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Fantasy First Pitch for Week 2

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If you still have the same Fantasy rotation that you had when lineups locked on opening night, it might be time to pay the waiver wire a visit.

In Fantasy Week 2 (April 7-13), it's largely the third and fourth starters for major league teams that are getting two starts. In other words, there are many more two-start pitchers up for grabs in the free agent pool, and though very few are close to ace quality, at least a few of them are good enough to try in standard mixed leagues. Kyle Lohse, Charlie Morton, Jason Vargas and Felipe Paulino are all available in at least 30 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com, and while you may be able to find better options for your final rotation slot, each is at least worth considering.

Then again, you may not need to pick up a free agent to upgrade your rotation. In Week 1, both Scott Kazmir and John Lackey showed the form that made them useful Fantasy starters last season, not to mention notable comeback stories. A large share of owners slotted Kazmir into their rotations over the weekend, but Lackey is still being started in fewer than 75 percent of our leagues. If you own one or both of them and you don't help to raise their activation rates, you'll likely regret it by the end of next week.

Must start two-start options
1. Max Scherzer at LAD, at SD
2. Michael Wacha vs. CIN, vs. CHC
3. Tony Cingrani at STL, vs. TB
4. Gio Gonzalez vs. MIA, at ATL
5. C.J. Wilson at HOU, vs. NYM
6. Hiroki Kuroda vs. BAL, vs. BOS
7. Scott Kazmir at MIN, at SEA
8. Matt Moore at KC, at CIN
9. John Lackey vs. TEX, at NYY

Ervin Santana is another option to come off the bench, as he is scheduled to make his Braves debut Wednesday. Mat Latos (knee) will make another rehab start Tuesday, so there is some chance he could take the mound Sunday against the Rays. Santana is a viable standard mixed league start, ranking between Zack Wheeler and A.J. Burnett, while Latos should be viewed as a last resort, given the continuing uncertainty about his return date..

If these bench and DL options aren't available to you, then you might as well look into the pitchers featured below. And remember, sometimes the best two-start addition is no addition at all. You are probably better off with a solid one-start pitcher than with any of the two-start pitchers who made the "avoid" list further below.

Monday update: Due to having his next start pushed back a day, Tyson Ross is no longer a two-start option for Week 2, but Robbie Erlin now gets two starts for the Padres ... After having his start rained out last Friday, Chris Young now moves temporarily into the Mariners' bullpen. His exit from the rotation opens the door for a likely two-start week from James Paxton ... Josh Beckett (ankle, thumb) is a candidate to get activated from the DL for Wednesday's start against the Tigers. The addition of a fifth starter to the Dodgers' rotation, whether it's Beckett or minor leaguers Stephen Fife or Matt Magill, endangers Dan Haren's chances to make a second start this week ... Should Latos return on Sunday, Tony Cingrani could theoretically lose his second start, but it seems unlikely, given that he can start in place of Alfredo Simon on Saturday and still be on regular rest ... Tyler Chatwood (hamstring) is on track to return from the DL on Sunday, but if he has a setback, Jordan Lyles would get a two-start week.

Two-Start Pitchers on the Bubble

10. Ubaldo Jimenez, BAL (at NYY, vs. TOR)

From late May forward, Jimenez was sensational last season for the Indians, as he posted his highest swinging strike rate in three seasons. He also improved his control but was still all too amenable to the flyball. Jimenez gave owners a scare against the Red Sox on Wednesday, as he yielded only one ground ball over six innings in his Orioles' debut. Two of the 15 airborne balls resulted in home runs, which in turn produced four runs. While Jimenez is flyball-leaning, he is certain to get more grounders in his starts this week. Benching a pitcher who was superb over his last 23 starts last year because of one start would be an overreaction in the vast majority of mixed leagues.

Start Jimenez over the following one-start pitchers: Justin Masterson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jon Lester

11. Ivan Nova, NYY (vs. BAL, vs. BOS)

Nova got the Astros to hit 11 grounders on Thursday, but otherwise, it was a very atypical start for the 27-year-old. He got one lone swinging strike in 5 2/3 innings and threw only 53 percent of his pitches for strikes, resulting in one strikeout and five walks. We have seen our share of aberrant performances in this first week so far, and Nova's was about as bizarre as anyone's. Unless he strings a few of these together, look for him to rediscover his command in Week 2. And as a groundball pitcher, Nova is not to be feared with two starts at Yankee Stadium, where he actually posted a 2.44 ERA last season.

Start Nova over the following one-start pitchers: Lance Lynn, Clay Buchholz, Tyson Ross

12. Corey Kluber, CLE (vs. SD, at CHW)

Kluber continues our run of pitchers who fell short of expectations in their season debut. The A's clobbered Kluber for eight hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings, as hitters easily squared up on his sinker. According to BrooksBaseball.net, he limited himself to 12 sliders, which was his most effective pitch in 2013. These are trends worth watching, but as with Jimenez and Nova, Kluber's more extended track record should guide owners, rather than an uncharacteristic first start. Last season, Kluber established himself as a pitcher who can miss bats and minimize walks.

Start Kluber over the following one-start pitchers: Lance Lynn, Clay Buchholz, Tyson Ross

13. Kyle Lohse, MIL (at PHI, vs. PIT)

If we shouldn't expect Jimenez and Kluber to be flyball dispensers going forward, then in all fairness, we shouldn't look to Lohse to be a strikeout machine. His eight-strikeout performance against the Braves was a pleasant surprise -- and also likely matchup-driven, as the Braves like to swing the bat. What Lohse has done exceedingly well and consistently since 2011 is throw strikes, and with ultra-low walk rates, he has been helping owners with ERA and WHIP, if not Ks. Lohse's matchups look good, as the Pirates have struggled to score and the Phillies don't have many on-base threats. It could be an especially good week for ERA and WHIP, and with two starts, strikeouts are less of a concern.

Start Lohse over the following one-start pitchers: R.A. Dickey, Chris Archer, Zack Wheeler

14. James Paxton, SEA (vs. LAA, vs. OAK)

The penchant for throwing strikes that Paxton showed during his four-game trial in Seattle last season seemed too good to be true, given the control issues that sometimes plagued him in the minors. Then again, Paxton's control did improve steadily as he climbed the ranks of the Mariners' organization. Don't be surprised if he turns in some brief starts at times, but the lefty's upside makes him someone to use in two-start weeks in standard mixed leagues, at least for now. The only reason to hesitate at all for this scoring period is the possibility (which seems slim) of Chris Young getting inserted into the Mariners' rotation this week, which could push Paxton's Sunday start back.

Start Paxton over the following one-start pitchers: R.A. Dickey, Chris Archer, Zack Wheeler

15. Charlie Morton, PIT (at CHC, at MIL)

Two-start pitchers to avoid
22. Mark Buehrle vs. HOU, at BAL
23. Trevor Cahill at SF, vs. LAD
24. Felix Doubront vs. TEX, at NYY
25. Henderson Alvarez at WAS, at PHI
26. Tanner Scheppers at BOS, vs. HOU
27. Robbie Erlin at CLE, vs. DET
28. Kyle Kendrick vs. MIL, vs. MIA
29. Zach McAllister vs. SD, at CHW
30. Aaron Harang vs. NYM, vs. WAS
31. Edwin Jackson vs. PIT, at STL
32. Brett Oberholtzer at TOR, at TEX
33. Jarred Cosart vs. LAA, at TEX
34. Kevin Correia vs. OAK, vs. KC

Morton got 2014 started the right way, tossing six shutout innings against the Cubs. The North Siders appear to be one of the majors' friendlier matchups, and Morton gets them again in Week 2. Meanwhile, the Brewers have enough thump in their lineup that they will eventually shake their early-season doldrums, but Morton has been one of the majors' best pitchers at keeping the ball in the park. He's a poor bet to sustain the strikeout-per-inning pace of his first start, but Morton should lower your staff's ERA this coming week. That makes him a viable two-start option in some mixed leagues, but because his control is nowhere as good as Lohse's, he's a less attractive waiver option.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Morton: Lance Lynn, Clay Buchholz, R.A. Dickey

16. Tim Hudson, SF (vs. ARI, vs. COL)

If owners had concerns about Hudson's return from a fractured ankle, he assuaged them in his season debut. Hudson tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed only three hits and no walks and induced 12 swinging strikes. High whiff counts probably won't be the norm for Hudson, but sharp control and a lack of extra-base hits should be. As a sinkerballer with a below-average strikeout rate, Hudson has similar appeal to Morton, and like his Pirates' counterpart, he's fringy in standard mixed leagues, even with two starts.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Hudson: R.A. Dickey, Chris Archer, Zack Wheeler

17. Dan Haren, LAD (vs. DET, at ARI)

Things could have gone much worse for Haren in his first start of the season, given that he induced only six swinging strikes and seven ground balls. Those are numbers one wouldn't normally associate with six innings of scoreless ball, so Haren's 2014 debut may be a bit misleading. He's not a good bet to improve on his ground ball rate, but he's long been a control artist with average-to- above-average strikeout rates. That profiles makes Haren sittable in some one-start weeks, but there should be few two-start weeks where you should bench him. The problem this week is knowing whether Haren will in fact be a two-start pitcher, since it's not yet known when Paul Maholm will make his next start and whether the Dodgers will give Hyun-Jin Ryu extra rest. That puts the order of their entire Week 2 rotation in question.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Haren: R.A. Dickey, Chris Archer, Zack Wheeler

18. Jason Vargas, KC (vs. TB, at MIN)

This is the sort of week in which I typically clear an active roster spot for Vargas. He has two starts against teams with generally mediocre lineups, and both of his venues are tough on home-run hitters. Because Vargas is prone to the long ball, he needs to be avoided outside of these scenarios, but because he is fairly stingy with walks and gets infield flies frequently, he usually registers low ERAs and WHIPs in pitchers' parks. Perhaps if the better hitters in the Rays' lineup weren't righties (plus switch-hitting Ben Zobrist), I would rank Vargas a little higher. Given his .434 slugging percentage allowed against righties, there is enough risk involved with Vargas' one home start for owners to view the lefty as a last resort in standard mixed leagues.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Vargas: Ervin Santana, A.J. Burnett, Marco Estrada

19. Bartolo Colon, NYM (at ATL, at LAA)

Heading into the weekend, Colon is owned in 70 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. As a two- start pitcher, that percentage could climb even higher, but his new and current owners could wind up disappointed with his Week 2 results. Colon is still notoriously contact-friendly, in two seasons in Oakland, he was surprisingly effective due to low walk and home run rates. He showed against the Nationals this week that he still throws strikes, but he may have previewed a new proclivity for allowing homers, as Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth took him out of the park. No longer protected by spacious O.co Coliseum, Colon could be due for a rude awakening, at least at homer-neutral Turner Field against a powerful Braves lineup.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Colon: Martin Perez, Yordano Ventura, Michael Pineda

20. Jose Quintana, CHW (at COL, vs. CLE)

After a miserable Cactus League season in which Quintana allowed 20 earned runs in 11 innings with six strikeouts and seven walks, he bounced back with a decent effort against the Twins. Quintana emerged with improved command (64 percent strikes thrown) and a higher K/9 ratio (8.2) from July forward last season, and he looked more like that pitcher in his season debut. Though Quintana allowed five runs in six innings versus Minnesota, only two of them were earned, and he threw 69 of 109 pitches for strikes and finished with eight strikeouts. In a normal two-start week, that might be enough to embolden owners to start him, but with his first start coming at Coors Field, it's probably best to save Quintana for another two-start week in standard mixed leagues.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Quintana: Michael Pineda, Dan Straily, Dillon Gee

21. Felipe Paulino, CHW (at COL, vs. CLE)

Paulino, like Quintana, turned in a mildly encouraging start against the Twins, and he too will have to tame Coors Field in a Week 2 start. In some ways, Paulino appears to be a better option than Quintana, as he throws harder and has been more of a strikeout pitcher over his career. With the harder cheese also comes more wildness, and he is just as much of a home run risk as his teammate. Though Paulino will likely allow less contact than Quintana, he's a bigger threat to your team's ERA, if not its WHIP.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Paulino: Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Tanner Roark

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al at @almelccbs .

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Player News
Dodgers' Alex Guerrero hits homer in loss
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:19 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Alex Guerrero blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning of Sunday afternoon's 11-3 loss to the Padres. 

Guerrero took a 1-0 pitch deep to center field for the home run off of Padres pitcher James Shields. Guerrero finished the day 1 for 4 with two strikeouts. Guerrero is slashing .300/.329/.638 for the season but is only hitting a batting average of .235 in his last five games. 


Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt blasts 12th home run of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:17 pm ET) Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 2 for 3 at the plate in Arizona's 4-3 win over the Cubs on Sunday.

Goldschmidt did his damage in the third inning when he blasted a two-run shot off of Jason Hammel to deep center field, his 12th of the season. Goldschmidt continues to tear up pitching early in the season and is now hitting .333 with 38 RBI in 156 at-bats. 


Cubs LF Chris Coghlan blasts seventh home run of the season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
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Coghlan did his damage in the fifth inning when he took a Jeremy Hellickson pitch to deep right field for a two-run shot, his seventh of the season. Coghlan is now hitting .208 with 11 RBI in 125 at-bats this year.


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by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:14 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Carlos Frias had an afternoon to forget. 

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Frias had been having a solid season until this game. In four previous starts and two relief appearances, Frias had only allowed a total of seven earned runs while striking out 19 batters. Twelve of San Diego's 20 hits came against Frias. 

This disastrous game ballooned his ERA from 2.55 to 5.34 for the season. 

Frias' next start is projected for Saturday against the Cardinals. 


Cubs catcher Miguel Montero blasts fifth home run of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
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Montero is now hitting .267 with 16 RBI in 101 at-bats this season.


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:10 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel allowed four runs on five hits in seven innings of work in Chicago's 4-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday. 

Hammel allowed a run in the first inning, but had his most issues in the third. After allowing a leadoff triple to Nick Ahmed, Hammel gave up a run when pitcher Jeremy Hellickson hit a sac fly to center. Then, Hammel surrendered a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. 

Hammel, now 3-2, alos struck out nine with just one walk and moved his ERA to 2.98 on the year. He will look to get back on track on Saturday against the Royals.


Padres P James Shields goes 7 strong innings in win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:10 pm ET) Padres pitcher James Shields stayed unbeaten with another solid performance in Sunday afternoon's 11-3 win over the Dodgers. 

Shields did give up three earned runs, two of which came on an Alex Guerrero bomb in the seventh inning. Up until that point, Shields pitched a great game, with everything in hand thanks to the Padres' run support. 

Shields has now allowed only six earned runs over his past three games. He struck out seven batters and walked one in seven full innings. Shields now has an ERA of 3.75 for the season. 

His next start is projected for Friday against the Pirates. 


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(7:06 pm ET) Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Ziegler worked a nearly perfect ninth inning in Arizona's 4-3 win on Sunday over the Cubs, earning his second save of the season. 

Ziegler made quick workof the first two hitters of the inning, needing just four pitches. After allowing a single to Starlin Castro, Ziegler finished things off by forcing Miguel Montero to pop out to left field. Ziegler now owns a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings of work.


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Hellickson had just two belmishes on his day, allowing a solo home run to Miguel Montero in the second and a two-run home run to Chris Coghlan in the fifth. Hellickson, now 2-3, also recorded four strikeouts with just one walk on the day.

He now owns a 5.33 ERA in 50 2/3 innings of work and will look to keep things rolling on Saturday against the Brewers.


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Gregerson hasn't been dominant -- he's given up runs in four of his last 10 outings and homers in three of his last 10 -- but he's only blown one save this season for Houston. 


 
 
 
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