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The Week Ahead

Week Ahead: Fresh Start

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The 2015 season is nearly upon us, and that means it's time to get things kicked off with this year's first edition of The Week Ahead! As is the case each season, this column will be dropping every Friday afternoon with a tiered list of two-start pitchers for the coming week, as well as suggested streamers (widely available pitchers with good match-ups worth picking up for a single start), total games for each team, injury updates and more.


The fantasy week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. Since the new season gets underway for most clubs this coming Monday, that means that nearly every two-start pitcher is an Opening Day starter. With that being the case, our usual tiers (Strong Plays, Decent Plays, At Your Own Risk) don’t apply as well, so for this first column we’ll simply separate these rotation fronters into two categories: The Great and The Good.


First, let’s go over a few names among the two-start crop that really stand out for one reason or another:


* Dallas Keuchel is largely flying under the radar despite blossoming as Houston's No. 1 starter last year, when he tossed a career-high 200 innings with a 2.93 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He lacks a dominating arsenal, so he might be in line for regression in a few areas, but he also should see more run support this year and that ought to help him build on last year's win total of 12. It will be interesting to see how he fares in Week One at home against the Indians and on the road against the Rangers.


* In many drafts, Josh Collmenter is going untouched, which makes sense because he was far from spectacular last year. He did, however, gain steam in the second half, posting a 2.25 ERA in the final two months, and he didn't allow a run all spring. Give him a look with two tilts at home.


* Nervous about Clay Buchholz? We can't blame you, coming off that mess of a 2014 campaign. But he has impressed at Red Sox camp, flashing improved velocity with a strong 22-to-4 K/BB ratio during exhibition play. Owned in just 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he merits consideration with a pair of road starts against iffy offenses.


* One guy who doesn't really fit into the "Great" or "Good" categories is Bartolo Colon, who gets the Opening Day nod for the Mets seemingly more out of respect than based on what he brings to the table at age 41. He's continued to be effective as he's aged, but we're not counting on him for much, especially with a tough slate in the opening week.


Going Twice...


American League


The Great


Corey Kluber: @HOU, DET

David Price: MIN, @CLE

Jered Weaver: @SEA, KC

Felix Hernandez: LAA, @OAK

Masahiro Tanaka: TOR, BOS

Sonny Gray: TEX, SEA

Chris Archer: BAL, @MIA


The Good


Chris Tillman: @TB, TOR

Clay Buchholz: @PHI, @NYY

Jeff Samardzija: @KC, MIN

Dallas Keuchel: CLE, @TEX

Yordano Ventura: CWS, @LAA

Phil Hughes: @DET, @CWS

Yovani Gallardo: @OAK, HOU

Colby Lewis: @OAK, HOU

Drew Hutchison: @NYY, @BAL


National League


The Great


Max Scherzer: NYM, @PHI

Clayton Kershaw: SD, @ARI

Julio Teheran: @MIA, NYM

Madison Bumgarner @ARI, @SD

Johnny Cueto: PIT, STL

Francisco Liriano: @CIN, @MIL

James Shields: @LAD, SF

Tyson Ross: @LAD, SF


The Good


Josh Collmenter: SF, LAD

Cole Hamels: BOS, WAS

Kyle Kendrick: @MIL, CHC

Henderson Alvarez: ATL, TB

Kyle Lohse: COL, PIT

Bartolo Colon: @WAS, @ATL

Streamer City


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


American League


Thursday, April 9: Edinson Volquez vs. CWS

The 31-year-old will be hard-pressed to replicate his 2014 season, but he'll start his Royals career with a home match-up against a White Sox lineup carrying plenty of question marks.


Friday, April 10: Nathan Eovaldi vs. BOS

The righty could prove to be a very good find for the Yankees. He's always had intriguing stuff, and posted a 14/0 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings in the Grapefruit League.


Friday, April 10: Kyle Gibson @ CWS

I view Gibson as a nice breakout candidate this year. He's coming off a nice spring and should induce plenty of grounders and strikeouts against the Sox.


National League


Wednesday, April 8: Jason Hammel vs. STL

The veteran right-hander is available in roughly half of all leagues despite coming off one of the best seasons of his career. As long as he keeps the ball in the yard, which he's typically been able to do at Wrigley, he should be fine.


Friday, April 10: Dan Haren vs. TB

Haren is a bit of a wild card this season, but he consistently puts up great K/BB ratios and he should be able to handle this Rays lineup at home.


Friday, April 10: Anthony DeSclafani vs. STL

Last year's bloated 6.27 ERA belied his solid peripherals and strong work in the minors. We expect DeSclafani to take a step forward, and it could start here.


Total Games


American League





National League


5: CHC


7: SD, SF

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