Week 18 Fantasy Pitching Planner

We go around baseball's rotations every Sunday of the season in our weekly Pitching Planner. We highlight every matchup, recommended two-start options, sleepers and busts and much more.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. Dan Haren at NYM Figueroa, at WAS Mock
  2. Max Scherzer at PIT Hart
  3. Jon Garland at WAS Balester
  4. Doug Davis at PIT Ohlendorf
  5. Yusmeiro Petit at PIT Duke, at WAS Martin
Two-starter(s): Haren and Petit. Haren is a must-start, while Petit is a risky option best left for NL-only leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Garland. He has been steadily improving and is useful in all leagues this week.
One-week bust: Petit. His matchups are great and he was coming off six shutout innings, but he isn't consistent enough to trust in mixed leagues.
This week's two-start pitchers
Must-start options Own% Start%
Justin Verlander 97 91
Dan Haren 97 90
Zack Greinke 97 90
Johan Santana 98 89
Matt Cain 97 89
Javier Vazquez 97 86
Josh Johnson 97 85
Jon Lester 97 85
John Lackey 96 84
Clayton Kershaw 96 83
Jarrod Washburn 87 75
Randy Wells 78 64
Scott Kazmir 93 64
Scott Baker 83 59
Andy Pettitte 83 50
Advisable options Own% Start%
Zach Duke 85 59
Aaron Harang 84 53
Mat Latos 62 45
Kevin Millwood 87 45
Hiroki Kuroda 66 42
Brett Anderson 60 41
Luke Hochevar 45 31
Jamie Moyer 30 21
Questionable options Own% Start%
Manny Parra 33 19
Kenshin Kawakami 32 19
Chris Tillman 38 18
Jose A. Contreras 30 15
Ryan Rowland-Smith 18 13
Derek Holland 20 12
High-risk options Own% Start%
Jason Hammel 22 12
Tim Stauffer 12 8
Mike Hampton 14 7
Charlie Morton 10 7
Gio Gonzalez 10 4
Yusmeiro Petit 4 3
David Huff 5 2
Garrett Mock 1 0
J.D. Martin 1 0

Atlanta Braves

  1. Javier Vazquez at SD Stauffer, at LAD Kuroda
  2. Derek Lowe at LAD Wolf
  3. Jair Jurrjens at LAD Billingsley
  4. Tommy Hanson at SD Gaudin
  5. Kenshin Kawakami at SD Latos, at LAD Kershaw

Two-starter(s): Vazquez and Kawakami. Vazquez is a must-start, while Kawakami hasn't been consistent enough to trust in mixed leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: None. The top four are all must-starts still.
One-week bust: Kawakami. He is coming off a bad start and will be facing the Dodgers in his second matchup.

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Chris Tillman at DET Verlander, at TOR Cecil
  2. Brian Matusz at DET Washburn, at TOR Romero
  3. Jeremy Guthrie at DET Jackson
  4. David Hernandez at DET Porcello
  5. Jason Berken at TOR Richmond

Two-starter(s): Tillman and Matusz. The future of the O's is now for their new staff aces. They are risks worth taking as they try to establish themselves. Take that flier now.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Matusz. He is an elite pitching prospect on a serious roll in his first pro season. His matchups aren't tough enough to worry about him.
One-week bust: Guthrie. He is no longer the staff ace and hasn't pitched like one all year anyway.

Boston Red Sox

  1. Josh Beckett at NYY Burnett
  2. Jon Lester at TB Garza, at NYY Pettitte
  3. John Smoltz at NYY Chamberlain
  4. Clay Buchholz at NYY Sabathia
  5. Brad Penny at TB Price

Two-starter(s): Lester. He is an advisable option, despite his struggles last time out and his tough matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Buchholz. He hasn't been great yet and has a tough matchup, but he is worth taking a chance on in a big spot.
One-week bust: Penny. He has been awful at times and draws an unfavorable matchup this week.

Chicago Cubs

  1. Carlos Zambrano at COL Jimenez
  2. Rich Harden at CIN Lehr
  3. Ryan Dempster at COL Marquis
  4. Randy Wells at CIN Harang, at COL Hammel
  5. Tom Gorzelanny at CIN Cueto

Two-starter(s): Wells. He has become at least an advisable option in all leagues, if not a must-start.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Wells. He has gone from a long reliever to being a sturdy Fantasy option.
One-week bust: Gorzelanny. We can't be sure what to expect in his Cubs debut, but we likely him as a potential sleeper.

Chicago White Sox

  1. Mark Buehrle vs CLE Sowers
  2. John Danks vs LAA Santana
  3. Gavin Floyd vs LAA Saunders
  4. Jose Contreras vs LAA Lackey, vs CLE Huff
  5. TBD vs CLE Pavano

Two-starter(s): Contreras. He is a questionable option because he really hasn't been great lately.
Who is getting skipped: No. 5 TBD. D.J. Carrasco was the last-minute fill-in for the traded Clayton Richard, but GM Ken Williams said that turn will be skipped whenever possible. It still comes up once in Fantasy Week 18 (Aug. 3-9).
One-week sleeper: Contreras. He has a favorable second matchup that could make him a risk worth taking in deeper formats, mostly AL-only leagues.
One-week bust: Carrasco or No. 5 TBD. We cannot be sure who will take that turn, since Bartolo Colon (elbow) and Jake Peavy (ankle) won't be ready to come back until mid-to-late August.

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Aaron Harang vs CHC Wells, at SF Cain
  2. Johnny Cueto vs CHC Gorzelanny
  3. Bronson Arroyo at SF Zito
  4. Homer Bailey at SF Lincecum
  5. Justin Lehr vs CHC Harden

Two-starter(s): Harang. Despite his losing streak, he remains an advisable option in most leagues.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Bailey. He has been struggling and pitches after a day off. We don't see a reason for the Reds to not let him pitch through it, though.
One-week sleeper: Arroyo. He draws the most favorable matchup of the week among Reds pitchers and was quality last time out.
One-week bust: Cueto. He has been getting beat up and is too risky to trust right now.

Cleveland Indians

  1. Carl Pavano at CHW TBD
  2. Fausto Carmona vs MIN Blackburn
  3. David Huff vs MIN Baker, at CHW Contreras
  4. Aaron Laffey vs MIN Liriano
  5. Jeremy Sowers at CHW Buehrle

Two-starter(s): Huff. He is a questionable option against two contending teams with solid offenses.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Carmona. He was decent in his return and could return to being a solid option for all mixed leagues again.
One-week bust: Huff. He isn't pitching well enough to trust in those two matchups.

Colorado Rockies

  1. Aaron Cook at PHI Lee
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez vs CHC Zambrano
  3. Jason Marquis vs CHC Dempster
  4. Jason Hammel at PHI Moyer, vs CHC Wells
  5. Jorge De La Rosa at PHI Happ

Two-starter(s): Hammel. He wasn't great last time out and draws two hot contenders.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: De La Rosa. He has been scorching hot and is useful in mixed leagues now, even if his matchup is tough.
One-week bust: Hammel. He is the only Rockies starter we wouldn't advise using in mixed leagues this week.

Detroit Tigers

  1. Justin Verlander vs BAL Tillman, vs MIN Perkins
  2. Jarrod Washburn vs BAL Matusz, vs MIN Baker
  3. Edwin Jackson vs BAL Guthrie
  4. Rick Porcello vs BAL Hernandez
  5. Armando Galarraga vs MIN Swarzak

Two-starter(s): Verlander and Washburn. Verlander is a must-start in all leagues, while Washburn is at least advisable.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Galarraga. He is pitching well enough to use this week in all leagues.
One-week bust: None. All of the Tigers starting five are useful Fantasy options.

Florida Marlins

  1. Ricky Nolasco at PHI Hamels
  2. Josh Johnson at WAS Martin, at PHI Moyer
  3. Chris Volstad at WAS Stammen
  4. Rick VandenHurk at WAS Lannan
  5. TBD, perhaps Sean West at PHI Blanton

Two-starter(s): Johnson. He is a must-start in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None. The No. 5 spot is TBD, but it comes up at least once in Fantasy Week 18 (Aug. 3-9).
One-week sleeper: VandenHurk. He struck out nine last time out and draws the Nationals.
One-week bust: No. 5 spot TBD. We figure West will get the call, but whoever starts on that turn at Philly will be difficult to trust.

Top 10 Pitchers Added
Player % Change
1. Jim R. Johnson, RP, Orioles 20
2. Tommy Hunter, SP, Rangers 17
3. Brett Cecil, SP, Blue Jays 17
4. Mat Latos, SP, Padres 15
5. Bud Norris, SP, Astros 14
6. Luke Hochevar, SP, Royals 13
7. Justin Masterson, SP, Indians 13
8. Derek Holland, SP, Rangers 13
9. Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Rockies 11
10. Chris Tillman, SP, Orioles 10

Houston Astros

  1. Roy Oswalt (questionable, back) or Felipe Paulino vs SF Sanchez
  2. Wandy Rodriguez (questionable, hamstring) vs MIL TBD
  3. Mike Hampton vs SF Cain, vs MIL Parra
  4. Bud Norris vs MIL Villanueva
  5. Brian Moehler vs SF TBD

Two-starter(s): Hampton. He hasn't been consistent of late, which makes him a questionable to risky option.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Oswalt and perhaps Rodriguez. The Astros' aces are banged up and questionable for their starts and risky plays in Fantasy. Paulino will start Tuesday if Oswalt cannot go and the Astros can go with a four-man rotation until the No. 5 spot is needed after Fantasy Week 18 (Aug. 3-9).
One-week sleeper: Norris. The top prospect draws a tough matchup, but he is a risk worth taking in deeper leagues.
One-week bust: Oswalt and Rodriguez. Their health and starts are equally uncertain. They might not be used at all, so you cannot start them in Fantasy without taking a significant leap of faith.

Kansas City Royals

  1. Zack Greinke at TB Kazmir, vs OAK Anderson
  2. Brian Bannister vs OAK Mazzaro
  3. Kyle Davies vs SEA French
  4. Luke Hochevar vs SEA Rowland-Smith, OAK Gonzalez
  5. Bruce Chen vs SEA Vargas

Two-starter(s): Greinke and Hochevar. Greinke is a must-start in all leagues, while Hochevar is a sleeper who was bad last time out after a four-game winning streak.
Who is getting skipped: None. Sidney Ponson was designated for assignment and will be replaced by Davies this week. Take the flier on him in deeper formats. His numbers in Triple-A were outstanding.
One-week sleeper: Hochevar. If you can look past his bad last start, he has two favorable matchups before him.
One-week bust: Chen. A favorable matchup is enticing, but you should elsewhere in deeper formats.

Los Angeles Angels

  1. John Lackey at CHW Contreras, vs TEX Holland
  2. Jered Weaver vs TEX Feldman
  3. Joe Saunders at CHW Danks
  4. Ervin Santana at CHW Floyd
  5. TBD, likely Sean O'Sullivan vs TEX Millwood

Two-starter(s): Lackey. He is a must-start in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: The No. 5 spot. Matt Palmer or O'Sullivan will be needed by Saturday, Aug. 8.
One-week sleeper: O'Sullivan. There is risk here because they still could use Palmer out of long relief. Also, that turn's matchup is unfavorable.
One-week bust: Saunders and Santana. They have been getting beat up consistently and are risky options in any league right now.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Chad Billingsley vs ATL Jurrjens
  2. Randy Wolf vs ATL Lowe
  3. Clayton Kershaw vs MIL Parra, vs ATL Kawakami
  4. Hiroki Kuroda vs MIL Gallardo, vs ATL Vazquez
  5. Jason Schmidt vs MIL Looper

Two-starter(s): Kershaw and Kuroda. Kershaw is a must-start, while Kuroda is a questionable option due to tough matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Wolf. He has been good for a quality start every time out of late.
One-week bust: Kuroda. He could be tempting because of two starts, but his matchups make him dangerous.

Milwaukee Brewers

  1. Yovani Gallardo at LAD Kuroda, at HOU Hampton
  2. Manny Parra at LAD Kershaw, at HOU Norris
  3. Braden Looper at LAD Schmidt
  4. Carlos Villanueva at HOU Rodriguez
  5. vacant

Two-starter(s): Parra and Gallardo. Parra is a questionable option right now, while Gallardo is a must-start.
Who is getting skipped: The No. 5 spot. The Brewers will be going with a four-man rotation for the next three turns.
One-week sleeper: Parra. He hasn't been great, but he hasn't lost since June either.
One-week bust: Villanueva. He wasn't good in relief, so it is hard to imagine he will be a trustworthy starter.

Minnesota Twins

  1. Scott Baker at CLE Huff, at DET Washburn
  2. Francisco Liriano at CLE Laffey
  3. Nick Blackburn at CLE Carmona
  4. Anthony Swarzak at DET Galarraga
  5. Glen Perkins at DET Verlander

Two-starter(s): Baker. He is an advisable option in most leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Baker. He should be active in more than a mere 58 percent of leagues.
One-week bust: Liriano. His elbow is sore and he hasn't been consistent anyway. You are best off avoiding him altogether this week.

New York Mets

  1. Johan Santana vs STL Pineiro, at SD Latos
  2. Mike Pelfrey at SD Correia
  3. Oliver Perez at SD Richard
  4. Jonathon Niese at SD Stauffer
  5. Livan Hernandez vs STL Lohse
  6. Nelson Figueroa vs ARI Haren

Two-starter(s): Santana. He is a must-start in all leagues again.
Who is getting skipped: None. The Mets need a six-man rotation due to a doubleheader last Friday. Figueroa gets the call Monday and it is doubtful he will stick in the rotation thereafter.
One-week sleeper: Niese. He has been pretty good since his recall and draws a favorable matchup.
One-week bust: Perez, Hernandez and Figueroa. These guys are high-risk options this week.

New York Yankees

  1. CC Sabathia vs BOS Buchholz
  2. A.J. Burnett vs BOS Beckett
  3. Andy Pettitte at TOR Halladay, vs BOS Lester
  4. Joba Chamberlain vs BOS Smoltz
  5. Sergio Mitre at TOR Rzepczynski

Two-starter(s): Pettitte. He is advisable, but those are pretty beastly matchups.
Who is getting skipped: Chamberlain. The Yankees moved him back to the Red Sox series, which gives him a tougher matchup.
One-week sleeper: Pettitte. He is only starting in 49 percent on CBSSports.com, but his last outing warrants him starting in more leagues.
One-week bust: Mitre. He didn't last long last time out and is a bit too risky to trust in mixed formats right now.

Oakland Athletics

  1. Dallas Braden vs TEX Padilla
  2. Brett Anderson vs TEX Nippert, at KC Greinke
  3. Trevor Cahill vs TEX Hunter
  4. Vin Mazzaro at KC Bannister
  5. Gio Gonzalez vs TEX Holland

Two-starter(s): Anderson. He is an advisable option in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Anderson. He is undervalued right now and has driven his ownership to a season-high 59 percent.
One-week bust: Cahill. He is getting woefully trumped by fellow rookie Anderson of late. He is difficult to trust.

Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Cole Hamels vs FLA Nolasco
  2. Cliff Lee vs COL Cook
  3. Jamie Moyer vs COL Hammel, vs FLA Johnson
  4. Joe Blanton vs FLA TBD
  5. J.A. Happ vs COL De La Rosa

Two-starter(s): Moyer. He has been as great as the Phillies have been for a long time. He is an advisable option in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Moyer. He deserves to be starting in any format this week.
One-week bust: None. All of the Phillies' starting five are viable options this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Zach Duke vs ARI Petit, vs STL Wainwright
  2. Paul Maholm vs STL Boggs
  3. Ross Ohlendorf vs ARI Davis
  4. Charlie Morton vs WAS Mock, vs STL Carpenter
  5. Kevin Hart vs ARI Scherzer

Two-starter(s): Morton and Duke. They are sleepers for deeper leagues. Duke being an advisable option in most formats.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Morton. His first matchup is favorable and he is getting his feet under him as a viable option in Fantasy.
One-week bust: Maholm. He isn't pitching well enough to trust against the Cardinals this week.

San Diego Padres

  1. Kevin Correia vs NYM Pelfrey
  2. Clayton Richard vs NYM Perez
  3. Chad Gaudin vs ATL Hanson
  4. Mat Latos vs ATL Kawakami, vs NYM Santana
  5. Tim Stauffer vs ATL Vazquez, vs NYM Niese

Two-starter(s): Latos and Stauffer. They have arrived and are solid sleepers in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Latos. The elite pitching prospect is trustworthy in any format now, even with Santana on tap in his second matchup.
One-week bust: Gaudin. He draws a tough matchup and is coming off a bad start.

San Francisco Giants

  1. Tim Lincecum vs CIN Bailey
  2. Matt Cain at HOU Hampton, vs CIN Harang
  3. Barry Zito vs CIN Arroyo
  4. Jonathan Sanchez at HOU TBD
  5. TBD, likely Kevin Pucetas at HOU Moehler

Two-starter(s): Cain. He is a must-start in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Sanchez. The strikeouts make him a solid option, despite some hiccups since his no-hitter.
One-week bust: No. 5 TBD. Pucetas is a sleeper pick-up in deeper leagues, but we wouldn't trust him until he proves effective in the majors.

Seattle Mariners

  1. Felix Hernandez vs TB Niemann
  2. Jason M. Vargas at KC Chen
  3. Ryan Rowland-Smith at KC Hochevar, at TB Kazmir
  4. Luke French at KC Davies
  5. Ian Snell vs TB Shields

Two-starter(s): Rowland-Smith. He is coming off a victory against Halladay and is a sleeper for deeper formats now.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: French. He makes his debut with the Mariners in a favorable matchup. He could be useful even in deeper mixed formats this week.
One-week bust: Vargas. The matchup is tempting, but you are best leaving him for the deepest of AL-only leagues still.

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Adam Wainwright at PIT Duke
  2. Chris Carpenter at PIT Maholm
  3. Joel Pineiro at NYM Santana, at PIT Duke
  4. Kyle Lohse at NYM Hernandez
  5. Mitchell Boggs skipped

Two-starter(s): Pineiro. He is an advisable option in all leagues in his breakthrough year.
Who is getting skipped: Boggs. The Cardinals have off days Monday and Thursday, allowing them to go with a four-man rotation.
One-week sleeper: Lohse. He is improving steadily in his return from the DL. Trust him in mixed leagues now.
One-week bust: Boggs. He likely won't get a start, so the contending Cardinals can keep their front-line guys on regular rest.

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. James Shields at SEA Snell
  2. Scott Kazmir vs KC Greinke, at SEA Rowland-Smith
  3. Matt Garza vs BOS Lester
  4. David Price vs BOS Penny
  5. Jeff Niemann at SEA Hernandez

Two-starter(s): Kazmir. He is still an advisable option in most leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Niemann. He is hot and facing a favorable matchup at Seattle, despite facing King Felix.
One-week bust: Price. He has been great at home, but if there is a team to sit him against, it would be the righty-leaning Red Sox.

Texas Rangers

  1. Kevin Millwood vs LAA O'Sullivan
  2. Vicente Padilla at OAK Braden
  3. Tommy Hunter at OAK Cahill
  4. Derek Holland at OAK Gonzalez, at LAA Lackey
  5. Scott Feldman at LAA Weaver

Two-starter(s): Holland. He was great his last time out and gets one favorable matchup and one unfavorable one. Use him in deeper mixed leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None. Millwood is banged up and will miss his start Monday. He could return before the end of the week, though. Nippert fills in Monday, but that is likely a one-and-done.
One-week sleeper: Hunter. We haven't given him enough credit in this space. Consider him advisable in mixed leagues now.
One-week bust: Feldman. He hasn't been pitching well lately and draws an unfavorable matchup.

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Roy Halladay vs NYY Pettitte
  2. Ricky Romero vs BAL Matusz
  3. Scott Richmond vs BAL Berken
  4. Brett Cecil vs BAL Tillman
  5. Marc Rzepczynski vs NYY Mitre

Two-starter(s): None. They have five games with days off Monday and Thursday with no plans to skip a starter.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Cecil. He has put a good stretch together and faces another rookie in a favorable matchup.
One-week bust: Rzepczynski. We don't trust him against the Yankees, even if it is against their fifth starter.

Washington Nationals

  1. John Lannan vs FLA VandenHurk
  2. Craig Stammen vs FLA Volstad
  3. Garrett Mock at PIT Morton, vs ARI Haren
  4. J.D. Martin vs FLA Johnson, vs ARI Petit
  5. Collin Balester vs ARI Garland

Two-starter(s): Mock and Martin. They are high-risk options even in deeper NL-only leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Lannan. He remains the lone Nationals starter you can trust in most leagues.
One-week bust: Mock and Martin. The matchups don't matter; you shouldn't trust them in a two-start week.

You can e-mail Emack your Fantasy Baseball pitching questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Pitching Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org... Full Bio

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