The Double Dip is a new column over at FTN for 2021 fantasy baseball — and it’s meant to highlight pitchers that are making two starts in a week. Some of the plays may be obvious — you don’t need me telling you that when Jacob deGrom is starting twice, a 1,000-word soliloquy highlighting why it’s a good idea to start him. You just do it.
But volume is key, especially two-start-pitcher volume. This column aims to identify all the two start hurlers, the ones that are no-brainers, the ones that are avoids, and most importantly, focus on the tough-to-call decisions.
Each week, I’ll do my best to highlight some of those tricky arms, and what could come your way.
This group should only be started out of pure desperation — the volume is nice, and it definitely could end up working out for you, but starting these hurlers is a real gamble.
Spencer Turnbull, DET (vs. PIT, vs. KC, unowned in NFBC since he started the season with COVID-19): Even if you owned Turnbull, which is unlikely after he started the season out with COVID-19, I would want to see him prove it. He does have two juicy matchups, though.
Chase Anderson, PHI (vs. SF, at COL, 1% roster percentage): The results have been ugly, and there’s no surprise he’s 1% owned. Mix in a start in Coors? Yuck.
Tyler Anderson, PIT (at DET, at MIN, 0%): Anderson has posted 14 whiffs in 15.2 IP, but the second matchup has blowup potential. After a week of some ugly innings, this falls into that category.
Logan Webb, SF (at PHI, at MIA, 66%): Like Anderson, Webb has solid from a strikeout potential, but his WHIP (15 hits, 5 walks) in 11.1 IP has been brutal. I’m staying away.
Josh Fleming, TB (at KC, vs. TOR, 1%): Past ace Tyler Glasnow, this rotation has been a mess. In Fleming’s first rotation turn, he whiffed two and gave up one earned over five innings. Kansas City whiffs at a 28.9% clip, but that’s not enough for me to start him.
Kohei Arihara, TEX (at LAA, at CWS, 1%): Like the rest of this group, Arihara has been blasted around and the matchups stink. Don’t tempt fate.
The meat and potatoes (9)
This group is one that takes a bit more thinking — the volume is nice, but the matchup could be tricky. Is it worth taking the risk on a questionable start for what could be some juicy fantasy goodness? Let’s dig in and find out.
And since they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I am going to use a similar rating scale that Clay Link and Todd Zola do over at Rotowire — if I was playing in five fantasy baseball leagues, how many would I feel comfortable starting this hurler? Using that as our barometer, we should be able to appropriately deem the risk and reward that’s available if you so choose to start this arm. Keep in mind — your league and team context are always key. I’m using a 12-team NFBC Online Championship format as my primary backdrop.
Martín Pérez, BOS (vs. CWS, vs. SEA, 1%) — THREE LEAGUES OUT OF FIVE: The veteran left-hander is definitely a curious case. He has two matchups, one with the White Sox that is definitely challenging, especially with start shortstop Tim Anderson back. The White Sox also provide hefty swing-and-miss potential, but don’t get it twisted — Pérez does not offer that ability. He has eight strikeouts in his first 10 games.
Jake Arrieta, CHC (vs. NYM, vs. MIL, 40%) — FOUR: The reclamation project of Arrieta has been a solid one. In 17 innings pitched, he has racked up two wins so far and 15 strikeouts. He did get hit a little bit by the Brewers, who he faces again next week. I still think this is a solid spot for him.
Zach Plesac, CLE (vs. CHW, vs. NYY, 100%) — FOUR: I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t concerned about Plesac. The velocity has been a bit down, and he dominated the Tigers in start one but was absolutely hammered in start two. That’s not meant to say you should ignore him altogether, and he cost a pretty penny draft day.
Jon Gray, COL (vs. HOU, vs. PHI, 44%) — TWO: Two Coors starts is terrifying. Over his first 11.2 IP, he was solid with 12 strikeouts. But again — it’s freaking Coors, and Gray has been terrible there. This stretch is redeemable because Houston could likely be missing many bats due to COVID-19, so it may not be all too bad.
Lance McCullers Jr., HOU (at COL, vs. LAA, 100%) — FOUR: Lots of warts here, and again, lots of risk. A Coors start, coming off a disaster of an outing. McCullers really struggled with his command last time out, and that could be bad news bears even against a putrid Rockies O.
Nick Neidert, MIA (vs. BAL, at SF, 1%) — THREE: If you are unfamiliar with the latest young Miami hurler, don’t be alarmed. But he fits more of the Jordan Yamamoto model than he does the plus velocity arms like Pablo López, Sandy Alcantara and the traded-away Zac Gallen. Neidert came over to Miami in the Dee Strange-Gordon trade and has slowly moved up the rankings due to pounding the strike zone. The matchups are solid, so grab Neidert.
Taijuan Walker, NYM (at CHC, vs. WAS, 99%) — FOUR AND A HALF: I was tempted to actually make Walker a five, and that first matchup has monster written all over it. Walker has shown plus velocity and the Cubs have been awful at the dish. As the Washington bats have returned, that one is a bit scarier as they can get loose quickly. Start with confidence.
Jameson Taillon, NYY (vs. ATL, at CLE, 100%) — FOUR: Not throwing in all of 2020, we can expect some bumpiness to occur with Taillon. He sparkled in his debut outing, but he was tough in outing two with five runs over 3.2 IP. The Cleveland Indians offense isn’t particularly perturbing, but with Ronald Acuña Jr. cooking, it’s also uneven.
Joe Ross, WAS (vs. STL, at NYM, 10%) — THREE: The St. Louis offense is rank, making Ross a free agent target if he sits unowned on your waiver wires. While he hasn’t allowed a run this year, don’t get too sucked in — he’s only recorded 12 total swings-and-missed across those innings. That’s bad. He’s likely a start for me, but there could be regression pending.
Matt Kupferle is excited to be part of the Fade the Noise team. For the last four years, Matt has written over at numberFire for baseball and football, including DFS focused articles along with season-long pieces such as the weekly wire.
Most recently, made has joined the Friends With Fantasy Benefits team honing his schools in the podcast medium.
Matt has four kids, coaches youth sports, and resides in St. Louis. Engage with Matt on Twitter @MKupferle.