Getting two starts out of a starting pitcher can make all the difference in a weekly fantasy league. While a one-start ace is still an ace, a two-start ace can single-handedly tip the scales. Additionally, two starts can make an otherwise mediocre spot starter into a difference-maker. This list is broken up by tiers, and rankings are based on skill as well as matchups.


The Aces

  • Yu Darvish @ARI, vs. KC
  • Adam Wainwright @KC, vs. SF
  • Justin Verlander vs. PIT, @BAL
  • Matt Harvey vs. NYY, @MIA
  • Chris Sale vs. CHC, @OAK
  • Cliff Lee @BOS, vs. MIL
  • Madison Bumgarner @OAK, @STL
  • James Shields vs. STL, @TEX
  • Gio Gonzalez vs. BAL, @ATL

You would be starting these pitchers regardless. If there is one among these who seems less safe than the rest, it’s James Shields. He faces two good teams in the Cardinals and Rangers (in Arlington, no less). With the Royals’ offensive underperformance, he may be at risk to lose both games, even with good starts. Meanwhile, Chris Sale’s schedule may be the most friendly of this group, but they should all be started without hesitation.


The Next Best Things

  • Jeff Samardzija @CWS, vs. ARI
  • Clay Buchholz vs. PHI, @NYY
  • Hiroki Kuroda @NYM, vs. BOS
  • Mat Latos vs. CLE, @PIT
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. LAA, @COL

Unless your fantasy steam is stacked with elite starting pitching, there is no reason to bench these pitchers in any format. None of them have particularly treacherous schedules. The one pitcher on this list who would worry me is Hyun-Jin Ryu. While the Angels have fallen far short of expectations, they still have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and (such as he is) Josh Hamilton. Ryu then goes to Coors Field to face the Rockies. If you have better options, or a favorable combination of two one-start pitchers, feel free to sit Ryu.


Acceptable, if Unexceptional

  • C.J. Wilson @LAD, vs. HOU
  • Jarrod Parker vs. SF, vs. CWS
  • Jose Fernandez @TB, vs. NYM
  • Zack Greinke vs. LAA, @COL
  • Jered Weaver @LAD, vs. HOU
  • Trevor Cahill vs. TEX, @CHC
  • Tim Hudson @TOR, vs. WSH
  • Brandon Morrow vs. ATL, @SD
  • Ervin Santana vs. STL, @TEX

This is a very intriguing group of pitchers. It includes C.J. Wilson, Zack Greinke and Jered Weaver, pitchers who would ordinarily be in one of the first two groups. Wilson has failed to live up to expectations since arriving in Los Angeles, but he gets to face the woeful Dodgers in their pitcher-friendly confines and then the dumpster fire that is the Houston Astros. Greinke and Weaver are returning from injuries and need to establish their health and comfort before returning to the top group.

The other subgroup of note in this list is that of Jarrod Parker and Jose Fernandez, young up-and-comers, each with their own causes for concern. Parker has struggled to follow up his 2012 breakout campaign. Fernandez has shown flashes of brilliance, but he pitches for Miami, making wins hard to come by, and he has seen his workload limited in recent starts, limiting his per-start upside.


Matchup Plays

  • Paul Maholm @TOR, vs. WSH
  • Francisco Liriano @DET, vs. CIN
  • Zach McAllister @CIN, vs. TB
  • Jorge De La Rosa @HOU, vs. LAD
  • Carlos Quintana vs. CHC, @OAK
  • Jeremy Hellickson vs. MIA, @CLE
  • Ian Kennedy vs. TEX, @CHC
  • Jonathon Niese  vs. NYY, @MIA
  • Jhoulys Chacin @HOU, vs. LAD

This list is full of pitchers who may have one favorable matchup (Jeremy Hellickson vs. Miami, Ian Kennedy @ Chicago). Feel free to spot start them as needed, but you should not feel obligated to start them blindly just because they have two starts. For instance, Liriano may be worth benching all week based on the expected matchups. If you must plug and play pitchers on this list, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa possess the most favorable combination of starts, but Carlos Quintana should also produce a pair of useful outings.


Deep Leagues Only

  • Ryan Dempster vs. PHI, @NYY
  • Kevin Gausman @WSH, vs. DET
  • Phil Hughes @NYM, vs. BOS
  • Mark Buehrle vs. ATL, @SD
  • Tyler Cloyd @BOS, vs. MIL
  • Ross Detwiler vs. BAL, @ATL
  • Edwin Jackson @CWS, vs. ARI
  • Jake Odorizzi vs. MIA, @CLE
  • Mike Leake vs. CLE, @PIT
  • Dan Straily vs. SF, vs. CWS
  • Kevin Slowey @TB, vs. NYM
  • Tyler Lyons @KC, vs. SF
  • Edinson Volquez @SEA, vs. TOR
  • Ubaldo Jimenez @CIN, vs. TB

Most of these pitchers are available on the waiver wire and some of them are worth adding for one favorable matchup, but they are all combustible and should only be used under dire circumstances. Two pitchers in this group are particularly interesting for different reasons. Ubaldo Jimenez, before getting blasted by Detroit, had three consecutive starts with eight or more strikeouts and two or less runs allowed. His performances this week may prove if that streak was a flash in the pan or proof of some relevant upside.

Additionally, Kevin Gausman has two dangerous starts, but the Orioles top prospect has electric stuff, and if he impresses against the Nationals and Tigers, he may be worth consideration in a wider array of fantasy leagues going forward.


Others with Two Starts

  • Hiram Burgos vs. MIN, @PHI
  • Scott Diamond @MIL, vs. SEA
  • Jeanmar Gomez @DET, vs. CIN
  • Jason Hammel @WSH, vs. DET
  • Aaron Harang vs. SD, @MIN
  • Jordan Lyles vs. COL, @LAA
  • Brandon Maurer vs. SD, @MIN
  • Bud Norris vs. COL, @LAA
  • Mike Pelfrey @MIL, vs. SEA
  • Willy Peralta vs. MIN, @PHI
  • Rick Porcello vs. PIT, @BAL
  • Ross Wolf @ARI, vs. KC

Feel free to ignore this group for the most part. Brandon Maurer has a tempting pair of starts, but nothing thus far has made any of these players trustworthy in fantasy leagues.

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