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The Week Ahead

Week Ahead: Grind Time

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

With Labor Day falling on Monday, The Week Ahead officially kicks off the month of September. As the season winds down and the playoffs draw near, teams tangled up in tight races will need every advantage they can get.

Fortunately, there are several appealing two-start options in the coming week, so savvy owners will be able to gain a critical edge over their opponents. We've got all the pitchers who are scheduled to go twice listed below, but first, let's examine some of the most intriguing candidates.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $7,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.

* Miami's Henderson Alvarez is only owned in about 50 percent of leagues despite a 10-6 record and 2.75 ERA. He has been especially effective at Marlins Park, where he's 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA, and he'll start twice there next week.

* Trevor Cahill ended a streak of five straight quality starts in his last outing, but should be able to get back on track with the first of his two turns coming in San Diego.

* Jeremy Hellickson and Drew Smyly are both slated to go twice at Tropicana for the Rays, and both have been throwing pretty well. Smyly is the preferred option (1.50 ERA in five starts since joining Tampa) but Hellickson is far more likely to be available in your league.

* Rookie James Paxton has been incredibly good for the Mariners, allowing only three runs total in his last four starts, but he'll be put to the test with two turns on the road, one of which comes against a high-powered A's lineup.

* Speaking of the Athletics, Jason Hammel may be the least heralded member of Oakland's star-studded rotation -- helping explain his availability in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues -- but he has a 2.86 ERA in August and he'll face a pair of sub-par offenses (Seattle and Houston) at home. Pick him up and give him a shot.

* Two AL two-start pitchers who are available in more than 90 percent of leagues and looking ahead to very favorable matchups: Shane Greene and Hector Santiago.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Jeremy Hellickson: TOR (Dickey), BAL (Norris)
Drew Smyly: BOS (De La Rosa), BAL (Gausman)
Jason Hammel: SEA (Elias), HOU (Keuchel)
Shane Greene: BOS (Kelly), KC (Ventura)
Phil Hughes: @BAL (Gausman), LAA (Shoemaker)
Hector Santiago: @HOU (Peacock), @MIN (Milone)
Yordano Ventura: TEX (Lewis), @NYY (Green)
David Price: @CLE (Kluber), SF (Bumgarner)
Carlos Carrasco: DET, CWS (Quintana)
Corey Kluber: DET (Price), CWS (Sale)

Decent Plays

R.A. Dickey: @TB (Hellickson), @BOS (Kelly)
James Paxton: @OAK (Gray), @TEX (Tepesch)
Roenis Elias: @OAK (Hammel), @TEX (Lewis)
Joe Kelly: @NYY (Greene), TOR (Dickey)
Rubby De La Rosa: @TB (Smyly), TOR (Happ)
Bud Norris: CIN (Latos), @TB (Hellickson)
Kevin Gausman: MIN (Hughes), @TB (Smyly)

At Your Own Risk

Nick Tepesch: @KC (Guthrie), SEA (Paxton)
Colby Lewis: @KC (Ventura), SEA (Elias)
Tommy Milone: CWS (Noesi), LAA (Santiago)

National League

Strong Plays

Gio Gonzalez: @LAD (Hernandez), PHI (Hamels)
Adam Wainwright: PIT (Cole), @MIL (Nelson)
Tim Hudson: @COL (Morales), @DET (Lobstein)
Tyson Ross: ARI (Cahill), @COL (De La Rosa)
Gerrit Cole: @STL (Wainwright), @CHC (Turner)
Cole Hamels: @ATL (Teheran), @WAS (Gonzalez)
Zack Wheeler: @MIA (Alvarez), @CIN (Latos)
Yovani Gallardo: @CHC (Arrieta), STL (Miller)
Henderson Alvarez: NYM (Wheeler), ATL (Teheran)
Mat Latos: @BAL (Norris), NYM (Wheeler)
Julio Teheran: PHI (Hamels), @MIA (Alvarez)

Decent Plays

Shelby Miller: PIT (Locke), @MIL (Gallardo)
Odrisamer Despaigne: ARI (Miley), @COL (Morales)
Jimmy Nelson: @CHC (Turner), STL (Wainwright)
Roberto Hernandez: WAS (Gonzalez), ARI (Miley)
Wade Miley: @SD (Despaigne), @LAD (Hernandez)
Trevor Cahill: @SD (Ross), @LAD (Correia)

At Your Own Risk

Franklin Morales: SF (Hudson), SD (Despaigne)
Jacob Turner: MIL (Nelson), PIT (Cole)

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, 9/3: Danny Salazar vs. DET
When pitching at home this year, Salazar has posted a 3.52 ERA while averaging a strikeout per inning.

Thursday, 9/4: Miles Mikolas vs. SEA
Mikolas shut the Mariners down over eight innings at Safeco in his last start. Let's see if he can follow up with another strong performance at home.

Thursday, 9/4: Chris Capuano vs. BOS
In five August starts, Capuano has an outstanding 33-to-3 K/BB ratio with only three homers allowed. Boston is averaging a league-worst 3.85 runs per game.

National League

Wednesday, 9/3: Tom Koehler vs. NYM
When pitching in Miami this year, Koehler is 6-4 with a 2.69 ERA, holding opponents to a 586 OPS.

Thursday, 9/4: Vidal Nuno @ SD
Nuno has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last six starts, and will should thrive in Pitcher's Paradise against the Padres.

Friday, 9/5: Vance Worley @ CHC
Worley has put up a 3.14 ERA for the Pirates and matches up well against a meager Cubs lineup.

Total Games

American League


National League


Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

ARI: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
ATL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CHC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
COL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAD: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
PHI: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PIT: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
SD: 2 vs. RHP, 5 vs. LHP
SF: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
STL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
WAS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP

The Infirmary

You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page but here's the latest on a few prominent players who have been out of action:

Wilin Rosario: Out until mid-September (wrist)
Michael Cuddyer: Out indefinitely (hamstring)
Daniel Murphy: Out indefinitely (calf)
John Jaso: Out until mid-September (concussion)
Shin-Soo Choo: Out for the season (elbow)

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.