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The Week Ahead

Week Ahead: Final Countdown

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

It's been quite a ride, folks, but we have finally reached the last week of the 2014 MLB regular season. Bringing you these weekly previews has been a pleasure, and hopefully the two-start pitchers, streamers and matchup info have helped you all find a little extra success in your fantasy leagues. To those who are fortunate enough to still be playing, we've got a big group of high-end two-start options mapped out below.

Please stay in touch during the offseason! Follow me on Twitter at @nnelson9, check out my website TwinsDaily.com and feel free to drop me a line. Thanks to all who have read the column and written in over the course of the season. It's been a lot of fun.

With all that out of the way, scroll on down for your final set of two-start recommendations, streamer suggestions and team-by-team schedule breakdowns.

* Derek Holland could be an ace in the hole for savvy owners. He's available in most leagues even though he has looked unbelievably good since rejoining the Rangers rotation earlier this month, with a 0.99 ERA in four starts. He faces the Astros and struggling Athletics at home.

* I listed Danny Duffy as a "Decent Play" simply because he's coming back from an injury and pitching twice on the road, but he's certainly a worthwhile option if all systems are go. He has posted a tremendous 2.42 ERA for the Royals this year.

* Carlos Carrasco is 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 54 innings since rejoining the Indians rotation in August. Despite this incredible run, he's unowned in nearly 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Grab him for home starts against the Royals and Rays if you can.

* Colorado's Tyler Matzek is 4-2 with a 1.96 ERA and just one homer allowed in his last six starts. He finishes up his rookie season with two starts away from Coors, including one in San Diego.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

R.A. Dickey: SEA (Hernandez), BAL (Norris)
Derek Holland: HOU (Tropeano), OAK (Samardzija)
Alex Cobb: @BOS (Ranaudo), @CLE (Carrasco)
Felix Hernandez: @TOR (Dickey), LAA (Wilson)
James Paxton: @TOR (Happ), LAA (Rasmus)
Sonny Gray: LAA (Weaver), @TEX (Martinez)
Jeff Samardzija: LAA (Wilson), @TEX (Holland)
Brandon McCarthy: BAL (Norris), @BOS (Kelly)
Michael Pineda: BAL (Chen), @BOS (De La Rosa)
Yordano Ventura: @CLE (Salazar), @CWS (Danks)
David Price: CWS (Carroll), MIN (Gibson)
Carlos Carrasco: KC (Duffy), TB (Cobb)

Decent Plays

J.A. Happ: SEA (Paxton), BAL (Chen)
C.J. Wilson: @OAK (Samardzija), @SEA (Hernandez)
Danny Duffy: @CLE (Carrasco), @CWS (Noesi)
Kyle Lobstein: CWS (Bassitt) MIN (Nolasco)
Bud Norris: @NYY (McCarthy), @TOR (Dickey)
Wei-Yin Chen: @NYY (Pineda), @TOR (Happ)

At Your Own Risk

Nick Martinez: HOU (Oberholtzer), OAK (Gray)
Kyle Gibson: ARI (Chefin), @DET (Price)
Ricky Nolasco: ARI (Collmenter), @DET (Lobstein)
Chris Bassitt: @DET (Lobstein), KC (Ventura)

National League

Strong Plays

Tanner Roark: NYM (Colon), MIA (Alvarez)
Adam Wainwright: @CHC (Wood), @ARI (Miley)
Francisco Liriano: @ATL (Harang), @CIN (Simon)
Cole Hamels: @MIA (Alvarez), ATL (Wood)
Mike Fiers: @CIN (Cueto), CHC (Turner)
Henderson Alvarez: PHI (Hamels), @WAS (Roark)
Johnny Cueto: MIL (Fiers), PIT (Cole)
Alex Wood: PIT (Cole), @PHI (Hamels)
Jake Peavy: @LAD (Frias), SD (Stults)
Madison Bumgarner: @LAD (Greinke), SD (Erlin)

Decent Plays

Gerrit Cole: @ATL (Wood), @CIN (Cueto)
Bartolo Colon: @WAS (Roark), HOU (McHugh)
Tyler Matzek: @SD (Stults), @LAD
Aaron Harang: PIT (Liriano), @PHI (Burnett)

At Your Own Risk

Eric Stults: COL (Matzek), @SF (Peavy)
Robbie Erlin: COL (Flande), @SF (Bumgarner)

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, 9/24: Hector Santiago @ OAK
Santiago has allowed one or zero earned runs in five of his last seven starts, and the A's have been in a tailspin.

Thursday, 9/25: Trevor May @ DET
May has rebounded nicely after a brutal start to his MLB career and has won three straight starts. In his last turn he struck out 10 and walked none.

Friday, 9/26: Drew Hutchison vs. BAL
In his last five starts, the Toronto righty has a 3.13 ERA and a fantastic 43-to-9 K/BB ratio in 31 innings. He has notched double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back outings.

National League

Wednesday, 9/24: Jordan Lyles @ SD
Lyles has been very good when pitching away from Coors Field so he's a solid bet in this matchup at pitcher-friendly Petco.

Friday, 9/26: Jarred Cosart @ WAS
The Marlins righty has rattled off seven straight quality starts. The playoff-bound Nats will likely be resting up some regulars.

Friday, 9/26: Jon Niese vs. HOU
At home this season, Niese has a 2.93 ERA and is averaging an extra strikeout per nine innings compared to on the road.

Total Games

American League


National League


Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

BAL: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
CLE: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CWS: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
DET: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
HOU: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
KC: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIN: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
NYY: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
OAK: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
SEA: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TB: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
TEX: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TOR: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP

National League

ARI: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
ATL: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CHC: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
CIN: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
COL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PHI: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
SD: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
SF: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
STL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
WAS: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP

Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to NBC Sports Edge's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.