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Week 21

It's time to preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. As the old wrestling promoters would always say: “Card Subject to Change,” because injuries and tinkering managers can make this less than a science. Should new information present itself, we can go over it in the comments.

Most of these recommendations are based on a combination of ADP/auction price and PECOTA projections for opponent strength. As the season progresses and we get more concrete data points for how the pitchers and their opponents perform, the formula will evolve into a performance-based projection. For more information on some key terms—Auto-Start, Start, Consider and Sit—click here.

National League

Auto-Start

Stephen Strasburg

MIA, @MIL

Strasburg has been very Strasburg-y in two starts off the DL, returning just in time to help us through the fantasy playoffs (which is I’m sure his primary concern). Despite Giancarlo Stanton’s best efforts, the Marlins have been a little below average offensively this season, and the Brewers strike out more than any team in baseball. Not a bad little week for the Nats’ 1(b) ace.

Start

Jake Arrieta

PIT, ATL

Jhoulys Chacin

SF, LAD

Rich Hill

@ARI, @SD

Jon Lester

PIT, ATL

After seeing his average fastball dip below 92 mph for the first time in his career, Arrieta is throwing harder again in five August starts. The velocity isn’t all the way back to his Cy Young form, but the numbers are close, as the extra oomph (technical term) has led to a 1.75 ERA and almost a strikeout per inning this month. He’s even limiting long balls again, a trait that he relied on heavily to fuel his North Side breakout.

Home/road split skeptics, avert your eyes. In 64 2/3 road innings this season, Chacin has an ERA approaching 7.00. In 82 1/3 innings at Petco Park, he is limiting opponents to a line of .182/.269/.285, complete with a dazzling 1.86 ERA. This week he gets two starts at home, one of which comes against the worst offense in baseball (sure, the other is against one of the best, but still).

Since a mid-June drubbing at the hands of the Indians, Hill has settled back into renaissance Rich Hill mode, striking out 87 batters in 68 innings with a 2.38 ERA. His early season control woes seem to have dissipated, as the lefty has averaged around only two walks per nine innings during that same stretch. This week, he squares off against the two worst offense in the league against southpaws (according to wRC+), making him a strong options.

Consider

R.A. Dickey

@PHI, @CHC

Zack Godley

LAD, @COL

Edwin Jackson

MIA, @MIL

Mark Leiter Jr.

ATL, @MIA

Matt Moore

@SD, STL

Luis Perdomo

SF, LAD

Jeff Samardzija

@SD, STL

Lucas Sims

@PHI, @CHC

Jose Urena

@WAS, PHI

In his past 12 starts, Dickey has thrown at least six innings 11 times, and has a 2.45 ERA during that span. He’s an interesting option (at a likely rock-bottom price), it’s just hard to fully dive in on a 42-year-old hurler that relies on a typically unreliable and unpredictable pitch.

Godley has emerged as a solid second option in the Diamondbacks rotation, despite recent struggles. He should be a near lock to “Start” in most weeks, but I’m OK with looking elsewhere if you’re nervous about matchups against the Dodgers and Rockies at Chase and Coors Field, respectively.

I am so here for this Edwin Jackson: Career Resurgence season we’re currently witnessing. Will it endure? Almost certainly not, but it’ll be a fun (and terrifying) ride while it lasts.

If Perdomo had enough innings to qualify, he would lead the league in ground-ball rate. He walks too many guys and doesn’t strikeout enough, but there’s something there. I think. Or I’m going crazy, which is a distinct possibility and a separate conversation.

Only Ivan Nova walks fewer batters per nine innings than Samardzija. The homers have been a problem for The Shark, sure, but his DRA is over a full run lower than his ERA, and he’s still striking out more than a batter per inning. While the Giants’ offense has been, well, bad, Samardzija has averaged over six innings per start, putting himself in a position for wins and quality starts. You know, hypothetically, at least.

Sims fanned 132 batters in 115 1/3 Triple-A innings this season. Let’s just say those strikeout totals didn’t exactly follow him to Atlanta. The 23-year-old has just 15 strikeouts in five starts, a total even 2017 Jered Weaver would call “cute.” In his previous outing he managed to shut out the Mariners through six innings, which is promising, but his 8.04 DRA indicates that trouble could be on the horizon.

Sit

Chris Flexen

@CIN, @HOU

Matt Garza

STL, WAS

Justin Nicolino

@WAS, PHI

Antonio Senzatela

DET, ARI

Trevor Williams

@CHC, CIN

Asher Wojciechowski

NYM, @PIT

I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath for a solid Flexen pun. I’m truly sorry to disappoint, but the Mets’ rookie has two really bad matchups this week and in his young career has more walks than strikeouts. The Reds and Astros offense should be the only ones… you get it.

Just when you thought it might be safe to trust Garza again, he gives up 19 runs in his past 18 innings.

Wojciechowski (perks of the FSPP, I totally spelled this right without looking… please hold your applause) has surrendered over two dingers per nine innings, giving a whole new, and definitely worse, meaning to Woj Bomb.

American League

Auto-Start

Corey Kluber

@NYY, @DET

Chris Sale

@TOR, @NYY

Luis Severino

CLE, BOS

I haven’t seen a trio of flame throwers wreak havoc like this since the Battle of Loot Train. Where [REDACTED AT THE BEHEST OF THE SPOILER POLICE].

Start

Trevor Bauer

@NYY, @DET

Mike Fiers

TEX, NYM

Drew Pomeranz

@TOR, @NYY

Ervin Santana

CWS, KC

Marcus Stroman

BOS, @BAL

Bauer is frustrating, I get it. However, since the All-Star break the righty is 5-1 with 46 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings with a 2.83 ERA. Perhaps most importantly, he has significantly cut down on the free passes, scattering four walks in four starts. Bauer probably has a little too much baggage at this point to feel super confident, but he’s always had great stuff, and hopefully has turned a corner.

After a rocky start, Fiers seemingly put out the, well, he started pitching better. In his past 18 starts, the 32-year-old has been supremely serviceable, tossing 104 1/3 innings with 104 strikeouts and a 3.62 ERA. Most importantly, he has managed to upgrade his dinger prevention protocol, averaging a mere 1.3 homers per nine innings during that stretch. While that number doesn’t necessarily scream “elite”, hitters launched 16 home runs in the righty’s first 36 innings, so…

It’s fair to say that Santana’s 1.75 ERA through May was a tad unsustainable. On the same note, his 5.46 ERA in June and July probably wasn’t quite representative of the 34-year-old’s skill level. In five August starts, the veteran righty has settled into a happy medium, with a 2.73 ERA and 35 punchouts in 33 innings.

Consider

Michael Fulmer

@COL, CLE

Jaime Garcia

CLE, BOS

Andrew Heaney

OAK, @TEX

Ian Kennedy

TB, @MIN

Fulmer’s reliance on soft contact and batted-ball luck could be problematic as the promising right-hander heads to Coors Field this week.

It’s nice to have Heaney back on the mound after undergoing TJ surgery in 2016. Typically it’s tough to rely on guys in their first year back from under the knife, and the talented lefty is no different. Having said that, Heaney has yet to walk a batter since his return, and has regained most of his velocity, touching 95 mph on the gun. He is still likely on a fairly strict pitch count, so don’t expect a ton of innings, but he could be an interesting option in a pinch.

Sit

Andrew Cashner

@HOU, LAA

Marco Gonzales

@BAL, OAK

Daniel Gossett

@LAA, @SEA

Tom Koehler

BOS, @BAL

Wade Miley

SEA, TOR

James Shields

@MIN, TB

Jordan Zimmermann

@COL, CLE

I know what’s going on here. Every appearance from Cashner in the FSPP results in me noting that his DRA is nearly two full runs higher than his ERA. I also bemoan that the husky righty striking out fewer than five batters per nine. And every week, Casher is, well, fine. The minute I bump him to “Consider” is the minute the wheels fall off, I just know it. You’re know fooling me, Cashner. You’re not fooling me.

In four starts for the Mariners, Gonzales has yet to get out of the fifth inning.

Find someone that advocates for you as well as Zimmermann’s agent.

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Nacho999
8/28
This is the fantasy time of year when you have to start taking major risks if you're on the outside looking in with five weeks to play. I rarely go against my own better judgment, let alone what the so-called experts think, but I'm rolling the dice, God help me, with James Shields this week...There will be no Delmonico magic this week, but Shields has been pitching better lately and held the Sano-less Twins in check his last time out. I know he'll be pumped for his start against the Rays later in the week, but that might be a bad thing. I'm Losing My Edge (falling behind in Wins...Heartfelt thanks to Dan Bleepin' Jennings for yesterday's effort) as LCD Soundsystem might say and there just aren't many good options available to me. I don't think I have the stomach to go with Josh Tomlin on Wednesday, but as I own five or six Yankees depending on the lineup (AL only) I'm sure he'll blank them on 3 hits. My ratio & ERA will no doubt take a beating, but I desperately need a week with 5 or 6 wins. I can no longer keep playing it safe with relievers who don't give you anything, but a potential 3 shutout innings. I think you should change the Sit column to Desperate...Wish me luck...
markusbaa
8/28
Godspeed, my friend. You're braver than I.