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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 24 (Sept. 8-14)

Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers for Week 24, including Yusmeiro Petit, Hector Santiago and Edinson Volquez.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With head-to-head playoffs starting soon (or in some cases, they are already underway), I've decided to become more daring with my two-start selections. Some familiar faces pop up this week, including Danny Salazar, Jason Vargas and Jonathon Niese, but I've run that well dry. This week, all three recommendations below the initial tiers and ranks are available in 85 percent or more of ESPN leagues, including two still owned in less than 10 percent.

My hope is these plays help you win that elusive fantasy championship, or you at least have someone else to blame if you don't. Good luck!

Results (through 1/2 of Week 23)

7.31 K/9
2.66 BB/9
3.55 ERA
1.22 WHIP


Felix Hernandez: Mon-HOU (Peacock), Sun-OAK (Lester)
Jon Lester: Tue-@CWS (TBD), Sun-@SEA (Hernandez)
Jordan Zimmermann: Tue-ATL (Santana), Sun-@NYM (DeGrom)

Tier 1

Mike Minor: Mon-@WSH (Fister), Sun-@TEX (Holland)
Jacob deGrom: Tue-COL (Bergman), Sun-WSH (Zimmermann)
Marcus Stroman: Mon-CHC (Turner), Sun-TB (Archer)
Jered Weaver: Mon-@CLE (Salazar), Sat-HOU (Keuchel)
Sonny Gray: Mon-@CWS (Danks), Sat-@SEA (Paxton)
Andrew Cashner: Mon-@LAD (Hernandez), Sun-@ARI (Cahill)
Doug Fister: Mon-ATL (Minor), Sat-@NYM (Niese)
Danny Salazar: Mon-LAA (Weaver), Sat-@DET (Lobstein)
Chris Archer: Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-@TOR (Stroman)

Tier 2

Yusmeiro Petit: Tue-ARI (Miley), Sun-LAD (Hernandez)
Chris Tillman: Tue-@BOS (Workman), Sun-NYY (Kuroda)
Hiroki Kuroda: Tue-TB (Archer), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)
Michael Wacha: Tue-@CIN (Leake), Sun-COL (Lyles)
Justin Verlander: Mon-KC (Guthrie), Sun-CLE (Bauer)
Hector Santiago: Tue-@TEX (Lewis), Sun-HOU (Peacock)
Edinson Volquez: Tue-@PHI (Buchanan), Sun-CHC (Wood)
Shelby Miller: Mon-@CIN (Axelrod), Sat-COL (Morales)
Miguel Gonzalez: Mon-@BOS (Ranaudo), Sat-NYY (Greene)

Tier 3

Jonathon Niese: Mon-COL (Lyles), Sat-WSH (Fister)
Jeff Locke: Mon-@PHI (Kendrick), Sat-CHC (Doubront)
Trevor Bauer: Tue-MIN (May), Sun-@DET (Verlander)
Yovani Gallardo: Mon-MIA (Penny), Sun-CIN (Leake)
Jason Vargas: Tue-@DET (Scherzer), Sun-BOS (Workman)
Kyle Kendrick: Mon-PIT (Locke), Sat-MIA (Penny)
Tom Koehler: Tue-@MIL (Garza), Sun-@PHI (Buchanan)
Mike Leake: Tue-STL (Wacha), Sun-@MIL (Gallardo)

Not this week

Dylan Axelrod: Mon-STL (Miller), Sat-@MIL (Nelson)
David Buchanan: Tue-PIT (Volquez), Sun-MIA (Koehler)
John Danks: Mon-OAK (Gray), Sat-MIN (Milone)
Jeremy Guthrie: Mon-@DET (Verlander), Sat-BOS (Ranaudo)
Roberto Hernandez: Mon-SD (Cashner), Sun-@SF (Petit)
Jordan Lyles: Mon-@NYM (Niese), Sun-@STL (Wacha)
Trevor May: Tue-@CLE (Bauer), Sun-@CWS (TBD)
Brad Peacock: Mon-@SEA (Hernandez), Sun-@LAA (Santiago)
Brad Penny: Mon-@MIL (Gallardo), Sat-@PHI (Kendrick)
Anthony Ranaudo: Mon-BAL (Gonzalez), Sat-@KC (Guthrie)
Brandon Workman: Tue-BAL (Tillman), Sun-@KC (Vargas)

My Week 24 Picks

Yusmeiro Petit, Giants
2014: 4-3, 90.1 IP, 10.06 K/9, 1.79 BB/9, 33.9 GB%, 3.89 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

Petit is my favorite two-start target for those teams in need of a playoff push. The 29-year-old right-hander gets two home starts at AT&T Park, where he owns a 2.64 ERA in 2014 (compared to 5.27 ERA on the road), and has held opponents to a .211/.246/.335 slash line. At this point, starting anyone against the Diamondbacks is a wise choice, and the Dodgers haven't exactly been an offensive juggernaut in the second half (173 runs scored, 22nd in baseball). Petit has been lights out working primarily in relief, but he's also had some experience as a starter (seven starts in 2013 with a 3.56 ERA). He owns an elite 5.61 K/BB ratio and his velocity is at an all-time high. Petit could come up huge in Week 24.

Hector Santiago, Angels
2014: 4-7, 112 IP, 7.79 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, 29.7 GB%, 3.46 ERA, 1.27 WHIP

First, a disclaimer: Santiago has only made it through six innings in two out of his last five starts, making him less attractive in leagues that count quality starts. But the 26-year-old southpaw has two favorable matchups in Week 24 that could produce a pair of wins. Texas has generated the fewest runs in the American League since the All-Star break, and Houston leads the senior circuit with a 23.4 percent strikeout rate. Even though Santiago hasn't worked deep, he's been effective with a 2.28 ERA and 24 Ks over his last 27 2/3 innings. I'm very confident in Santiago in an away start at Arlington, where the Rangers own the major's lowest wRC+ (79). Houston, meanwhile, is average at best on the road (92 wRC+, .303 wOBA); plus, Santiago's home ERA (2.93) is over one run lower than his road ERA (4.02).

Edinson Volquez, Pirates
2014: 11-7, 165.2 IP, 6.19 K/9, 3.26 BB/9, 50.2 GB%, 3.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

I promised myself I would never go back to the Volquez well, but I lied. I've avoided the Padre-turned-Bucco all season, but he's been a fairly reliable starter, posting 15 quality starts in 27 turns, including five of his last six. Pittsburgh is in playoff desperation mode and will need Volquez to continue his hot pitching. The Phillies and Cubs aren't world-beaters, but they have done a good job playing spoilers thus far. I *big gulp* trust Volquez can shut down these two offenses, as both rank in the bottom third in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching – Chicago is 25th at .297, and Philly is 28th at .295.

Stats from