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When you peruse the list of two-start pitchers on your league's waiver wire for Fantasy Week 21 (Aug. 24-30), just be forewarned. Everything is not as it seems.
It may appear that there are several worthwhile alternatives from which to choose, but upon closer inspection, there is seemingly nowhere to turn for a quality two-start option. Homer-prone Nathan Karns can't be bad with two home starts, right? Tropicana Field hasn't been pitcher-friendly enough, as Karns has allowed 10 home runs over 69 home innings. Derek Holland was great in his first start back...pick him up! On second thought, pump the brakes, because he gets the Blue Jays and Orioles this week. Danny Duffy could be sneaky-good, given his 3.02 ERA since the beginning of July, but a ratio of 21 strikeouts to 19 walks is a pretty strong repellent.
Owners in shallow leagues have a good chance at nabbing Nathan Eovaldi (78 percent owned) or Patrick Corbin (71 percent owned), and both are definitely worth using, and they are must-adds in 12-team mixed leagues, if you are lucky enough to have them available. Among the pitchers who are likely to be on waivers in those formats, the safest one wears the black, purple and white of the Colorado Rockies.
You read that right. A Rockies pitcher is your safe two-start waiver play this week. Jorge De La Rosa is scheduled to take the mound for Monday's road trip opener at Atlanta, and that puts him in line for two starts away from Coors Field, with the second coming at pitcher-friendly PNC Park.
If you can't get behind using a Rockies pitcher at this critical juncture of the season, then you are probably best off settling for the two-start pitchers you already own and maybe a good one-start pitcher on waivers, like Joe Ross (vs. MIA, 67 percent owned) or Raisel Iglesias (at MIL, 53 percent owned). Before you resort to those options, though, take a look at what De La Rosa has done on the road this season. You might be surprised.
Top pitching target for standard and shallow mixed leagues: Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (at ATL, at PIT, 17 percent owned)
On the surface, De La Rosa has the look of a pitcher you would avoid outside of NL-only leagues, even with (and maybe especially with) two starts. His unsightly 4.50 ERA and 1.40 WHIP would be enough to dissuade just about any owner, as they are well supported by high walk (4.3 BB/9) and home run (1.0 HR/9) rates. Not surprisingly, the latter mark is heavily skewed by De La Rosa's home starts, as he has allowed only four homers in 59 2/3 innings on the road. He has also been a much better control pitcher in away starts with a 3.3 BB/9.
De La Rosa has a 3.17 road ERA and a 1.16 road WHIP, though a .257 BABIP has helped to shrink those numbers. Even with regression, though, De La Rosa should be good enough to weather a two-start week with sufficient production. He has also been steady in his road starts, so those stats are not the product of a few exceptional outings covering up the damage from repeated flameouts. Only once in 10 road starts has De La Rosa allowed more than three runs.
The lefty may present more upside than his road numbers would suggest. He has a healthy 12 percent whiff rate on the season, and at home, he has struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings. Away from Coors Field, his K/9 ratio has dipped to 6.8. With two starts, De La Rosa's strikeout total should be completely reasonable, even if he doesn't increase that road ratio, but his whiff rate could translate into an even higher total, much like he has enjoyed at home.
Get him off your bench?: Jered Weaver, Angels (at DET, at CLE, 35 percent started)
Weaver will be a waiver option in shallow leagues for the most part, as he is currently owned in 72 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. However, more than half of his owners have benched him, and given how he performed for most of this season, there is a strong incentive to just forget about him.
As I mentioned in a recent By the Numbers column, Weaver has not only performed better since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, but he appears to have been a victim of chance earlier in the season. He has posted a respectable 9.6 percent whiff rate, yet he ranks among the starters with the lowest strikeout rates. Contrary to what his season-to-date stats would indicate, Weaver has a good chance at providing enough strikeouts to be used in standard mixed leagues.
In fact, if he had two home starts, he would be a no-brainer to use over De La Rosa. Weaver has been unreliable away from Angel Stadium -- largely due to his flyball tendencies -- for some time now, as he has posted road ERAs of 4.00 or higher for three straight seasons. The Tigers and Indians pose enough of a threat that Weaver should probably be avoided in standard mixed leagues, but he is sitting on too many benches in mixed leagues with 14 or more teams.