Pitching In: Week 1

J_J_Putz2Well, you’ve had your fantasy baseball draft, and hopefully you are left with the team you want to start the new season for you. I know I’m excited to get going, and I have four fantasy teams under my management that agree with me. When it comes to position players you honestly don’t know what to expect, though. Some hitters are notoriously slow to start while others tend to hit the ground running.

Pitching, on the other hand, is the category you probably drafted later, and the one you aren’t really counting on to carry you this season. But it could be the one that wins Week 1 for you. That’s because most teams’ number one pitchers are going out twice this week, and they could rack up a bunch of points for you if you drafted correctly.

Every week I will be walking you through the two-start options at the pitcher position, which one-start pitchers might help you out, and which relievers are best to play. You would be surprised at the number of middle relievers who could help you score some big points from week to week. Welcome to Pitching In: Week 1.

Must-Start Pitchers:

Justin Verlander (vs. KC / vs. BAL)
Cliff Lee (@ TEX / @ CHC)
Stephen Strasburg (@ NYM / vs. ATL)
Chris Sale (vs. MIN / @ KC)
Sonny Gray (vs. CLE / vs. SEA)
CC Sabathia (@ HOU / @ TOR)
Jon Lester (@ BAL / vs. MIL)
Zack Greinke (@ SD / vs. SF)
Jered Weaver (vs. SEA / @ HOU)
Felix Hernandez (@ LAA / @ OAK)
Adam Wainwright (@ CIN / @ PIT)
David Price (vs. TOR / vs. TEX)
Julio Teheran (@ MIL / @ WAS)
Matt Cain (@ ARI / @ LAD)
Justin Masterson (@ OAK / vs. MIN)

Every single one of these pitchers can deliver quality points for your team as each one is an ace, and each one has two starts this first week. Don’t worry too much about matchups in this first week for these pitchers either, as they have quality overall track records. That’s one of the issues too many owners face that they shouldn’t have to — deciding whether or not to start these must-start options. Start them any time they’re taking the mound. You just got lucky that they’re going twice in this initial week.

Depending on your draft choices, you should have at least one of these first-tier pitchers on your roster, and you possibly might have two of them. Perhaps you were even able to get a good deal on second-tier pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez or Yovani Gallardo. The difference between first-tier and second-tier pitchers is that must-start quality. First-tier pitchers should be starting even when they don’t have two-start weeks.

Top 5 Relievers:

1. Greg Holland (KC)
2. Kenley Jansen (LAD)
3. Craig Kimbrel (ATL)
4. Koji Uehara (BOS)
5. David Robertson (NYY)

Don’t worry about middle relievers in standard head-to-head leagues at this point, but in rotisserie leagues you could be highly rewarded playing Antonio Bastardo, Tyler Clippard, Joba Chamberlain, and Sergio Santos. While they probably can’t be relied on for saves on a week-to-week basis, they can certainly help out your team ERA and WHIP. Keep in mind also that relievers pitch more often on average than starters, so they can usually make up for any bad outings by the end of that week.

The Fantasy Ace

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