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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 18 (Aug. 10-16)

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Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers in Week 18, including Brett Anderson, Rubby De La Rosa and Jon Niese.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It's a very light week in terms of two start-pitchers with some five-game slates out there. The American League looks especially weak, but I see a lot of solid options worth rolling the dice on in the Senior Circuit. I took a bit of a step back last week, mostly at the hands of Jesse Chavez, who imploded in his first start against the Orioles, allowing six earned runs in less than four innings of work (thanks, Chris Davis). He did bounce back against the Astros, however, earning a quality start after allowing just one run in seven innings despite some command issues (four free passes). Jimmy Nelson earned the QS in his first turn, and Mike Fiers struggled in his Houston debut. Nelson gets the Cardinals today, and Fiers take the mound in Oakland.

My results

30-37 (91 starts, 48 quality starts)
4.56 ERA
6.66 K/9
2.58 BB/9
1.34 WHIP

Start!

Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-WSH (Ross), Sun-CIN (Lorenzen)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Mon-LAA (Santiago), Sun-CHC (Haren)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Tue-COL (Rusin), Sun-PIT (Happ)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-HOU (Kazmir), Sun-WSH (Ross)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-NYY (Severino), Sun-@MIN (Gibson)
Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Mon-DET (Boyd), Sat-LAA (Santiago)

Tier 1

Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-PIT (Happ), Sun-MIA (Hand)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Mon-@LAD (Anderson), Sat-@SF (Peavy)
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Mon-WSH (Gonzalez), Sat-CIN (Holmberg)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-@KC (Cueto)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Tue-@CHC (Haren), Sun-PHI (Harang)
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Tue-@MIN (Gibson), Sun-TB (Ramirez)

Tier 2

Joe Ross (WSH) -- Tue-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner)
Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Mon-COL (Gray), Sat-PIT (Morton)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Mon-PHI (Harang), Sun-@ATL (Miller)
Dan Haren (CHC) -- Tue-MIL (Jungmann), Sun-@CWS (Sale)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-TEX (Gallardo), Sun-CLE (Carrasco)

Tier 3

Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Mon-CIN (Holmberg), Sun-@COL (Rusin)
Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Mon-@SEA (Nuno), Sun-OAK (Graveman)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Tue-ATL (Perez), Sun-@TEX (Gallardo)
Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Tue-@CWS (Rodon), Sun-@KC (Ventura)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-DET (Sanchez), Sun-LAA (Weaver)
J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Tue-@STL (Martinez), Sun-@NYM (Harvey)
Jon Gray (COL) -- Mon-@NYM (Niese), Sat-SD (Cashner)

Not this week

Matt Boyd (DET) -- Mon-@KC (Cueto), Sun-@HOU (Fiers)
Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Tue-@TOR (Hutchison), Sun-@BAL (Gonzalez)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Mon-@ARI (De La Rosa), Sun-@MIL (Jungmann)
David Holmberg (CIN) -- Mon-@SD (Kennedy), Sat-@LAD (Anderson)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Tue-OAK (Graveman), Sun-NYY (Severino)
Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Tue-@SD (Despaigne), Sun-@LAD (Greinke)
Luis Severino (NYY) -- Tue-@CLE (Carrasco), Sun-@TOR (Hutchison)

My Week 18 Picks

Brett Anderson, Dodgers (WSH, CIN)
2015: 6-6, 3.06 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 2.61 K/B, 1.28 WHIP

I'm still not sure why Anderson is available in nearly 80 percent of ESPN leagues. There was an injury scare not far back, but he didn't end up missing any significant time and has continued to be a productive No. 3 behind Kershaw and Greinke for the Dodgers, tossing 13 quality starts in 21 turns. Anderson continues to pound the ground with a career high 66.3 percent ground ball rate, and he's been remarkably consistent - tossing nine consecutive starts with three earned runs or fewer and going six innings or more. He also gets his two starts a home this week, where he's holding his opponents to a .305 OBP and .375 SLG.

Rubby De La Rosa, Diamondbacks (PHI, @ATL)
2015: 9-5, 4.56 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 2.83 K/BB, 1.28 WHIP

De La Rosa has shown his warts and has been maddening inconsistent for fantasy owners, but Arizona's 26-year-old right-hander couldn't ask for a better Week 18 slate against the Phillies and Braves. Against RHP, the Braves and Phillies rank 26th and 29th in terms of wRC+, and 24th and 29th in terms of wOBA. Atlanta is still without Freeman, too, so De La Rosa is set up for success this week.  Those two lineups will have a hard time against DLR, who has held his right-handed peers to a .207/.263/.318 slash line (compared to .303/.360/.571 ... that's a crazy split). Take advantage now because it might be the last time you can safely use DLR in a two-start week.

Jon Niese, Mets (COL, PIT)
2015: 6-9, 3.51 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 2.32 K/BB, 1.33 WHIP

I'll stick with another NL pitcher and pick Niese, who has been very good - and very consistent (outside of one awful start against the Dodgers) - since the All-Star break, posting a 3.04 ERA while allowing just four extra-base hits and walking four against 98 total batters faces. Niese has actually struggled at home compared to his road starts (4.30 ERA at home, 2.84 ERA on the road), but you're not going to complain with a LHP facing the Rockies outside of Colorado. Speaking of the Rockies, they own the 27th wOBA and 30th wRC+ against southpaws. Niese should give you quality innings this week with a great shot at one win, especially against Colorado in New York.

Stats from FanGraphs.com