Dane Dunning sounds like someone who should be hosting a 70’s dating show and looks like the T.A. all the young co-eds would be lusting after in Psych 101. That being said, he’s pitched pretty well in his 4 starts so far this year allowing only 6 ERs in 20 IP. If he does well against the hard-hitting Twins and the Reds at home — I’ll consider moving him up. I’ll give him this — the career 0.5 HR/9 over 449 professional innings will serve him well this week. Also working in his favor is he’s facing the 7th and 9th worst teams in K/rate to right-handed pitchers. 


Tier 1: You’re starting these guys no matter what. I’ve already wasted too much digital ink writing about them. 


Name Team L/R ERA OPP1 OPS vL/vR OPP2 OPS vL/vR
Trevor Bauer CIN R 1.74 PIT 0.601 CWS 0.766
Clayton Kershaw LAD L 1.98 @SD 0.771 @COL 0.789
Yu Darvish CHC R 1.77 CLE 0.693 MIN 0.779
Jack Flaherty STL R 3.08 @MIL 0.674 @PIT 0.601
Zack Wheeler PHI R 2.47 @MIA 0.751 TOR 0.771
Carlos Carrasco CLE R 3.12 CHC 0.767 @DET 0.698


In a normal world, Jack Flaherty might be on top of this list, but his innings are still a little wonky. However, the Brewers and Pirates are two of the worst teams against right-handed pitchers. If he can start pitching into the 6th inning he’ll be leading many owners to the fantasy promised land. 


Tier 2: Now we’re getting interesting! These are your “not-quite-ready-for-code-green players.” These guys have either been performing really well and I’d still start them regardless of match-up — or have two easy match-ups that I can’t let you pass up their double-dip for this week. Or maybe they’re solid pitchers that have 1 tough matchup and 1 easy matchup. 


Name Team L/R ERA OPP1 OPS vL/vR OPP2 OPS vL/vR
Jesus Luzardo OAK L 3.97 @SEA 0.602 SF 0.841
Jose Berrios MIN R 4.40 @CWS 0.766 @CHC 0.767
Pablo Lopez MIA R 4.50 PHI 0.751 WAS 0.723
Marco Gonzales SEA L 3.02 OAK 0.690 SD 0.771
Sandy Alcantara MIA R 3.97 BOS 0.769 WAS 0.723
Cristian Javier HOU R 3.38 TEX 0.627 ARI 0.703
Dylan Cease CWS R 3.33 MIN 0.779 @CIN 0.713
Ryan Yarbrough TB L 4.31 WAS 0.911 @BAL 0.823


Don’t sleep on the San Fransisco Giants facing Luzardo. It’s easy to count them out after their disappointing last three seasons, but they’re over .500 this season and hitting righties and lefties pretty well. In fact, Luzardo’s worst start of the season came back on August 4th when he couldn’t escape the 4th inning against them and allowed 6 ERs. I might bench him for that second start. 


It’s shocking to me that Cristian Javier keeps showing up this high in this article for two reasons: 1.) because he shouldn’t be making two starts every week and 2.) because his FIP is 2 runs higher than his ERA. Well this week he gets the 2nd worst and the 8th worst offenses against right-handed pitchers. He might still defy the metrics this week. 


Marco Gonzales won’t garner any MLB Cy Young votes this year, but he should definitely garner some fantasy Cy Young votes. He has way over-performed his ESPN ADP of 302. He’s even upped his K/rate to the highest number of his career (8.2.) And oh yea, he’s only walked 4 guys all year. That’ll do it! 


Tier 3: Maybe these guys have been underperforming this year — but have one or two cake-walk opponents that I think you could take advantage of. Or someone who is doing well this year — or has done pretty well in the recent past, but is facing a Yankees/Dodgers double dose. 


Name Team L/R ERA OPP1 OPS vL/vR OPP2 OPS vL/vR
Zach Davies SD R 2.48 LAD 0.843 @SEA 0.729
Taijuan Walker TOR R 2.95 @NYY 0.762 @PHI 0.751
Antonio Senzatela COL R 3.69 OAK 0.735 LAD 0.843
Madison Bumgarner ARI L 7.52 @LAA 0.666 @HOU 0.777
Deivi Garcia NYY R 3.06 TOR 0.771 @BOS 0.769
Mitch Keller PIT R 3.52 @CIN 0.713 STL 0.729
Dane Dunning CWS R 2.70 MIN 0.779 @CIN 0.713
Joe Musgrove PIT R 5.40 @CIN 0.713 STL 0.729
Tony Gonsolin LAD R 1.57 @SD 0.851 @COL 0.720
Josh Lindblom MIL R 6.06 STL 0.729 KC 0.692
Anibal Sanchez WAS R 6.34 @TB 0.748 @MIA 0.699


Eh Maybe Taijuan Walker should be higher — these aren’t the early season Yankees we’re talking about anymore. These Yankees are getting shut down by guys named Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer. Those sound likes guys a CW show — not major league pitchers. However, I’m also expecting a Walker implosion any minute now. His 4.80 FIP is telling me that his 2.95 ERA is due for a bit of a correction any week now. 


Say farewell to Tony Gonsolin’s pretty ERA. The Padres AND the Rockies in Coor’s Field? Yeesh. 


How did every fantasy owner see this coming for Madison Bumgarner, but the Diamondbacks didn’t? This ain’t your older brother’s Bumgarner — if he stumbles again this week then I should’ve put him in tier 4 where I think he belongs. He is facing the Angels who have the 6th-worst wRC+ vs lefties, but all it takes is one player to blow up Bumgarner’s starts — and when that one player could be Mike Trout — he’s in trouble. 


Tier 4: Only for the phony tough or the crazy brave.  


Name Team L/R ERA OPP1 OPS vL/vR OPP2 OPS vL/vR
Johan Oviedo STL R 4.66 @MIL 0.674 @PIT 0.601
Kyle Cody TEX R 0.93 @HOU 0.717 @LAA 0.801
Cole Hamels ATL L 0.00 @BAL 0.823 @NYM 0.776
Matthew Boyd DET L 7.63 KC 0.772 CLE 0.639
Julio Teheran LAA R 8.23 ARI 0.703 TEX 0.627
Michael Wacha NYM R 7.50 @PHI 0.751 ATL 0.869
Jorge Lopez BAL R 6.38 ATL 0.869 TB 0.748
Jake Arrieta PHI R 5.54 NYM 0.833 TOR 0.771
Asher Wojciechowski BAL R 5.13 ATL 0.869 TB 0.748
Ryan Weber BOS R 5.35 @MIA 0.699 NYY 0.762


One Start Wonders:

  • Johan Oviedo (@PIT): It’s the Pirates — they have the lowest OBP and lowest SLG against right-handed pitchers this year. Anyone is worth a shot against them. 
  • Matthew Boyd (CLE): Yes, Boyd allowed the most HRs last year and has allowed the most this year — but the Indians have the second-fewest HRs against lefties this year. Plus, the Indians are one of two teams to not hit a HR off Boyd in one of his starts this year! Optimism!