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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
Clayton Kershaw goes eight strong for win No. 15
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a no-hitter going against the Padres until the sixth inning. The ace surrendered his first hit to opposing starter Tyson Ross.

Kershaw went eight innings strong for the win at home on Thursday, improving to 15-3 on the year. The southpaw permitted one run on three hits and two walks while striking out 10 in a 2-1 victory. Of his 103 pitches, 69 were strikes. He improved to 15-3 on the year, matching Johnny Cueto, Wily Peralta and Adam Wainwright for the major-league lead in victories. 

Over his last three starts covering 25 innings, Kershaw has allowed five earned runs. He has gone eight-plus innings in seven of his last nine starts. He owns a 1.82 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP over 21 starts (153 1/3 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at Arizona.

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(12:59 am ET) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross tossed a complete game but took a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers Thursday night, dropping to 11-12 on the season. The right-hander permitted two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Ross is 0-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched against the Dodgers this season. The offense has only backed him with two runs over that span. He'll look to bounced Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

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Over his last two starts covering 11 1/3 innings, Wood has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 4.91 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP over 26 starts (150 1/3 innings). He will look to bounce back Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Jason Heyward scores two runs Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Braves outfielder Jason Heyward scored two runs Thursday against the Reds.

Heyward singled twice during the game. He would come around to score in the third inning on a Justin Upton hit, and again in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly. Heyward finished 2 for 4, with two runs scored and one RBI. 


Santiago Casilla closes out Cubs
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Madison Bumgarner fans season-high 12 in win over Cubs
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(12:45 am ET) Giants starter Madison Bumgarner twirled a gem Thursday night against the Cubs, striking out a season-high 12 for the win, improving to 14-9 on the season. The left-hander pitched seven strong innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk. Of his 116 pitches, 79 were strikes.

Bumgarner has struck out nine-plus in three of his last four starts. Over that span covering 22 innings, he has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 3.17 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 27 starts (176 innings). His next start will come Tuesday at home against Colorado.

Buster Posey shrugs off injury concern with four-hit game
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Posey doubled in the third, homered in the fifth, singled in the seventh and doubled again in the ninth. He finished the game 4 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI in a 5-3 victory.He is hitting .284/.345/.438 with 14 homers and 59 RBI over 425 at-bats.

Derek Holland could start Tuesday
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(12:26 am ET) Rangers pitcher Derek Holland could make his first start of the season Thursday against the Mariners, according to the Dallas Morning News

Holland was able to go 87 pitches during his most recent rehab start. Following the game, he declared himself ready to pitch in the majors. The club will need a fifth starter Tuesday with Yu Darvish sidelined. Holland is being considered for that start. 

Holland has been sidelined the entire season after having offseason surgery on his knee. 


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(12:03 am ET) Braves outfielder Justin Upton drove in three runs Thursday against the Reds.

Upton singled in two runs in the third inning, and drove in another on a sac fly. He finished 2 for 3, with one run scored and three RBI. Upton also walked during the contest. 


 
 
 
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