Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Aces of the AL

Friday, July 22, 2011

The American League two-start list for the upcoming week is stacked with top-end starters, including James Shields, CC Sabathia, Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander. Perhaps the most notable name on the list is Jon Lester, who is set to make his return from the disabled list on Monday against the Royals.

The National League features less star power, but I'm very high on Juan Nicasio, who draws favorable match-ups in Los Angeles and San Diego, and Aaron Harang, who hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since early May.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
James Shields: @OAK (McCarthy), @SEA (Vargas)
David Price: @OAK (Moscoso), @SEA (Pineda)
Brandon Morrow: BAL (Guthrie), TEX (Wilson)
C.J. Wilson: MIN (Pavano), @TOR (Morrow)
Brandon McCarthy: TB (Shields), MIN (Pavano)
CC Sabathia: SEA (Fister), BAL (Guthrie)
Freddy Garcia: SEA (Vargas), BAL (Bergesen)
Jered Weaver: @CLE (Tomlin), @DET (Verlander)
Dan Haren: @CLE (Carmona), @DET (Below)
Justin Verlander: @CWS (Peavy), LAA (Weaver)
Jon Lester: KC (Davies), @CWS (Jackson)

Decent Plays
Derek Holland: MIN (Blackburn), @TOR (Cecil)
Jason Vargas: @NYY (Garcia), TB (Shields)
Guillermo Moscoso: TB (Price), MIN (Blackburn)
Carl Pavano: @TEX (Wilson), @OAK (McCarthy)
Mark Buehrle: DET (Below), BOS (Miller)

At Your Own Risk
Nick Blackburn: @TEX (Holland), @OAK (Moscoso)
Kyle Davies: @BOS (Lester), @CLE (Carmona)
Duane Below: @CWS (Buehrle), LAA (Haren)
Fausto Carmona: LAA (Haren), KC (Davies)
Andrew Miller: KC (Duffy), @CWS (Buehrle)
Jeremy Guthrie: @TOR (Morrow), @NYY (Sabathia)

National League

Strong Plays
Jordan Zimmermann: FLA (Nolasco), NYM (Niese)
Madison Bumgarner: @PHI (Worley), @CIN (Cueto)
Aaron Harang: @PHI (Lee), COL (Jimenez)
Cliff Lee: SD (Harang), PIT (McDonald)
Vance Worley: SF (Bumgarner), PIT (Karstens)
Juan Nicasio: @LAD (De La Rosa), @SD (Moseley)
Johnny Cueto: NYM (Niese), SF (Bumgarner)
Tim Hudson: PIT (McDonald), FLA (Sanchez)
Tommy Hanson: PIT (Karstens), FLA (Nolasco)

Decent Plays
Jake Westbrook: HOU (Myers), CHC (Dempster)
Kyle McClellan: HOU (Happ), CHC (Lopez)
Dustin Moseley: ARI (Saunders), COL (Nicasio)
James McDonald: @ATL (Hudson), @PHI (Lee)
Jeff Karstens: @ATL (Hanson), @PHI (Worley)
Jon Niese: @CIN (Cueto), @WAS (Zimmermann)
R.A. Dickey: @CIN (Leake), @WAS (Marquis)
Chris Narveson: CHC (Garza), HOU (Myers)
Rubby De La Rosa: COL (Nicasio), ARI (Saunders)
Ricky Nolasco: @WAS (Zimmermann), @ATL (Hanson)
Mike Leake: NYM (Dickey), SF (Vogelsong)
Joe Saunders: @SD (Moseley), @LAD (De La Rosa)

At Your Own Risk
Brett Myers: @STL (Westbrook), @MIL (Narveson)
J.A. Happ: @STL (McClellan), @MIL (Gallardo)
Ryan Dempster: @MIL (Narveson), @STL (Westbrook)

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, 7/27: Jeff Niemann @ OAK
Niemann has been stellar in July, with only two runs allowed in 21 1/3 innings.

Thursday, 7/28: Matt Harrison
The lefty has excelled this year and matches up well at home against the Twins.

Thursday, 7/28: Carlos Villanueva vs. BAL
Villanueva is amidst a successful season in Toronto and should be able to dispatch the Orioles lineup.

National League

Wednesday, 7/27: Cory Luebke vs. ARI
Luebke has amazingly held opposing hitters to a .170 batting average this year.

Friday, 7/29: Dontrelle Willis vs. SF
If you're feeling brave enough, take Dontrelle for a spin against the light-hitting Giants.

Friday, 7/29: Clay Hensley @ ATL
The starter-turned reliever has come across good early results in the Marlins rotation.

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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 @NickNelsonMN.
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