Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Breaking down Week One

Friday, April 01, 2011

The last time I published a column in this space, I was previewing the final week of the 2010 baseball season. Since then, the Giants have won the World Series, Cliff Lee has joined the Phillies to form the most stacked rotation since the dawn of man, and Charlie Sheen has finally gone off the deep end.

Sure, some other events have transpired over the past six months, but all that really matters now is that baseball is once again upon us. Action officially got underway yesterday, but today I'll be taking a look ahead to the first full week of the season.

You'll find a new Week Ahead column at Rotoworld every Friday afternoon throughout the baseball season, previewing the upcoming week (Monday-through-Sunday) from a fantasy perspective. In each edition you'll find a list of two-start pitchers, categorized by the strength of their outlook, along with streamer suggestions (pitchers available in over 50 percent of leagues with favorable match-ups), team-by-team lefty/right match-ups and an update on high-profile injuries. If there are other things you'd like to see covered in this column, or if you have any questions or concerns as we move along, feel free to shoot me an email at

I look forward to helping you all get the most out of your fantasy teams this year. Now enough with the pleasantries; let's get to it.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
CC Sabathia: MIN (Baker), @BOS (Beckett)
Alexi Ogando: SEA (Bedard), @BAL
Josh Beckett: CLE (Tomlin), NYY (Sabathia)

Decent Plays
Gavin Floyd: @KC (Hochevar), TB (Niemann)
Rick Porcello: @BAL (Arrieta), KC
Scott Baker: @NYY (Sabathia), OAK (Braden)
Brian Duensing: @NYY (Nova), OAK (Gonzalez)
Dallas Braden: @TOR (Reyes), @MIN (Baker)
Erik Bedard: @TEX (Ogando), CLE (Tomlin)
Jeff Niemann: LAA (Weaver), @CWS (Floyd)
Jo-Jo Reyes: OAK (Braden), @LAA (Kazmir)
Jake Arrieta: DET (Porcello), TEX (Harrison)

At Your Own Risk
Ivan Nova: MIN (Duensing), @BOS (Buchholz)
Josh Tomlin: BOS (Beckett), @SEA (Bedard)

National League

Strong Plays
Cole Hamels: NYM (Young), @ATL (Lowe)
Yovani Gallardo: ATL (Lowe), CHC (Wells)
Anibal Sanchez: WAS (Marquis), @HOU (Norris)
Mike Leake: HOU (Norris), @ARI (Enright)
Derek Lowe: @MIL (Gallardo), PHI (Hamels)

Decent Plays
Kyle Lohse: PIT (Morton), @SF (Zito)
Jason Marquis: @FLA (Sanchez), @NYM (Young)
Chris Young: @PHI (Hamels), WAS (Marquis)
Bud Norris: @CIN (Leake), FLA (Sanchez)
Chris Narveson: ATL (Beachy), CHC (Garza)
Jason Hammel: LAD (Kershaw), @PIT (McDonald)
Randy Wells: ARI (Enright), @MIL (Gallardo)
Barry Enright: @CHC (Wells), CIN (Leake)
Brandon Beachy: @MIL (Narveson), PHI (Oswalt)

At Your Own Risk
Charlie Morton: @STL (Lohse), COL (Rogers)
James McDonald: @STL (McClellan), COL (Hammel)

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, 4/6: Daisuke Matsuzaka @ CLE
A lot of folks have soured on Dice-K, and rightfully so, but the Indians pack little punch and the powerful Boston lineup should provide plenty of support.

Thursday, 4/7: Edwin Jackson vs. TB
Jackson was outstanding after joining the White Sox last year, posting a 3.24 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 75 innings. Tampa Bay is no easy draw, but in a pinch he's worth a look.

Friday, 4/8: Nick Blackburn vs. OAK
Can Blackburn carry his outstanding spring performance into the regular season? He'll get his first shot at Target Field against the A's.

National League

Tuesday, 4/5: Kyle McClellan vs. PIT
McLellan has some big shoes to fill in St. Louis. He'll have the opportunity to jump out to a fast start with this favorable match-up at home against the Bucs.

Friday, 4/8: Randy Wolf vs. CHC
Wolf is a fringe sort of guy who will show up often in this section. I like his match-up next week at home against the Cubs.

Friday, 4/8: Clayton Richard vs. LAD
Richard was very solid last season, particularly in his home park where he posted a 3.15 ERA and held opponents to a 642 OPS.

continue story »
Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter at nnelson9.
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