What if I told you John Lackey’s been the best Cubs pitcher so far this year? And nope, there’s no wink coming on the other side of that. Now, of course the word ‘best’ lends to high subjectivity, but arguably the fourth-most owned Cubs SP just may be posting the best season…even if his surface stats don’t tell that story. So, let’s start the story off right.

With a haiku:

Under the surface
Lies a fantasy monster
Named Long-face Lackey

To my surprise, I recently found Lackey available in an RCL. While starting pitchers are less valuable in those leagues (little tip for the newbies), Lackey more than deserves to be on a roster. When examining 4.29 ERA I know you think, ‘Oh, sugar plum fairies I must have this guy on my team!’ But since none of you have actually said, ‘Oh sugar plum fairies’ about anything, I know that’s just not true. Looking deeper, though, you see a K/9 that’s up a full point from last year. That’s matched by an ERA rise of a full point, too, but the xFIP (which takes HR away) says he’s on the exact same pace as last season: 3.35. There’s a 19% HR/FB rate sitting in his stat line, which is roughly 60% higher than what you should expect from John Lackey. Another part of the culprit? A .310 BABIP. It’s not crazy high, but when you consider that almost half of balls hit against him are ground balls it adds up.

End of the day are we looking at another Cubs Cy Young winner? Nope, but when Jon Lester walking more and sitting with one win, Jake Arrieta has an ERA north of 5.00, and Kyle Hendrick holds only a 2:1 K/BB ratio, a case can be made for Lackey taking the current crown. The others may be better in the long run, but Lackey’s lack of luck is the only thing noted against him right now. Not much else is lacking…

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent 8 toughest or 8 easiest opponents according to team wOBA for last 14 days.


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Yu Darvish TEX PHI, @DET 2.96/3.99 9.06/3.66
Carlos Carrasco CLE TB, @HOU 1.86/3.02 8.57/1.49
Chris Archer TB @CLE, NYY 3.04/2.80 9.96/2.70
Stephen Strasburg WAS @PIT, @ATL 3.28/2.83 8.68/2.51


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
John Lackey CHC CIN, MIL 4.29/4.16 9.86/2.36
Marco Estrada TOR ATL, @BAL 3.12/3.43 9.73/2.46
Andrew Triggs OAK @SEA, BOS 2.21/2.78 6.86/2.21
Sean Manaea OAK @SEA, BOS 5.18/3.31 9.99/4.44
Wade Miley BAL @DET, TOR 2.45/3.70 10.55/5.56
Chase Anderson MIL @SD, @CHC 2.97/3.02 7.78/2.97
Derek Holland CHW @LAA, @SEA 2.43/4.72 7.30/3.54


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Zack Wheeler NYM @ARI, LAA 4.18/4.23 8.07/3.96
Jerad Eickhoff PHI @TEX, @PIT 4.76/4.11 7.94/3.83
Luis Perdomo SD MIL, ARI 4.13/2.99 7.94/3.18


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Jimmy Nelson MIL @SD, @CHC 3.99/3.86 7.75/3.29
Jaime Garcia ATL @TOR, WAS 4.33/4.92 5.35/4.58
Yovani Gallardo SEA OAK, CHW 4.58/3.78 6.18/3.43
Dan Straily MIA HOU, @LAD 4.03/4.36 8.76/4.72
Kyle Freeland COL @MIN, @CIN 2.93/3.55 5.85/4.05
Zack Godley ARI NYM, @SD 2.25/3.10 9.00/3.00
Clayton Richard SD MIL, ARI 4.34/4.51 6.04/3.40
Chad Kuhl PIT WAS, PHI 5.81/3.80 7.26/4.06
Matthew Boyd DET BAL, TEX 3.89/4.32 6.64/4.35
Jesse Chavez LAA CHW, @NYM 4.29/4.66 7.50/3.21
Phil Hughes MIN COL, KC 4.74/4.57 5.45/1.68
Mike Bolsinger TOR ATL, @BAL 3.18/3.73 6.35/6.35

THE 8c65e5de808ec301754508366480250c

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Jason Hammel KC NYY, @MIN 5.97/4.38 8.05/4.15
Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD @SF, MIA 4.99/5.08 9.68/4.11
Matt Cain SF LAD, @STL 4.54/4.40 6.81/4.29
Tom Koehler MIA HOU, @LAD 5.60/6.28 7.13/3.82
CC Sabathia NYY @KC, @TB 5.77/5.18 6.23/3.92
Chase De Jong SEA OAK, CHW 7.85/6.80 3.44/3.93
Joe Musgrove HOU @MIA, CLE 5.02/5.41 6.69/3.11
Bartolo Colon ATL @TOR, WAS 7.22/5.14 6.05/2.09
Bronson Arroyo CIN @CHC, COL 5.94/5.77 6.19/2.72
Kyle Kendrick BOS @STL, @OAK 12.96/4.94 3.24/3.24
Mike Pelfrey CHW @LAA, @SEA 5.21/5.18 2.84/3.32

All pitchers are projected for two-starts as of Friday night.

Good luck in Week 7! Keep checking back for your weekly lineup needs. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask your questions. On life. On pitchers. On ranks. On…well, just…

(And make sure to check out the Football side of Razz where my NEW DYNASTY RANKINGS are owning the current real estate!)


Follow [email protected] on Twitter at @matthayes for far more than just fantasy advice.

  1. Joeg414 says:

    McCarthy might get two vs SanFran and Mia. Whata think?

    • Josh Freeman says:

      @Joeg414: Will be rare for a Dodger to ever ‘get two’ again. 6-man rotation.

      • @Josh Freeman: Haha, unfortunately you’re right. I’d love it if McCarthy was a double dip, but I haven’t seen that yet.

        Or at least as of Friday night.

  2. I don't want to say because others in my league read this sight. says:

    Loving the site as always!

    Joe Biagini or Zack Godley for a pick up?

  3. Chucky says:

    You digging Pedromo with 2 at home v Mil & Az or Godley v [email protected] SD or Ryu @SF v Miami?

    • @Chucky: I do like Perdomo. There’s a solid article about him on FanGraphs right now that makes me want to run to the waivers to grab him. Give me his two over the others.

      • Mikey says:

        @[email protected]:
        Could you provide the link for the Perdomo article? I couldn’t find it. Thanks

  4. Chad Roberts says:

    Please rank ROS for H2H category league with QS instead of W’s:

    Trevor Cahill
    John Lackey
    Sean Manaea
    Charlie Morton
    Robby Ray
    Matt Shoemaker

    • @Chad Roberts: Whew, there’s a lot there. Here we go:


      Don’t trust Cahill enough over the others, Ray tends to give up too many ER and doesn’t go super deep. I’m a fan of Morton with his improvements, and Shoemaker could end up the highest of all these if he repeats the end of last season.

  5. Jon says:

    Shoemaker or JC Ramirez this week as a stream? Doesn’t Ramirez have a two start CHW and Mets?

    • @Jon: Shoemaker. Ramirez been solid and Shoemaker’s been mediocre, but I still trust him more.

      Not sure on the two-start. Didn’t show up on Friday.

  6. Blah says:

    2 start holland or one start Velasquez @ Pittsburgh? Thank you in advance.

  7. Adam says:

    Travis Shaw or Aaron altherr ROS?

    • @Adam: Ugh. Haha, um…Altherr? That’s close. Depends on roster needs I suppose.

  8. Robert says:

    Perdomo, Manaea or Samardzija ROS?

Comments are closed.