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September 5, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 24

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner!

By now most head-to-head leagues are squarely into playoff territory, and that’s an unfortunate thing pitching-wise, because the pickin’s are slim this week for quality two-start options. Just three auto-starts and six straight “start” recommendations between both leagues, and the NL is particularly buried in difficult options. Even owners in shallower league are going to be forced to make tough choices this week, which will inject some unwanted indecision into the playoff picture. As far as standard abnormalities go, the White Sox have not announced a starter for Monday or Tuesday at this point, and both will be lined up for two-start status, albeit with tough draws at U.S. Cellular against the A’s and Twins. The Giants have also yet to announce who will take the slot most recently occupied by the MLB record-holder for most consecutive batters retired, and it is that slot that will line up for two starts next week. Whether it remains Yusmeiro Petit or defaults back to Tim Lincecum, it’ll be a start worth considering, as it’ll be a home-and-home set involving the hapless Diamondbacks. And finally, the Cubs will be switching to a six-man rotation down the stretch, as they work some of their young arms into September looks and play it safe with the workloads of others. It’s a strategy I wouldn’t be to see more from out-of-contention teams given that two-fold benefit.

On to the nuts and bolts: Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth. Rare is the week in which the stars align to offer your starters not just one but two consecutive tasty matchups. As a result you’ll notice that sometimes the better starters will find themselves in the “consider” category, because they might have one good matchup but a second tough one. And similarly, less-talented hurlers might just meander their way into “start” territory on account of a cakewalk schedule. The pitchers will be split by league, and then by categories:

Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for these guys, either with an early draft pick, high dollar auction bid, or significant haul of prospects. These are the top 20 or so starters in baseball, so you’re starting them anywhere, anytime. Guys can emerge onto or fall off of this list as the season evolves. There won’t be many—if any—notes associated with these groupings each week, unless a player has just moved up or is in imminent danger of moving down.

Starts – These are the guys I’m recommending you put into your lineup this week. Some will be obvious, but not quite auto-start excellent, while others will be waiver-wire fodder who find themselves with a pair of favorable outings that you can take advantage of in your league. There will be accompanying notes supporting the decisions.

Considers – As mentioned earlier, these guys will be on the fence and your league settings and position in the standings will really be the decider here. A pitcher in this category can be your no. 2 starter with a tough week of matchups in Cincinnati and Colorado. Or conversely if the Minnesota Twins fifth starter is slated to face the Astros at home followed by an interleague trip to San Diego, he will appear on this list because the matchups are great even though he might not be. Your particular league settings will have a lot to say here; if you are in a 10-team mixed league you probably don’t need to take the risk, but a 10-team AL-only leaguer might see it as a nice opportunity to log some quality innings from a freely available resource.

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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: Nine ... (09/04)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (08/29)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (09/12)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: The Billy... (09/05)

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