Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Go For Two

Friday, September 9, 2016

As we head into mid-September, some fantasy leagues have already wrapped up while others are amidst intense final stretches.

For those who are still playing, each lineup decision carries significant weight. Finding the right two-start pitcher or streamer can provide a decisive boost.

In the coming week, you will have plenty to choose from. Two-thirds of the league's teams are slated for seven games, leading to an abundance of two-start options, and there are numerous intriguing mid-week streaming candidates that deserve looks.

Read on, and we'll offer up our favorite choices for fantasy success this week, with a focus on players that may be available in your league.

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* If you can grab Anthony DeSclafani (68 percent availability in Yahoo), do so. He has been tremendous since joining the Reds rotation, with an 8-3 record and 2.93 ERA in 17 starts, and he'll face the Brewers and Pirates at home. He'

* Miguel Gonzalez had tossed seven straight quality starts for the White Sox prior to going down with a groin strain in August. He returned with six scoreless innings on Tuesday. He's not exactly a standout talent but his recent results are undeniably terrific and he has a pair of very manageable assignments on tap against Cleveland and Kansas City. Gonzalez is unowned in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues.

* Scott Kazmir's rehab setback means that Jose De Leon will be sticking in the Dodgers rotation for now. The promising rookie struck out nine while issuing zero walks in his big-league debut on Wednesday after a dominant run in Triple-A. He'll be tested by a couple of tough pitching environments.

* Still widely available despite his resounding success as a Pirate (4-0, 2.89 ERA in six starts), Ivan Nova is on the road twice next week but the Phillies and Reds shouldn't give him too much trouble. Nova has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his past 11 starts.

* Acquired from the Twins in the Ricky Nolasco/Hector Santiago swap on deadline day, Alex Meyer is a wild card with substantial upside. The lanky hard-throwing right-hander made his first start for the Halos on Wednesday and was typically erratic, issuing four walks in 3 1/3 innings, but he allowed only one hit and struck out five. Meyer is in line for two home starts and offers big potential in the K category if he can manage to find the zone.

* I hedged on Matt Boyd as a Strong Play because he opens with a potent Minnesota offense at home and then travels to face first-place Cleveland, but he has been utterly fantastic in the second half, with a 5-1 record and 2.56 ERA since the start of July.

* The Rays are heading to a couple of very tough pitching environments in Toronto and Boston, so I'm staying away from Jake Odorizzi in spite of his generally strong this summer.

* Sidelined for the past few weeks by elbow inflammation, Gerrit Cole is expected to return on Monday. Even though he has a soft pair of soft opponents on the docket, he's a bit of a gamble given how poorly he was pitching prior to his DL stint.

* Since the National League side is quite light on Strong Plays this week, here are a few other mid-tier two-start options I like: Jose Urena, Tyler Anderson, Robbie Ray.

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Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays

Danny Duffy: OAK, CWS

Carlos Carrasco: @CWS, DET

Jose Quintana: CLE, @KC

David Price: BAL, NYY

Drew Pomeranz: BAL, NYY

Decent Plays

Miguel Gonzalez: CLE, @KC

R.A. Dickey: TB, @LAA

Marcus Stroman: TB, @LAA

Martin Perez: @HOU, OAK

Jharel Cotton: @KC, @TEX

CC Sabathia: LAD, @BOS

Ervin Santana: @DET, @NYM

David Paulino: TEX, @SEA

Matt Boyd: MIN, @CLE

Trevor Bauer: @CWS, DET

Dylan Bundy: @BOS, TB

Dillon Gee: OAK, CWS

At Your Own Risk


Alex Meyer: SEA, TOR

Jake Odorizzi: @TOR, @BAL

Ariel Miranda: @LAA, HOU

Ross Detwiler: @KC, @TEX

Kyle Gibson: @DET, @NYM

Ricky Nolasco: SEA, TOR

Anibal Sanchez: MIN, @CLE

Yovani Gallardo: @BOS, TB

Bryan Mitchell: LAD, @BOS

National League

Strong Plays

Jeff Samardzija: SD, STL

Anthony DeSclafani: MIL, PIT

Kyle Hendricks: @STL, MIL

Decent Plays

Gerrit Cole: @PHI, @CIN

Jaime Garcia: CHC, @SF

Mike Leake: CHC, @SF

Albert Suarez: SD, STL

Ivan Nova: @PHI, @CIN

Jeremy Hellickson: PIT, MIA

Jose Urena: @ATL, @PHI

Tyler Anderson: @ARI, SD

Robbie Ray: COL, LAD

Jose De Leon: @NYY, @ARI

Rafael Montero: @WAS, MIN

At Your Own Risk

Paul Clemens: @SF, @COL

Alec Asher: PIT, MIA

Wily Peralta: @CIN, @CHC

Ross Stripling: @NYY, @ARI

Shelby Miller: COL, LAD

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, September 13th: Derek Holland @ HOU

Holland has generally pitched well since coming off the DL and beat the Astros at home earlier this month.

Wednesday, September 14th: Joe Musgrove vs. TEX

The rookie has struggled away from his home yard, but at Minute Maid has allowed only one run over 16 innings with tons of strikeouts.

Friday, September 16th: Jose Berrios @ NYM

The electric 22-year-old has yet to pull it together in the majors, but perhaps he can make it happen against a weak Mets lineup. Very much a high-risk, high-reward proposition here.

National League

Tuesday, September 13th: Andrew Cashner @ ATL

Cashner struck out nine over 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies on Wednesday. He'll draw an even easier opponent in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 13th: A.J. Cole vs. NYM

Cole held the Mets to one run over six frames in a victory at Citi Field a week ago.

Friday, September 16th: Luke Weaver @ SF

Since being called up by the Cards in August, Weaver has flashed overpowering stuff with 31 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Total Games

American League



National League



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 have been out of action:

Stephen Strasburg: Out indefinitely (elbow)

Aaron Blair: Out until late September (knee)

Billy Hamilton: Out until mid-September (oblique)

Dallas Keuchel: Out indefinitely (shoulder)

Matt Shoemaker: Out indefinitely (head)

Trevor Plouffe: Out indefinitely (oblique)

Neil Walker: Out for the season (back)

Chad Green: Out for the season (elbow)

Matt Duffy: Out for the season (Achilles)

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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