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The Week Ahead

Week Ahead: Heating Up

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

With the calendar flipping over to May, the MLB season is really getting in gear. Teams and players are beginning to define themselves, providing added clarity for planning fantasy lineups and especially for selecting two-start pitchers and streamers.


The coming week features plenty of strong candidates in both of those categories, and we'll cover a ton of them below. Read on for notes on our favorite two-start options of the week, as well as the usual full listings, streamers, schedule info and injury updates.


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* I suspect that at some point this year, Kevin Gausman is going to be owned just about everywhere in fantasy, but for now he remains available in almost 60 percent of leagues despite successful results his first couple times out. He travels to Minnesota for a date with the light-hitting Twins and then gets a tougher match-up against Detroit. To me, he's a Strong Play and an excellent plug.


* In six starts this year, Aaron Sanchez has tossed one dud (on April 22nd against the A's) and five beauties. The result is a 2.82 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His two starts next week both come on the road, but that shouldn't be a problem as he has a 2.41 career ERA away from Toronto.  


* He doesn't offer the most upside thanks to his modest strikeout rate and proneness to homers, but there's no denying the results of Colby Lewis, who has turned in a quality start five times in six trips to the mound for Texas. He's got a pair of home tilts on tap and both come against offenses that haven't exactly been dominant thus far.


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* Owners in deep leagues should take a look at Adam Morgan, who has a 99 percent availability rate in Yahoo. He has a 6.00 ERA through two starts with the Phillies and isn't a good bet for much run support, but he was missing lots of bat in Triple-A before being called up and is looking ahead to dates with the Braves and Reds, ranked 11th and 15th among NL teams in OPS.


* Another National League two-start option available in almost all leagues is Dan Straily of the Reds. He has turned in consecutive quality starts and is holding opponents to a .190 average on the season.


* Tyler Chatwood has been flat-out phenomenal on the road this year (4-0, 0.33 ERA) and quite the opposite at Coors Field (0-2, 7.20 ERA). It's certainly not unusual to see Colorado pitchers perform better away from home but that's an absurd split that is bound to balance out somewhat. With that in mind, I'd give him consideration even though he pitches twice in Denver next week. He's throwing really well.


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Going Twice...


American League


Strong Plays


Kevin Gausman: @MIN, DET

Corey Kluber: @HOU, MIN

Hector Santiago: STL, @SEA

Aaron Sanchez: @SF, @TEX

Masahiro Tanaka: KC, CWS

Felix Hernandez: TB, LAA

Drew Smyly: @SEA, OAK


Decent Plays


Tyler Wilson: @MIN, DET

Carlos Rodon: @TEX, @NYY

Chris Young: @NYY, ATL

Jose Berrios: BAL, @CLE

Sonny Gray: @BOS, @TB

Colby Lewis: CWS, TOR


At Your Own Risk


Clay Buchholz: OAK, HOU

Henry Owens: OAK, HOU

Anibal Sanchez: @WAS, @BAL

Shane Greene: @WAS, @BAL

Kris Medlen: @NYY, ATL

Mike Fiers: CLE, @BOS


National League


Strong Plays


Stephen Strasburg: DET, MIA

Jon Lester: SD, PIT

Jose Fernandez: MIL, @WAS

Steven Matz: @LAD, @COL

Jacob deGrom: @LAD, @COL


Decent Plays


Rubby De La Rosa: @COL, SF

Dan Straily: PIT, @PHI

Tyler Chatwood: ARI, NYM

Scott Kazmir: NYM, STL

Alex Wood: NYM, STL

Adam Morgan: @ATL, CIN


At Your Own Risk


Robbie Ray: @COL, SF

Mike Foltynewicz: PHI, @KC

Zach Davies: @MIA, SD

Chase Anderson: @MIA, SD

Jon Niese: @CIN, @CHC

Cesar Vargas: @CHC, @MIL

Colin Rea: @CHC, @MIL

Jake Peavy: TOR, @ARI

Mike Leake: @LAA, @LAD


Streamer City


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


American League


Tuesday, May 10th: Sean Manaea @ BOS

The vaunted young lefty gets a tough draw here against the best offense in the AL, but Boston's team OPS is 200 points lower against southpaws compared to right-handers.


Wednesday, May 11th: Ricky Nolasco vs. BAL

Bouncing back from a couple down years, Nolasco has been a bright spot in the Twins rotation, with a shiny 28-to-3 K/BB ratio in five starts.


Friday, May 13th: Nate Karns vs. LAA

Karns has been pitching quite well this year and has a nice soft match-up on his hands at home against a light-hitting Angels lineup.


National League


Wednesday, May 11th: Jerad Eickhoff @ ATL

Eickhoff has allowed three or fewer runs in five of his six starts, and sports an outstanding 34-to-7 K/BB ratio. The Braves have a sub-600 team OPS.


Thursday, May 12th: Aaron Blair vs. PHI

The impressive Braves prospect has held his own through two big-league starts, and merits a look against the NL's lowest-scoring offense.


Friday, May 13th: Jon Gray vs. NYM

It's tough not to be intrigued by Gray, who has notched double-digit strikeouts in two of his three starts. He hasn't fared well at Coors, but the Mets aren't the most intimidating assignment.


Total Games


American League


6: CWS, CLE, LAA, MIN, OAK, SEA, TB, TEX, TOR

7: BAL, BOS, DET, HOU, KC, NYY


National League


6: ATL, CHC, CIN, COL, MIA, PHI, PIT, STL, WAS

7: ARI, LAD, MIL, NYM, SD, SF


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:


J.J. Hardy: Out until late June (foot)

Devin Mesoraco: Out indefinitely (shoulder)

Raisel Iglesias: Out indefinitely (shoulder)

Garrett Richards: Out for the season (elbow)

Alex Rodriguez: Out indefinitely (hamstring)

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.