It's not all bad news heading into Fantasy Week 15 (July 14-16).
Madison Bumgarner, out since late April with a sprained shoulder, is set to return from the DL Saturday, which is outstanding news for his Fantasy owners. Also, Kyle Hendricks, out since early June with right hand tendinitis, has a spot open for him this weekend, which is at least moderately good news for his.
But the Fantasy owners of Bumgarner and Hendricks still might struggle to fill out their pitching staffs this week. If you didn't catch the parenthetical info in that first sentence, we have only three days to work with.
In a typical week, settling for a pitcher making one start instead of two isn't the end of the world, but none instead of one? Well, you're basically not even trying at that point. Granted, roster limitations may force some owners' hands, but if you have a spot or three to play with, you may need to get creative to fill out your pitching staff this week.
Fortunately, I've taken the time to compile a list of sleepers, all owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues, to meet the unusual need.
Trevor Cahill San Diego SP
|An elite ground-ball rate. An elite whiff rate. If Trevor Cahill hadn't missed nearly two months with a shoulder strain, he wouldn't need this weekend's matchup against the Giants to have a place in our lineups.|
Ian Kennedy Kansas City SP
|Ian Kennedy's matchup against the Rangers isn't the greatest, but it's at pitcher-friendly Kansas City, where he has a 3.79 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over the last two seasons. He also seems to be in a good place mechanically right now, compiling a 2.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings over his last five starts.|
Charlie Morton Houston SP
|Charlie Morton retained his improved velocity in his return from the DL Friday, so the hope is he picks up where he left off in his development as a power pitcher. The Twins have plenty of swing-and-miss in their lineup.|
Jeff Hoffman Colorado SP
|Jeff Hoffman has been hit or miss in his rookie season, but his mechanics presumably haven't been warped by Coors Field yet, which means you should feel pretty confident starting him on the road. He's 4 for 4 in terms of delivering quality starts there and should add to that total against the Mets.|
Trevor Bauer Cleveland SP
|Trevor Bauer took the advice of pitching coach Mickey Callaway and began throwing his curveball more in late May. The result has been a higher ground-ball rate, making the disaster starts fewer and farther between. It may not even matter when he's at Oakland this weekend, as much as the Athletics strike out.|
Brandon McCarthy L.A. Dodgers SP
|The Marlins actually have a pretty good lineup, but they still play in a big park, where Brandon McCarthy doesn't need a bunch of strikeouts to thrive. He has gotten by with a suspect whiff rate already and, of course, is a good bet for a win with the team he has backing him.|
Andrew Moore Seattle SP
|Rookie Andrew Moore has issued just two walks in his three starts so far, which makes it easier to overlook the five homers. The elite control was expected, though, and since it allows him to pitch deeper into games, you should have no concerns about starting him against the White Sox's bottom-feeder lineup.|
Mike Fiers Houston SP
|After a terrific June, Mike Fiers has been his own worst enemy so far in July, walking four in back-to-back starts, but his refined secondary arsenal, which includes an increased reliance on both his changeup and curveball, has prevented disaster regardless. He'll look keep it rolling against the Twins.|
Jhoulys Chacin San Diego SP
|Petco Park isn't the pitcher's paradise it used to be, so you shouldn't take Jhoulys Chacin's 1.68 ERA there vs. 7.95 on the road as gospel. But when he's facing the Giants, who rank 28th in run scored, it's enough to make me a believer. Having six quality starts in his last seven doesn't hurt his case either.|
Patrick Corbin Arizona SP
|The Braves haven't been so bad against left-handed pitchers, really, but they're a middling team with a middling, left-handed-heavy lineup. It's a good enough matchup to gamble that Patrick Corbin can continue an encouraging five-start run in which he has compiled a 3.07 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.|