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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 23 of fantasy baseball. These sleeper pitchers are near or below 50% ownership in Yahoo! and FleaFlicker leagues, and some are ideal for shallow leagues, but most are under-the-radar starting pitchers that can be considered in head-to-head leagues.

With the combination of September 1st expanded rosters, as well as many teams having off-days on Thursday, the pool of two-start streamer pitchers is pretty limited this week.  With that said, we were still about to find four quality, under-the-radar two-start pitcher sleepers for this week.

 

 

Jon Niese, NYM – 19% Owned

Projected starts: Tuesday @MIA, Sunday @CIN

By slgckgc on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAfter a hot start to 2014, Niese missed a good deal of time in July with a DL stint. He has since returned to the Mets' rotation and has pitched pretty well, especially lately, tossing four straight quality starts his last four outings. I like Niese’s matchups this week due to his recent success against both the Marlins and Reds.

In two starts against Miami this year, Niese is 1-0 and has a 2.08 ERA. He also has a career 1.42 ERA at Marlins Park. He first faced the Reds back in April and pitched decently in a losing effort.

While Niese’s great numbers at the beginning of the season were obviously not sustainable, I believe he can finish the year strong, starting this week with his two road starts.

 

Wade Miley, ARI – 19% Owned

Projected starts: Tuesday @SD, Sunday @LAD

Despite an 0-2 record over the span, Miley has thrown four straight quality starts and has averaged six strikeouts per game during the month of August. The Dbacks are pretty pitiful so you shouldn’t be looking at Miley to rack up your win totals. That being said, he’s a solid lefty pitcher who is able to provide some innings in a week that doesn’t have a great deal of mid-level two-start pitchers.

It helps that Miley faces the Padres on Tuesday at Petco Park, a very favorable matchup, as well as the Dodgers who, despite their large payroll and big name players, are just 25th in runs scored, second-to-last in homeruns, and 20th in total bases since the All-Star break. I would feel good rolling with Miley for two starts this week.

 

Jeremy Hellickson, TB – 15% Owned

Projected starts: Tuesday vs. TOR, Sunday vs. BAL

jeremy-hellickson-fantasy-baseball-mlb-sp-analysisHellickson labored through his last start, not even completing five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and eight hits.  But before that, he had tossed three of four quality starts, and had a 22/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those starts.  He missed a good part of the first half of the season, but overall he supports a sub-three ERA and a solid 1.20 WHIP.

Over his career, Hellickson is a much better home pitcher than away (3.43 ERA vs. 3.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP vs. 1.32 WHIP) and he gets two starts at Tropicana Field this week against division opponents.

While both the Jays and Orioles have decent offenses, the righty historically has pitched well against his AL East foes (3.08 career ERA against Toronto; 3.38 career ERA against Baltimore). He provides a decent two-start streamer this week.

 

Hector Santiago, LAA – 14% Owned

Projected starts: Tuesday @HOU, Sunday @MIN

Post All-Star break, Santiago has been excellent. He’s given up just seven earned runs in 43 innings (1.47 ERA) and after starting the season just 1-7, he has not lost a decision since before the Mid-Summer Classic.  In the three months June, July, and August, he gave up a total of 19 earned runs in nearly 70 innings pitched, and had a .209 batting-average-against.

Bottom line is that he deserves to be owned in more than 14% of leagues right now, especially with the Angels playing their best ball of the year. This week, he’ll face off against two teams very far out of the AL playoff picture, and while both Houston and Minnesota have been swinging better bats lately, I like Santiago’s chances of staying hot this week.

 





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