Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers 4/2-4/9 - Roto Street Journal
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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers 4/2-4/9

Two Start Pitchers: Week 1, April 2nd-9th

Knowledge is key in fantasy baseball, so knowing which starters are slated for two starts in a week can help you prepare for and navigate the week to come. Whether these guys are your top-of-the-line aces or readily available waiver wire dwellers, I am here to break down the two-start pitchers for the upcoming week so you can get quality volume, innings, strikeouts and other stats and gain an advantage over your opposition. As a note, teams have not locked in their starting rotations for the first week of the season, so some different names may end up appearing in this article as the week progresses. As usual, I will try my best to be on top of everything. To the rankings!!

Never a Doubt

  1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD (vs. SD, @COL)
  2. Noah Syndergaard, NYM (vs. ATL, vs. MIA)
  3. Madison Bumgarner, SF (@ARI, @SD)
  4. Stephen Strasburg, WSH (vs. MIA, @PHI)
  5. Yu Darvish, TEX (vs. CLE, vs. OAK)
  6. Corey Kluber, CLE (@TEX, @ARI)
  7. Johnny Cueto, SF (@ARI, @SD)

Confession time: I ALMOST ranked Noah Syndergaard first with 2 juicy home matchups against the Braves and Marlins, but then I thought about Clayton Kershaw throwing a perfect game against Jhoulys Chacin and the San Diego Padres and resigned myself to sticking with the best pitcher of this millennium. I have chronicled my love for Yu Darvish this year, and that love doesn’t stop Week 1 as he finds himself with high-strikeout upside in two home starts, one being against the inept Oakland Athletics offense.

Borderline Aces

  1. Justin Verlander, DET (@CHW, vs. BOS)
  2. Jon Lester, CHC (@STL, @ MIL)
  3. Chris Archer, TB (vs. NYY, vs. TOR)
  4. Dallas Keuchel, HOU (vs. SEA, vs. KC)
  5. Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (@TB, @BAL)
  6. Carlos Martinez, STL (vs. CHC, vs. CIN)
  7. Jose Quintana, CWS (vs. DET, vs. MIN)
  8. Kenta Maeda, LAD (vs. SD, @COL)

Dallas Keuchel might be a name that immediately jumps out at you in this section. We all know about that 4.60 ERA last year, mainly as a result of injury, lack of command and an increased HR rate (all of which are connected). But two home starts (where he has a 2.43 ERA since 2014) could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Jose Quintana also makes a surprise appearance here. I think all fantasy owners of Quintana can agree (myself included) that the best thing for him would be a trade to the Cardinals or even the Braves. Until then, we may not get the wins, but you will get solid, consistent production out of one of the steadier performers in the league.

Very Good

  1. Gerrit Cole, PIT (@BOS, vs. ATL)
  2. Danny Duffy, KC (@MIN, @HOU)
  3. Lance McCullers, HOU (vs. SEA, vs. KC)
  4. Zack Greinke, ARI (vs. SF, vs. CLE)
  5. Rick Porcello, BOS (vs. PIT, @DET)
  6. Marco Estrada, TOR (@BAL, @TB)

Like his first mate Keuchel, preseason favorite and fantasy darling Lance McCullers will take the mound twice at home against Hisashi Iwakuma and Nathan Karns, neither of which is likely to set the world on fire. Personally, I am expecting rather big things from McCullers this year after watching him dazzle us for portions of the last two seasons. Zack Greinke remains one of he most divisive fantasy players this year: we know he is not the 1.66 ERA guy from 2015, but he also is not the 4.40 ERA guy from 2016. If we knew those numbers would metaphysically join together and perfectly split into a 3.00 ERA, owners would rejoice in the streets like money was falling from the sky. Normally two home starts to begin a season is a good thing, but don’t tell that to Zack and his 4.81 2016 home ERA.

Some Upside Here

  1. Kevin Gausman, BAL (vs. TOR, vs. NYY)
  2. Matt Shoemaker, LAA (@OAK, vs. SEA)
  3. Sean Manaea, OAK (vs. LAA, @TEX)
  4. Julio Teheran, ATL (@NYM, @PIT)
  5. Felix Hernandez, SEA (@HOU, @LAA)
  6. Ervin Santana, MIN (vs. KC, @CHW)
  7. Jeremy Hellickson, PHI (@CIN, vs. WSH)
  8. Jake Odorizzi, TB (vs. NYY, vs. TOR)
  9. Tyler Anderson, COL (@MIL, vs. LAD)
  10. Jon Gray, COL (@MIL, vs. LAD)

Sean Manaea appears poised for a breakout this year, and it is time to buy-buy-buy (or as *NSYNC would say, Bye-Bye-Bye). After posting a 2.67 ERA and 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the second half last year, fantasy owners are collectively holding their breath at his seemingly limitless potential. Felix Hernandez would appear to the casual fantasygoer as the misplaced name in this group, and he would be right…if this was 2014. In 2016, The King’s strikeout rate decreased, walk rate increased, ERA ballooned close to 4 (with an even worse 4.62 FIP) and his hard contact rate jumped. This man amongst men has served us well over his career and deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as the best pitchers since the turn of the century, but Elvis has one foot out of the building and the other may not be too far behind.  I actually like Jon Gray quite a bit this year. He is young, strikes out over one batter per inning, boasts an impressive plus-pitch arsenal and his FIP in his 38 Major League starts is just above 3.60. You know what I don’t like: pitching in Home Run Derby Park (Miller Park) and then going back home to Home Run Derby Park, Part 2, the Revenge of Coors Field, to face Clayton Kershaw.

Cross Your Fingers and Pray

  1. Ricky Nolasco, LAA (@OAK, vs. SEA)
  2. Kendall Graveman, OAK (vs. LAA, @TEX)
  3. Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA (@HOU, @LAA)
  4. Edinson Volquez, MIA (@WSH, @NYM)
  5. Taijuan Walker, ARI (vs. SF, vs. CLE)
  6. CC Sabathia, NYY (@TB, @BAL)

Remember that dare in high school to pull the fire alarm that seemed like such a great prank at the time, only to realize within milliseconds thereafter of the complete and utter stupidity of that action? That is how I feel here. You are not completely without reward (pranks are always fun) but you’ll probably end up getting caught with your pants down here. Iwakuma won me many fantasy leagues since his career began in 2012, but he is about to turn 36 and he is coming off a year in which he almost even swapped a decrease in ground balls by 10% with an increase in fly balls by 10%. Thank you for your service Mr. Iwakuma, but your pink slip will be waiting for you at the front desk

Please No

  1. Zach Davies, MIL (vs. COL, vs. CHC)
  2. Junior Guerra, MIL (vs. COL, vs. CHC)
  3. Martin Perez, TEX (vs. CLE, vs. OAK)
  4. Scott Feldman, CIN (vs. PHI, @STL)
  5. Clayton Richard, SD (@LAD, vs. SF)
  6. Jhoulys Chacin, SD (@LAD, vs. SF)

Just like the Grinch, I wouldn’t go near any of these guys with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole. Maybe my favorite note to start the year is that Chacin is going against Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner to begin his season. Now I am no Miss Cleo (RIP in peace) but I am going to go out on a limb and say he will not be winning a game in his first week this season. (As a note if he starts 2-0 and puts up spectacular numbers, I deserve the internet’s full wrath and fury and I will personally apologize to Mr. Chacin and his family in a written letter).


Come back to Roto Street Journal every weekend to see the two start ranks and how to best build your rotation for success. Good luck navigating Week 1 everyone, and happy streaming! 

To contact me with any questions or general fantasy baseball discussion, please email me at or tweet me @AJGamballer.