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Top 70 starters for Week 8

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This isn't Shuffling the Rotations: Flashback to 2006, but Johan Santana is nonetheless the top-rated starter for Fantasy Week 8 (May 21-27).

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His renewed ability to generate whiffs and higher innings counts have made him a dependable ace once again. He, Roy Halladay, Yu Darvish and Felix Hernandez all have two-start weeks ahead, but most of Fantasy's top pitchers are one-start options this week. You'll have to dig deep among options like Rick Porcello, Kyle Drabek and Tommy Milone to cram an extra start into your standard mixed league rotation, or you just may have to trust your luck with a bunch of one-start pitchers.

One of the one-start pitchers who hasn't been seeing a lot of action outside of deeper leagues is Jake Arrieta, but he was surprisingly close to making this week's top 70. Part of the reason he was considered for the list was a lack of compelling alternatives, but after a series of mostly poor performances, Arrieta has gone from being a popular breakout candidate to an underappreciated sleeper. While he has become a more consistent strike-thrower, the third-year pitcher has been plagued by some short-distance homers and a below-average strand rate. With a start against the high-scoring Red Sox, now is not the time to take a risk with Arrieta, but keep your eye on him as a potential pick-up, while he is still available in a majority of the leagues on CBSSports.com.

And now here is the Arrieta-free list of this week's top 70 starting pitchers.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 8
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 Johan Santana @PIT (Bedard) SD (Richard) Opponents' .270 OBP, last five starts
Santana has simply been shutting down opponents, and he gets a pair of very good matchups.
2 Roy Halladay WAS (Zimmermann) @STL (Wainwright) 4 BBs over last 34 1/3 innings
Just when you thought Halladay's command was slipping a little, he's back to being the Roy we know and love.
3 Yu Darvish @SEA (Hernandez) TOR (Drabek) 44 Ks, 13 BBs over last five starts
After some early struggles, it looks like Darvish has figured out the big league strike zone.
4 Justin Verlander @CLE (Masterson) N/A Three shutouts in last 36 starts
Verlander's Friday night masterpiece against PIT was just the latest in his most recent string of dominating starts.
5 Clayton Kershaw HOU (Harrell) N/A Career 2.61 ERA vs. HOU
Kershaw will certainly miss the Astros when they move to the American League next season.
6 CC Sabathia @OAK (Colon) N/A Fewer hits than innings pitched in five of last six starts
Other than Tuesday's start at Baltimore, hitters have been having an especially hard time getting on base against Sabathia lately.
7 Felix Hernandez TEX (Darvish) LAA (Williams) Six quality starts in last 10 tries vs. TEX
Hernandez has had some rough outings against the Rangers, but he's still been reliable more often than not.
8 Jered Weaver @OAK (Parker) N/A Career opponents' .388 SLG vs. lefties
Weaver has been nearly as tough on lefties as on righties, and that will help him against the A's lineup.
9 Zack Greinke @ARI (Miley) N/A 15 consecutive scoreless innings
Neither the Mets nor the Reds scored off Greinke in recent starts, even though both teams' offenses have been fairly productive over the past month.
10 Cliff Lee @STL (Lohse) N/A 73 percent first pitch strikes
Lee is normally very good at getting ahead in the count, but he has been outdoing himself this year.
11 Gio Gonzalez @PHI (Kendrick) @ATL (Beachy) 13.3 percent infield fly rate
Gonzalez left Oakland's spacious foul territory, but he is actually getting even more outs by popup.
12 Cole Hamels WAS (Jackson) N/A 14.0 swinging strike rate
Only Jeff Samardzija has been better at getting batters to whiff so far this season.
13 Matt Garza @HOU (Norris) @PIT (Bedard) 1.75 ERA, last four starts
Though his Ks have been more sparse in his last couple of starts, Garza has stayed on a roll and should continue against his divisional rivals this week.
14 Anibal Sanchez SF (Vogelsong) N/A 4.37 runs of support per nine innings (entering Sat.)
The Marlins' offense has perked up over the last couple of weeks, so they just might be able to help Sanchez build on his total of two wins.
15 Stephen Strasburg @ATL (Minor) N/A Career 1.66 road ERA
Strasburg has actually been far tougher to hit when away from Nationals Park, so he should be plenty comfortable at Turner Field.
16 Josh Johnson SF (Lincecum) N/A Opponents' .245 OBP, last two starts
Johnson has had a few hiccups this season, but he has been his old dominant self over his last couple of starts.
17 David Price @BOS (Beckett) N/A 54 percent ground ball rate
As if Price wasn't already tough to hit, now it is even harder to loft the ball against him.
18 Brandon Beachy @CIN (Latos) WAS (Gonzalez) Opponents' .224 SLG
Beachy is allowing more contact this season, but he has yielded only seven extra-base hits over his eight starts.
19 C.J. Wilson @OAK (McCarthy) @SEA (Noesi) Allowed 3 ER or fewer in all but one start
Wilson has had a recent series of unproductive starts, but he is not particularly prone to blowing up.
20 Matt Cain @MIL (Marcum) @MIA (Nolasco) Career 3.64 road ERA
Cain is still worth starting in any format, but he is decidedly better at AT&T Park than away from it.
21 Dan Haren @SEA (Vargas) N/A Career 2.27 ERA at SEA
Haren has been better than his ERA would suggest, but nervous owners can take comfort in his strong track record at Safeco Field.
22 Ian Kennedy MIL (Gallardo) N/A 15 straight starts of six innings or more (entering Sat.)
Prior to Saturday's poor start, even when Kennedy hadn't been at his best, he had been good enough to avoid an early exit.
23 Madison Bumgarner @MIL (Wolf) @MIA (Buehrle) 12 percent line drive rate
Though Bumgarner hasn't helped much with Ks, he is still not allowing much hard contact.
24 Shaun Marcum SF (Cain) N/A 65 percent strikes thrown, last three starts
Marcum has regained his pinpoint control in recent starts, and an oblique cramp shouldn't keep him from facing the Giants.
25 Drew Smyly @MIN (Marquis) N/A 0.96 road WHIP
Smyly has been even more reliable away than at home, and Target Field is friendlier to pitchers than the average road stop.
26 James Shields TOR (Romero) N/A 12 BBs over last 24 1/3 innings
Shields' control hasn't been all that sharp over his last four starts, but at this point, it should still be treated as an aberration.
27 Jake Peavy CLE (Lowe) N/A 7.2 innings per start
Peavy got rocked in his last start, but in general, he has been able to stick around into the late innings.
28 Yovani Gallardo @ARI (Kennedy) N/A .204 BABIP on flyballs (entering Sat.)
Gallardo has hurt himself with extreme wildness, but he also seems to be suffering from bad luck on balls in play.
29 Chris Sale MIN (Diamond) N/A Three extra-base hits, last two starts
Sale hasn't been hit hard in either of his starts since he was re-inserted back into the rotation.
30 Jaime Garcia SD (Richard) PHI (Kendrick) Career 2.49 home ERA
Not only does Garcia get a pair of favorable matchups, but he gets them at home, where he has pitched exceedingly well.
31 R.A. Dickey @PIT (McDonald) SD (Volquez) 16 swinging strikes vs. CIN on Thurs.
Dickey has been getting more swings-and-misses this year, and in his most recent start, he turned the Reds' lineup into a wind turbine farm.
32 Ryan Dempster @PIT (Burnett) N/A Eight straight starts with 5 Ks or more (entering Sat.)
Dempster is a consistent producer of strikeouts, whether from game to game or year to year.
33 Gavin Floyd MIN (Walters) CLE (Jimenez) 14 percent infield fly rate, last five starts
Floyd has been more of a flyball pitcher this season, but along with the six homers he has allowed, he has induced 17 popups.
34 Adam Wainwright SD (Volquez) PHI (Halladay) Three swinging strikes vs. SF on Thurs.
Wainwright allowed too much contact in his last game, but his whiff rate had been near its norm over his previous starts.
35 Jeremy Hellickson TOR (Drabek) @BOS (Buchholz) Career 83 percent strand rate (per Fangraphs.com)
For most pitchers, Hellickson's strand rate would be considered a fluke, but he seems to have a knack for leaving runners on base.
36 Lance Lynn SD (Suppan) N/A Allowed 1 HR in 36 career home innings
Lynn has been very good everywhere, but he has taken full advantage of one of the majors' toughest home run parks.
37 Erik Bedard NYM (Santana) CHC (Garza) Pitched more than six innings in two of eight starts
Bedard has been highly effective, but because he doesn't pitch deep into games, he ranks lower than he would otherwise.
38 Tommy Hanson @CIN (Arroyo) N/A 1 ER in 13 1/3 career innings at CIN
Even though Hanson has some mild flyball tendencies, he has not been hurt in his two prior starts at one of the majors' premier home run parks.
39 Jon Lester TB (Cobb) N/A 5 BBs over last 27 innings (entering Sat.)
Lester's early-season control problems suddenly seem to be a thing of the past.
40 Josh Beckett TB (Price) N/A 0.9 home HR/9 since 2011
Beckett has been homer-prone on the road (1.3 HR/9 since '11), but he has done a decent job of keeping the ball in Fenway Park.
41 Jason Hammel KC (Chen) N/A 2.25 home ERA
Hammel's two-seamer is allowing him to survive at Camden Yards, whereas he had struggled at his old ballpark, Coors Field.
42 Johnny Cueto COL (Friedrich) N/A 0.95 GB/FB ratio, last two games
Cueto has lost some of the gains he made last year as a ground ball pitcher, but he's taken some of them back over his last two starts.
43 Wandy Rodriguez CHC (Samardzija) N/A 2 BBs or fewer in eight of nine starts
Rodriguez has typically displayed average control, but he is throwing strikes galore so far this season.
44 Jordan Zimmermann @PHI (Halladay) N/A 6 Ks or more in four of last five starts
Zimmermann still has terrific command and efficiency, and if he can make the increase in strikeouts stick, that would be a nice bonus.
45 Doug Fister @CLE (McAllister) N/A No starts with more than 2 BBs with DET
Fister has issued four free passes over his last two starts; that's the most wild stretch of his 15-game Tigers career.
46 Bud Norris CHC (Garza) @LAD (Capuano) .209 BABIP, last three starts
Norris has allowed only one earned run over his last three times out, but in addition to improved command, he has likely benefited from some good luck.
47 Jerome Williams @OAK (Milone) @SEA (Hernandez) 3.43 pitches per plate appearance
Only Bartolo Colon and Henderson Alvarez have worked through plate appearances more efficiently among AL pitchers, and that is helping Williams to rack up innings.
48 Mark Buehrle COL (Moyer) SF (Bumgarner) Opponents' .395 SLG
The move to Miami appears to be doing wonders for Buehrle, who is on pace to post his first opponents' SLG under .400 since 2005.
49 Tim Hudson WAS (Detwiler) N/A Career 3.12 ERA at ATL
Hudson can be started in most weeks, but he is an even safer bet to be used when he plies his craft at Turner Field.
50 Mat Latos ATL (Beachy) COL (Moyer) 22Ks, 11 BBs over last 16 innings
Latos continues to be an asset in the strikeout category, but until he cuts back on his walks, he will be a lower-end option than he has been in the past.
51 Neftali Feliz @SEA (Millwood) N/A Career .219 BABIP
Feliz is able to post a 1.20 WHIP with a high walk rate, because he induces so much weak contact (13 percent line drive rate, 16 percent popup rate).
52 Ricky Romero @TB (Shields) N/A 14 BBs over last 17 1/3 innings
Romero's control has been so bad that he is on the verge of becoming a pitcher who can be benched in some weeks.
53 Chris Capuano @ARI (Corbin) HOU (Norris) Career 3.34 ERA vs. HOU
Capuano has a limited recent track record against the Snakes, but he has had little problem handling the Astros, especially in recent years.
54 Brandon McCarthy LAA (Wilson) N/A Quality starts in six of nine games
McCarthy's walk and ground ball rates haven't been up to last year's standards, but he has still been good enough to help owners in most weeks.
55 Brandon Morrow @TEX (Holland) N/A 0.69 GB/FB ratio, last four starts (entering Sat.)
Morrow has been giving his owners strong returns lately, but with a tough matchup and a receding ground ball rate, they may not extend into Week 8.
56 Edwin Jackson @PHI (Hamels) N/A Opponents' .205 OBP, last three starts
Jackson has been terrific of late, but even with a good matchup, owners should be wary of his history of inconsistency.
57 Ervin Santana @SEA (Beavan) N/A 2.10 ERA, last four starts
Santana has rebounded nicely after a terrible beginning, and with a good matchup, he deserves the benefit of the doubt, if you still have some.
58 Justin Masterson DET (Verlander) N/A Five straight starts of at least six innings
For all of his recent control issues, Masterson has still been keeping the ball down and mostly avoiding blowouts.
59 Tim Lincecum @MIA (Johnson) N/A 69 percent strikes thrown, last two starts
Don't look now, but Lincecum's command seems to be on the way back.
60 Rick Porcello @CLE (Jimenez) @MIN (Walters) 3.95 road ERA since 2011
Porcello has been much less prone to homers away from Comerica Park, and as a result, his overall results have been better on the road.
61 Kyle Drabek @TB (Hellickson) @TEX (Darvish) Allowed 2 ER or fewer in six of eight starts
Drabek has the potential to hurt your WHIP, but he's getting out of jams by missing bats and inducing wormburners.
62 Carlos Zambrano COL (White) N/A Seven consecutive quality starts
Zambrano is getting batters to fan again, and that's making him relevant in standard mixed leagues, at least in weeks with good matchups.
63 Ted Lilly @ARI (Saunders) N/A 2.63 ERA at ARI in 2011
Lilly's flyball tendencies don't always play well away from Chavez Ravine, but he pitched well in two starts at Chase Field last year.
64 Matt Harrison @SEA (Noesi) N/A 12 percent HR/FB ratio
Harrison may have been a little lucky to allow just 13 homers last year, but his dinger pace should slow down going forward.
65 Jeff Samardzija @HOU (Rodriguez) N/A 3.07 xFIP
If you wonder if Samardzija's 3.00 ERA could somehow be a fluke, xFIP suggests that it is right on target.
66 James McDonald NYM (Dickey) N/A Career 2.89 ERA at PIT
Whether or not you think McDonald will sustain his recent improvement, he has a long-standing trend of pitching very well at PNC Park.
67 Colby Lewis TOR (Alvarez) N/A 1.85 home ERA
Lewis can melt down in any given start, but he has shown in four home appearances this year that there is also promise in any given start.
68 Tommy Milone LAA (Williams) NYY (Kuroda) 0.39 home ERA
Milone's game is well suited to O.co Coliseum, and in his first three home starts, it has shown.
69 Wei-Yin Chen KC (Adcock) N/A 2.75 ERA, last three starts
Chen's last three games have not been his most effective, but having come against the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox, they are his most impressive.
70 Ricky Nolasco COL (Nicasio) SF (Cain) 51 percent ground ball rate
Porcello made this week's list, so Nolasco should, too. Both have strong ground ball tendencies, good control and a pair of good matchups.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:28 pm ET) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:27 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:23 pm ET) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:18 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

"For me, it was off the field, just an everyday life thing," he said. "I was a little overwhelmed, just kind of with everything that was going on with the (oblique) injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my focus away from baseball. It was a mistake that I wish I could undo, but I can't, so I've just got to move forward."

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


 
 
 
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