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Fantasy Baseball: Two-Start Pitchers for Week 12

Alex Kantecki ranks the two-start pitchers for Week 12 and recommends a few worth using, including Jason Vargas, Dillon Gee, Dan Straily and Jordan Lyles.

Andrew Burton

Last week's recommendations were the definiton of "meh," as John Lackey got lit up, Bartolo Colon continued his dominance and Tony Cingrani picked up a win and then lost his second start because of a returning Johnny Cueto. So I guess I went 1-1-1, barring a Colon blowup today. Like I said, "meh."

Max Scherzer: Mon-BAL (Hammel), Sat-BOS (Lester)
Adam Wainwright: Tue-CHC (Samardzija), Sun-TEX (Darvish)
Yu Darvish: Tue-OAK (Parker), Sun-@STL (Wainwright)
Matt Harvey: Tue-@ATL, Gm. 2 (TBD), Sun-@PHI (Lannan)
Justin Verlander: Tue-BAL (TBD), Sun-BOS (Buchholz)
Mat Latos: Tue-PIT (Morton), Sun-@ARI (Corbin)
Jeff Samardzija: Tue-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-HOU (Lyles)
Matt Cain: Tue-SD (Volquez), Sun-MIA (Eovaldi)
Shelby Miller: Mon-CHC (Wood), Sat-TEX (Tepesch)
James Shields: Mon-@CLE (Jimenez), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Tue-@NYY (Hughes), Sun-@SD (Volquez)
Clay Buchholz: Tue-TB, Gm. 2 (TBD), Sun-@DET (Verlander)
Patrick Corbin: Mon-MIA (Turner), Sun-CIN (Latos)
Pretty, pretty good
Francisco Liriano: Mon-@CIN (Leake), Sat-@LAA (Vargas)
Travis Wood: Mon-@STL (Miller), Sat-HOU (Norris)
Jarrod Parker: Tue-@TEX (Darvish), Sun-@SEA (Bonderman)
Mike Leake: Mon-PIT (Liriano), Sat-@ARI (Kennedy)
Jason Vargas: Mon-SEA (Harang), Sat-PIT (Liriano)
Dillon Gee: Mon-@ATL (Hudson), Sat-@PHI (Hamels)
Dan Straily: Mon-@TEX (Tepesch), Sat-@SEA (Harang)
Paul Maholm: Tue-NYM, Gm. 1 (Wheeler), Sun-@MIL (Gorzelanny)
Andrew Cashner: Mon-@SF (Zito), Sat-LAD (Greinke)
Tim Hudson: Mon-NYM (Gee), Sat-@MIL (Peralta)
Josh Johnson: Mon-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-BAL (Hammel)
Jordan Lyles: Tue-MIL (Gorzelanny), Sun-@CHC (Samardzija)
Jose Quintana: Tue-@MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-@KC (Shields)
Play the matchups
Jorge De La Rosa: Mon-@TOR (Johnson), *Sat-@WSH (Haren)
Ubaldo Jimenez: Mon-KC (Shields), *Sun-MIN (Pelfrey)
Bud Norris: *Mon-CWS (Axelrod), Sat-@CHC (Wood)
Ross Detwiler: Tue-@PHI (Lee), *Sun-COL (Francis)
Jacob Turner: Mon-@ARI (Corbin), *Sat-@SF (Zito)
Barry Zito: Mon-SD (Cashner), *Sat-MIA (Turner)
Aaron Harang: Mon-@LAA (Vargas), *Sat-OAK (Straily)
Not this week
Chris Archer: Tue-@BOS, Gm. 1 (Aceves), Sun-@NYY (Hughes)
Dylan Axelrod: Mon-@HOU (Norris), Sat-@KC (Davis)
Jeremy Bonderman: Tue-@LAA (TBD), Sun-OAK (Parker)
Nate Eovaldi: Tue-@ARI (TBD), Sun-@SF (Cain)
Jeff Francis: Tue-@TOR (Rogers), Sun-@WSH (Detwiler)
Tom Gorzelanny: Tue-@HOU (Lyles), Sun-ATL (Maholm)
Jason Hammel: Mon-@DET (Scherzer), Sun-@TOR (Johnson)
Dan Haren: Mon-@PHI (Lannan), Sat-COL (De La Rosa)
John Lannan: Mon-WSH (Haren), Sun-NYM (Harvey)
Charlie Morton: Tue-@CIN (Latos), Sun-@LAA (TBD)
Mike Pelfrey: Tue-CWS (Quintana), Sun-@CLE (Jimenez)
Nick Tepesch: Mon-OAK (Straily), Sat-@STL (Miller)
Edinson Volquez: Tue-@SF (Cain), Sun-LAD (Ryu)
My picks

Jason Vargas (22.0% ESPN; 32% Yahoo!)
2013: 5-4, 84.1 IP, 5.66 K/9, 3.09 BB/9, 3.74 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

Vargas gets a pair of home starts against two mediocre offenses in Week 12, as the Mariners and Aaron Harang come to town on Monday, followed by the Pirates and Francisco Liriano on Saturday. I see a win being very likely against Seattle, while a win against Pittsburgh should prove only a smidge more difficult. Vargas hasn't been as sharp with the Angels compared to his days with the Mariners, but the veteran left-hander has been much better in his home digs. He's posted a 3.21 ERA and held opposing batters to a .246/.310/.429 line at home, compared to a 4.42 ERA and .298/.358/.422 line on the road. Vargas isn't someone to own and hold on to, but he's definitely useful in weeks like these.

Dillon Gee (3.5% ESPN; 10% Yahoo!)
2013: 5-6, 70.2 IP, 8.02 K/9, 2.55 BB/9, 4.84 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

I begrudgingly recommend Gee, who I owned in oodles of leagues before dropping him in all but one because of an absolutely brutal start to the season. Since I dropped him, he's turned it around (of course), and I haven't been able to get him back in the majority of those leagues. In a couple of others where he is still available, I'm letting him sit on the free agent pile out of spite. Yeah, I'm that guy. But don't let that stop you from picking up Gee, who is on a tear of quality starts and high strikeout games since the calendar flipped to June. In his last three turns, the preseason sleeper is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 1.05 WHIP to go along with 26 strikeouts and three walks in 21 innings. Gee is likely still available in your league because he plays on a clunker, his ERA is a high 4.84 and his WHIP is an ugly 1.53. But if you play in a deep mixed league or NL-only league, get your hands on Gee. Heck, you might even want to take a chance on him in standard sizes, too. His 4.14 FIP and 3.85 xFIP indicate some serious upside. He was good last year and I thought was on his way to being really good this year. Pick him up and find out.

Dan Straily (9.5% ESPN; 20% Yahoo!)
2013: 4-2, 58.2 IP, 7.21 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 4.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Once I lost Travis Wood to recommend every other week because his ownership shot past the 50% mark, I wondered, "Who would become my new Travis Wood?" Meet Straily, who I have now recommended for the second time in three weeks. Unlike Wood, Straily gets the added benefit of one of the best home parks for pitchers. Oddly enough, the 24-year old right-hander has been better on the road than at home (4.35 ERA away; 4.55 ERA at home), so two away games against the Rangers and Mariners shouldn't keep you from starting Straily, who has gone 3-0 with four quality starts (out of five) with a 2.20 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 20:4 K:BB ratio in his last 32 2/3 innings. The strikeouts are a little light, but the control shown by Straily has been elite since his call-up. Straily already beat the Rangers earlier this year at Arlington, throwing seven innings of shutout ball while allowing just two hits with five strikeout and zero walks. Start Straily with confidence.

Jordan Lyles (2.8% ESPN; 3% Yahoo!)
2013: 3-1, 51.2 IP, 7.14 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, 3.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

Ray took an in-depth look at the Astros "ace" on Friday, and it's probably hard to remember now, but Lyles was Baseball America's No. 42 prospect in 2011. After debuting last year with a 5-12 record and a 5.09 ERA across 25 starts, Lyles started 2013 in Triple-A, where he went an uninspiring 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA across nine starts. But something must have clicked for the young 22-year old when Houston called him up in mid-May, as Lyles has gone 2-0 with four quality starts (out of five), a 1.67 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 28:10 K:BB ratio in his last 37 2/3 innings at the major league level. Lyles is a ground ball pitcher (51.3% GB) who can make his stuff work anywhere, including in the city of Houston where they forget how to play baseball once in awhile. Lyles gets the two NL Central bottom feeders in Week 12, with the Brewers (home) trying to make peace without Ryan Braun, and the Cubs (away) struggling to piece together a respectable everyday lineup.

Alex Kantecki is a fantasy baseball writer for Fake Teams. He also writes the "Closer Chronicle" for Vigilante Baseball every Thursday, ranking and tiering all 30 MLB closers. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @rotodealer.