Only two weeks left until fantasy baseball playoffs get underway and Locker Room Fantasy Sports is looking to help fantasy owners solidify a spot in the postseason. Every move is critical from here on out and it could cost you a playoff spot.
Below are two-start pitchers for week 21 (Aug. 26-Sep. 1). Heading into your week it’s nice to know how many starts are expected from your pitchers and how many starts your opponent has lined up for the week in case you need to stream for the win.
Below are a few must starts as well as a few starts fantasy owners might want to avoid.
Cream of the crop:
Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers (12-3, 2.91) vs. CHI (Jake Arrieta) & SD (Tyson Ross)
Zack Greinke has allowed zero earned runs in five of his last nine starts and has a 1.41 ERA since July 8th. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Greinke would be the hottest pitcher in baseball right now if it wasn’t for teammate Clayton Kershaw. Greinke has won his last four starts, and as hot as the Dodgers have been, he’s been even better allowing a total of only three earned runs in those wins. He’s 9-1 over his last 12 starts and with the Cubs and Padres this week Greinke should add to an already impressive 12-3 record. He’s been money – and worth every dollar for Magic Johnson.
Anibal Sanchez – Detroit Tigers (11-7, 2.45) vs. OAK (A.J. Griffin) & CLE (Scott Kazmir)
Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers (12-9, 3.68) vs. OAK (Tommy Milone) & CLE (Danny Salazar)
Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies (10-6, 3.16) vs. @NYM (Zack Wheeler) & @WAS (Chris Rusin)
Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners (12-6, 2.98) vs. TEX (Derek Holland) & @HOU (Brett Oberholtzer)
James Shields – Kansas City Royals (8-8, 3.22) vs. @MIN (Kevin Correia) & @TOR (Esmil Rogers)
The next best thing:
C.J. Wilson – Los Angeles Angels (13-6, 3.30) vs. @TB (Roberto Hernandez) & @MIL (Kyle Lohse)
Mike Leake – Cincinnati Reds (11-5, 3.12) vs. @STL (Tyler Lyons) & @COL (Juan Nicasio)
Alex Wood – Atlanta Braves (2-2, 2.50) vs. CLE (Danny Salazar) & MIA (Nathan Eovaldi)
Alex Wood has been one of the hottest waiver wire pick ups over the last month. (Scott Rovak-USA Today Sports)
Wood is ranked as the 79th best Yahoo! fantasy player over the last month and he’s been even better of late. With Brandon Beachy back on the DL, Wood should have no problem sticking around in the Braves rotation. His 35 strikeouts over his last 35.2 innings is as impressive as his 2.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over his last six starts. Owned in less than half of Yahoo! leagues and he needs to be owned in yours.
Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays (10-7, 5.01) vs. @KC (Jeremy Guthrie) & @OAK (A.J. Griffin)
Jeremy Guthrie – Kansas City Royals (12-10, 4.27) vs. TB (Jeremy Hellickson) & @TOR (Mark Buehrle)
R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays (9-12, 4.49) vs. NYY (Phil Hughes) & KC (James Shields)
Zack Wheeler – New York Mets (6-2, 3.49) vs. PHI (Cliff Lee) & @WAS (Dan Haren)
Felix Doubront has been solid all year long and is owned in only 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Felix Doubront – Boston Red Sox (9-6, 3.79) vs. BAL (Miguel Gonzalez) & CWS (Andre Rienzo)
Felix Doubront is coming off a strong start against the Giants where he allowed one run on five hits over eight innings of work. He was roughed up in his previous start against the Yankees as they burned him for six runs on seven hits, but it was the only time Doubront had given up more than three runs in a start. He’s allowed two runs or less in seven of his 10 starts this year – not a bad play with the Boston offense backing him up.
Hope for the best:
Tyson Ross – San Diego Padres (3-6, 2.85) vs. @ARI (Brandon McCarthy) & @LAD (Zack Greinke)
Miguel Gonzalez – Baltimore Orioles (8-6, 3.81) vs. @BOS (Felix Doubront) & @NYY (Phil Hughes)
Danny Salazar – Cleveland Indians (1-1, 3.52) vs. @ATL (Alex Wood) & @DET (Justin Verlander)
Jarred Cosart – Houston Astros (1-1, 1.60) vs. @CWS (Andre Rienzo) & SEA (Joe Saunders)
Jarred Cosart has allowed eight runs over his seven starts and has only one win to show for it simply because he pitches for the Astros. Two favorable matchups this week though. (Karen Warren / Chronicle)
In seven starts and 45 innings pitched this year Cosart has allowed only eight earned runs. He is coming off his first loss of the year where he allowed more than two earned runs (3) for the first time. Although he lost to the Rangers, he pitched eight shutout innings against the Rays and hung in there with the Red Sox, A’s twice, and Blue Jays. All of those teams have a better offense than the White Sox and Mariners who he will get this coming week. Owned in only 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues and that number will stay low because of the team he plays for.
Jonathon Niese – New York Mets (5-6, 4.03) vs. PHI (Kyle Kendrick) & @WAS (Ross Ohlendorf)
Joe Saunders – Seattle Mariners (10-12, 4.91) vs. TEX (Travis Blackley) & @HOU (Jarred Cosart)
Kyle Lohse – Milwaukee Brewers (9-8, 3.22) vs. @PIT (Gerrit Cole) & LAA (C.J. Wilson)
Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6, 3.81) vs. MIL (Kyle Lohse) & STL (Tyler Lyons)
Andre Rienzo – Chicago White Sox (1-0, 3.56) vs. HOU (Jarred Cosart) & @BOS (Ryan Dempster)
Tommy Milone – Oakland Athletics (9-9, 4.30) vs. @DET (Justin Verlander) & TB (Roberto Hernandez)
A.J. Griffin – Oakland Athletics (10-9, 3.84) vs. @DET (Anibal Sanchez) & TB (Jeremy Hellickson)
Ross Ohlendorf is owned in one percent of Yahoo! leagues, but can be a nice play this week against the Marlins and Mets if needed. (Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)
Ross Ohlendorf – Washington Nationals (2-0, 2.58) vs. MIA (Nathan Eovaldi) & NYM (Jonathon Niese)
Ohlendorf could be a nice play this week against the Marlins and the Mets. He started against New York on July 26th and pitched seven strong innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out eight. He’s only had one start since and it came last Wednesday where he was roughed up a bit by the Cubbies. This will be his fourth start of the year, but in his 38.1 total innings pitched this season he has only allowed 11 runs and he’s almost guaranteed to be available in your league.
Brandon McCarthy – Arizona Diamondbacks (2-8, 5.44) vs. SD (Tyson Ross) & SF (Barry Zito)
Brandon McCarthy hasn’t been the same since taking a line drive off the head last year with Oakland. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
McCarthy has lost all four of his starts since returning from the disabled list, and it’s not like he gave his team a chance to win them. He has given up 26 hits and 15 earned runs in his 19.1 innings of work. Even with the Padres and Giants this week I’d stay clear of McCarthy. If you are really hurtin’ by the weekend, then perhaps McCarthy could at least held his own against San Diego, and maybe I would consider him against Barry Zito… just because it’s Zito.
Phil Hughes – New York Yankees (4-12, 4.88) vs. @TOR (Esmil Rogers) & BAL (Miguel Gonzalez)
Kyle Kendrick – Philadelphia Phillies (10-10, 4.51) vs. @NYM (Jonathon Niese) & @CHI (Jake Arrieta)
Roberto Hernandez – Tampa Bay Rays (6-13, 5.00) vs. LAA (C.J. Wilson) & @OAK (Tommy Milone)
Tyler Lyons will make his first start in about a month Monday against the Reds followed by the Pirates. He’s a risky play. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images North America)
Tyler Lyons – St Louis Cardinals (2-4, 5.09) vs. CIN (Mike Leake) & @PIT (Gerrit Cole)
The Cards placed Jake Westbrook on the 15-day disabled list because of a lower back strain so Tyler Lyons will replace him starting Monday against Cincinnati and again later in the week against Pittsburgh. Two tough opponents for Lyons who hasn’t started since July 30th – which was a loss against those very same Pirates, where he gave up three earned runs on eight hits over six innings. His last win came back in May.
Juan Nicasio – Colorado Rockies (7-6, 4.79) vs. SF (Barry Zito) & CIN (Mike Leake)
Nathan Eovaldi – Miami Marlins (2-4, 3.82) vs. @WAS (Ross Ohlendorf) & @ATL (Alex Wood)
Kevin Correia – Minnesota Twins (8-10, 4.52) vs. KAN (James Shields) & @TEX (Travis Blackley)
Jake Arrieta – Chicago White Sox (2-2, 5.75) vs. @LAD (Zack Greinke) & PHI (Kyle Kendrick)
Travis Blackley – Texas Rangers (1-1, 4.85) vs. @SEA (Joe Saunders) & MIN (Kevin Correia)
Barry Zito – San Francisco (4-9, 5.63) vs. @COL (Juan Nicasio ) & @ARI (Brandon McCarthy)
The Giants signed this guy to a seven year 126 million dollar deal, imagine that. (Twitter)
Self-explanatory really… don’t start him.