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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
Joe Kelly tosses quality start Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:50 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly tossed a quality start Tuesday against the Yankees.

Kelly allowed three runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six and issued four walks during the game. Kelly performed well early on, but found himself in trouble late in the start. A solo home run put a dent in the outing in the third inning, but Kelly didn’t really find himself in trouble until the fifth.

Kelly allowed three straight singles to open the frame, though was slightly bailed out when his defense threw out Martin Prado on the basepaths. With men on second and third, Kelly then walked the bases loaded. He walked the next batter as well, bringing in the first run of the inning. Derek Jeter would also single in a run later in the inning. 

With the win, Kelly moved to 3-3. He’ll take on the Blue Jays in his next start. 


Shane Greene has a tough start Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:50 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Shane Greene couldn’t make it three innings Tuesday against the Red Sox.

Greene allowed six runs on six hits over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three during the appearance. Greene found himself in trouble almost immediately. After getting one out to open the game, Greene allowed a single, a walk and a run-scoring double to the next three batters. He then gave up a sac fly, plating the second run of the inning. Greene was able to toss a scoreless second, but got into trouble in the third.

After getting a fly out to open the frame, Greene allowed a single, walk and three-run homer to the next three hitters he faced. After striking out Will Middlebrooks, Greene gave up a solo shot against Xander Bogaerts. A walk to David Ross ended Greene’s night. 

With the loss, Greene fell to 4-2. He’ll take on the Royals in his next start.


Dodgers add three to expanded roster
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:48 pm ET) The Dodgers added pitcher Carlos Frias and infielders Miguel Rojas and Erisbel Arruebarrena to the expanded active roster Tuesday. Frias is slated to make Wednesday's start against the Nationals.

Jonathan Pettibone may not be ready by opening day
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:44 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone may not be recovered from shoulder surgery by opening day, MLB.com reports.

"That will be determined over the next few months," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Pettibone made just two starts with the Phillies this season. He underwent surgery to repair his shoulder in mid-June.


R.A. Dickey wins one Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:29 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey turned in a strong start Tuesday against the Rays.

Dickey gave up two runs on two hits over seven innings. He struck out six and walked three. Dickey was tagged for both runs early in the start. After getting a strikeout to open the second inning, Dickey loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit by pitch. With the bases juiced, Dickey gave up a run-scoring single and a sac fly. That was all Dickey would give up. After his rough second inning, Dickey would go on to throw five scoreless frames.

With the win, Dickey improved to 11-12. He'll take on the Red Sox in his next start. 


Jenrry Mejia tosses perfect inning in 22nd save
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:27 pm ET) Mets closer Jenrry Mejia earned his 22nd save Tuesday, striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off his team's 8-6 win over the Marlins.

There was plenty of scoring in this game, but the Mets bullpen locked things down once handed the ball, tossing three scoreless innings while striking out three, allowing one hit and facing the minimum amount of batters possible (nine). Mejia owns a 3.90 ERA and 87:35 K:BB ratio in 83 innings.


Giancarlo Stanton slugs 35th home run Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:25 pm ET) Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton went 2 for 4 with a double and a two-run home run in his team's 8-6 loss to the Mets Tuesday.

Stanton has homered in two straight games against the Mets to increase his National League HR lead to five blasts. He has hit .293/.401/.561 with 35 home runs, 101 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 508 at-bats, and with no one running away with the NL batting title, the outfielder has an outside shot at chasing a Triple Crown with a big September.


Jeremy Hellickson can't make it four innings Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:25 pm ET) Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson was unable to toss four innings Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

Hellickson allowed five runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two during the outing. Toronto managed to chip away at Hellickson early, picking up runs in both the second and third inning. Things proved difficult in the fourth, though.

After notching a ground out to open the frame, Hellickson gave up two straight singles. With two men on, Hellickson allowed a three-run homer to Jose Reyes. He was pulled from the game at that point. Hellickson threw 87 pitches.

With the loss, Hellickson dropped to 1-3. He'll take on the Orioles in his next start. 


Jonathon Niese allows six runs in win vs. Marlins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:22 pm ET) Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese picked up a win Tuesday despite surrendering six earned runs on 10 hits in six innings while striking out four in his team's 8-6 victory over the Marlins.

Niese (8-10) was handed a four-run lead after two innings, but he kept letting the Marlins back into the game, giving up three runs in the third inning to make it 4-3, two in the fourth to reduce his lead to 7-5 and one more in the sixth to make it 8-6. Niese owns a 3.68 ERA and 115:43 K:BB ratio in 161 1/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Rockies Monday.


Brad Penny lasts three innings in loss vs. Mets Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:21 pm ET) Marlins pitcher Brad Penny took a loss Tuesday, giving up four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in three innings while striking out two in his team's 8-6 defeat against the Mets.

Penny (1-1) gave up a pair of runs in the first inning and two more runs in the second, and he was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the third having thrown just 57 pitches. It was his first start since Aug. 14, with Penny pitching in relief twice since that date. He owns a 6.61 ERA and 9:10 K:BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. Penny is scheduled to face the Brewers Monday.


 
 
 
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