Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Dog Days Ahead

Friday, August 19, 2011

With the month of August winding down, postseason races are coming into focus, both in reality and in fantasy leagues. Getting the most out of your two-start pitchers and streamers becomes increasingly important here in the late stage of the season, so tread carefully.

The American League features plenty of two-start options this week, but a higher percentage than usual would have to be described as risky. You'll find more safe plays in the Senior Circuit, but only one or two true aces find their names on the list. Scour your league's waiver wire for two-start pitchers in the "Decent Plays" category with favorable tilts.

Arizona is the only team scheduled to match up against more lefties than righties in the upcoming week. Be cautious with Kelly Johnson, who has struggled against southpaws with a 528 OPS, but be sure to play Paul Goldschmidt, who crushed left-handers in Triple-A and has continued to do so since his call-up.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
Brandon Morrow: KC (Chen), TB (Price)
C.J. Wilson: BOS (Bedard), LAA (Pineiro)
David Price: DET (Penny), @TOR (Morrow)
Jeff Niemann: DET (Verlander), @TOR (Mills)
Justin Verlander: @TB (Niemann), @MIN (Pavano)
Fausto Carmona: SEA (Vargas), KC (Chen)

Decent Plays
Colby Lewis: BOS (Lackey), LAA (Chatwood)
Blake Beavan: @CLE (Masterson), CWS (Stewart)
Jason Vargas: @CLE (Carmona), CWS (Peavy)
Ivan Nova: OAK (McCarthy), @BAL (Simon)
Carl Pavano: BAL (Matusz), DET (Verlander)
Erik Bedard: @TEX (Wilson), OAK (Moscoso)

At Your Own Risk
Brandon McCarthy: @NYY Nova), @BOS (Lackey)
Brian Duensing: BAL (Simon), DET (Penny)
Bruce Chen: @TOR (Morrow), @CLE (Carmona)
Brad Penny: @TB (Price), @MIN (Duensing)
John Lackey: @TEX (Lewis), OAK (McCarthy)
Alfredo Simon: @MIN (Duensing), NYY (Nova)
Brian Matusz: @MIN (Pavano), NYY (Hughes)

National League

Strong Plays
Jordan Zimmermann: ARI (Kennedy), @CIN (Cueto)
Chris Carpenter: LAD (Eovaldi), PIT (Karstens)
Matt Cain: SD (Latos), HOU (Norris)
Cliff Lee: NYM (Niese), FLA (Nolasco)
Zack Greinke: @PIT (Karstens), CHC (Coleman)
Bud Norris: @COL (Cook), @SF (Cain)
Johnny Cueto: @FLA (Nolasco), WAS (Zimmermann)
Ian Kennedy: @WAS (Zimmermann), SD (Luebke)

Decent Plays
Ross Detwiler: ARI (Saunders), @CIN (Leake)
Kyle Lohse: LAD (Kershaw), PIT (Maholm)
Jeff Karstens: MIL (Greinke), @STL (Carpenter)
Paul Maholm: MIL (Narveson), @STL (Lohse)
Jon Niese: @PHI (Lee), ATL (Hanson)
Nathan Eovaldi: @STL (Carpenter), COL (Chacin)
Brett Myers: @COL (Chacin), @SF
Jhoulys Chacin: HOU (Myers), @LAD (Eovaldi)
Ryan Dempster: ATL (Jurrjens), @MIL (Gallardo)
Jair Jurrjens: @CHC (Dempster), @NYM (Dickey)
Joe Saunders: @WAS (Detwiler), SD (Harang)

At Your Own Risk
Casey Coleman: ATL (Minor), @MIL (Greinke)

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, 8/24: Kevin Slowey vs. BAL
The talented right-hander should be able to dismantle the Orioles at Target Field.

Thursday, 8/25: Brett Cecil vs. KC
Cecil owns a 2.75 ERA over his past five starts and has completed at least seven innings in four of them.

Friday, 8/26: David Huff vs. KC
Huff has allowed only one earned run in 17 2/3 big-league innings this season.

National League

Thursday, 8/25: Edwin Jackson vs. PIT
Jackson appears to be settling in with his new club, having put together back-to-back solid starts.

Friday, 8/26: Henry Sosa @ SF
The promising rookie will unleash his mid-90s fastballs on the Giants' depleted lineup.

Friday, 8/26: Esmil Rogers @ LAD
He's allowed more than three runs only once in four starts since returning to the Colorado 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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