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We’re almost into mid-September, which means the fantasy season is growing a little long in the tooth.  It’s a stressful time for those of us still alive in H2H land — the fantasy baseball playoffs can be a depleting time for both your liquor cabinet and your liver functionality.  It doesn’t help, then, that this is the time of the year when managers — especially those of teams out of contention — like to mess around with their starting rotations.  I don’t blame them; it makes perfect developmental sense for the White Sox, or any other team, to move to a six-man rotation in order to see what they have in arms like Andre Rienzo or Erik Johnson.  But as a weekly leaguer, this sort of rotation shuffling can be maddening if you’re trying to gauge the two-start landscape.  This is all to say that now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you check and re-check the probable pitchers prior to locking your weekly lineup.  Good luck in the playoffs, my friends.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

MUST START

Chris Sale (DET, CLE); Max Scherzer (@CHW, KC); Jordan Zimmermann (@NYM, PHI); Francisco Liriano (@TEX, CHC); Ervin Santana (@CLE, @DET); Jered Weaver (@MIN, @HOU)

  • Start ‘em if you got ‘em.

FIRST TIER

Chris Tillman (NYY, @TOR); Gio Gonzalez (@NYM, PHI); Carlos Torres (WAS, MIA); Ricky Nolasco (ARI, SF); Jhoulys Chacin (@SF, @ARI); Jarrod Parker (@MIN, @TEX); Ivan Nova (@BAL, @BOS); Kris Medlen (@MIA, SD); Hyun-Jin Ryu (ARI, SF); Dillon Gee (WAS, MIA)

  • The Mets draw home series versus Washington and Miami the coming week, and I’m not shying away from using either Dillon Gee (31% owned in Y! leagues) or Carlos Torres (4%).  Gee, in particular, has been a steady option for two months now, and is grossly under-owned.  Both pitchers bring upside in the whiff department, and both should be utilized in your H2H playoffs.  In shallower formats, you might be able to get your hands on either Ivan Nova (50%) or Jhoulys Chacin (53%), but the rest of this group is likely rostered already.

SECOND TIER

Ubaldo Jimenez (KC, @CHW); Gerrit Cole (@TEX, CHC); Randall Delgado (@LAD, COL); Zach McAllister (KC, @CHW); Shelby Miller (MIL, SEA); Bronson Arroyo (CHC, @MIL); Ryan Vogelsong (COL, @LAD); Martin Perez (PIT, OAK)

  • It wasn’t long ago that Shelby Miller was a mainstay in the must start tier.  His performance has been waning for some time now, and at this point of the year, I think he’s probably too inconsistent to be trusted in most categories formats.  He’s still a good play in points leagues, and obviously, the upside is too big for tier three or below.  Also bringing significant upside to this group is Gerrit Cole (43%), who continues to turn in quality outings — Cole has posted a 19/4 K/BB through his last four turns.  Other streamers I’m okay with using this week:  Randall Delgado (7%), Zach McAllister (12%), Ubaldo Jimenez (26%), Martin Perez (30%), Ryan Vogelsong (34%), and Bronson Arroyo (58%).

THIRD TIER

Edwin Jackson (@CIN, @PIT); Todd Redmond (LAA, BAL); Travis Wood (@CIN, @PIT); Tim Lincecum (COL, @LAD); CC Sabathia (@BAL, @BOS); Ryan Dempster (@TB, NYY); Jeremy Hellickson (BOS, @MIN); Jerome Williams (@TOR, @HOU)

  • If you’re scrounging for two-starters then that means you’re in either the semis or the quarter finals of your H2H playoffs, in which case, why are you still reading this?  You seriously should’ve stopped reading after tier two.  In such a crucial week, it’s not worth dipping this deep into the two-start pool, and it is of vital importance that you turn around, find somebody from tier one or tier two, and forget I ever listed anyone beneath.

DON’T START

Ethan Martin (SD, @WAS); Pedro Hernandez (LAA, TB); Liam Hendriks (OAK, TB); Henderson Alvarez (ATL, @NYM)

  • Please refer to third tier notes.
  1. Dave says:
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    Do you honestly put any time and effort into making this accurate? Ryu doesn’t double this week. Todd Redmond may not even pitch this week. Ethan Martin isn’t even in the Phillies rotation any more..

    • D. Jackson says:
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      @Dave:

      This time of year, unfair comment.

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Dave:

      Slow your engine Mustang Sally.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Dave: Zero time. Zero effort. Thanks for noticing!!!!

  2. D. Jackson says:
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    14-team H2H, no playoffs, tied for first, and the tiebreaker is total points. i.e., I’m chasing points, and should throw out as many 2-start SPs as possible. Which means starting Sabathia, which makes me cringe.

    I note that Cashner isn’t on your list. Do you know something I don’t, or are you just assuming they’ll continue to give him extra rest?

    Wire options (need to choose 2):

    R. Delgado: Might lose his second start, and then it would just be Delgado @LAD. Oof.

    H. Alvarez: He’s almost always in your last tier, but he’s been solid, if unimpressive. And the matchups aren’t scary: Braves on cruise control, and I like his second vs the Mess. You just think he’s untrustworthy?

    J. Williams: He could easily implode in Toronto, and he could easily dominate the ‘Stros. Or continue to implode. Or be utterly average, twice.

    Also, the Brewers might trot out Estrada or Peralta twice: @StL and vs. Cincy. In which tier would you throw those cows?

    Thanks, Scott. It’s pretty ugly out there this week.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @D. Jackson: Tis that time of year… I have the Padres with a 6-man rotation right now (Kennedy, Stults, Cashner, Ross, Erlin, Smith) & they only have a 6-game slate next week, so I don’t think Cashner goes twice, but tough to say for certain.

      It’s so tough to chase points this time of year, because someone like Delgado could get bumped & then you’re screwed. I’d stick with the sure-things (if there is such a thing)… Williams & Alvarez both should get two. My distaste for Alvarez is more of a zero upside thing… he’s gonna toss up a somewhat cruddy line almost every night, but he doesn’t blow up often, so there’s positive points to be gained in your format. I could see using him, but you might be better off streaming a 1-starter w/ upside.

      Estrada & Peralta would be tier three w/ those match-ups, but either would be a better option than Williams or Alvarez, IMO.

      Try not to get too locked into the two-start mindset. This time of year it can really backfire on ya…

      • D. Jackson says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Thanks, buddy. I have only two sure things on my staff this week. The rest? Samardzija (@Cincy), who you can’t trust these days. Lohse (@StL), who you can’t trust these days. CJ Wilson (@TOR), who you can’t trust with that matchup. Fattolo (@TX), who you can’t trust these days. And Doc … who apparently is in doubt for Tuesday because he caught a cold on Thursday? And who you can’t trust these days.

        It’s heinous.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @D. Jackson: Damn… I think you gotta roll w/ CJ, though… Slim pickings on the 1-start streamers, too?

          • D. Jackson says:
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            @Scott Evans:

            Not terrible, but nothing inspiring:
            Kazmir(!) vs KC
            Cosart(!) and Peacock(!) @SEA
            Niese: vs WASH
            Morton: vs ChC
            Petit: vs COLO

            Feels like every one of those guys is due for a nasty blowup. I considered grabbing Petit for this week and passed. Wish I could have that one back.

            Turns out that Vogelsong and McAllister are both available too, but Christ almighty, streaming either of them seems like a fool’s errand.

            What do you think of Halladay at home vs San Diego, assuming he can recover from his runny nose? And his ineptitude, and 84-mph fastball?

            This week is like the perfect storm of suck for my staff. Sabathia is honestly one of my best options.

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              @D. Jackson: I’d definitely roll w/ Vogelsong — aside from one start, he’s been very good since returning from injury… I’d also use Petit & I don’t think Morton is a bad option… Don’t touch Halladay.

              • D. Jackson says:
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                @Scott Evans: Because I don’t want to catch a cold.

                Thanks for the help.

                • Scott Evans

                  Scott Evans says:
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                  @D. Jackson: Ha!

  3. BrewerFan says:
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    Would you start Gee over Wainwright or Homer Bailey? They each only draw one start but Wainwright gets Seattle at home and Bailey gets Milwaukee @ Milwaukee. Take Gee’s 2 start over either?

  4. bossmanjunior says:
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    Looks like Buchholz will get 2 starts this week, @TB and vNYY. Where would you place him on your list? Thanks Scott!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @bossmanjunior: Yeah, looks like he’ll replace Dempster. He’ll be on a pitch count, so you need to be a little cautious… high-end tier two / low-end tier one.

  5. Swaz says:
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    Cashner?

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Swaz:

      Yeah gets phillies and braves away. Phillies could be decent start but im not sure about his start against the braves. Both starts are away too.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Swaz: I was under the impression that the Pads were rolling 6-deep (Kennedy, Stults, Cashner, Ross, Erlin, Smith)… perhaps I’m wrong on that…

      • D. Jackson says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Ugh. Not sure I’d call that six “deep.” Six treading water, maybe. Especially on the road all week.

        What do you think of Ross, Scott? Pitching above his head? Capable of sustaining his K rate?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @D. Jackson: Peripheral stats look good & his velo is better than ever… I think he’s only slightly above his head… not in for major regression.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Scott Evans: Looks like erlin’s out.

  6. KB says:
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    Assuming Delgado makes two starts, they would be vs. LAD and COL. Diamondbacks face neither MIA or SD this week. I wish though.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @KB: Whoops. Thanks for the catch… not sure how I mixed that up…

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Zero time. Zero effort. That’s how!! haha I kid out of love.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @bossmanjunior: Haha! Well done.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Scott Evans: He had enough time to even answer that shitbird.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @KB: It has been corrected. Thanks.

  7. anchovies says:
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    are you starting Kluber today?

    i’ll have to lose a pitcher to activate him with playoffs starting monday.

    who would you lose?
    peavy
    nolasco
    bumgarner
    cashner
    nova
    matt moore
    sonny gray
    gee
    c janssen
    ziegler
    perkins
    rivera

    thanks, scott. been digging your posts all year.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @anchovies: Cashner is probably your bottom man, but I think he can still offer good value ROS… you don’t have a bench bat you can cut loose?

  8. anchovies says:
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    bench bats…venable, yelich, victorino, leonys, adam eaton. it’s a tough call. i even wanted to grab wheeler for the playoff week but theres no room. drop a closer?

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @anchovies:

      You have that many bench bats? In a standard 12 team I would only recommend one or maybe two bench bats.

      • anchovies says:
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        @bossmanjunior:

        no i have one “bench bat” but those are the guys that could potentially be cut. leonys martin is typically the bench bat.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @anchovies: As long as you’re not chasing steals, I’d drop Leonys to make room for Kluber.

  9. Dominican Power says:
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    Ervin Santana isn’t a must start anymore.

  10. JRO says:
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    I would say as of now and with his schedule Erv Santana is not tier 1 be warned.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Fair point.

  11. Kyle says:
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    Drop Yelich or Eaton for Marte coming off DL

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Kyle: Drop Eaton.

  12. longbeachyo says:
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    Kluber pulled at 57 pitches??? WTF!

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @longbeachyo:

      He was on a pitch count of 75-80. Maybe they thought 57 was close enough, especially having completed 5 innings. Plus they had a relatively sizable lead.

  13. Matt P says:
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    Hey Scott, dropped Arrieta and called up Wacha in my 16 team dynasty league (h2h points), 6 player minor league team – so now I’ve got an open spot, who would you go with:

    CJ Edwards, Zach Borenstein, Puello maybe, Stetson Allie, Semien… those are the players out there who I feel had the best years. Other choices out there are Courtney Hawkins, Bryce Brentz, Victor Roache, Cuthbert…

    OF is my biggest need with Pence and Holliday getting old, I’ve got Michael Choice but not terribly excited about him, I’m leaning towards CJ since those numbers are cray, thoughts?? Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Matt P: I think Hawkins is your biggest upside play… he’s coming off an extremely rough year, but he was thrust into a bad situation, and I still believe in the tools.

  14. bossmanjunior says:
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    @Scott

    Ok so I need some help setting my rotation for next week. Here are my current starters at it stands right now and their respective match ups next week.

    Gio @NYM, PHI
    Bumgarner @LAD
    Lester NYY
    Kluber @CHW
    Miller MIL, SEA
    Garza PIT
    A. Wood @MIA
    Niese WAS
    Buchholz @TB, NYY (DL)

    The starters Im most worried about are Garza, Niese, and Wood. Garza faces PIT (#5 in wOBA last 2 weeks) at home, Niese (who was roughed up today against CLE) faces NAT (#8) at home, and Wood faces MIA away after being roughed up against them 2 starts ago. Because of match ups, Wood is probably the safest of the three for me.

    Buchholz is on my DL right now, so I don’t have to activate him for his start @TB. His past couple of rehab starts have been sup par, so im tempted to hold him on the DL for his first start. If he looks good, I could activate him for his start against NYY at home. To do so I would need to drop one of the aforementioned pitchers.

    Here are the best options available on the waiver, including a couple of your 2 start options:

    Ubaldo KC, @CHW
    Morton CHC
    Cashner @PHI
    Perez PIT, OAK
    Torres WAS, MIA
    Maholm SD
    Vargas @HOU
    Leake CHC
    Wheeler WAS

    Right now Im leaning towards dropping Garza and Niese for Ubaldo and Morton and holding Buchholz on the DL for his first start back. If Buchholz looks good in his first start, I can drop someone else (maybe Wood) for his start at home against the Yankees.

    Let me know what you think. Im open to ideas. Thanks Scott!

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @bossmanjunior:

      Here are SON $ values for starters:

      Garza PIT (8)
      Niese WAS (11.1)
      Wood @MIA (11)

      Ubaldo KC (7.5), @CHW(?)
      Morton CHC (11.9)
      Cashner @PHI (2.3)
      Perez PIT (-3.6), OAK (?)
      Torres WAS (-4.4)
      Maholm SD (7.5)
      Vargas @HOU (6.1)
      Leake CHC (7.1)
      Wheeler WAS (7.9)

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @bossmanjunior: I like leaving Buchholz inactive for his first start. I also like adding Ubaldo. Obviously I’m high on Torres… he’s a little unproven but the stuff is great & so are the match-ups. With him, there’s blow up risk, but I think the upside outweighs it. … A lot of this also depends on your scoring — is this points or categories? If it’s a categories league, I’d probably go for a guy like Morton over Ubaldo/Torres.

        Hope this helps.

        • bossmanjunior says:
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          @Scott Evans:

          Ok so between Garza, Niese and Wood, I’ve already dropped Niese for Ubaldo. Next im wondering if I should drop Wood for one of the aforementioned pitchers on the waiver. Would you keep Garza over Wood at this point? I would probably lean towards picking up Morton.

          Its 10 team 5×5 standard categories.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            @bossmanjunior: Hold Garza & add Morton.

  15. Steve Stevenson says:
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    I’m in a league where the week goes Tue-Mon, so Kazmir becomes a 2-starter for me (home and road starts vs KC). Do you like Kaz or Vogelsong? W, L and QS count.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: Kazmir brings bigger upside, but Vogelsong is the safer play.

  16. Frank White says:
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    Sup Man… What about Taiwan Walker, where do you rank him??

    • Frank White says:
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      Oh duh he’s getting shut down.. my bad

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Frank White: still got a start today

  17. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Alex Wood droppable? He already cost me first place money in my league because of getting shelled by the marlins and I can’t have any of that this next week in the playoffs. Thanks. I could pick up Ervin Santana for him.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TobiasFunkeAnalRapist: At this point in the season, you can’t sacrifice flexibility waiting around for a guy like Wood to regain his form… I don’t think these last two games will be typical of him going forward, but cut him if you there’s sure-fire help on waivers.

      • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thats kind of what I was thinking, would you drop Wood for Kluber? I love me some Kluber.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Scott Evans: see how wood’s done lately. compare that to how kluber did last time out. Also did kluber look as bad as wood lately, pretty much ever?

  18. matt says:
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    I’m not throwing liriano vs Tex so that isn’t a “must start” I’d stream walker vs Houston or Wacha vs Seattle before trusting him vs Tex. That’s my opinion. He’s starting to come back down to reality. Plus Tex is in a dogfight with Oakland. You can’t write off a team’s will to win in mid sept. That’s my 2 cents.

  19. Snake Hips says:
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    Carlos Torres…. GAAHHHHHHH!

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Snake Hips: yeah but he was risky and one could’ve know that. GAHHHH! Scherzer is another story. Pitcher MVP of my team gets blown up in playoffs while i bench torres (thank god) and Cole (dammit). What’s worse is my opp has Liriano, and if Cole did that to TEX, what will Liriano do. 14 K’s?

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