ONE. MORE. TIME. And to avert the risk of sounding like JB’s EDM music when Joe Ross gets mentioned in the podcast, I’ll just leave at that rather than continue on. WE’RE GONNA CELEBRATE But for real, we could celebrate, because it’s CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK! If you’re still reading this series all the way to Week 26 it’s because you mastered your league standings well enough to either throw down in flavor town, I mean title town, with another owner, or you’re battling for the final few points in roto. Well done, fantasy chaps. Well freaking done.

Now, since there is just one final two-start pitcher entry for the 2016 series, we’ll keep it 100 to the max by cutting through the fluff puff piece at the start and cut to the chase. It’s the Championship, after all, so you’re likelycjust riding your stable of thoroughbreds that got you here. You know, like Max Scherzer. Get it? To the MAX? Ha, had to try one last time. But you knew to throw him; however, if you’re in need of a SP pickup for the final dance, stick to the highest tiers only. Think of it as confidence tiers for all the marbles. Let me say it this way: don’t effing touch the bottom tier. Just stay away. Period. No need for questions or comments…don’t risk your entire season on one of those guys. Done.

Now for the rest, there are some wonderful two-start pitchers for this 2016 swan song. Here’s how the rest of the pitchers stack up for Week 26!

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. No colors this week…it doesn’t matter. Start the options in the top three tiers for sure, and they’re in order. Ride em to the ‘ship!


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Max Scherzer (WSH) ARI, MIA 2.82/3.15 11.06/2.15
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) @PIT, @CIN 2.06/3.26 8.09/2.16
Corey Kluber (CLE) @DET, @KC 3.11/3.18 9.55/2.39
Justin Verlander (DET) CLE, @ATL 3.21/3.65 9.89/2.32
Chris Sale (CWS) TB, MIN 3.19/3.37 9.22/1.84
Johnny Cueto (SF) COL, LAD 2.79/3.02 7.91/1.86


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
J.A. Happ (TOR) @BOS, NYY 3.28/3.92 7.94/2.68
John Lackey (CHC) @PIT, @CIN 3.39/3.80 8.69/2.45
Kenta Maeda (LAD) @SD, @SF 3.20/3.45 9.11/2.50
Tanner Roark (WSH) ARI, MIA 2.70/3.70 7.28/3.05
Felix Hernandez (SEA) @HOU, OAK 3.61/4.64 7.22/3.92
Zack Greinke (ARI) @WSH, SD 4.37/4.10 7.60/2.33
Aaron Sanchez (TOR) BAL, @BOS 3.12/3.57 7.29/2.92
Bartolo Colon (NYM) @MIA, @PHI 3.12/3.93 5.96/1.56


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Adam Wainwright (STL) CIN, PIT 4.57/3.89 7.07/2.60
Ian Kennedy (KC) MIN, CLE 3.64/4.59 8.66/3.00
Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) @HOU, OAK 4.04/4.37 6.51/2.04
Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) @ATL, NYM 3.75/4.28 7.40/1.97


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Chad Kuhl (PIT) CHC, @STL 3.73/3.90 6.46/2.44
Collin McHugh (HOU) SEA, @LAA 4.61/3.97 8.79/2.65
Drew Smyly (TB) @CWS, @TEX 4.86/4.55 8.56/2.54

THE 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Luis Cessa (NYY) BOS, BAL 4.30/5.98 5.83/1.99
Tom Koehler (MIA) NYM, @WSH 4.02/4.39 7.46/3.92
Timothy Adleman (CIN) @STL, CHC 4.06/5.90 6.09/2.81
Jaime Garcia (STL) CIN, PIT 4.59/4.33 7.91/3.01
Michael Clevinger (CLE) @DET, @KC 4.65/4.68 8.40/4.63
Ryan Vogelsong (PIT) CHC, @STL 4.85/5.04 6.84/3.98
Ryan Weber (ATL) PHI, DET 5.45/4.95 5.70/1.24
Archie Bradley (ARI) @WSH, SD 5.02/4.31 8.73/4.33
Clay Buchholz (BOS) @NYY, TOR 5.00/5.18 5.87/3.58
Ross Detwiler (OAK) @LAA, @SEA 5.09/4.42 5.09/3.72
Robert Stephenson (CIN) @STL, CHC 5.59/6.44 7.14/4.03
Jered Weaver (LAA) OAK, HOU 5.20/5.69 5.20/2.60
Jose Berrios (MIN) @KC, @CWS 8.88/6.54 8.51/5.73
James Shields (CWS) TB, MIN 5.98/6.11 6.51/4.11

All pitchers are projected for two-starts as of SATURDAY MORNING.

DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Good luck in the final week of 2016, and let us know how the advice has helped or hurt you this year! Love getting to do this with you all! Can’t wait for next season, but let’s get those trophies first!




  1. William Hung says:

    [email protected] – i think there’s a good chance the 2nd start for any pitchers playing for a playoff team will be abbreviated

    • @William Hung: Yep. This was the most difficult one of the season to even possibly project. I won’t fake it and say I’m 100% confident that any of them go, but I wouldn’t sit any of the aces.

      • William Hung says:

        @[email protected]: One strategy that I was able to deploy during the massive closepocolypse was picking up a closer for every pitching spot (Edwin Diaz and Colome both have SP eligibility) and hold on to guys like Tanner Roark and Kyle Hendricks. My league counts the standard 5 pitching cats including K/9 and losses, so this strategy was money in the 2nd half. More often than not, I had fewer losses, better ratios, and definitely more saves.

        BTW, I can’t wait for your waiver pickups in football – my team has lost 2 in a row to fall to 1-2

        • @William Hung: Yep, the value of relievers to your ratios is huge. Add in a K/9 (reliever speciality) and negative for losses, and the RP gains a lot of value.

          Working on it now! I’ve had some bad luck, too. We’ll get it there!

  2. ohbilly2134 says:

    Should I avoid starting Garcia as a streamer tomorrow vs. CIN? The SON seems to like him.

    • @ohbilly2134: It’s a good matchup, and the Pirates one isn’t bad, either, but I wouldn’t throw him out there in a championship match.

  3. Schmohawks Bob says:

    Why so high on Wainwright, he’s been pretty bad all year?

    • @Schmohawks Bob: Peripherals better, and he’s improved since the first two months. I’d rather rely on him in a pressure moment as they try to clinch a spot than one of those in the tiers below him.

  4. M says:

    Marquez of the Rox is obviously a risk but would anyone (in thedeepest of leagues) start him if he goes twice?

    • @M: If it’s incredibly deep and you just need the starts, sure…go for it. But I’m not putting anyone out there that I’m not confident in them netting me positive points. Now’s not the time to get cute.

  5. Joeg414 says:

    Manaea starts Monday @ LAA. Good streamer ? Need K’s , Era ….W
    6×6 Roto

    • @Joeg414: Ugh. Haha, I just can’t do it. If you’re desperate for a streamer to keep up with stats then sure. In roto I like it more than H2H or Points.

  6. JRun says:

    RIP Jose .

    • @JRun: Man. I know. Hurts my heart and sank my stomach all day. Hall of Fame, Cy Youngs, one of the best ever…we lost it all, and yet none of it matters. Life is delicate, and ‘a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’

      Priorities. I won’t use this forum to preach, but…priorities.

  7. chris f. says:

    actually made it to the finals. really tough week to pick 7 pitchers.

    Max (2 starts?), Lester, Reyes, Pineda, Quintana, Smyly, Roark (2 starts), Gio, Disco, Garcia (2 starts), Hammel, Kuhl (2 starts), Cueto

    who knows if cueto and lester will actually pitch this week and not sure which pitchers will get two starts.

    leaning to max, reyes, quintana and hoping for two starts from roark, smyly, kuhl, and garcia. would you switch anyone out?

    • @chris f.: Good grief, haha, is that all on your roster? Is it 37 man squads? Haha, I assume you’re pulling from the FA options, too. I’d go with Max (if you sit him, even if its once, and he dominates…you really want that to be the reason you didn’t win a ship? That you benched your Ace in the last week?), Lester, Roark, Kuhl, Garcia. Swap Lester if needed. Avoid Cueto unless you can wait until right before game time. Pineda hasn’t gone into the 6th in about a month. Hammel good for W, but he’s been inconsistent. I’ld prob go Quintana and Reyes as my final two.

      Good luck! Get that belt!

      • Chris f says:

        @[email protected]: any thoughts on smyly two starts. Thinking him over lester. Just cant trust maddon. Never know what he will do. Even with lester going for 20 wins.

        • @Chris f: Smyly’s been so up and down all season it’s hard to trust him. I’d rather have one Lester start than two of Smyly, but if you’re in need of a big boost for the belt, there are worse two start options.

  8. True and Correct says:

    I’ve been watching baseball for 60 years, and I’ve never remembered a #1, #2, and even a #3 throwing a late in the week 2 step a week before the post season begins. Scherzer, Kluber, Hendricks, Maeda, Roark………why take a chance ? Yeah, they need to get some work in, but 3 innings ?, 4 innings ?, dare I say 5 innings ?
    Certainly don’t want any of your studs to pitch “stressfull” innings, besides incur a freak injury, injure their arm, back, whatever.
    Roto is a tad easier, but in points, where wins count for 10 points, I’d try and start pitchers who are battling to MAKE the post season.
    We all know the last week of every baseball season is a total crapshoot.

    • @True and Correct: Good call on those still in races. That definitely matters this week. I still think the aces get their work in, though, even if it’s not to the volume that they worked in July/August.

      Yes. Crapshoot. Ugh. It’s horrible. The most luck-filled week of fantasy baseball.

  9. Gregjeffries says:

    Great stuff [email protected]!
    With the ALDS starting on 10/6 and Darvish scheduled to pitch his last regular season start on 10/1, do you see him getting a decent amount of work in? I desperately need a W from Darvish but I’m a little scared he’s only going to pitch 4 innings…

    What do you think? Worth the risk, or replace Darvish with Mike Leake?

    • @Gregjeffries: Greg! Thanks for the read and comment! I’d go Darvish over Leake. Even if he only goes 5 IP (no reason not to with that much rest), he has both a higher ceiling and higher floor than anything Leake can give you. Would rather lose rolling Darvish out than benching him to take a gamble on Mike Leake.

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