.87 mark plus a 1.44 WHIP. One of his starts will be in San Diego, which helps his cause.
Both of Lynn's starts are on the road. Last year, Lynn was 9-3 at home with a 2.82 ERA and 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA on the road.
Chen has a 6.75 ERA and a date with the Boston Red Sox.
The 'Do Not Start' Group
Then there are the players that I would recommend avoiding based on their ability and/or their schedule. There are some spot starts in there, but they aren't necessarily pitchers that you would plug into your lineup blindly.
- Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners, vs. Chicago White Sox
- David Hale, Atlanta Braves: @ Philadelphia Phillies, @ New York Mets
- Eric Stults, San Diego Padres: vs. Colorado Rockies, vs. San Francisco Giants
- Erik Johnson, Chicago White Sox: vs. Boston Red Sox, @ Texas Rangers
- Franklin Morales, Colorado Rockies: @ San Diego Padres, vs. Philadelphia Phillies
- Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels: vs. Oakland A's, @ Detroit Tigers
- Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays: @ Baltimore Orioles, vs. New York Yankees
- Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Dodgers: @ San Francisco Giants, vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
- Lucas Harrell, Houston Astros: vs. Kansas City Royals, @ Oakland A's
- Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins: vs. Toronto Blue Jays, vs. Kansas City Royals
- Roberto Hernandez, Philadelphia Phillies: vs. Atlanta Braves, @ Colorado Rockies
- Roenis Elias, Seattle Mariners: @ Texas Rangers, @ Miami Marlins
- Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals: @ Milwaukee Brewers, @ Washington Nationals
- Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, @ San Diego Padres
- Wandy Rodriguez, Pittsburgh Pirates: @ Cincinnati Reds, vs. Milwaukee Brewers
- Zach McAllister, Cleveland Indians: @ Detroit Tigers, vs. Toronto Blue Jays
- Zack Wheeler, New York Mets: @ Arizona Diamondbacks, vs. Atlanta Braves