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On the pitching side of the ledger, Fantasy Week 12 (June 20-26) just might be won or lost by who you decide to sit, and not on who you decide to pick up. The ranks of available two-start pitchers are always filled with risky options, but few present any sort of upside to make the risk worth taking. A handful of one-start pitchers have matchups that make them worth a claim, though none of the ones featured here are owned in fewer than 65 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. If you can claim one of them, it will make it easier if to bench one of several starters who will be pitching in an unfavorable venue, should you own any of them.
There are plenty of aces, including Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg, with two starts, so if you own one of them, you will be entering the week with an edge. If your ace has only one start this week, don't try to make up ground with, say, a two-start Hector Santiago or Patrick Corbin, just because he's hanging out on your league's waiver wire. You'll be better off trusting what you have or working on some hitter upgrades.
The two-start landscape
I have been slow to buy into Doug Fister this season, even though he has allowed more than three runs just once all year. Fister has been on a roll since the beginning of May, posting a 2.35 ERA, but I attributed his success to his .256 BABIP during that period. There's much more to it than that, though, as Fister has been dominating right-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .263 slugging percentage.
He's been doing an especially good job of getting righties to hit grounders and make soft contact in general. Maybe that won't enough for Fister every week, but in facing the Angels at home and the Royals on the road, he won't have to face a tough lefty outside of Eric Hosmer and Kole Calhoun. Fister is 70 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues, but if you can get him, he is one of the few two-start additions who could really help you.
If Fister is unavailable, the only other two-start pitcher I would try to add is Jeremy Hellickson. He is coming off three straight sub-par starts, and in each one, control has been an issue. However, each of his three opponents -- the Blue Jays, Nationals and Brewers -- are among the 10 teams who have swung at out-of-the-zone pitches the least. In fact, the Blue Jays and Brewers have the two lowest rates. That was a problem for Hellickson, who works out of the zone more often than all but three qualifying starting pitchers.
Hellickson's first opponent, the Diamondbacks, don't have poor plate discipline, but they're not especially choosy either. Walks could be a problem in Hellickson's weekend start at the Giants, but he should fare well enough against Arizona to be worth a try this week.
Matchups that matter
Matt Shoemaker has been gaining in popularity, and that's good. When you put up a 1.88 ERA over five starts with a 48-to-1 K/BB ratio, that's what happens. Yet Shoemaker is still not starting in 40 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. He has just one start in Week 12, but it's against the Astros. That's a nice matchup for someone who has gotten a swing-and-miss on every fifth pitch over the last five starts. The last time Shoemaker faced the Astros (on May 27), he lasted 8 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and notching 11 strikeouts.
This is also a good week to start Trevor Bauer, who may be finally taming his control issues. Even if that's not the case, a matchup against the Rays should mean plenty of strikeouts, and they're just a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of walk rate. Jerad Eickhoff is in the midst of a nice stretch of his own (2.33 ERA over his last six starts), and he should keep the streak going with a start against the Twins, who rank 22nd in wOBA against right-handed pitchers.
Lance McCullers is currently starting in 65 percent of our leagues, which seems generous for a pitcher with a 4.54 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. His appeal is clearly tied to his 11.8 K/9 ratio, but strikeouts could be scarce when he faces the Angels, who own the majors' lowest strikeout rate. Having bounced back from a pair of sub-quality starts with a strong outing against the Phillies, owners may want to get J.A. Happ into their rotations to face the Diamondbacks. Not only is Happ a serious regression candidate with an 80 percent strand rate and a .250 BABIP, but in facing the Diamondbacks, he will also oppose the offense with the third-highest wOBA and Isolated Power against lefties in the majors.
Extreme park factors
By now, you know what do with Jon Gray on a week-by-week basis. Sit him at Coors Field and start him on the ... hold on, it's time to change the script. Gray will pitch at Yankee Stadium this week, and while the Yankees are generally one of the least potent offenses in the majors, they have the eighth-highest Isolated Power at their homer-friendly stadium. The Reds pose a similarly sneaky obstacle for Drew Pomeranz. They may have the seventh-lowest batting average in the majors, but they rank second in Isolated Power in home games.
As you probably guessed, the one team that hits for more power at home than the Reds is the Rockies. If you needed a reason to bench Archie Bradley, especially since he allowed five homers in his last two starts, his visit to Coors Field ought to be reason enough.
Just behind the Rockies and Reds in home Iso are the Orioles, which is hardly surprising, given their power-drenched lineup and cozy ballpark environment. Orioles Park at Camden Yards is not an ideal landing spot for the Rays, whose rotation has allowed flyballs at the highest rate of any team besides the Royals. That means you need to sit Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi, who will face only the Orioles this week. Drew Smyly has allowed more homers (15) than either of them, but at least he will also make a start at the Indians. However, Smyly is risky in any venue against virtually any team, as he is the only qualifying starter with a flyball rate above 50 percent. While he is coming off one of his best performances of the season -- a 12-strikeout affair against the Mariners -- Smyly offers too much implosion potential to be trusted with these two starts.
Gerrit Cole (triceps) is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list at the end of Week 12, but according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he has yet to resume throwing and has no timetable for a return.
Nick Tropeano (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game on Saturday, according to multiple reports. Depending on how he responds, Tropeano could be activated sometime during Week 12.