It's the last week of the fantasy baseball season (tear). I hope I've been of *some* help in guiding your teams to the playoffs and hopefully a championship. I'd like to think I had a pretty, pretty good track record this season. That said, I missed the mark on some weeks, too.
If Ray will have me, I'd love to continue this column for the 2014 season, so I ask you, the awesome Fake Teams readers, to provide some constructive criticism in the comments section below. I already plan on coming up with a better tier system and I'd like to keep a running total of my selections throughout the season. But if there's anything else you'd like to see, like ANYTHING, just let me know in the comments. Thanks for a great season!
Updated: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at 3:20 p.m. ET.
Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Tue-HOU (Peacock), Sun-LAA (Vargas)
Mike Minor (ATL) -- Mon-MIL (Estrada), Sat-PHI (Halladay)
Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Mon-WSH (Roark), Sun-CHC (Jackson)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Mon-@MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-@MIA (Eovaldi)
Matt Moore (TB) -- Tue-@NYY (Hughes), Sun-@TOR (Redmond)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Tue-@SF (Cain), Sun-COL (Nicasio)
Matt Cain (SF) -- Tue-LAD (Ryu), Sun-SD (Stults)
Derek Holland (TEX) -- Mon-HOU (Lyles), Sat-LAA (Richards)
Pretty, pretty good
Marco Estrada (MIL) -- Mon-@ATL (Minor), Sun-@NYM (Wheeler)
A.J. Griffin (OAK) -- Mon-@LAA (Richards), Sun-@SEA (Hernandez)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-TOR (Redmond), Sun-BOS (Buchholz)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Mon-BAL (Chen), Sat-@TOR (Happ)
Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Mon-NYM (Wheeler), Sun-PIT (Morton)
Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Mon-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-@ARI (Miley)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Mon-TOR (Happ), Sun-KC (Chen)
Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Mon-@CIN (Cueto), Sun-MIL (Estrada)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Mon-OAK (Griffin), Sat-@TEX (Holland)
Roy Halladay (PHI) -- Mon-@MIA (Eovaldi), Sat-@ATL (Minor)
Play the matchups
Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Tue-TB (Moore), *Sun-@HOU (Bedard)
Wade Miley (ARI) -- *Tue-@SD (Ross), Sun-WSH (Roark)
Nate Eovaldi (MIA) -- *Mon-PHI (Halladay), Sun-DET (Verlander)
Brandon McCarthy (ARI) -- *Mon-@SD (Stults), Sat-WSH (Haren)
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- *Mon-@CHC (Samardzija), Sun-@CIN (Cueto)
Alex Wood (ATL) -- Tue-MIL (Thornburg), *Sun-PHI (Kendrick)
Not this week
Bruce Chen (KC) -- Tue-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-@CWS (Quintana)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-@TB (Archer), Sat-BOS (Lester)
J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Mon-@CWS (Quintana), Sat-TB (Archer)
Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Mon-DET (Verlander), Sun-CLE (TBD)
Todd Redmond (TOR) -- Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-TB (Moore)
Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Mon-PIT (Morton), Sun-@STL (Wainwright)
Eric Stults (SD) -- Mon-ARI (McCarthy), Sun-@SF (Cain)
Phil Hughes (NYY) -- Tue-TB (Moore), Sun-@HOU (Bedard)
Jason Vargas (LAA) -- Tue-OAK (Straily), Sun-@TEX (Darvish)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Mon-@SEA (Maurer), Sat-@CWS (Johnson)
Marco Estrada (14.5% ESPN; 40% Yahoo!)
2013: 6-4, 114 IP, 8.21 K/9, 2.05 BB/9, 4.26 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Out of the widely available two-starters, Estrada is my No. 1 guy for this critical last week in fantasy. He's much more likely to be available in ESPN leagues (like over 85 percent available!), but you shouldn't think twice about plugging and playing him with scheduled starts against the Braves and Mets. Since coming back from a hamstring injury on Aug. 6, Estrada is 2-0 with a 2.62 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings. Excluding his first start off the DL, the right-hander has tossed six innings or more in each start while striking out nine, eight, six and seven in his last four turns. Atlanta has a chance to clinch today, so the Braves best bats could be absent for Estrada's start while the Mets are a team you should always look to exploit. Start Estrada in all leagues.
Tanner Roark (17.2% ESPN; 25% Yahoo!)
2013: 7-0, 41.2 IP, 6.91 K/9, 1.94 BB/9, 1.08 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
Roark has been so damn good you can't possibly sit him right now. The 26-year old who has as many wins as Stephen Strasburg has rattled off three straight victories against the Marlins, Mets and Braves, giving up a total of two runs in 19 innings (0.95 ERA) with 13 strikeouts and two walks. As a starter, opposing batters are hitting .182/.209/.200 against Roark with one extra base hit. His two starts in Week 25 are tough on paper (at Cardinals; at Diamondbacks), but the Nationals are playing for their playoff lives right now and Roark's performance will go a long way in determining whether or not Washington gets there. He's gotten them this far; ride him out.
Jose Quintana (11.3% ESPN; 23% Yahoo!)
2013: 8-6, 185 IP, 7.46 K/9, 2.57 BB/9, 3.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Out of all the two-starters I've recommended in 2013, Quintana's name has appeared the most. I have a hard time believing he remains so widely available, but the numbers don't lie. The White Sox starter has been worth 3.6 WAR in 2013, according to FanGraphs, which is tied with Jordan Zimmermann at No. 26 overall. While Quintana has a higher strikeout rate and Zimmermann has a lower strikeout rate, the one big difference between the two is a matter of 11 wins. And that's why Zimmermann is owned in 100 percent of leagues and Quintana, well, is not. Quintana gets a pair of starts against the Blue Jays and Royals at home in Week 25, where he is 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 16 starts. Excluding a rain-shortened outing against the Yankees on Sept. 6, the right-hander has tossed six consecutive quality starts. Consistency is Quintana's game. He's a safe play this week.
Garrett Richards (1.8% ESPN; 5% Yahoo!)
2013: 7-6, 136 IP, 6.49 K/9, 2.71 BB/9, 3.77 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
I like Richards a pinch more than Roy Halladay, but I understand if you want to start the veteran against Miami and Atlanta instead. I can get behind that. I just think Richards provides a little more upside. The 25-year old right-hander has been solid since replacing (gulp) Joe Blanton in the Angels rotation, going 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings (11 starts). He's allowed one run in three out of his last four starts, including games against the Rangers and Athletics, his Week 25 opponents. Don't write off Richards because he's going up against a pair of playoff contenders. He has a 3.65 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 94 1/3 innings as a starter, compared to a 4.10 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 41 2/3 innings as a reliever.