Week 3 Pitching Forecaster

In the first week of the season, the ranks of two-start pitchers were littered with aces. Last week, many middle-of-the-rotation types had a pair of outings, and that made a trip to the waiver wire a fruitful experience in many leagues.

In Fantasy Week 3 (April 15-21), it's the fringe starters' turn to get a double dip. While that means there are many two-start pitchers available for the taking in many leagues, it doesn't mean you should look to add them for the coming week. Ross Detwiler, Bartolo Colon and Jhoulys Chacin, each of whom is available in more than half of the leagues on CBSSports.com, are all likely to be more reliable and productive than the majority of this week's two-start pitchers, even though each just gets one turn in their respective team's rotations.

One late addition to the list of two-start pitchers is Andy Pettitte, but he could lose that status just as quickly as he gained it. Pettitte developed back spasms and was bumped from his scheduled start this weekend, but he could be ready to face the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He could just as easily start Wednesday or even be placed on the disabled list, so owners should not count on him making two starts.

Given the lack of quality options this week, it might be worthwhile keeping Pettitte active with the hope that he takes the mound for at least one game. Should Pettitte not be ready by Tuesday, Ivan Nova could be a two-start pitcher, but he'd be an option for deeper mixed leagues at best.

You might not like your rotation alternatives this week, but someone's got to fill those pitching slots. Here are the 70 options that I think will give you the best chance to win this week.

Al's Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 3
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Cliff Lee @CIN (Arroyo) STL (Lynn)
2 Clayton Kershaw SD (Ross) N/A
3 Stephen Strasburg @NYM (Gee) N/A
4 Justin Verlander @LAA (Richards) N/A
5 David Price @BAL (Gonzalez) N/A
6 CC Sabathia ARI (Corbin) N/A
7 Felix Hernandez DET (Fister) N/A
8 Adam Wainwright @PHI (Hamels) N/A
9 Jordan Zimmermann @MIA (LeBlanc) @NYN (Laffey)
10 Yu Darvish @CHC (Villanueva) N/A
11 Mat Latos MIA (Slowey) N/A
12 Chris Sale @TOR (Dickey) N/A
13 Johnny Cueto MIA (Fernandez) N/A
14 Kris Medlen KC (Guthrie) @PIT (Sanchez)
15 Matt Cain @MIL (Gallardo) N/A
16 Cole Hamels STL (Wainwright) N/A
17 Madison Bumgarner SD (Volquez) N/A
18 Gio Gonzalez @NYM (Hefner) N/A
19 Jake Peavy MIN (Diamond) N/A
20 Josh Johnson CHW (Axelrod) NYY (Pettitte)
21 Lance Lynn @PIT (McDonald) @PHI (Lee)
22 A.J. Griffin HOU (Peacock) N/A
23 Brett Anderson @TB (Cobb) N/A
24 James Shields @BOS (Buchholz) N/A
25 Matt Moore @BAL (Tillman) N/A
26 Jeff Samardzija @MIL (Estrada) N/A
27 Max Scherzer @SEA (Iwakuma) N/A
28 R.A. Dickey CHW (Sale) N/A
29 Ryan Dempster TB (Hellickson) KC (Santana)
30 Yovani Gallardo SF (Cain) N/A
31 Jon Lester @CLE (McAllister) N/A
32 Homer Bailey PHI (Kendrick) MIA (Sanabia)
33 Brandon Morrow NYY (Hughes) N/A
34 A.J. Burnett STL (Miller) N/A
35 Clay Buchholz KC (Shields) N/A
36 Anibal Sanchez @LAA (Wilson) N/A
37 Ian Kennedy @COL (De La Rosa) N/A
38 Matt Harvey @COL (Chacin) N/A
39 Tommy Milone HOU (Bedard) @TB (Hernandez)
40 Marco Estrada CHC (Samardzija) N/A
41 Chad Billingsley SD (Stults) @BAL (Arrieta)
42 Doug Fister @SEA (Hernandez) N/A
43 Bronson Arroyo PHI (Lee) MIA (LeBlanc)
44 Mike Minor KC (Davis) N/A
45 Paul Maholm @PIT (McDonald) N/A
46 Alexi Ogando SEA (Saunders) N/A
47 Tim Hudson @PIT (Rodriguez) N/A
48 Andy Pettitte ARI (McCarthy) @TOR (Johnson)
49 Roy Halladay STL (Garcia) N/A
50 James McDonald STL (Lynn) ATL (Maholm)
51 Derek Holland @CHC (Wood) SEA (Beavan)
52 Hiroki Kuroda @TOR (Buehrle) N/A
53 Jaime Garcia @PHI (Halladay) N/A
54 C.J. Wilson DET (Sanchez) N/A
55 Hisashi Iwakuma DET (Scherzer) N/A
56 Alex Cobb OAK (Anderson) N/A
57 Ross Detwiler @MIA (Nolasco) N/A
58 Shelby Miller @PIT (Burnett) N/A
59 Brandon McCarthy @NYY (Pettitte) @COL (Francis)
60 Jonathon Niese @COL (Garland) N/A
61 Gavin Floyd @TOR (Buehrle) MIN (Correia)
62 Bartolo Colon HOU (Norris) N/A
63 Ryan Vogelsong @MIL (Lohse) N/A
64 Jason Hammel LAD (Ryu) N/A
65 Mark Buehrle CHW (Floyd) NYY (Kuroda)
66 Josh Beckett @BAL (Chen) N/A
67 Jhoulys Chacin NYM (Harvey) N/A
68 Kyle Lohse SF (Vogelsong) N/A
69 Wade Miley @NYY (Nova) N/A
70 Dan Haren @MIA (Sanabia) N/A

Two-Start Options to Consider

Homer Bailey, Reds (PHI, MIA): Bailey has turned in a gem and a clunker so far this year, but which version of him will show up in this two-start week? Inconsistency is nothing new for Bailey, and even during his strong second half last season, he put together a string of four consecutive starts of less than six innings. While starting Bailey will always present a non-trivial level of risk, the bottom line is that, more often than not, you can count on him to be efficient and effective.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Lance Lynn, Cardinals (@PIT, @PHI): With a start rate of 61 percent, Lynn has to be one of the most under-activated pitchers in CBSSports.com leagues. He has done nothing but miss bats since joining the Cardinals two seasons ago, and until that trend changes, owners should keep him active in the vast majority of weeks. He certainly needs to be in your rotation when he has a two-start scoring period.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Tommy Milone, Athletics (HOU, @TB): Milone can be susceptible to homers, so to have a good week, it helps for him to face a weak lineup or to pitch in a favorable venue. In Week 3, Milone gets to do both. In opposing the lowly Astros at home and then travelling to pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field for his second start, Milone is primed to keep the ball in the park and runs off the board.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Derek Holland, Rangers (@CHC, SEA): Holland has turned in a pair of good starts to begin the season, and it's helped that he has been throwing strikes. However, it will take more than a handful of innings to wipe away the memory of the 32 homers he allowed in 2012. The lefty should be able to handle the Cubs, but the Mariners have been crushing the ball (if not quite hitting for average). The visit to Wrigley Field makes it feasible to start Holland, but do it only as a last resort.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Ryan Dempster, Red Sox (TB, KC): Dempster was wild in his first start of the season, but he was much more in command on Wednesday against the Orioles. Owners can also be encouraged by the high whiff rate Dempster compiled in both starts. He may not always be viable in two-start weeks, but with the dearth of reliable options in Week 3, owners should get Dempster active this time.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Barry Zito, Giants (@MIL, SD): To his credit, Zito was very stingy with baserunners in his first two starts, as he allowed only one flyball base hit and four walks. He has put 14 men on base in total, and none have scored. A high strand rate also fueled Zito's late 2012 resurgence, but none of these trends will hold up for long. Meanwhile, Zito allows too much contact and offers too little upside elsewhere to be trusted as a two-start pitcher in standard mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

James McDonald, Pirates (STL, ATL): When McDonald commands his pitches -- particularly his two-seamer -- he can be a useful starter in Fantasy. That just hasn't been the case so far in 2013. Especially with a pair of potentially lethal lineups on his schedule, McDonald could be in for a rough week. He should only be started if you're in a risk-taking frame of mind. If you're so inclined, at least McDonald is more capable of delivering an ample payoff than several of the starters on this list.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (SD, @BAL): Apparently, platelet-rich plasma injections and rehab did the trick for Billingsley and his partially-torn elbow ligament, as he had a successful season debut against the Padres on Wednesday. Up until his final four starts last season, Billingsley rediscovered his ability to get batters to swing and miss, but only time will tell if he is healthy enough to resume at that level. At least he gets another start against a punchless Padres lineup, so that should be enough to make Billingsley a viable Fantasy start.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (BOS, @HOU): We saw the "old Ubaldo" in his first start this year, with mid-90s velocity and good command. The velocity was there again in his second start (though, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jimenez's recorded velocity was off due to faulty readings), but his location was lacking. There's been much more bad than good since Jimenez has come over to the American League, so while his second start could prove to be an aberration, the safe move is to sit him outside of deeper leagues for now.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Gavin Floyd, White Sox (@TOR, MIN): Floyd has been a streaming option for years in standard mixed leagues, though he usually needs good matchups and a two-start week to be worth activating. The Twins are a decent matchup, and while the Blue Jays could spell trouble for Floyd, there are so few good two-start options, that you might as well give him a try if you lack a trustworthy alternative.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Travis Wood, Cubs (TEX, @MIL): Wood can be a solid starter for Fantasy when he avoids homers, just as he has done in his first two starts. With the Rangers coming to town and then a trip to Miller Park, Wood will likely be dispensing some long balls this week. Though he has been a very popular waiver pickup recently, resist the temptation to start Wood in your standard mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays (CHW, NYY): It's been tough sledding for Buehrle in his first starts for the Blue Jays, but he has allowed more than half of the runners he has put on base to score. Neither that trend nor a .343 BABIP will persist, and Buehrle can still be considered a borderline standard mixed league option, especially in Head-to-Head points leagues.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Bronson Arroyo, Reds (PHI, MIA): Arroyo has picked up where he left off last season, pitching with remarkable command. His 5.25 ERA doesn't reflect it, because like Buehrle, he has let too many of his baserunners score, but there's no reason to think that this is anything more than a small sample artifact. Also, a start against the Marlins is always a reassuring tiebreaker if you can't decide whether or not to start him.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks (@NYY, @COL): It's been an ugly beginning for McCarthy as a Diamondback, and he goes to a pair of tough venues to make starting him an even scarier proposition.
Still, things are looking up for the ex-Athletic, as he got nine swinging strikes against the Pirates on Tuesday after inducing just a single whiff in his season debut against the Cardinals. Opponents have also had the good fortune of batting .464 on grounders against him, and that is bound to improve. Given his matchups, you should sit McCarthy if you can in standard mixed leagues, but he just might pay off if you can't find anyone better.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Felix Doubront, Red Sox (@CLE, KC): Doubront was homer-prone last season, particularly at Fenway Park. Progressive Field is a good home run park for lefties, and as a southpaw, you might think that Doubront could salvage his week with his start there. However, he has yielded eight homers in 59 innings against left-handed batters, so he could still get clobbered. Doubront can deliver Ks, but much like Bud Norris, if he can't keep the ball in the park, he's not of much use in mixed leagues, even with two starts.
My take: AL-only start.

Jeremy Guthrie, Royals (@ATL, @BOS): When the Royals rescued Guthrie from the Rockies last summer, it was good news for his home run rate, but the change of scenery didn't single-handedly turn him into a reliable Fantasy starter. There will be weeks when Guthrie can be used in standard mixed leagues, but they will involve not just a pair of starts, but good matchups at favorable venues. Guthrie's matchups aren't so easy this week, so save him for your deeper mixed and AL-only leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Rick Porcello, Tigers (@SEA, @LAA): Porcello should improve upon his 6.10 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Even at his best, he allows too much contact and strands too few baserunners to be worth using even in two-start weeks in most formats. Porcello goes to some good venues this week, but as a ground ball pitcher, that won't help him that much, and the tough lineups he will have to face could hurt him. Even owners in deeper mixed leagues can probably find a better alternative.
My take: AL-only start.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals (@PIT, @PHI): Westbrook has started off his season with just one unearned run over 15 2/3 innings, but unfavorable strikes-thrown and walk rates are a red flag. In many weeks, Westbrook should remain unused outside of NL-only leagues, but with a start against the Pirates, he could produce enough to be useful in slightly shallower formats.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Kyle Kendrick, Phillies (@CIN, STL): Coming off a solid outing against the Mets, deep league owners might be tempted to start Kendrick, especially in Head-to-Head leagues, where he can be used as a reliever. While not every starter has been able to contain the Mets, Kendrick's Week 3 opponents -- the Cardinals and Reds -- represent more difficult matchups. He is certainly not a mixed Rotisserie option, and even in Head-to-Head leagues, mixed league owners would be better off to use their RP slot on a steady closer.
My take: NL-only start.

Wily Peralta, Brewers (SF, CHC): There could be cause to worry about Peralta in a two-start week, as his wildness could get him into trouble against a patient lineup. The Cubs, however, do not possess that lineup, and neither they nor the Giants are liable to hurt Peralta with power. This would be a good week to give the rookie a try in deeper mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Data Analyst

Al Melchior has been playing Fantasy Baseball since 1994, getting his start in the Southern Maryland Anthropomorphic Baseball League (SMABL). He has been writing about Fantasy Baseball since 2000, getting... Full Bio

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