So far, my Week 18 recommendations are looking solid except for an Edwin Jackson plopper in Philadelphia. As a Cubs fan and streaming enthusiast, I've reached my tipping point with Jackson.
I give up trying to figure out Edwin Jackson.— Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer) August 7, 2013
Yay one retweet!
Jackson is who he is, and he can't be trusted in even the best of matchups. Now go and watch him shut down the Cardinals this afternoon.
Max Scherzer: Tue-@CWS (Santiago), Sun-KC (Chen)
Yu Darvish: Mon-@HOU (Oberholtzer), Sun-SEA (Ramirez)
Madison Bumgarner: Tue-@WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-@MIA (Koehler)
Adam Wainwright: Tue-PIT (Morton), Sun-@CHC (Wood)
Julio Teheran: Mon-PHI (Hamels), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)
Cole Hamels: Mon-@ATL (Teheran), Sun-LAD (Nolasco)
Chris Sale: Mon-DET (Fister), Sat-@MIN (Albers)
Hiroki Kuroda: Mon-LAA (Richards), Sat-@BOS (Lackey)
Doug Fister: Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-KC (Davis)
Mat Latos: Mon-@CHC (Wood), Sat-@MIL (Peralta)
Homer Bailey: Tue-@CHC (Samardzija), Sun-@MIL (Estrada)
Gio Gonzalez: Tue-SF (Bumgarner), Sun-@ATL (Teheran)
Pretty, pretty good
Bartolo Colon: Tue-HOU (Lyles), Sun-CLE (Salazar)
CC Sabathia: Tue-LAA (Hanson), Sun-@BOS (Dempster)
Chris Archer: Tue-SEA (Ramirez), Sun-TOR (Happ)
Danny Salazar: Mon-@MIN (Albers), Sun-@OAK (Colon)
Ricky Nolasco: Mon-NYM (Mejia), Sun-@PHI (Hamels)
Wade Miley: Mon-BAL (Feldman), Sun-@PIT (Morton)
Travis Wood: Mon-CIN (Latos), Sun-STL (Wainwright)
Eric Stults: Tue-@COL (Manship), Sun-NYM (Mejia)
Jenrry Mejia: Mon-@LAD (Nolasco), Sun-@SD (Stults)
Garrett Richards: Mon-@NYY (Kuroda), Sat-HOU (Keuchel)
Hector Santiago: Tue-DET (Scherzer), Sun-@MIN (Deduno)
Samuel Deduno: Tue-CLE (McAllister), Sun-CWS (Santiago)
Play the matchups
Jhoulys Chacin: *Mon-SD (Volquez), Sun-@BAL (Feldman)
Bruce Chen: *Tue-MIA (Fernandez), Sun-@DET (Scherzer)
Tom Koehler: Mon-@KC (Davis), *Sun-SF (Bumgarner)
Brett Oberholtzer: Mon-TEX (Darvish), *Sun-@LAA (Hanson)
Not this week
Andrew Albers: Mon-CLE (Salazar), Sat-CWS (Sale)
Wade Davis: Mon-MIA (Koehler), Sat-@DET (Fister)
Ryan Dempster: Tue-@TOR (Happ), Sun-NYY (Sabathia
Marco Estrada: Tue-@TEX (Ogando), Sun-CIN (Bailey)
Scott Feldman: Mon-@ARI (Miley), Sun-COL (Chacin)
J.A. Happ: Tue-BOS (Dempster), Sun-@TB (Archer)
Tommy Hanson: Tue-@NYY (Sabathia), Sun-HOU (Oberholtzer)
Josh Johnson: Mon-OAK (Straily), Sat-@TB (TBD)
Charlie Morton: Tue-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-ARI (Miley)
Erasmo Ramirez: Tue-@TB (Archer), Sun-@TEX (Darvish)
Dan Straily: Mon-@TOR (Johnson), Sat-CLE (Masterson)
Edinson Volquez: Mon-@COL (Chacin), Sat-NYM (Niese)
Danny Salazar (10.6% ESPN; 24% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-0, 13.2 IP, 11.20 K/9, 1.32 BB/9, 3.29 ERA, 0.80 WHIP
With Corey Kluber out, the Indians turned to prospect Danny Salazar to fill the void. On Wednesday, the rookie tossed 7 2/3 innings of four-run ball allowing seven hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts against the Tigers. If not for a Miguel Cabrera two-run home run in the eighth, Salazar's stat line would have been dominant. (FYI, he struck out Miggy in his previous three at-bats.) Through his first two starts, Salazar is averaging 96.9 mph on his fastball, and he's produced a 13% swinging strike rate. His high upside for K's makes him an intriguing start anytime he's on the bump, which includes both his turns in Week 19 -- when he faces the Twins and Athletics on the road.
Eric Stults (7.5% ESPN; 26% Yahoo!)
2013: 8-10, 151.2 IP, 5.76 K/9, 1.78 BB/9, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
I have a hard time understanding why Eric Stults' ownership rates -- in ESPN leagues especially -- have come down so far. The last I checked, the left-hander still calls San Diego his home, and while he's not a strong source of strikeouts, he rarely burns you in ERA and WHIP -- he's also tossed 15 quality starts in 24 tries, which is the same number as Mat Latos, Jordan Zimmermann and Yu Darvish. Stults splits an away and home start in Week 19, starting with the Rockies and ending with the Mets. The start against the Rox shouldn't scare you off, as the southpaw has already gone into Colorado and come out unscathed, allowing one earned run over seven innings on seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts back on June 8. It helps that Stults isn't much of a fly ball pitcher (38.5% FB%), as he's only allowed 10 home runs in 151-plus innings. It also helps that Colorado is without Carlos Gonzalez and New York is without David Wright.
Jenrry Mejia (1.9% ESPN; 8% Yahoo!)
2013: 1-1, 18.1 IP, 8.84 K/9, 1.47 BB/9, 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
I admit I didn't know much about Jenrry Mejia -- or that you could spell Henry any other way -- prior to the season, but his first three starts of 2013 have caught my attention. The former top prospect has shut down the Nationals, Marlins and Rockies since being thrown into the Mets rotation, tossing two quality starts with an excellent 24.3% strikeout rate and 6.00 K/BB. His first start of Week 19 is a tough test against the Dodgers, but I don't see how you can get away from Mejia the way he's throwing. His second matchup is a much more comfortable one in San Diego, so if you really, really fear the Los Angeles matchup, you can always just stream him against the Padres -- but to be clear, I'll be starting him in both.
Garrett Richards (0.5% ESPN; 3% Yahoo!)
2013: 3-4, 85.2 IP, 6.41 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, 4.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Garrett Richards may have the lowest ownership rates of any two-start streamer I've recommended, but the Joe Blanton replacement gets two extremely nice matchups against the Yankees and Astros in Week 19 -- only Miami (.275 wOBA) has a lower team wOBA than Houston (.297) and New York (.294) going into Sunday's action. Working in Richards' favor is a 57.5% groundball rate, meaning the short porch in Yankee Stadium shouldn't give him any fits. While it's a little odd to see a K/9 under seven when he dials it up at 95 mph in addition to a decent slider, the talent in the 25-year old's arm is still there to produce big results.
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.