A fantasy owner’s best friend is the waiver wire—where finding value can make the difference between a great week and a very disappointing week. Most pitchers see the mound once a week, but if you want to maximize the number of starts per week, it’s important to look for pitchers pitching twice and exploit favorable matchups if they exist. With that, let’s take a look at some pitchers you should be starting this week, and some you should just leave on your bench


Gerrit Cole | Pittsburgh Pirates

Opponents: Jeremy Hellickson (ARI), Chris Heston (SF)

After a loaded week 19 of elite two-start pitchers, week 20 has very little to offer to fantasy owners. Cole is the safest play of the week and is a must start at this point of the season. He hasn’t been as dominant over his last three starts, but he still has a nice 2.48 ERA and a solid 1.12 WHIP in 148.2 innings. The Diamondbacks and Giants are both hitting above .250 as a team in the month of August, but the D’backs are striking out quite a bit this month and the Giants aren’t a team that scares me too much in this matchup. Roll Cole out and don’t sweat it too much.

Michael Wacha | St.Louis Cardinals

Opponents: Chris Heston (SF), Colin Rea (SD)

Wacha is my second must-start of the week. The 24-year-old is having another solid season and should have no problem pitching around the Giants and Padres. San Francisco has hit righties very well this season (.273), but like Cole, Wacha is an elite righty that I’m not worried about. St.Louis hasn’t been great this month offensively, hitting just .241 as a team, but both Heston and Rea aren’t exactly elite pitchers, so even if Wacha gives up a few runs, his offence should be able to help him out. The righty has been solid over his last four starts (5ER in 26IP) and I expect that trend to continue into next week.

Other must start pitchers: None


Cole Hamels | Texas Rangers

Opponents: Taijuan Walker (SEA), Matt Boyd (DET)

Since being traded from the Phillies, Hamels hasn’t exactly been outstanding. The lefty has given up a total of nine runs in 13.2 innings, including five home runs in those two starts. He was scratched from his last start due to a strained groin and will get the Seattle Mariners in his first start followed by the Tigers in his second start. The positive here is that Detroit hasn’t been very good in August—hitting .228 as a team—and the Mariners have been a below-average hitting team all season long, ranked 26th with a team batting average of .243. There’s a chance that Hamles doesn’t make it past the fourth inning in either start, but for fantasy owners who are on the verge of missing the playoffs, there aren’t many other options available. Let’s hope Hamels can rebound a put up two quality starts by the end of the week.

Francisco Liriano | Pittsburgh Pirates

Opponents: Chase Anderson (ARI), Ryan Vogelsong (SF)

Lirano is an above average pitcher, but over his last three starts, the lefty hasn’t been very good. He’s given up 21 hits in 14.2 innings and has failed to pitch into the seventh inning in over a month. Unlike Cole, Liriano doesn’t quite have the same stuff to get past some of the better teams in baseball, one being the Giants. San Francisco is hitting .271 this year as a team (1st in MLB) and .264 against southpaws (8th in MLB). I’d like to trust the 31-year-old veteran, but I just can’t see him having very much success this week. He’s an option if you need pitching, but I would keep my expectations to a minimum.

Garrett Richard | Los Angeles Angels

Opponents: John Danks (CHW), Drew Hutchinson (TOR)

I’m not a massive fan of Richards to start with, but the 27-year-old is the best mediocre option this week (sigh). The Angels ace hasn’t been great this season—posting a 3.55 ERA in 22 games—but his 1.20 WHIP is something I can get behind. He’s taking on the White Sox and the Blue Jays, two teams that aren’t exactly crushing the baseball of late. The White Sox are hitting .248 as a team in August, while the Blue Jays are hitting .234. Toronto has come back down to earth since going on an 11-game winning streak, but they’ve still managed to hit 23 home runs in 14 games this month. Rogers Center is a hitter’s ballpark, meaning Richards will need to keep the ball down and in the park to have any kind of success. It’s a risk, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take and so should fantasy owners.

Other pitchers to consider: Danny Salazar, Jake Odorizzi, Scott Kazmir, Jason Hammel, Edinson Volquez, Chris Heston, Nathan Eovaldi, Erasmo Ramirez, Kevin Gausman,


Jordan Zimmermann | Washington Nationals

Opponents: Jorge De La Rosa (COL), Matt Garza (MIL)

The Nationals have finally hit a new low point after being swept by the Giants over the weekend. This team hasn’t been great over the last few weeks, and I don’t expect them to turn it around in time to make a playoff push. Zimmermann has been better over his last two starts, but I’m not buying into his recent success, especially not this week with a trip to Coors Field. The Rockies are a dangerous team every time they play at home, and this week is no different. I don’t like trusting pitchers at Coors Field and I won’t start now. Bench Zimmermann and look for someone else to start in his place.

C.C Sabathia | New York Yankees

Opponents: Kyle Gibson (MIN), Danny Salazar (CLE)

Sabathia has been better over his last two starts—including a strong start against the Indians—but once again, I’m not buying into the hype. The Yankees have been horrendous in August, hitting a league worst .212. The former Cy Young winner has a 5.23 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 22 starts this season, enough for me to want nothing to do with him. Even if he pitches a great game against the Twins—and there’s a legitimate chance he does that—his offense has gone quiet over the last few games and it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. I’d love to trust the 35-year-old in weekly formats, but my heart just wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of stress.

Chi Chi Gonzalez |Texas Rangers

Opponents: Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA), Anibal Sanchez (DET)

Remember when Chi Chi had a 0.90 ERA and a complete game shutout? Yeah, those days are gone. The 23-year-old is back in the big leagues, but that doesn’t mean fantasy owners should be adding him to their roster. He’s been complete garbage in his last four starts, so bad that his ERA has gone from 0.90 to 4.22 in four starts. He has zero strikeout potential and his control is below average, so why anyone would trust him at this point is beyond me. The kid may one day be a good major league pitcher, but in the mean time, he’s a pitcher to stack against in daily fantasy baseball.

Other pitchers to avoid: Colin Rea, Adam Conley, Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes, Ryan Vogelsong, Jeremy Hellickson, Raisel Iglesias.

Stats and references provided by www.MLB.com and www.ESPN.com



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