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The Week Ahead

Week Ahead: Two-Start Frenzy

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

The upcoming week is the most robust yet in this 2016 MLB season, with 22 teams playing seven games. That means days off will be rare, and two-start pitchers will be plentiful.


Below, we list every starter that is scheduled to go twice, divided into the usual three tiers. First, we'll hone in on a few that stick out for various reasons. There are a lot of names to navigate through but we've got some sneaky recommendations.


Read on and load up for a big holiday week.


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* Matt Harvey presents a tough decision for his fantasy owners. He has two starts on tap against relatively unimposing offenses (White Sox and Marlins), but of course he has been a mess lately, taking a loss in each of his last three turns while posting a ghastly 10.80 ERA. By all accounts the righty is still healthy, and if so it's hard to pass him up with these match-ups. I'm listing him as a Decent Play rather than a Strong Play but I still think he's worth using in most situations.


* Tanner Roark, available in about 40 percent of leagues in both Yahoo and ESPN, has recorded a quality start seven times in 10 trips to the mound this year. He's a good bet to add to that total when he heads to Philly and Cincy next week to face two the National League's weakest offenses.


* After being featured in this week's Deep Pickups column (an invaluable tool for Season Pass subscribers), Brewers starter Junior Guerra lands on the two-start list. He opens with a tough assignment at home against the Cardinals but then travels to face the Phillies. He's a sneaky deep-league plug.


* The Rockies have a pair of starters scheduled to go twice in favorable conditions, first at home against the Reds (12th in the NL in scoring average) and then in San Diego against the Padres (13th). Chad Bettis and Jon Gray are both available in the vast majority of leagues. Gray is the preferable choice because of his strikeout potential but both should fare well.


* Drew Smyly has been going through a rough patch lately following his red-hot start, but he's had some tough match-ups and the strikeouts have still been there. He's on the road twice next week but faces far less daunting tasks in Kansas City and Minnesota. The Royals and Twins are the two lowest-scoring teams in the AL, giving him a nice opportunity to get on track. Matt Andriese, available in about half of all Yahoo leagues, will also draw those soft opponents, making for a great sleeper play.


* I recommend him almost every week in some capacity and he has yet to let me down. Kevin Gausman is available in more than half of all leagues despite a 2.70 ERA and a high-powered offense backing him up. He's got home dates scheduled with the Yankees and Red Sox.


* Josh Tomlin doesn't get a lot of hype, probably because he doesn't miss many bats, but his fantastic control has allowed him to pitch effectively deep into games, resulting in a 3.35 ERA and 7-0 record through eight starts. He has two home tilts on the docket, making him an excellent pickup.


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Going Twice...


American League


Strong Plays


Marco Estrada: NYY, @BOS

Drew Smyly: @KC, @MIN

Justin Verlander: @LAA, CWS

Corey Kluber: TEX, KC

Josh Tomlin: TEX, KC

Jose Quintana: @NYM, @DET

Kevin Gausman: BOS, NYY

Ian Kennedy: TB, @CLE


Decent Plays


Colby Lewis: @CLE, SEA

Matt Andriese: @KC, @MIN

Hisashi Iwakuma: SD, @TEX

Nate Karns: SD, @TEX

Ervin Santana: @OAK, TB

Tyler Duffey: @OAK, TB

Dillon Gee: TB, @CLE

Lance McCullers: @ARI, OAK

Steven Wright: @BAL, TOR


At Your Own Risk


Kendall Graveman: MIN, @HOU

CC Sabathia: @TOR, @BAL

Ivan Nova: @TOR, @BAL

Jhoulys Chacin: DET, @PIT

Collin McHugh: @ARI, OAK

Anibal Sanchez: @LAA, CWS

Tyler Wilson: BOS, NYY


National League


Strong Plays


Tanner Roark: @PHI, @CIN

Jeff Samardzija: @ATL, @STL

James Shields: @SEA, COL

Gerrit Cole: @MIA, LAA

Aaron Nola: WAS, MIL

Jeremy Hellickson: WAS, MIL

Jose Fernandez: PIT, NYM

Jason Hammel: LAD, ARI

Jake Arrieta: LAD, ARI


Decent Plays


Matt Harvey: CWS, @MIA

Alex Wood: @CHC, ATL

Carlos Martinez: @MIL, SF

Andrew Cashner: @SEA, COL

Jeff Locke: @MIA, LAA

Junior Guerra: STL, @PHI

Jon Gray: CIN, @SD

Chad Bettis: CIN, @SD

Dan Straily: @COL, WAS

Matt Wisler: SF, @LAD

Patrick Corbin: HOU, @CHC


At Your Own Risk


Jake Peavy: @ATL, @STL

Wily Peralta: STL, @PHI

Justin Nicolino: PIT, NYM

Scott Kazmir: @CHC, ATL

Michael Foltynewicz: SF, @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


Wednesday, June 1st: Trevor Bauer vs. TEX

The righty offers some nice strikeout potential at home against a middle-of-the-pack Rangers offense.


Wednesday, June 1st: Michael Fulmer @ LAA

The Angels offense has been anemic at home, putting up a dreadful 684 OPS and averaging only 3.9 runs per game.


Friday, June 3nd: Doug Fister vs. OAK

Fister has been pretty steady, allowing three or fewer runs in all but one of his nine starts. When he last faced the A's in Oakland he held them to a single run over 6 2/3 innings.


National League


Thursday, June 2nd: Jerad Eickhoff vs. MIL

The rookie has been a key component in Philadelphia's surprisingly effective rotation and has been particularly strong at home with a 2.18 ERA. The Brewers lead the NL in whiffs.


Friday, June 3rd: Chris Rusin @ SD

Rusin has held his own this year while pitching in the most hitter-friendly environment half the time. Give him a shot here in the least hitter-friendly environment.


Total Games


American League


6: CWS, LAA, OAK, TEX, TOR

7: BOS, BAL, CLE, DET, HOU, KC, MIN, NYY, SEA, TB


National League


6: NYM, STL, WAS

7: ARI, ATL, CHC, CIN, COL, LAD, MIA, MIL, PHI, PIT, 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:


Brock Holt: Out indefinitely (concussion)

Tim Adleman: Out indefinitely (oblique)

Mike Moustakas: Out for the season (knee)

Lucas Duda: Out indefinitely (back)

Sonny Gray: Out until early June (shoulder)

Josh Reddick: Out until late June (thumb)

Ketel Marte: Out until early June (thumb)

Angel Pagan: Out until mid-June (hamstring)

Kevin Kiermaier: Out until late July (hand)

Shin-Soo Choo: Out until early June (hamstring)


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.