Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Are You For Real? Surprising SP Starts from Week 20

Welcome back to "Are You For Real?" Each week, we look at lower-owned starting pitchers who have performed unexpectedly well in their last outing(s).

We've got a pair of interesting AL hurlers on the slate this week. Jakob Junis put up a pair of good starts against the Red Sox and Tigers, while Ryan Yarbrough was one out from going the distance in a scoreless outing against the Mariners.

Ownership is based on Yahoo leagues and is accurate as of 08/12/2019. The goal of this article is to look at pitchers widely available that could be useful in fantasy, whether they have been recently added by a ton of teams or are still sitting on waivers.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Jakob Junis, Kansas City Royals

24% Owned

2019 Stats (Prior to these starts): 132.1 IP, 5.03 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 13.6% K-BB%

08/06 @ BOS: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
08/11 @ DET: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Junis was dominant last week, showing up big twice on the road for a pair of rare and precious wins for Kansas City. Since he first broke onto the scene in 2017, Junis has been known for his two-pitch pitching style, using his fastball and slider almost exclusively. It’s not a true two-pitch style, as Junis does use both a two-seam and four-seam fastball, but he lacks a second breaking ball to go along with his slider. With a career 1.56 HR/9 and 4.66 FIP this approach has given Junis plenty of trouble during his young career. With these last two starts, it’s fair to ask whether Junis has turned a corner.

What we’d expect to see from a Junis breakout would be the development of a third pitch. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened for Junis. He threw exactly one changeup in his last start against Detroit. The lack of changeup usage makes sense, as Junis doesn’t use the pitch against same-handed batters, but without the introduction of another third pitch, there isn’t any added depth to this arsenal. Without an additional dimension, this is a rather shallow repertoire that leaves us grasping for answers as to how Junis has been pitching better.

The most glaring change that Junis has made over these last few starts was upping his fastball usage. Junis had been around a 45/45/10 split between his fastball, slider, and changeup, but he’s thrown his fastballs over 60% of the time in his last two starts. Since that’s the biggest change we can see in Junis’s approach, we could suppose this is the reason for his success, but that’s a tough sell in my view. Junis’s fastballs have been toasted this season, with opponents hitting .339 with a .637 SLG against his four-seamer, and .339 with a .504 SLG against his sinker. He didn’t improve his velocity or movement over these last two starts, so his success seems more the result of a near 90% LOB rate than anything else. There aren’t any significant changes here for Junis to ascend beyond streamer status.


No third pitch and no discernable changes to his existing repertoire makes this recent success questionable. We’re in a critical point in the season, so don’t put your ratios on the line with Junis.


Ryan Yarbrough, Tampa Bay Rays

56% Owned

2019 Stats (Prior to this start): 90 IP, 3.90 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 16.1% K-BB%

08/11 @ SEA: 8.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Yarbrough went deep in his most recent start, going a career-high 8.2 innings in a dominant performance against the Mariners. His second half has been great as well, with Yarbrough posting a 1.78 ERA in 35.1 innings along with a monster 22.3% K-BB%. Yarborough had made an interesting shift in his approach over the course of the season, and he looks to be reaping the benefits.

As the season has progressed, so has Yarbrough. After a disastrous April where he posted an 8.10 ERA, Yarbrough has rebounded to the tune of a 2.95 ERA and 3.28 FIP since May 1. His success has coincided with a fundamental change in approach. Yarbrough has begun throwing his cutter as his primary fastball, and it has worked wonders for him. Yarbrough has eliminated his platoon splits, as righties are hitting just .210 against him this season compared to .262 last year. Right-handed batters are hitting a mere .172 against the cutter with a .097 ISO. Yarbrough’s biggest problems last season came from poor platoon splits, and with his new cutter-heavy style he’s got two separate approaches to take against both sides of the plate. He’ll use primarily the cutter and change against righties, and the four-seamer and slider against lefties. It’s only been about two months since he began this shift, but this is exactly the type of thing to look for in a pitcher when judging whether his improvements are legitimate.

The biggest criticism against Yarbrough at this point would be a lack of strikeout upside. His slider has just a 13.8% SwStr and a meager 22.3% chase rate, both underwhelming numbers for the pitch. His changeup has been a bit better, with a 16.4% SwStr and 46.3% chase rate, but owners should not expect him to maintain a 9.0 K/9 or better. Instead, Yarbrough will get by with his elite 84.2 MPH average exit velocity against. Other than his fastball, batters have an average exit velocity below 83 MPH against all of Yarbrough’s pitches. Combine that type of contact management with a 3.4% BB rate, and we can forgive a below-average strikeout rate in this case. Yarbrough’s gains look sustainable over the long term, and it will be difficult to find any reliable starting pitchers in mid-August. Owners should definitely be looking to hop aboard this train.


He won't put up flashy strikeout numbers, but a shift in approach against righties should pave the way for success for Yarbrough. He's a reliable pitcher that can be had in nearly half of leagues.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

More Recent Articles


Week 15-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Still doing things a little differently this week--for those of you who are still alive. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

You have to love fantasy football. You have to, otherwise you would have given up by now. In a week that most likely represented the first matchup of the fantasy playoffs or a must-win in some form for the vast majority of players, we were treated to the following: Alvin Kamara netting three fantasy points,... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

It is almost inconceivable that we are progressing into the second week of fantasy postseason matchups. Congratulations to those of you whose teams are still competing in the playoffs. Your meticulous planning during the draft process and the regular season has been rewarded with an opportunity to win your leagues' championships. This critical week provides the opportunity to... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

Week 15 is upon us, which means that even the holdovers who play in leagues with four team playoffs and no byes are now in fantasy playoff mode. This is it: the home stretch. Are there any wide receivers left on the waiver wire who can help you in the playoffs? Let's look at some... Read More

Week 15 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

If your fantasy football season is over, either because you did not make your league’s playoffs or because you have had enough of failing in DFS contests, then this column is not for you. Congratulations if you HAVE qualified for your fantasy league’s playoffs! To reach the postseason you must have received some decent play... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs in almost in the books, and if you're fortunate enough to have advanced then it's already time to start thinking about Week 15 lineups, especially for those who stream quarterbacks. Luckily, there are plenty of viable options available as eliminated owners have stopped making moves, and if you... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 15 Lightning Round

An injury-laden Week 14 decided many matchups, with several big names going down in a Red Wedding-esque affair. Not only was Josh Jacobs was a late inactive, but Jared Cook, Devante Parker, Albert Wilson all left with concussions, Mike Evans pulled up with a hamstring injury, Calvin Ridley and Ryan Griffin hurt their ankles, Derrius... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Jared Cook has been ruled out of the game after... Read More

Monday Night Fantasy Football Starts/Sits - Week 14

Finally, we had a good fantasy matchup last week. And now, as punishment, we get this. The Eagles against the Giants is a good rivalry game. But for fantasy? Not so much. Even key players Saquon Barkley and Carson Wentz have been severely disappointing in 2019. The game is not going to be something to... Read More

Week 14 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 14... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Updated Week 14 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 14 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 14 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss Week 14. Adam Thielen (hamstring) has officially been ruled out. Le'Veon Bell... Read More

Fantasy Football Mailbag - Q&A for Week 14

This article's content may vary week-to-week, but generally, it will be answering questions fielded from either the @RotoBallerNFL twitter account or my personal one (@RotoSurgeon). This week, the focus is on start/sit questions, and there were plenty. Every week, many of us struggle with which quarterback to start, or who to flex, and I am... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 14

Welcome to our Week 14 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target In Week 14

In Week 13, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were the high-end options that had great matchups. Adams had a huge two-touchdown game while Hill only came up with 55 scoreless yards, falling victim to game flow as the Chiefs led from start to finish, scoring a defensive touchdown in the process. Several of the wide receivers... Read More

Week 14 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More