If Samuel L. Jackson were here – and how I wish he was – he would tell us all to hold on to our butts. This coming week is the final week of action for many head to head leagues, although the bulk of roto leagues keep rolling until the final day of the season. With such limited time left, I decided to switch things up a bit. While I updated the overall ranks per usual, I also factored in the remaining schedule. Names matter very little at this point in the season; what we need is production. There’s no time to worry about a struggling starter turning things around when he’s only got two or three starts left. Run with the guys who have been pitching well, and play the matchups. Start your studs. You know who they are by this point, and there aren’t many of them. With this altered ranking system in mind, there are some pretty huge rankings swings this week. Rather than do a deeper dive on a handful of risers and fallers like usual, I’m going to highlight a double handful of starters with interesting matchups and/or interesting second-half production.


  • Stephen Strasburg, WSH (+15) – Stras has been pretty solid over his last four starts, which is good enough for me at this point in the season. His fastball is still sitting down at 93, which is, as they say, not good. What is the cure for a downturn of velocity? Upcoming dates with the Marlins and Mets!! Reap the rewards of those juicy NL East matchups, baby.
  • James Paxton, SEA (-13) – Surprise, surprise. Pax is dealing with an injury. Well, not so much injury as illness this time, as he is trying to fight off some sort of pneumonia. His 150.1 innings this year are a career-high, so really you should be thankful that you’ve got as much from him as you have. It’s unclear how much time he’ll miss exactly, but you’re probably looking at 1-2 starts max. You’re starting him whenever he’s out there, but it’s anyone’s guess as to exactly when that will be.
  • Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (+18) – Tanaka will infuriate you with his gopheritis, but he’s been able to avoid that over the second half. He has a 2.09 ERA over 64.2 second-half innings with a sterling 22.4% K-BB% and 0.70 HR/9. The upcoming matchups aren’t great (Boston and Tampa), but when he’s rolling, I consider him relatively matchup-proof.
  • Derek Holland, SF (+2) – I’ve written plenty about Holland here over the second half, but it bears mentioning that he gets the Padres not just once but twice over the next two weeks, which makes him a streaming god. All hail the Dutch Oven.
  • Ross Stripling, LAD (N/A) – Look who’s back…back again…Stripling’s back…tell a friend. Just don’t tell Alex Wood, who is now moving to the bullpen as the Dodgers continue their fickle yo-yo act with their pitching staff. Stripling went just 3.1 innings in his last start (his first since August 9th) so it’s fair to worry how deep he will be pitching in his next couple of starts as he gets stretched out. IF, and I simply cannot capitalize that IF hard enough, but IF he sticks in the rotation the rest of the way, he lines up against the Cardinals the day this gets posted, then the Padres and Giants. Those last two matchups are lovely, so if – IF – he gets those starts, he’s a great stream.
  • Luis Castillo, CIN (+17) – Do you hate Luis Castillo? Did he tank your season with his horrendous first half? Well get in line partner, and this line is long. You probably hate Castillo so much that you haven’t noticed his 2.98 second-half ERA, his 0.97 WHIP, his 10.87 K/9, or even his 1.58 BB/9. You also probably didn’t notice that his velocity is back up to 97 MPH on the fastball, where it was last year before it inexplicably dropped off early this season. He’s basically back to what he was last year, and needs to be back in your good graces. He gets the Cubs next, which is a start I could see avoiding, but he gets the Marlins after that, and he should be started everywhere for that one.
  • Matt Boyd, DET (+30) – Boyd has been quietly terrific over the second half, posting a 3.09 ERA over 67 innings with a vastly improved 20.7 K-BB% compared to 12.4% in the first half. Yes, he pitches for the lowly Tigers, so it’s unlikely he will grab a win down the stretch. That said, he squares off against other lowly AL Central opponents in the Royals and the Twins, so anything is possible.
  • Brad Keller, KC (+24) – Keller deserved a little more respect from me, having posted a 2.95 ERA over the second half. The real improvement came in terms of his strikeout and walk rates, however, as his K-BB% went from a hideous 3.4% in the first half to a palatable-but-still-not-great 12.2%. He lines up for dates with the Pirates and Tigers next, which makes him a perfectly reasonable streamer to me.
  • Joe Ross, WSH (N/A)Joe Ross made a trimphant return to the Nationals rotation, logging five innings while allowing only two runs. The BB/K wasn’t good as he walked two and didn’t record a strikeout, but he actually threw his changeup more than his slider. That is a huge departure from his pitch mix pre-Tommy John when he tossed less than 10% changeups. I don’t trust him at all just yet, but he is slated to get the Marlins twice in a row, and that could be worth a look in deeper formats.
  • Matt Shoemaker, LAA (-3) – Shoemaker isn’t that good, and he isn’t pitching very deep into games. He could easily have not made the list. I just wanted to point out that his spoonerism name is Shatt Moemaker (moo-maker), which is hilarious when you say it out loud. Maybe it’s just me.

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

Rank Name Previous Rank
1 Max Scherzer 1
2 Jacob DeGrom 2
3 Corey Kluber 3
4 Justin Verlander 4
5 Chris Sale 5
6 Aaron Nola 6
7 Gerrit Cole 7
8 Clayton Kershaw 8
9 Zack Greinke 9
10 Blake Snell 10
11 Carlos Carrasco 11
12 Patrick Corbin 12
13 Noah Syndergaard 14
14 Jack Flaherty 17
15 David Price 16
16 Zack Wheeler 19
17 Mike Clevinger 18
18 German Marquez 28
19 Mike Foltynewicz 27
20 Stephen Strasburg 35
21 Charlie Morton 15
22 Jameson Taillon 25
23 Luis Severino 21
24 Rick Porcello 23
25 Madison Bumgarner 20
26 James Paxton 13
27 J.A. Happ 22
28 Rich Hill 26
29 Eduardo Rodriguez 29
30 Miles Mikolas 34
31 Jon Gray 30
32 Walker Buehler 31
33 Masahiro Tanaka 51
34 Cole Hamels 32
35 Kyle Freeland 33
36 Jose Berrios 38
37 Derek Holland 39
38 Anibal Sanchez 53
39 Nick Pivetta 37
40 Kyle Hendricks 43
41 Dallas Keuchel 40
42 Mike Minor 45
43 Kevin Gausman 41
44 Dereck Rodriguez 42
45 Ross Stripling N/A
46 Luis Castillo 63
47 CC Sabathia 44
48 Robbie Ray 47
49 Matt Boyd 79
50 Carlos Rodon 46
51 Jose Quintana 59
52 Sean Newcomb 54
53 Kyle Gibson 50
54 Joey Lucchesi 52
55 Mike Fiers 60
56 Joe Musgrove 55
57 Jake Arrieta 56
58 Tyler Glasnow 57
59 Chris Archer 48
60 Shane Bieber 67
61 Andrew Heaney 70
62 Jon Lester 71
63 Steven Matz 66
64 Hyun-Jin Ryu 69
65 Tanner Roark 36
66 Vince Velasquez 64
67 Wade LeBlanc 65
68 Jhoulys Chacin 73
69 Zack Godley 61
70 Nathan Eovaldi 68
71 Brad Keller 95
72 Jake Junis 83
73 Wade Miley N/A
74 Jordan Zimmermann 74
75 Chase Anderson 80
76 Mike Montgomery 72
77 Anthony DeSclafani 75
78 Trevor Richards 76
79 Zach Eflin 77
80 Trevor Cahill 49
81 Andrew Suarez 62
82 Mike Leake 99
83 Marco Gonzales N/A
84 Reynaldo Lopez 81
85 Julio Teheran 82
86 Jaime Barria 87
87 Jose Urena 92
88 Yonny Chirinos 94
89 Felix Pena 96
90 Lance Lynn 84
91 Alex Cobb 85
92 John Gant 86
93 Gio Gonzalez 88
94 Sandy Alcantara N/A
95 Robbie Erlin 89
96 Jake Odorizzi 90
97 Joe Ross N/A
98 Austin Gomber 91
99 Edwin Jackson 93
100 Matt Shoemaker 97

You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken

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iifish Horton Heat
iifish Horton Heat
4 years ago

Doe Kin, loved your posts this year. Who would you target out of the following for 2019? Second?
Martinez, Ray, Tallion, Rodon

4 years ago

Who do I make my last SP for the week?

Keller – @PIT, @DET

Anibal – StL

Sale – @CLE

Glasnow – @TEX, @TB

For what it’s worth, I am currently lined up for 5 starts, so I’d end up with either 6 or 7 depending on who I start. I also have 3 RPs in my lineup (Kimbrel, Leclerc, and Alvarado). My opponent has 8 starts and 4 RPs.

I know that Sale is the obvious outlier in terms of talent but I don’t know how much run Boston is going to give him prior to the playoffs. Keller might be the safest of the other 3 based on match ups. Glasnow has the most upside but likely also carries the most risk of getting hit hard.

4 years ago

I know you really dislike Ryu, and damn, my SP decisions have been awful lately. But my alternatives to Ryu are Berrios, who has been really bad lately (@ DET), or Gausman (v. PHI). I don’t really trust either of those two starts. Thoughts?

An out-of-the-box idea with my league rules is to start an extra RP in a flex spot – my choice would be Wily Peralta.

Reply to  Dokken
4 years ago

@Dokken: ouch. hopefully Berrios can at least match that start by Ryu.

4 years ago

Is Vince Velazquez worth starting this week? Not sure if I have a better option, but no option might be better.

4 years ago

Thoughts on Framber Valdez 2 starts (SEA, LAA) if you need wins and K’s to gain 2 spots, but you are leading your league in ERA at 3.190 and the guy behind you has 3.200

DUbder Mifflin
DUbder Mifflin
4 years ago

Thoughts on Alex Wood? Didn’t see him in the list. Curious if he is a drop in your mind.

Had a bye week last week, just starting the semis this week.

Have verlander Nola Mikolas Tanaka freeland Lester fiers wood as my sp options. Limit five roster moves a week. Qs are an extra cat 13 team mix

4 years ago

Championship week. Need to start five. Relevant categories are ERA, WHIP, K/9 and QS. Looks like my opponent will have six starts.

Tyler Glasnow (2)
Kyle Hendricks (2)
Wade Miley (2)
Joe Musgrove (2)
Max Scherzer
Madison Bumgarner
Robbie Ray
Dereck Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodriguez
Jameson Taillon

I’ve changed my mind about 75 times. Thanks for the advice!

Shawn Myers
Shawn Myers
4 years ago

I’m in a deep 20 team dynasty league. Are there any deep, relatively young SP’s worth a pick up this year for production next year?? Zach Eflin, John Gant, Jose Urena, Zach Davies, Seth Lugo are available. Any other deep names that may be available that could make an impact next season?


surfer dude
surfer dude
4 years ago

Hi Dokken, h2h pts – need to start 5:
2 starts:
Aaron Sanchez
1 start:
Bumgarner (maybe injured?)
Thanks for the advise!

The Shoe
The Shoe
4 years ago

Thanks for the great column Dokken; it’s going to be really helpful as I head into next week’s H2H matchup. A couple questions:

A. Which side of Monday’s KC @ PIT matchup do you like better? Keller or Musgrove?

B. Which are the worst 3 starts out of the following?
Clevinger vs BOS
Stripling vs SD
Ryu vs COL and vs SD
Marquez @ARI
Morton vs LAA
Holland @SD
Junis @DET
Musgrove vs KC
Keller @PIT
Stratton @SD


The Shoe
The Shoe
Reply to  Dokken
4 years ago

@Dokken: Both Ryu starts or just COL I assume… So you’re not too worried about Clevinger vs BOS?