After Roto Stream Team picks Scott Baker and Randy Wolf delivered quality starts on Friday and Saturday, fantasy sleeper Bud Norris took it to another level Sunday, pitching 7.2 scoreless innings while notching 11 strikeouts and a win. You don’t see many more FanDuel performances better than that. Let’s turn to Monday through Thursday and try to find the cream of the crop.
Ace: Jair Jurrjens, ATL vs. MIL ($6,000). We usually come at you with a more expensive ace, but I found three guys for $6,000 or less that should be implemented in the $1250 Monday MLB Single. The first is Jurrjens, who’s given up three runs over 22 innings since joining the rotation on April 16. His last start was a complete-game, two-run effort in San Diego. Averaging more points than any Monday pitcher save for the otherworldly Jered Weaver, Jurrjens is a quality option.
Middle Man: Aaron Harang, SD vs. PIT ($5,700). Harang was impeccable in his first four starts of the season (all wins), going six innings in each while allowing a total of five runs. He was blasted by the Braves in his last start (six innings, eight runs), but the season ratios are still great and Harang still features a 23:8 K:BB ratio in 30 innings. Facing the mediocre Pirate offense is icing on the cake.
Wild Card: Kyle Lohse, STL vs. FLA ($4,200). We list Lohse in this section due to his price, but he’s been anything but wild this season, allowing an average of one walk per outing. Now 4-1 on the season, Lohse has thrown 16 innings of shutout ball in his last two starts. He’s gone seven innings or more in each of his five starts, and he’s a must-use in fantasy baseball right now until he shows otherwise. Take him and build a monster offensive lineup for Monday.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Brandon McCarthy (vs. TEX), 2. Jeremy Guthrie (at CWS), 3. Bartolo Colon (at DET), 4. James McDonald (at SD), 5. Mike Leake (vs. HOU).
Ace: Alexi Ogando, TEX at SEA ($6,800). Pitchers like Dan Haren and Cole Hamels make fine selections on Tuesday, but Ogando brings a discounted price tag along with very similar numbers. He held the Mariners to two hits and two walks in six shutout innings during his first start of the season, and now he’ll face the same offense in Seattle. Count on him to push his record to 4-0.
Middle Man: Kyle McClellan, STL at FLA ($4,700). You know I’ve been banging the McClellan drum all season, and it’s worked out well, as the St. Louis pitcher is 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA. However, I think it’s almost time to bail. His WHIP is mediocre and his K:BB ratio is subpar. He surrendered five runs to the Astros in his last start, and he’ll have to right the ship in this start to avoid being dropped from my fantasy team and from my Stream Team rotation.
Wild Card: Ryan Vogelsong, SF at NYM ($2,000). The veteran’s last work in the majors before appearing in a game two weeks ago had been in 2006, but the reliever was excellent in his start against the Pirates on April 28, striking out eight batters in 5.2 innings while allowing two runs. He gets to make his second start in pitcher-friendly Citi Field, and no pitcher will ever come cheaper.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Anibal Sanchez (at STL), 2. Fausto Carmona (at OAK), 3. Ryan Vogelsong (at NYM), 4. Wade Davis (vs. TOR), 5. Sam LeCure (vs. HOU). If eligible, Kyle McClellan (43 percent owned) would rank second.
Ace: Michael Pineda, SEA vs. TEX ($7,800). The Mariners rookie has been as good as advertised through five starts, posting a 2.01 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 30:12 K:BB ratio through 31.1 innings to start his career. He’s allowed just one run combined between his two home starts this season, and he now gets to face the team against whom he recorded his only loss of the season.
Middle Man: Jason Marquis, WAS at PHI ($4,400). With a 2-9 record and 6.60 ERA in 2010, Marquis makes for one of the most improbable fantasy aces in recent memory. Yet here we stand in May, and Marquis is 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 24:5 K:BB ratio in 34.1 innings. Exhibiting such great control, Marquis is worth using even in tough matchups like the one Wednesday against the Phillies.
Wild Card: Vance Worley, PHI vs. WAS ($3,100). The Four Aces Plus One finally have shown the need to find a new member, with Joe Blanton’s injury and Roy Oswalt’s departure to deal with the terrible weather of the South. Worley came in and allowed two hits and no runs in six innings in his start against the Mets, though I’ll add the caveat that the performance came with an ugly four walks. He’s worth another go if you’re pinching pennies.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Freddy Garcia (vs. DET), 2. Jason Marquis (at PHI), 3. Kevin Correia (at SD), 4. Vance Worley (vs. WAS), 5. Chris Capuano (vs. SF). If available, Josh Tomlin (46 percent owned) would rank first.
Ace: Roy Halladay, PHI vs. WAS ($8,900). With only four games on tap for 7:05 ET or later on Thursday — and I’m uncertain whether your FanDuel competition will include pitchers with early start times or not — we’ll throw all pretenses of value out the window and take the best pitcher available with Halladay.
Middle Man: Shaun Marcum, MIL at ATL ($7,500). In three of Marcum’s four most recent starts, he’s managed to leave the game with a zero on the scoreboard. In addition, he’s sporting a 34:11 K:BB ratio in 36.2 innings. Clearly he’s at the top of his game, so we’ll throw him out there if Halladay proves too expensive.
Wild Card: Jason Vargas, SEA vs. TEX ($5,800). Vargas was a quality fantasy option at home in 2010, and while he was roughed up in two of his four home starts this season, Vargas owns a solid 25:9 K:BB ratio so far and will be matched up with Colby Lewis, who was struggling mightily before taking a step in the right direction in his last start.
Roto Stream Team: 1. Brandon Beachy (vs. MIL), 2. Jason Vargas (vs. TEX), 3. Joel Pineiro (at BOS), 4. Jason Hammel (at ARI), 5. Homer Bailey (vs. HOU). If eligible, John Lackey (45 percent owned) would rank second.