Week 26 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. The means we consider them a recommended start. The means we suggest you consider a replacement option.

Arizona Diamondbacks

  1. Dan Haren at SF Lincecum
  2. Doug Davis at SF Sanchez, at CHC Dempster
  3. Max Scherzer at CHC Wells
  4. Billy Buckner at CHC Samardzija
  5. Kevin Mulvey at SF Penny
This week's two-start pitchers
Must-start options TM Own % Start %
Justin Verlander DET 97 89
Felix Hernandez SEA 97 88
Josh Beckett BOS 97 88
Jair Jurrjens ATL 96 79
A.J. Burnett NYY 96 78
Ryan Dempster CHC 93 72
Scott Kazmir ANA 94 71
Scott Feldman TEX 84 65
Hiroki Kuroda LA 77 52
Rick Porcello DET 73 48
Advisable options TM Own % Start %
Cole Hamels PHI 97 86
Joel Pineiro STL 86 69
John Danks CHW 93 69
Ervin Santana ANA 90 63
Jeff Niemann TB 76 49
J.A. Happ PHI 85 49
Jonathan O. Sanchez SF 72 43
Nick Blackburn MIN 59 37
Tim Hudson ATL 64 35
Homer Bailey CIN 45 28
Brian Duensing MIN 36 25
Anibal Sanchez FLA 34 19
Wade Davis TB 34 18
Questionable options TM Own % Start %
Jason Marquis COL 85 65
Zach Duke PIT 68 34
Tommy Hunter TEX 65 40
Doug Davis ARI 48 29
Trevor Cahill OAK 37 19
Justin Masterson CLE 34 16
Scott Richmond TOR 34 14
Aaron Laffey CLE 28 12
Luke Hochevar KC 23 10
Charlie Morton PIT 5 2
Chris Narveson MIL 3 2
High-risk options TM Own % Start %
Jeremy Guthrie BAL 27 12
Nelson Figueroa NYM 3 2
Ross Detwiler WAS 3 1
J.D. Martin WAS 3 1
Mark Hendrickson BAL 1 1
Jeff Karstens PIT 1 0
Wilton Lopez HOU 0 0

Two-starter(s): Davis. He is a questionable option who is worth the risk in deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Mulvey. He posted a quality start against the Giants last week and is useful as a one-start in deeper formats.
One-week bust: Buckner. He took a 3.47 ERA into Sunday's start, but we still don't trust him outside of the deepest of NL-only leagues.

Atlanta Braves

  1. Javier Vazquez vs FLA Nolasco
  2. Tommy Hanson vs WAS Mock
  3. Derek Lowe vs WAS Hernandez
  4. Jair Jurrjens vs FLA Sanchez, vs WAS Detwiler
  5. Tim Hudson vs FLA VandenHurk, vs WAS Martin

Two-starter(s): Jurrjens and Hudson. They are at least advisable options in all formats, although Hudson might not be asked to start on the season's final day and Jurrjens could be skipped in the final weekend to limit his innings, too. Regardless, they are solid one-start options anyway.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Hudson. He might be the least owned of the Braves' starters, but they are all viable options.
One-week bust: None. All of the Braves are solid starts in all leagues this week.

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Jeremy Guthrie at TB Davis, vs TOR Richmond
  2. Chris Tillman vs TOR Purcey
  3. David Hernandez at TB Shields
  4. Jason Berken at TB Garza
  5. Mark Hendrickson at TB Niemann, vs TOR Tallet

Two-starter(s): Hendrickson and Guthrie. They are too risky to trust in the final week.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: None. All of the Orioles starters are extreme risks right now.
One-week bust: All. Even Tillman has been getting beaten up of late. Don't use any O's starter in the final week.

Boston Red Sox

  1. Josh Beckett vs TOR Richmond, vs CLE Masterson
  2. Jon Lester vs CLE Sowers
  3. Clay Buchholz vs TOR Romero
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka vs CLE Huff
  5. Tim Wakefield vs TOR Halladay
  6. Paul Byrd vs CLE Laffey

Two-starter(s): Beckett or Buchholz. We tend to doubt Beckett will get a start next weekend, so they can set up their rotation for the postseason. Buchholz is likely to pick up the second start. If they Red Sox pull Byrd from the rotation, though, there is a chance both Beckett and Buchholz get two starts. They are advisable options even with one start.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Dice-K. He has been great since his return and is a solid one-start pitcher in any format.
One-week bust: Wakefield. He is a risky play due to his questionable back health and he is drawing a tough opposing ace.

Chicago Cubs

  1. Carlos Zambrano vs PIT Maholm
  2. Ryan Dempster vs PIT Morton, vs ARI Davis
  3. Ted Lilly vs PIT Karstens
  4. Rich Harden (questionable, shoulder) or Randy Wells (questionable, innings limit) vs ARI Scherzer
  5. Tom Gorzelanny vs PIT Hart
  6. Jeff Samardzija vs ARI Buckner

Two-starter(s): Dempster. He is a must-start in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Wells and/or Samardzija. The Cubs said they might shut him down for the final week due to an innings limit, but Harden could take that turn. Also, Samardzija might not start.
One-week sleeper: Gorzelanny. He was solid his last start and draws a favorable matchup.
One-week bust: Harden or Samardzija. He might not start if Harden returns and Wells doesn't get shut down. You shouldn't bother with the uncertainty.

Chicago White Sox

  1. Jake Peavy at CLE Carmona
  2. Mark Buehrle (doubtful, innings limit)
  3. John Danks at CLE Laffey, at DET Verlander
  4. Gavin Floyd (out, hip)
  5. Freddy An. Garcia at DET Jackson
  6. Daniel Hudson at DET Porcello
  7. Carlos Torres at CLE Masterson

Two-starter(s): Danks. He is an advisable option in most leagues still.
Who is getting skipped: Buehrle and Floyd. They are shut down at this point, although Buehrle is a candidate to start the final game of the season in Danks' spot if the game means something for the Tigers.
One-week sleeper: Hudson. His first start was a solid one, so consider him a sleeper for deeper leagues.
One-week bust: Buehrle. Hoping the Tigers game on the season's final day is a risk move in any format. He has to be reserved.

Cincinnati Reds

  1. Bronson Arroyo vs STL Smoltz
  2. Johnny Cueto vs PIT Duke
  3. Homer Bailey vs STL Pineiro, vs PIT Morton
  4. Justin Lehr vs PIT McCutchen
  5. Matt Maloney vs STL Carpenter

Two-starter(s): Bailey. He has been outstanding in September and is an advisable option in any league now.
Who is getting skipped: Likely Kip Wells. He should be avoided even if he gets a start.
One-week sleeper: Bailey. For some reason his ownership remains at only 45 percent, but he has a 2.67 ERA in September.
One-week bust: Lehr. He coming off a victory and facing the Pirates, but he is not consistent enough to trust outside of deep NL-only formats.

Cleveland Indians

  1. David Huff at BOS Matsuzaka
  2. Jeremy Sowers at BOS Lester
  3. Fausto Carmona vs CHW Peavy
  4. Justin Masterson vs CHW Torres, at BOS Beckett
  5. Aaron Laffey vs CHW Danks, at BOS Byrd

Two-starter(s): Laffey and Masterson. They are at best questionable options best left for AL-only leagues.
Who is getting skipped: Carlos Carrasco. He currently isn't on the schedule to get another start.
One-week sleeper: Masterson. He is a risk, but one worth taking in deeper leagues.
One-week bust: Laffey. He snapped his slump last time out, but he's too difficult to trust in those matchups.

Colorado Rockies

  1. Ubaldo Jimenez at LAD Wolf
  2. Jorge De La Rosa at LAD Kershaw
  3. Aaron Cook vs MIL Parra
  4. Jason Marquis vs MIL Narveson, at LAD Kuroda
  5. Jason Hammel vs MIL Suppan

Two-starter(s): Marquis. He is a questionable option due to his slump and his matchups.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Cook. He was solid in his DL return and is useful in deeper mixed leagues now.
One-week bust: Marquis. Those two starts amid his terrible September are dangerous.

Detroit Tigers

  1. Justin Verlander vs MIN Duensing, vs CHW Danks
  2. Edwin Jackson vs CHW Garcia
  3. Rick Porcello vs MIN Blackburn, vs CHW Hudson
  4. Eddie Bonine vs MIN Pavano
  5. Nate Robertson vs MIN Baker

Two-starter(s): Porcello and Verlander. They are must-starts in all leagues, but it is highly doubtful Verlander will be used on the season's final day. The Tigers will hold him out to start Game 1 of the postseason.
Who is getting skipped: Likely Verlander off his second start. He remains a must-start, one-start regardless.
One-week sleeper: Bonine. He has a 3.06 ERA in his three starts. He is useful in deeper mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Robertson. He didn't instill any confidence last time out and probably has to be avoided in mixed leagues.

Florida Marlins

  1. Josh Johnson (questionable, illness) at ATL Hudson
  2. Ricky Nolasco at ATL Vazquez
  3. Anibal Sanchez at ATL Jurrjens, at Happ
  4. Rick VandenHurk or Chris Volstad at PHI Hamels
  5. Sean West at PHI Blanton

Two-starter(s): Sanchez. He is an advisable option in any league at this point.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Volstad. Johnson is expected to start as soon as he is healthy, which could be Tuesday and moving VandenHurk back. VandenHurk likely pushes Volstad back to the bullpen.
One-week sleeper: Sanchez. He was great last time out against the potent Phillies, so you can start him with confidence this week now.
One-week bust: VandenHurk. We cannot be sure when or if he will start at this point.

Houston Astros

  1. Wandy Rodriguez at NYM Maine
  2. Felipe Paulino at PHI Martinez
  3. Brian Moehler at PHI Lee
  4. Wilton Lopez at PHI Happ, at NYM Figueroa
  5. Yorman Bazardo at PHI Hamels, at NYM Misch

Two-starter(s): Bazardo and Lopez. They are too risky to trust in any formats at this point, especially with that tough first matchup.
Who is getting skipped: Bud Norris. He has been shut down for the season.
One-week sleeper: None. The non-Rodriguez Astros starters shouldn't be trusted this week, especially against the Phillies.
One-week bust: All except Rodriguez.

Kansas City Royals

  1. Zack Greinke at MIN Blackburn
  2. Kyle Davies (out, back)
  3. Luke Hochevar at NYY Gaudin, at MIN Duensing
  4. Anthony Lerew at NYY Burnett
  5. Robinson Tejeda at NYY Chamberlain
  6. Lenny DiNardo at MIN Liriano

Two-starter(s): Hochevar. He is a questionable option that is risky due to that Yankees matchup.
Who is getting skipped: Davies and perhaps DiNardo. Davies is injured and likely to be done for the season, while DiNardo won't be needed Friday due to Thursday off day. If DiNardo is skipped, Lerew would pick up a second start. Davies, DiNardo and Lerew shouldn't be used in any leagues, regardless.
One-week sleeper: None. All non-Greinke starters are bad plays this week.
One-week bust: All except Greinke.

Los Angeles Angels

  1. John Lackey vs TEX Millwood
  2. Jered Weaver vs TEX Holland
  3. Scott Kazmir vs TEX Feldman, at OAK Cahill
  4. Joe Saunders at OAK Gonzalez
  5. Ervin Santana vs TEX Hunter, at OAK E. Gonzalez

Two-starter(s): Kazmir and Santana. They are at least advisable in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Santana. He hasn't been great, but he is worth a shot in his final two-start week. He is at least more certain to make his weekend start than other two-starters on contenders, since he won't be in the rotation.
One-week bust: None. All Angels starters are advisable options this week.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  1. Chad Billingsley at SD Ramos
  2. Randy Wolf vs COL Jimenez
  3. Clayton Kershaw vs COL De La Rosa
  4. Hiroki Kuroda at PIT Duke, vs COL Marquis
  5. Jon Garland at SD Richard

Two-starter(s): Kuroda. He is a must-start in all leagues due to his 2.16 ERA in September.
Who is getting skipped: Vicente Padilla. He isn't likely to earn a start this week.
One-week sleeper: Kuroda. He should be active in a lot more leagues than the mere 51 percent.
One-week bust: Kershaw. He might not go deep enough into the game to get a victory, but he likely should be active on potential anyway.

Milwaukee Brewers

  1. Braden Looper at STL Wainwright
  2. Dave Bush at STL Lohse
  3. Jeff Suppan at COL Hammel
  4. Manny Parra at COL Cook
  5. Chris Narveson at COL Marquis, at STL Pineiro

Two-starter(s): Narveson. He is a questionable option in those matchups.
Who is getting skipped: Yovani Gallardo. He has been shut down for the season due to his innings limit.
One-week sleeper: Narveson. His two starts haven't been bad, but only trust him in deeper formats. Those are tough matchups against two playoff teams.
One-week bust: Looper. Wainwright is going for win No. 20 and likely will get it at Looper's expense.

Minnesota Twins

  1. Scott Baker at DET Robertson
  2. Nick Blackburn at DET Porcello, vs KC Greinke
  3. Carl Pavano at DET Bonine
  4. Francisco Liriano vs KC DiNardo
  5. Brian Duensing at DET Verlander, vs KC Hochever

Two-starter(s): Blackburn and Duensing. They are advisable options in all deeper formats right now.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Blackburn. He has kicked his slump and is useful in deeper mixed leagues with two starts.
One-week bust: Liriano. He is not likely to get deep enough into the game to qualify for a victory, if he even pitches well -- or if he even pitches.

New York Mets

  1. Mike Pelfrey at WAS Martin
  2. Tim Redding at WAS Lannan
  3. John Maine vs HOU Rodriguez
  4. Patrick Misch vs HOU Bazardo
  5. Nelson Figueroa at WAS Detwiler, vs HOU Lopez

Two-starter(s): Figueroa. He is a risky option, especially since he could be skipped next weekend.
Who is getting skipped: Tobi Stoner. The Mets decided against slotting him over Misch, who tossed a complete game shutout Sunday.
One-week sleeper: Pelfrey. He draws a favorable matchup and might be given a second start on the season's final day.
One-week bust: Maine. He has a tough matchup and is coming off a bad start. You likely shouldn't trust him now.

New York Yankees

  1. CC Sabathia at TB Price
  2. A.J. Burnett vs KC Lerew, at TB Davis
  3. Andy Pettitte at TB Niemann
  4. Joba Chamberlain vs KC Tejeda
  5. Chad Gaudin vs KC Hochevar

Two-starter(s): Likely Burnett. He is a must-start in all leagues even with one start.
Who is getting skipped: Gaudin. He will make one start and then Burnett figures to start in his place over the weekend.
One-week sleeper: Gaudin. He has a favorable matchup and is a nice sleeper for mixed leagues because of the top contender he pitches for.
One-week bust: None. Even Chamberlain proved effective last time out and he will be stretched out to go longer in the game. That's a great matchup for him, too.

Oakland Athletics

  1. Brett Anderson at SEA Fister
  2. Trevor Cahill at SEA Hernandez, vs LAA Kazmir
  3. Gio Gonzalez vs LAA Saunders
  4. Clayton Mortensen at SEA Morrow
  5. Edgar G. Gonzalez vs LAA Santana

Two-starter(s): Cahill. He is a questionable option who is pitching well enough to trust in deeper formats.
Who is getting skipped: Dana Eveland. The A's could keep him in the rotation and not have a two-start pitcher this week, though.
One-week sleeper: Anderson. He is a must-start in all leagues now, breaking through at the end of his rookie season.
One-week bust: Gonzalez. He is hot and tempting in deeper formats, but we don't like his matchup enough to advise him in mixed leagues.

Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Cole Hamels vs HOU Bazardo, vs FLA Volstad
  2. Cliff Lee vs HOU Moehler
  3. Joe Blanton vs FLA West
  4. Pedro Martinez vs HOU Paulino
  5. J.A. Happ vs HOU Lopez, vs FLA Sanchez

Two-starter(s): Hamels and Happ. They are advisable options in all leagues. There is a slight chance the Phillies might hold Hamels out of his second start to go Game 1 of the postseason. We say Lee should get that nod, though.
Who is getting skipped: Jamie Moyer. He is not slated to start in the final week unless they skip Hamels over the weekend.
One-week sleeper: Happ. He is back from injury and draws a pair of decent matchups. Use him in any leagues.
One-week bust: None. All five Phillies starters are advisable in all formats.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Zach Duke vs LAD Kuroda, at CIN Cueto
  2. Paul Maholm at CHC Zambrano
  3. Daniel McCutchen at CIN Lehr
  4. Jeff Karstens at CHC Lilly
  5. Charlie Morton at CHC Dempster, at CIN Bailey
  6. Kevin Hart at CHC Gorzelanny

Two-starter(s): Duke and Morton. They are questionable options in all leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: McCutchen. He is coming off the best start in his career and draws a winnable matchup.
One-week bust: Duke. He has difficult matchups and cannot be trusted in mixed formats.

San Diego Padres

  1. Kevin Correia vs SF Zito
  2. Clayton Richard vs LAD Garland
  3. Edward Mujica vs SF Sanchez
  4. Wade LeBlanc vs SF Cain
  5. Cesar Ramos vs LAD Billingsley

Two-starter(s): None. The Padres have only five games this week.
Who is getting skipped: Tim Stauffer. He has likely been shut down for the season, especially since the Padres don't need but three starters this week.
One-week sleeper: Correia. He is streaking to the finish and is a solid option in all formats now.
One-week bust: Mujica. We are not sure he will make the start on the season's final day, especially since the Padres could slot Stauffer or take a second look at Ramos.

San Francisco Giants

  1. Tim Lincecum vs ARI Haren
  2. Matt Cain at SD LeBlanc
  3. Barry Zito at SD Correia
  4. Jonathan Sanchez vs ARI Davis, at SD Mujica
  5. Brad Penny vs ARI Mulvey

Two-starter(s): Sanchez. He is an advisable option in most formats.
Who is getting skipped: None. But someone could step out of the way to allow Randy Johnson to make a farewell start once the Giants are officially eliminated from postseason contention.
One-week sleeper: Sanchez. He could lose his second start to the Big Unit, but he is a decent one-start option, regardless.
One-week bust: Zito. He strong second half withered away in his two-start crash last week. You likely have to sit him in all formats.

Seattle Mariners

  1. Felix Hernandez vs OAK Cahill, vs TEX Feldman
  2. Ryan Rowland-Smith vs TEX Hunter
  3. Brandon Morrow vs OAK Mortensen
  4. Ian Snell vs TEX McCarthy
  5. Doug W. Fister vs OAK Anderson

Two-starter(s): Hernandez. He is a must-start in all leagues as he makes his final case for the AL Cy Young.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Morrow. He draws a favorable matchup and could be a final-week winner for mixed leagues.
One-week bust: Rowland-Smith. His hot second half came crashing and he draws and unfavorable matchup.

St. Louis Cardinals

  1. Chris Carpenter at CIN Maloney
  2. Adam Wainwright vs MIL Looper
  3. Joel Pineiro at CIN Bailey, vs MIL Narveson
  4. John Smoltz at CIN Arroyo
  5. Kyle Lohse vs MIL Bush

Two-starter(s): Pineiro. He is likely still an advisable option in all leagues, despite some struggles in September.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Lohse. He hasn't been bad since his return, so consider him in deeper leagues if you need a stopgap on a contender that could earn him a win.
One-week bust: None. All five Cardinals starters are viable options this week.

Tampa Bay Rays

  1. James Shields vs BAL Hernandez
  2. David Price vs NYY Sabathia
  3. Matt Garza vs BAL Berken
  4. Jeff Niemann vs BAL Hendrickson, vs NYY Pettitte
  5. Wade Davis vs BAL Guthrie, vs NYY Burnett

Two-starter(s): Niemann and Davis. They are advisable options in most formats.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Davis. He might be skipped off his weekend start, but he has been good enough to use in most leagues even if makes only that first start.
One-week bust: Price. He struggled Sunday and draws the Yankees and Sabathia.

Texas Rangers

  1. Kevin Millwood at LAA Lackey
  2. Scott Feldman at LAA Kazmir, at SEA Hernandez
  3. Tommy Hunter at LAA Santana, at SEA Rowland-Smith
  4. Brandon McCarthy at SEA Snell
  5. Derek Holland at LAA Weaver

Two-starter(s): Feldman and Hunter. Feldman is a must-start in all leagues because of his incredible record on the road. Hunter is a questionable option you likely should avoid outside of deeper leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: McCarthy. He is coming off a solid start and draws the most favorable matchup of the week among Rangers starters.
One-week bust: Millwood. He has been solid after fixing his mechanics, but we wouldn't trust him at the Angels.

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Roy Halladay at BOS Wakefield
  2. Ricky Romero at BOS Buchholz
  3. Scott Richmond at BOS Beckett, at BAL Guthrie
  4. Brian Tallet at BAL Hendrickson
  5. David Purcey at BAL Tillman

Two-starter(s): Richmond. He is a questionable option, especially since the rookie could be held out of his last start due to an innings limit and the first start comes against the Red Sox.
Who is getting skipped: Perhaps Purcey or Tallet. The Blue Jays can finish with a four-man rotation and could skip one of Purcey, Tallet or Richmond in the final series after Thursday's off day. Romero could pick up a second start if someone is skipped. That might be possible if they want him to enhance his Rookie of the Year credentials.
One-week sleeper: Purcey. Assuming he starts, he is coming off a decent start and drawing a favorable matchup. Consider him a sleeper in AL-only leagues.
One-week bust: Richmond. Save for earning his first victory since June in his past start, he has been brutal in September. Avoid him.

Washington Nationals

  1. John Lannan vs NYM Redding
  2. Ross Detwiler vs NYM Figueroa, at ATL Jurrjens
  3. Livan Hernandez at ATL Lowe
  4. Garrett Mock at ATL Hanson
  5. J.D. Martin vs NYM Pelfrey, at ATL Hudson

Two-starter(s): Detwiler and Martin. They are high-risk options for the deepest of NL-only leagues.
Who is getting skipped: None.
One-week sleeper: Lannan. He is hot right now and draws the very beatable Mets. Consider him even in mixed leagues.
One-week bust: All except Lannan. You should have given up on Nationals starters not named Lannan a long time ago.

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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