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Week 26 Waiver Wire: Starting Pitchers

Well, here we are. Congratulations to you who are still reading, as you've made it this far. We’ve officially reached the final week of the fantasy baseball season, and there is no more critical time of the year outside of the draft.

Championships are won and lost here, with those battling for a spot on the podium also dealing with their own battle plans. We’re going to check in on some lower-owned options now, and then bid adieu to this action until next season. I just want to tell you all good luck, we're all counting on you.

Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?


Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Joe Musgrove (HOU, SP) – 34% Owned – Musgrove’s last three starts have been pretty solid, with two of them being quality and the third only not qualifying as such due to his going 5 1/3 innings. He’ll take on the Angels at home on Sept. 25, the day this is published, but this means he also sets up for a rematch with said Angels on the road as the season wraps up. With 16 Ks and a WHIP around one in his last 17 2/3 innings, he’s a worthwhile watch for later in the week.

James Paxton (SEA, SP) – 34% Owned – Paxton has rifled off three quality starts in a row now, to the tune off a 2.25 ERA, 1.68 FIP and 3.02 xFIP alongside a healthy 19-to-3 K:BB ratio. Those starts came against Oakland, Houston and Minnesota, and while that might be uninspiring, his last start will be a rematch against Houston on Sept. 28 on the road. Not a bad spot for Paxton to finish strong.

Blake Snell (TB, SP) – 23% Owned – Snell bounced back with five scoreless frames against the Yankees after two pretty poor starts, but has only made it through six innings once in his last 10 starts. So why should you care? Well, the rookie is still a great bet to exceed a strikeout per inning (9.80 K/9 on the season), and there are plenty of folks out there who will target specific categories. It isn’t as though he can’t turn in another scoreless effort when he faces the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 28, but do be aware he has a 4.50 road ERA against a 3.04 mark at home.

Kendall Graveman (OAK, SP) – 19% Owned – Graveman had been a fantasy darling for a while there, as he rattled off quality starts as though it were as simple as pushing a button. Then he flubbed a bit in two starts on Sept. 10 and 16, but rebounded with a quality start in which he allowed only four baserunners over seven innings against Texas at home on Sept. 23. He’ll do battle with the Angels on the road on Sept. 28 next.

Alex Cobb (TB, SP) – 18% Owned – Cobb got absolutely bombed by the Yankees in his last start, and has now had two blah starts against them and two strong starts against Toronto. He’ll finally make a start against another team in his next trip to the rubber, when he takes on the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 27. We’ve seen the ceiling and the floor here, so approach him with caution as he continues to shake off the rust.

Sean Manaea (OAK, SP) – 18% Owned – Manaea will probably be a buzzy add since his final start will be on Monday, when takes on the Angels on the road on Sept. 26. In his two starts since coming back, all he’s done is log 11 scoreless innings across two starts with 12 strikeouts and a sub-one WHIP in each outing. That’ll do

Jharel Cotton (OAK, SP) – 17% Owned – Cotton most recently conquered the Astros with six innings of one-run ball, and will face the Rangers at home on Sunday when this runs. While that start will obviously affect things, as of now he has some serious momentum going and lines up to face the Mariners in Seattle on Oct. 1.

Matt Andriese (TB, SP/RP) – 15% Owned – Andriese was robbed of his third straight victory on Saturday when his bullpen blew the lead against Boston, but let it be known that he deserved it after going toe-to-toe with AL Cy Young frontrunner Rick Porcello and leaving with the lead. His 4.34 ERA shrouds a 3.65 FIP and 3.96 xFIP, and it’s also pretty neat that he’s only allowed one homer and issued one walk over those last three starts to boot. He goes up against the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 29 in his final start of the season, which isn’t a great spot but also isn’t the worst. If he can limit Boston, he can surely handle the South Siders.

Chad Kuhl (PIT, SP) – 12% Owned – Kuhl doesn’t have the easiest two-start week coming up, but it’s a two-start week nonetheless. He’ll face the Cubs at home on Sept. 26 before tangling with the Cardinals in St. Louis on Oct. 1. He’s won his last two starts @PHI and @MIL, and will look to lean on his stellar control and command of the zone (2.44 BB/9) to finish his rookie campaign strong.

Alec Asher (PHI, SP) – 10% Owned – Asher’s final start of the season will be a rematch with the Mets, a team that he just beat with five shutout innings on Sept. 24. While his eight strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings isn’t going to win any leagues, his plus ratios and decent shot at a W does make him a deep-league streaming candidate.

Archie Bradley (ARI, SP) – 9% Owned – Bradley is another guy lined up for a two-start week, as he’ll travel to Washington to face the Nationals on Sept. 26 before an Oct. 1 home matchup against the Padres. He’s either notched a victory or quality start in four of his last five starts, but the other start was a horrible one against the Giants (3 IP, 5 ER). Recognize the low floor here, but those looking to stack starts could do worse.

Matt Wisler (ATL, SP) – 7% Owned – Wisler’s first start off of the DL on Sept. 13 was an ugly one, but his two starts since have been more than serviceable. He got the victory against the Nats on Sept. 18 and then got the no-decision against Miami on Sept. 23 after allowing only two runs over six innings with five strikeouts. He’ll face the Phillies at home on Sept. 29 in his final start of 2016, which is a decent draw as far as matchups go.

Ricky Nolasco (LAA, SP) – 7% Owned – Nolasco’s last five starts have yielded a 3-2 record with a 1.80 ERA (2.64 FIP, 3.61 xFIP) alongside a solid 27-to-6 K:BB ratio. It’s difficult to trust a .223 BABIP to hold (career .312 BABIP, .297 on the season), but there’s no understating how much confidence can matter to a pitcher. He also gets to face Oakland at home on Sept. 27, so those in very deep formats should consider firing him up.

Miguel Gonzalez (CWS, SP) – 6% Owned – Gonzalez really hurt me, and anyone who listened last week, with his first non-quality start since June 25 (not including his injury-shortened start on Aug. 11). He has certainly had a few bad ones mixed in there, but it’s really difficult to string together a streak of starts like that without earning it. He’ll face the Rays at home on Sept. 28 for his final start of the season.

Jake Thompson (PHI, SP) – 4% Owned – Thompson’s last start resulted in a win over the White Sox, though it wasn’t the prettiest effort (5 IP, 3 ER, 1 K). That said, he still has a healthy 2.94 ERA over his last five starts that may be tempting many of you. Do be aware that he also has a 5.04 FIP and 5.15 xFIP at the same time, with only 18 strikeouts in his last 30 1/3 innings. Pitching for Philadelphia can also make wins difficult to come by, but he’ll do his best in his final two starts of the season (one of which is today – Sunday, Sept. 25) that both come against the Mets. The championship week matchup is at home on Oct. 1, so stream if you dare.

Luis Perdomo (SD, SP) – 2% Owned – Perdomo may not have gotten the win in last week’s start against the D-backs, but he still only allowed five hits alongside zero walks in seven strong innings on Sept. 21. He has only issued two walks across his last four starts now, but the five homers have been his undoing. This is a pitcher who regularly posted low HR/9 rates across the Minor Leagues, so hopefully he can bring that up with him as he looks to finish strong against the Dodgers at home on Sept. 28.

Adam Morgan (PHI, SP) – 2% Owned – Morgan, like his teammate Thompson, will suffer from pitching for the Phillies in terms of his record, but unlike Thompson, his fielding-independent metrics support his recent success. The lefty has a 2.89 ERA over his last five starts, but also has a 2.99 FIP and 3.62 xFIP over that span, with 24 strikeouts to only six walks to boot. His final start of the season comes against the Braves in Atlanta on Sept. 28. While Atlanta has been hitting the ball well lately, this is still worth a look in deep leagues.

Josh Collmenter (ATL, SP/RP) – 1% Owned – If you feel like playing the other side of the coin in that Sept. 28 PHI/ATL tilt, then here’s Collmenter! He’s won both of his two starts since being inserted into the rotation on Sept. 17, with a 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 12 strikeouts across those 12 innings. Of course, one could play both if you really wanted to hedge your bets, but either way Collmenter’s unorthodox delivery will be looking to help deep-league streamers in their pursuit of fantasy gold come Wednesday.


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