Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Starting Strong

Friday, March 28, 2014

After a long and brutally cold winter (especially here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota), we're finally ready to kick off some meaningful baseball.

As always, I'll be here to help guide you through the season by serving up weekly previews each Friday that lay out all the information you'll need to gain a preparatory edge in your league. Every Week Ahead column will feature a comprehensive list of two-start pitchers for the coming week, as well as recommended streamers (widely available pitchers that can be plugged in for favorable single-game matchups), details about the slated schedules for all 30 teams, and injury updates.


As always, I'll be splitting two-start pitchers into three categories: Strong Plays, Decent Plays, and At Your Own Risk. These rankings are based on numerous factors, including the pitcher's ability, the locations of the games and the quality of the opponent. Of course, at the end of the day it's all subjective.

For this week, the top and middle tiers are loaded since the vast majority of two-start pitchers are Opening Day starters and therefore No. 1s for their respective rotations. Also, it is important to note that the fantasy week as we cover it runs from Monday through Sunday. That means that guys going this Sunday (Hyun-Jin Ryu for LA and Andrew Cashner for the Padres) are not listed for two starts.

Thanks for dropping in, and we hope to see you here every Friday throughout the season!

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Chris Sale: MIN (Nolasco), @KC (Shields)
Justin Verlander: KC (Shields), BAL (Tillman)
James Shields: @DET (Verlander), CWS (Sale)
Jered Weaver: SEA (Hernandez), @HOU (Feldman)
Sonny Gray: CLE (Masterson), SEA (Hernandez)
Felix Hernandez: @LAA (Weaver), @OAK (Gray)
David Price: TOR (Dickey), TEX
Jon Lester: @BAL (Tillman), MIL (Gallardo)
Justin Masterson: @OAK (Gray), MIN (Nolasco)

Decent Plays

Chris Tillman: BOS (Lester), @DET (Verlander)
Scott Feldman: NYY (Sabathia), LAA (Weaver)
Ricky Nolasco: @CWS (Sale), @CLE (Masterson)
CC Sabathia @HOU (Feldman), @TOR (Dickey)
Tanner Scheppers: PHI (Lee), @TB (Price)
R.A. Dickey: @TB (Price), NYY (Sabathia)
Alex Cobb: TOR (Hutchinson), TEX (Scheppers)

At Your Own Risk

Scott Kazmir: CLE (Kluber), SEA (Ramirez)
Erasmo Ramirez: @LAA (Wilson), @OAK (Kazmir)

National League

Strong Plays

Johnny Cueto: STL (Wainwright), @NYM (Gee)
Adam Wainwright: @CIN (Cueto), @PIT (Liriano)
Stephen Strasburg: @NYM (Gee), ATL (Teheran)
Jose Fernandez: COL (De La Rosa), SD (Cashner)
Cliff Lee: @TEX (Scheppers), @CHC (Samardzija)
Madison Bumgarner: @ARI, @LAD (Ryu)
Julio Teheran: @MIL (Gallardo), @WAS (Strasburg)
Matt Cain: @ARI (Miley), @LAD (Greinke)

Decent Plays

Yovani Gallardo: ATL (Teheran), @BOS (Lester)
Dillon Gee: WAS (Strasburg), CIN (Cueto)
Jorge De La Rosa: @MIA (Fernandez), ARI (McCarthy)
Brandon McCarthy: SF (Bumgarner), @COL (De La Rosa)
Jeff Samardzija: @PIT (Liriano), PHI (Lee)
Wade Miley: SF (Cain), @COL (Anderson)

At Your Own Risk

Brett Anderson: @MIA (Eovaldi), ARI (Miley)
Nathan Eovaldi: COL (Anderson), SD (Kennedy)

Streamer City

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

American League

Tuesday, 4/1: Martin Perez vs. PHI
Coming off an outstanding rookie campaign, the lefty draws a questionable Phillies lineup at home in his first turn.

Thursday, 4/3: Phil Hughes @ CWS
Hughes was very sharp and drew strong reviews throughout the spring, and is seeking to wipe the slate clean after an ugly final season in New York. Here's his chance to make a good first impression.

Saturday, 4/5: Carlos Carrasco vs. MIN
Carrasco won the fifth starter job in Cleveland with a strong spring, and he'll start his season against a Twins lineup that made few offseason additions after struggling and piling up strikeouts in 2013.

National League

Tuesday, 4/1: Ian Kennedy vs. LAD
The right-hander thrived in Petco last year after a midseason trade to San Diego. We'll see if he can keep it going in the new season.

Wednesday, 4/2: Charlie Morton vs. CHC
Last year Morton put up a 2.85 ERA when pitching at home in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the Cubs ranked second-to-last in the NL in runs scored.

Wednesday, 4/2: Dan Haren @ SD
Haren opens his bid for a rebound year with a highly favorable match-up in spacious San Diego.

Total Games

American League


National League

5: LAD, SD

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

BAL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CLE: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CWS: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
DET: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
HOU: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
KC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIN: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
NYY: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
OAK: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SEA: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
TB: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TEX: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TOR: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP

National League

ARI: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
ATL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CHC: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CIN: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
COL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAD: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
MIA: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PHI: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PIT: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
SD: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SF: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
STL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
WAS: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP

The Infirmary

You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page but here's the latest on a few prominent players who will begin the season on the shelf:

Cody Ross: Out until late April (hip)
Kris Medlen: Out for season (elbow)
Brandon Beachy: Out for season (elbow)
Jhoulys Chacin: Out until early May (shoulder)
Aroldis Chapman: Out until late May (head)
Jose Iglesias: Out for season (leg)
Jurickson Profar: Out until July (shoulder)
Doug Fister: Out until late April (back)

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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