Like a fair portion of you out there in Razzland, I had my fantasy football draft over this past weekend. It’s easy to shift gears and pay more attention to the fooze at this point in the season, but we aren’t done here yet! We have matchups to win, standings points to gain, glory to achieve! I enjoyed a tasty chunk of smoked brisket over this past weekend, and it got me thinking…how many things in life do I enjoy more than this delicious meat? I didn’t come up with much – cats, Aubrey Plaza, the feeling you get when you have a four-alarm tummy grumbling emergency when you’re rolling down the highway and eventually find a rest stop to end your suffering. Those things, and the glory of winning a fantasy baseball league.

 

The names in Tier 1 require no convincing. Tier 2 has some names you wouldn’t have expected coming into the season though, in German Marquez, Miles Mikolas, and Zack Wheeler. There are also a plethora of strong options in Tier 3, with the likes of J.A. Happ, Mike Minor, and Dereck Rodriguez that are largely dependable. Tier 4 is a bit down this week, but there are still names like a surging Jake Junis that are worthy of a look. Tier 5 is what happens when you have that four-alarm emergency on the highway and don’t find a rest stop in time.

 

Tier 1
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Corey Kluber @TB 13th 22.2 DET 29th 22.7
Justin Verlander @DET 29th 22.7 ARI 26th 23.9
Zack Greinke @COL 21st 23.4 @HOU 12th 19.8
  • Zack Greinke (ARI) – Greinke has been an ace for you this year, no doubt. Nearly a strikeout per inning, great walk rate, 3.08 ERA…the sub-90 MPH fastball hasn’t been his demise. That said, he has been really lucky. A .266 BABIP with a 41% hard contact rate is hard to do. He has also stranded 83% of baserunnners, roughly 10% above league average. He has to head to Colorado this week, as well as face a tough Astros offense. I considered dropping him a Tier, but in the end it doesn’t matter much. You’re starting him anyway. There are so few pitching options to trust this season, Greinke is a must-start despite the looming regression.

Tier 2
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Miles Mikolas PIT 22nd 19.7 LAD 2nd 22.5
Zack Wheeler MIA 28th 22.4 @BOS 1st 18.7
German Marquez ARI 26th 23.9 @SF 27th 24.2
  • German Marquez (COL) – This (hopefully) is the week your German Marquez shares pay off. The Coors Kielbasa has been filthy since the break, tossing 61.1 innings with a 2.79 ERA/0.99 WHIP, 11.45 K/9, and 2.20 BB/9. This has come thanks to improved breaking balls and more use of them, pushing him up into near must-start territory. If he can avert disaster in his first start at home against Arizona, which he should, he has a glorious matchup against the Giants in AT&T in his second start. The Giants offense is embarrassingly bad these days (dead-last .269 team wOBA over the second half) so Marquez should dominate.

Tier 3
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Jake Arrieta WSH 9th 20.2 MIA 28th 22.4
Rich Hill (L) @CIN 5th 20.9 @STL 6th 21.3
J.A. Happ (L) @MIN 23rd 23.1 TOR 21st 21.8
Tanner Roark @PHI 19th 25 @ATL 18th 20.5
Jose Quintana (L) MIL 16th 20.4 CIN 5th 20.9
Sean Newcomb (L) @SF 25th 22.3 WSH 17th 23
Hyun-Jin Ryu (L) @CIN 5th 20.9 @STL 6th 21.3
Mike Fiers @BAL 25th 23.6 @TB 13th 22.2
Dereck Rodriguez ATL 18th 20.5 COL 21st 23.4
Mike Minor (L) @LAA 27th 21.1 @SD 22nd 24.3
  • Rich Hill (LAD) – Hill is about as least consistent a pitcher as you could conjure up. You could tell me Hill will toss a shutout in his next start or give up seven earned in the first inning, and I wouldn’t argue either way. So we go on what we’ve got so far, and what we’ve got in the second half is a 2.87 ERA over 53.1 innings. His strikeout and walk rates have been ace-like as well, with a 10.29 K/9 and 2.87 BB/9 since the break. He’s been far less homer prone as well, which bodes well for his matchup in Cinci. The Reds and Cards have each handled lefties well this year, and Hill’s general lack of consistency is enough to drop him to Tier 3. Even so, I’d be hard pressed to find a league I wouldn’t start him in next week. Roll him out while he’s still Rich Hill and not Poor Hill. Or maybe if he has no money, he’s Nil Hill? Hmm. No Bill Hill. If you start him, you reside on Thrill Hill! Let’s move on.

Tier 4
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Nathan Eovaldi TOR 7th 22.5 NYM 20th 21.6
Wade LeBlanc (L) SD 22nd 24.3 @LAA 27th 21.1
Joe Musgrove @STL 17th 22.1 @MIL 10th 24.7
Jaime Barria TEX 11th 24.5 SEA 15th 19.8
Jake Odorizzi NYY 4th 22.6 @KC 24th 20.6
Jose Urena @NYM 20th 21.6 @PHI 19th 25
Zack Godley @COL 21st 23.4 @HOU 12th 19.8
Jake Junis CHW 23rd 25.5 MIN 16th 21.8
  • Wade LeBlanc (SEA) – LeBlanc LeBlanked the Orioles and A’s over each of his last two outings, and next week he gets the Padres and Angels. He has put up a sturdy enough 3.44 ERA over the second half, but of course his upside is capped due to very little strikeout upside. His 7.91 K/9 since the break is up from his first half mark of 6.65 at least, and the Padres are very free swingers. You probably have better options in standard mixers, but you could do worse in deeper leagues.

Tier 5
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Lucas Giolito @KC 24th 20.6 @BAL 25th 23.6
Kohl Stewart NYY 4th 22.6 @KC 24th 20.6
Wade Miley (L) @CHC 7th 22.1 PIT 15th 21.6
Aaron Sanchez @BOS 1st 18.7 @NYY 4th 22.6
Jason Vargas (L) MIA 26th 21.7 @BOS 11th 22.6
Francisco Liriano (L) HOU 1st 19.6 @CLE 10th 19.1
Antonio Senzatela ARI 26th 23.9 @SF 27th 24.2
Andrew Cashner OAK 6th 21.8 CHW 23rd 25.5
Adam Wainwright PIT 22nd 19.7 LAD 2nd 22.5
Homer Bailey LAD 2nd 22.5 @CHC 5th 21.4
Odisramer Despaigne TEX 11th 24.5 SEA 15th 19.8
  • Lucas Giolito (CHW) – The name Giolito always reminds me of Jared Leto, and that’s an interesting way to sum up how things could go for you if you start him. You could get Mars Leto, with a strong performance and great success to hearken back on. Or you could get Joker Leto, making you cringe when you look at the box score. The matchups are there; the Royals and Orioles are as cupcakey a two-step as you can order up. However, to me Giolito is matchup-proof in a bad way. No matter who he is playing he will either show up…or he will not. The only way I roll with Giolito is if I have massive leads in ERA/WHIP and am just chasing dubs or K’s. Honestly, the same goes for the rest of Tier 5.

*All starters are projected for two starts as of Friday evening.

You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken

  1. Roger Anderson says:
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    HIll was bumped to Sunday, so, not a 2 starter but that may not be a big loss to most.

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Roger Anderson: Brilliant, I’m sure that curveball will work well in the thin Colorado air. I don’t know why I ever include the Dodgers rotation in this write up. I reckon I’d slot Wood into Tier 2.

      • Schmohawks Bob says:
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        @Dokken: what about Hill? Start or not start in Colorado?

        • Dokken

          Dokken says:
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          @Schmohawks Bob: I’d try to avoid it unless I had a comfortable cushion in ERA/WHIP.

  2. lwomack58 says:
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    Barria vs Minor? Who do you like better for this one game?
    Thank you

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @lwomack58: Minor for sure. He’s been great over the second half, with a 2.88 ERA.

  3. Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:
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    I have Ohtani in a CBS league so I can move him to the hitter bench or the pitcher bench. It’s a keeper league and he’s sitting at a $24 price tag.

    I should drop him, right? RIGHT??

    I can’t bring myself to drop him but I can’t start him at U since I have $20 Nelson Cruz at U. Is Ohtani going to be worth anywhere close to $24 in a 5×5 OBP league next year as “just” a hitter only qualifying at U? I doubt it but wanted to ask before I dropped him.

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Kruk_Ain’t_An_Athlete: I dunno man, he’s gonna be pretty damn good as a full time hitter next year, especially in an OBP format. Massive power and some speed too. $24 isn’t a steal, but I’d try to find someone else to cut.

      • Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:
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        @Dokken: I was afraid you would say something like that…jk…thanks.

  4. dubjay says:
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    I picked up Heaney for a 2 start week and they started him today instead screwing up my plans. He did pitch amazingly today though which is great. Would you keep him for a 1 start week at home vs SEA or drop him for Barria and his 2 starts? Playoff time I usually try to load up on 2 start guys but Leblanc got moved too so I lost his 2 start week already as well. frustrating

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @dubjay: Rotations are constantly in flux at this point in the season, it’s a huge pain. I’d still prefer Barria there. Heaney had been really bad over the second half up until that last start.

  5. German marquez in a daily lineup league in Colorado. My opponent in playoffs is a streamer and heavy reliever guy

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Dnut Eastwood: If you’re asking if you should start Marquez, you should.

  6. scott says:
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    New addition in Trevor Williams (@stl, @mil) thanks to a rain delay. I personally trust him more than Roark, less than Newcomb. Being desperate, I’m starting him while peaking through my fingers.

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @scott: I wouldn’t blame you for making that move. He’s been really good results-wise over the second half, despite extremely low strikeout totals. Been fortunate on balls in play as well.

  7. Sports Benjamin says:
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    Looks like Alex Cobb could be a 2 start guy now – vs. OAK and then vs. CWS. You like him ahead of Jose Urena – @NYM and @PHI?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Sports Benjamin: Woof. Home against the A’s could get ugly. In a vacuum I like Cobb better, but with those matchups I might roll with Urena. Both have blow up potential, so you’re crossing your fingers either way.

  8. RoarOf84 says:
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    The second week of my playoff matchup is about to start and I have a slim lead in WHIP (.910 to .977) and am trailing in ERA by just over a run (3.538 to 2.455). I have a comfortable lead in Ks (76 to 45) and Ws (5 to 2) and anticipate taking SVs, too. Holds, like usual, will probably be a toss up.

    I’m looking to add another two-start SP to my lineup. I know none of these names are great, but who would you start out of Godley, Quintana, Newcomb, and Musgrove? Another option I’d have is to start Sale who is going to be on a pitches thrown/IP count but, given his matchups, shouldn’t kill my ratios. Do I play it safe and start him instead?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @RoarOf84: I would just start Sale and hope he does get the Mets at the end of the week, who are awful against lefties. Godley would be the last on that list @COL/@HOU. I’d give Newcomb consideration after Sale with the SF matchup.

  9. Russ says:
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    12 Team H2H Points

    So it looks as though Quintana has picked up a second start again this week.

    Would you go with Quintana or Ryu?

    Thanks!

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Russ: Quintana. Ryu appears to have lost his second start, at least for the next 30 seconds until the Dodgers shuffle their rotation again.

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