Even though fantasy football drafts are in full swing, it’s approaching fantasy baseball playoffs time for many leagues, so this is the time when roster management and attention to lineup detail really pays off! Don’t get too distracted with fantasy football that you let your fellow fantasy baseball owners out-manage you down the stretch, costing you playoff seeding, or even worse, a playoff spot.
This piece focuses on the best two-start starting pitcher streamers and sleeper waiver wire pickups for Week 22 of fantasy baseball. These sleeper pitchers are near or below 50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues, and some are ideal for shallow leagues, but most are under-the-radar starters that can be considered in head-to-head leagues.
Wei-Yin Chen, BAL –43%
Projected starts: Tuesday vs. TB, Sunday vs. MIN
Chen is coming off two quality starts, going seven innings in each, allowing four earned runs total, while striking 13 and walking just two. He has found a nice grove over his last nine starts, during which he’s tallied a 6-1 record with two no decisions.
Overall, the Orioles have taken control of the AL East and are providing their starting pitchers with plenty of run support. This week, Chen does face two offenses that have been swinging it well since the All-Star break, but Chen’s numbers, both his ERA and BAA, have decreased every month of the season so far, so he’s clearly found his comfort zone as the season has gone on. And he’s been even better at Camden Yards than on the road, so two home starts makes me feel good about rolling with Chen this week.
Jake Peavy, SF – 42%
Projected starts: Monday vs. COL, Saturday vs. MIL
Peavy has now posted two straight wins and quality starts for the Giants and now has more wins over the past seven days than he had the entire season leading up to this past week. Peavy’s 1-12 record prior to his two game winning streak was not entirely his fault, however, as he was plagued with pretty terrible run support by both the Red Sox and now the Giants.
Nevertheless, he seems to be pitching better back in his old NL West stomping grounds. This week, Peavy gets to pitch twice in the friendly pitching confines of AT&T Park against Colorado’s anemic road offense, who is without Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, and against the Brewers, whose offense has been fairly average since the All-Star break.
James Paxton, SEA –38%
Projected starts: Tuesday vs. TEX, Sunday vs. WAS
Paxton has been decent since his return from his long DL stint. He’s thrown two out of four quality starts and only given up five earned runs total since his August 2nd return. Overall, he supports a 2.20 ERA and 1.10 WHIP (in just 32.2 innings though). The lefty also has just eight walks compared to 29 strikeouts. Seattle has hung around in the wild card standings, and they’ll need Paxton to step up, along with Chris Young, at the backend of the rotation behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma if they want a real shot at making the playoffs.
I think it starts this week, when Paxton faces the Rangers and the Nationals. Texas mailed in the 2014 season a while ago, and are in the bottom third in many offensive categories post All-Star break, including runs scored and team batting average. The Nationals, while overall have been improving offensively, have struck out nearly 300 times against lefties this season, good for 7th most in the league. I like Paxton with two home starts this week.
Eric Stults, SD –3%
Projected starts: Monday vs. MIL, Sunday vs. LAD
Since August 1st, Stults has been excellent for the Padres, posting a 3-0 record and throwing four straight quality outings. Over that span he has lowered his ERA from 5.22 to 4.53, as he’s only given up four earned runs total in those starts.
Stults is a fine two-start streamer this week, as the Padres return from a long road trip and Stults will get two starts at Petco. And like most pitchers, pitching in San Diego has helped him tremendously, as his 2014 home ERA is nearly a full run lower at home than it is on the road. In deeper leagues, Stults can provide some value this week, despite facing two decent offenses in Milwaukee and Los Angeles.
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