Normally, the season would end on a Sunday, but you may remember there was a lockout prior to this season. It pushed back the schedule enough that, oops, we're ending on a Wednesday instead.
This makes for a somewhat awkward finish in Fantasy, presuming your league has chosen to incorporate the full schedule. Rather than the usual seven-day scoring period, we're looking at a 10-day scoring period. Making two starts is the norm, then, rather than the exception, so you won't find my usual two-start pitching rankings.
- Week 26:
And there remain the usual end-of-season oddities. Spot starts throwing things off. Pitchers randomly being shut down. Playoff teams realigning their rotations. Suffice it to say you don't want to get cute if you can help it.
But if you need help for this final push, these 10 pitchers are my favorites rostered in no more than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
All information is up to date as of Sunday afternoon.
CIN Cincinnati • #21 • Age: 23
Greene has been straight fire in his first two starts back from a shoulder strain, and now he lines up to face the Pirates and Cubs in the season's final week. He's a a particularly fine choice if you're looking to play catch-up in strikeouts.
Jon Gray SP
TEX Texas • #22 • Age: 31
Gray is still building up his pitch count after a six-week absence for an oblique strain, but the stuff has looked good since returning. Hopefully, he'll be able to last long enough to secure a win in his two matchups this week, the first of which (at Seattle) is especially inviting.
Nick Lodolo SP
CIN Cincinnati • #40 • Age: 24
Lodolo has been a little shaky in his past couple turns but had 11 strikeouts in the two before that and has overall done well in the second half. His matchup against the Cubs makes him worth using even with just one start.
Alex Cobb SP
SF San Francisco • #38 • Age: 35
Cobb's turnaround after missing time with a neck strain in June has been underappreciated. He has a 2.91 ERA in 18 starts since. The Rockies on the road make for a great matchup, and the Padres lately haven't been so tough either.
STL St. Louis • #62 • Age: 33
Quintana struggles to go even five innings sometimes, which can make him frustrating to recommend in Fantasy, but he's gone a combined 14 2/3 innings in his past two, lowering his ERA to 3.03. You can't ask for better matchups than a double dip against the Pirates.
LAA L.A. Angels • #43 • Age: 26
Sandoval has had a weird year, maintaining a low ERA but struggling with efficiency and coming up short in strikeouts. Still, he'll be facing the 29th-ranked Athletics lineup twice.
CHC Chi. Cubs • Age: 31
There's nothing special about Stroman's matchups against the Phillies and Reds this week, but he has two of them and is one of the better pitchers who's available enough to qualify for this list, having delivered a quality start in three of his past four chances.
Cody Morris SP
CLE Cleveland • #36 • Age: 26
The Guardians made the curious decision to have Morris' introduction to the majors basically serve as a rehab assignment for a shoulder strain, but it's gone well so far, even seeing him stretch out to five-plus innings in his past two starts. The Rays and Royals make for some inviting matchups to close out the year, especially given Morris' wide availability.
STL St. Louis • #22 • Age: 27
Flaherty's latest start Thursday was his best so far, seeing him strike out nine over six innings, but then again, he also walked four. He has mostly underwhelmed in his return, but he gets two starts in the final week, including one at Pittsburgh.
Bailey Ober SP
MIN Minnesota • #16 • Age: 27
Ober may be only a five-inning pitcher, but he's one with good enough bat-missing skills to keep the damage to a minimum. You'll want to limit your expectations for him, but if you're looking to maximize volume, he should perform well enough against the White Sox and Tigers.