by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s not a deep week in regards to two-start options, but there are definitely both elite options and intriguing ones. With the fantasy season quickly flying by, fantasy owners need to make the decision if a pitcher is worth the risk. Is the upside enough? Does the downside risk outweigh the potential reward?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the tiers (and remember, the pitchers are also ranked within each tier):
- Tier 1 – The Elite
- Tier 2 – Not quite elite, but among the better options
- Tier 3 – Solid options
- Tier 4 – Borderline options only usable under the right circumstance
- Tier 5 – Options worth avoiding
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the week ahead:
- Picking between Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw is picking between two of the elite starters in the game. The only reason Wainwright gets the edge is the second start against the Cubs (with Kershaw getting TB, the best team in the league against LHP). Be happy if you own either, though (understatement of the year).
- Justin Verlander has been struggling and has been even worse on the road (4.05 ERA). Throw in the fact that the Cleveland Indians own a .311 average against him this season (he has a 5.82 ERA against them) and he becomes a risky option. Usable? Absolutely, but he’s not going to be considered one of the elite.
- Does anyone trust R.A. Dickey at this point? He’s coming off a good outing against the A’s, but it’ been rare for him to string two good ones together this season. He’s allowed 4+ ER in three of his past five starts, so consider him a viable option but not a must start one.
- Whenever you have the Houston Astros on your schedule you are worth considering, but it doesn’t make you a must start option. Ryan Dempster is coming off a start where he had allowed 7 ER and he owns a 4.54 ERA on the season. It’s hard to consider him a good play regardless of the matchups.
- Mike Minor has pitched great this season, but don’t consider it a guarantee that it continues. He’s showing better control than ever before (1.75 BB/9) and has benefited from some luck (.262 BABIP, 20.1% line drive rate). Obviously he’s a must use option, but just go in with your eyes open.
- While Matt Cain’s numbers haven’t been there this season, he’s allowed 4 ER over his past 20.0 IP. He also has 14 K over his past two starts and owns a 1.17 WHIP (helping to support that his 4.57 ERA is vastly due to poor luck). With a pair of home starts this week he has to be considered one of the better options in the league.