If you’re still reading, congratulations on making it to Championship Week or the semifinals – depending on your league setup. As we have the last couple of weeks, we’re going to be very picky for who we recommend starting, as the last thing we want is a blow up from a below-average starter costing you your title.
Let’s get right into it as we look ahead to Week 23 of the fantasy season.
Like I do every week, I’ll break the pitchers down the two-start pitchers into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice: These are the aces you start no matter what.
- Widely-Rostered Options: Players rostered in most leagues who should provide a positive return.
- In the Danger Zone: It’s a dice roll to start them, given matchups or other factors.
- Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues: These players should live on the waiver wire, but you can start them this week.
- Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues: Same as above but applied to deeper leagues.
- Not Unless You’re Desperate: I don’t recommend these players unless you’re swinging for the fences.
Let’s take a look at those pitchers scheduled to make two starts for the upcoming week, as projected on CBS as of Friday afternoon.
Don’t Think Twice
Carlos Rodon (9/20 @COL, 9/25 @ARI)
I have the rule where I bump a player down a tier if he’s throwing in Coors Field. I nearly bumped Carlos Rodon down one more tier since the Giants manage his innings. He went just five last time out with a blister, but the Giants seem confident that he’ll make his next starts.
Adam Wainwright (9/20 @SDP, 9/25 @LAD)
“Uncle Charlie” has been fantastic again this season, but you have to feel slightly uneasy about his matchups for Week 23. I’d lean toward starting him, hoping he makes the Padres start and gets pushed back to miss the Dodgers.
Cal Quantrill (9/19 vs. MIN, 9/24 @TEX)
I just don’t trust the profile, regardless of the results. Maybe it’s a me thing? The Rangers’ offense is better than we give it credit, which isn’t great for someone with Quantrill’s profile. He’s a start in points leagues for me without hesitation and a backend pitcher in 12-team leagues if you need someone.
Luis Garcia (9/19 @TBR, 9/25 @BAL)
Luis Garcia has a 4.09 ERA over the last month and has struck out less than a batter per inning. However, I feel good with the matchups that Garcia will give us solid back-to-back outings here to start him in all formats.
Nestor Cortes (9/20 vs. PIT, 9/25 vs. BOS)
You love the first matchup here for Nestor Cortes, but the issue is that he was still on a pitch count his last time out. If he can make quick work of the Pirates like he did last game, he’ll return value. We just need him to go five innings.
Ross Stripling (9/20 @PHI, 9/25 @TBR)
Ross Stripling seemingly does this every year. He’s forgotten about until he puts together a really solid season. He’s in the middle of that again for the Jays, as he has a 2.45 ERA over the last month and a 2.94 mark for the season. The matchups aren’t great, but if you want a high-floor option to balance out any risks you take, Stripling is your guy.
Edward Cabrera (9/19 vs. CHC, 9/25 vs. WAS)
Edward Cabrera is just so good. He hasn’t gotten out of the sixth inning in his last four starts, though, and the ERA has climbed a bit. But with the Cubs and Nats on the schedule, he’s one of our co-streamers of the week (more on the other later).
Patrick Sandoval (9/20 @TEX, 9/25 @MIN)
Patrick Sandoval has been excellent since his blow-up performance against Atlanta on July 23. Since then, he’s yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start. Texas can be challenging, but you can feel comfy rolling with Sandoval this week.
In the Danger Zone
Drew Rasmussen (9/19 vs. HOU, 9/24 vs. TOR)
In a points league where Drew Rasmussen is RP eligible, you will use him. But man, these matchups are brutal. Proceed with caution despite how good he’s been of late.
Merrill Kelly (9/19 @LAD, 9/24 vs. SFG)
It’s more about the Dodgers matchup here than it is about Merrill Kelly. He’s faced the Dodgers four times so far this season, and he’s given up three earned runs over five innings twice, three earned runs in six innings once and eight earned runs in two innings the other time. If he can limit them to three earned, you’ll take it, but it could go south quickly.
Dustin May (9/20 vs. ARI, 9/25 vs. STL)
Dustin May will be a fantastic buy-low in dynasty leagues this offseason as he’s struggled since returning from his Tommy John surgery. I’m fine using him in points leagues and 15-teamers this week, but I’d probably sit him in 12-teamers.
Shane McClanahan (9/20 vs. HOU, 9/25 vs. TOR)
It feels real weird having Shane McClanahan in this tier, given how good he’s been. He returned to the rotation after missing a couple of weeks, and it looks like he dodged a big injury bullet. However, he was limited upon his return, and we know that the Rays aren’t going to push him. If I have a limit of how many starters I can use in a matchup, I’m probably sitting him, as hard as that will be.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
Drew Smyly (9/20 @MIA, 9/25 @PIT)
Our other co-streamer of the week is Drew Smyly, as he has two cupcake matchups with the Marlins and the Pirates. The Marlins have a 68 wRC+ against lefties this year, which is by far the worst mark in the league. The second-worst mark belongs to the Pirates with an 81 wRC+. Fire Smyly up.
Jose Suarez (9/19 vs. SEA, 9/24 @MIN)
Aside from his last start, Jose Suarez has been sneaky good for fantasy managers since August. I don’t love the matchups, but I’ll use him in 15-teamers this week.
Brayan Bello (9/20 @CIN, 9/25 @NYY)
Bryan Bello is starting to show us something which is great for next year. He’s a very deep league play this week on the road in Cincy and New York.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Kyle Gibson (9/20 vs. TOR, 9/25 vs. ATL)
Mike Clevinger (9/20 vs. STL, 9/25 @COL)
Dylan Bundy (9/20 @KCR, 9/25 vs. LAA)
Roansy Contreras (9/20 @NYY, 9/25 vs. CHC)
Zack Greinke (9/20 vs. MIN, 9/25 vs. SEA)
Jake Junis (9/19 @COL, 9/24 @ARI)
Austin Voth (9/20 vs. DET, 9/25 vs. HOU)
Kyle Freeland (9/20 vs. SFG, 9/25 vs. SDP)
JP Sears (9/20 vs. SEA, 9/25 vs. NYM)
Chad Kuhl (9/19 vs. SFG, 9/24 vs. SDP)
Tyler Wells (9/19 vs. DET, 9/24 vs. HOU)
Zach Davies (9/20 @LAD, 9/25 vs. SFG)
Adrian Sampson (9/19 @MIA, 9/24 @PIT)
Cory Abbott (9/19 @ATL, 9/25 @MIA)
Joey Wentz (9/20 @BAL, 9/25 @CHW)
Cole Ragans (9/20 vs. LAA, 9/25 vs. CIN)
Hunter Gaddis (9/20 @CHW, 9/25 @TEX)
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