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.

All of the two-steppers (40)

The no-brainers (11)

This group should definitely be in your starting lineup — whether it’s due to matchup or just sheer brilliance, don’t overthink this one.

The run-and-hides (13)

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. 

  • Merrill Kelly, AZ (vs. SD, vs. COL, 3% rostered in NFBC leagues): I am a fan of Kelly and his resurgence since returning to the MLB, but he has struggled so far this season. The Colorado start could be of mild interest since it takes place away from Denver, but this isn’t one that I am particularly fond of.
  • Matt Harvey, BAL (vs. NYY, at OAK, 0%): There’s no way I can roll out Harvey against these two teams. I understand that the Yankees haven’t been good, but there’s still no way.
  • Bruce Zimmermann, BAL (vs. NYY, at OAK, 1%): See Harvey.
  • Chi Chi González, COL (at SF, at AZ, 0%): If you are even faintly considering rostering González, you are wildly desperate. He strikes out virtually no one (eight whiffs in 15 innings), and this is on the heels of a 6.86 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 19.2 innings last year. Avoid.
  • Spencer Turnbull, DET (vs. KC, at NYY): I’m probably not buying back in here, but if you are desperate to log some innings, I could swap him into the next group. Turnbull has leaned more on a slider in 2021 (34% use rate), albeit in only one start so far. I need to see a little more before I buy back in.
  • José Ureña, DET (vs. KC, at NYY, 1%): Ureña is very similar to González— he at least has 19 strikeouts in 21.2 IP, but he has horrific peripherals with a 4.57 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Ureña was equally bad last year, and even with the Yankees rounding into form, I can’t start him here.
  • Brad Keller, KC (at DET, at MIN): If the latter matchup wasn’t bad to begin with, Keller has erased all of the goodwill we bought into as a fantasy community from spring training. The whiffs are way down, and he’s been absolutely torched. Run away.
  • Dan Castano, MIA (at MIL, at WAS, 0%): This is a rough double dip for Castano. He’s not a bad pitcher, but he heads into two lion’s den matchups. A little-known fact is that Washington elevates home run power.
  • Domingo Germán, NYY (at BAL, vs. DET, 56%): What’s odd about Germán is that he did look really good in the spring before being roughed up so far in the regular season. It is odd to me that he immediately was yanked out of the rotation after two poor starts, and he wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring against a poor Indians offense.
  • Rich Hill, TB (vs. OAK, vs. HOU, 22%): The 41-year-old southpaw has pitched more and more poorly each time out this season. He’s fired 16.1 innings this season, and he owns an ugly 8.82 ERA. He’s gotten hammered each time out, and he got battered by the Royals in his last start. Don’t get too tempted here.
  • Jordan Lyles, TEX (vs. LAA, vs. BOS, 1%): Lyles has fared actually pretty decent so far this season, and he’s done a great job of limiting base runners. But these are too bad matchups. Horrific, actually. It’s two of the top four offenses in the league. Run away.
  • Mike Foltynewicz, TEX (vs. LAA, vs. BOS, 2%): See Lyles, along with being a worse pitcher.
  • Ross Stripling, TOR (vs. WAS, vs. ATL, 2%): This combined Stripling struggling on the bump and two poor matchups. With Acuna back in the mix, this isn’t a chance worth taking.

The meat and potatoes (16)

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.

  • Garrett Richards, BOS (at NYM, at TEX, 6%) — TWO LEAGUES OUT OF FIVE: We all want Richards to be good — and the stuff is unbelievable. But, like nearly all of the Red Sox rotation, Richards continues to struggle. There are worse double-dip options here, and the second one against Texas in Texas is tantalizing.
  • Zach Davies, CHC (at ATL, at CIN, 66%) — TWO: Look, I think Davies is a really good pitcher. Period. But these matchups are terrifying. The Braves are heating up, and playing games in Great American Smallpark is not a good option. I think you can start him but won’t quibble if you have better options.
  • Trevor Williams, CHC (at ATL, at CIN, 1%) — ONE: All of my concerns with Davies are prevalent here for Williams, and he’s a worse pitcher. Only if you are absolutely desperate.
  • Zach Plesac, CLE (vs. MIN, at CHW, 100%) — THREE: The matchups are not great, and this will be interesting to see if Chicago can start scoring some runs. Plesac has alternated good and bad during his starts — and the White Sox have slammed him.
  • Austin Gomber, COL (at SF, at AZ, 7%) — THREE: The former Cardinal is now locked into a rotation spot, and with two starts outside of Denver, this is intriguing. I am fine throwing Gomber especially with Ketel Marte out of the lineup.
  • José Urquidy, HOU (vs. SEA, at TB, 100%) — THREE: The young hurlers for the Astros are going to get a chance to display their full ascent, and Urquidy gets the first crack. He only whiffed one in an appearance last week in Colorado, but he has shown swing-and-miss ability — including whiffing seven against these same Mariners in a previous start. Take the chance.
  • Cristian Javier, HOU (vs. SEA, at TB, 99%) — FOUR: Of the two Astros arms, Javier is the one I am more bullish on. In his last outing, he showed how dominant he truly was — including a truly breathtaking nine strikeouts over five innings. In that outing, Javier garnered 21 swinging strikes and rocked a 31% CSW rate. Buy in.
  • Adrian Houser, MIL (vs. MIA, at LAD, 9%) — TWO: With the Brewers trying to find any healthy arm available for their rotation, they will lean heavily on Houser after Brett Anderson left Thursday’s day game early with a quad strain. However, this is a tough two-start week, particularly with the second start in Los Angeles. He couldn’t make it through five innings against the Padres, so keep an eye on him this week.
  • David Peterson, NYM (vs. BOS, at PHI, 51%) — TWO: Here’s the good — Peterson has struck out 18 batters so far in 13.1 innings so far in 2021. Here’s the bad — he owns an ERA of nearly seven runs so far this season and a WHIP of 1.35. Eek. Boston and Philly are both powerful offenses — start him if you dare.
  • Corey Kluber, NYY (at BAL, vs. DET, 96%) — THREE: The matchups are great for the veteran, but the velocity has been down several ticks so far in 2021. That’s probably not a total shock when you see a WHIP that’s nearly 2.00 for Kulber (1.93). He did throw 91 pitches last time out, but only gathered six swings and misses.
  • Sean Manaea, OAK (at TB, vs. BAL, 99%) — FOUR: The left-hander has started very strong early in 2021, including a seven-inning shutout last time on the hill. Manaea has recorded almost a strikeout per inning, and perhaps most impressively was the shutout against the strong Twins lineup. The Rays are striking out at a 25.6% clip, and Baltimore ranks as the league’s worst offense paired with a 27.7% strikeout rate.
  • Frankie Montas, OAK (at TB, vs. BAL, 100%) — THREE: Jekyll and Hyde is perhaps the most apt moniker for Montas, who has been terrific in two outings and gotten bombed in two outings. It just so happens that the two rough outings were against the Dodgers and the Twins. Given the improved matchups with two teams that strike out a pile, I can start Montas this week.
  • Justus Sheffield, SEA (at HOU, vs. LAA, 67%) — TWO: I think the young Sheffield is going to be absolutely dynamite, and with his continued use of that dirty slider, strikeouts are coming in spades. But this matchup is tough — the Angels are a high-powered machine, and Houston ranks 11th in team wOBA (.311) with an 18.4% strikeout rate.
  • Anthony DeSclafani, SF (vs. COL, at SD, 98%) — THREE: Tony Disco is an industry darling, and he’s been pretty damn solid so far this season. While the last outing wasn’t great thanks to Mickey Moniak’s first major league home run, he did carry a 1.08 ERA into that last start. San Diego is still getting their footing offensively, so it’s not the most terrifying of two starts.
  • Adam Wainwright, STL (vs. PHI, at PIT, 53%) — TWO AND A HALF: The early-week matchup against the Phillies stinks. Truly. But the matchup in the back half of the week is juicy against a Pirate offense missing Ke’Bryan Hayes has logged a paltry .132 ISO. Step carefully.
  • Michael Wacha, TB (vs. OAK, vs. HOU, 35%) — THREE: Whatever I write next, do the opposite. I cannot get Wacha right — I started him for his bad starts, and I’ve missed his gems. The matchups are not easy, but I think the accumulating stats make up for that.