For owners in weekly leagues, two-start pitchers are a key to maximizing wins and strikeouts. And oftentimes -- perhaps more often than you'd think -- they can be found on waivers or even your bench.
Let's take a look at the top two-start options heading into Week 13 of the fantasy baseball season.
Dan Straily | Marlins | vs. Mets and at Brewers
Even though Straily is enjoying a career-best campaign, boasting a 3.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning through 15 starts, he's available in many mixed leagues. Make sure Straily is not available in your league. The Marlins righty, who has allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his last nine outings, is a strong starting option in all league formats for next week's two-start stanza. The Mets rank 27th in the Majors in runs scored in June and in his lone start against the Amazins this season, Straily tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings. As for the Brewers, the Milwaukee offense has also struggled this month, placing in the bottom third of the Majors in runs, batting average and OPS.
Taijuan Walker | D-backs | vs. Phillies and vs. Rockies
After being sidelined for nearly a month due to a blister, Walker has pitched to a solid 3.27 ERA with 14 strikeouts across 11 frames in two starts since returning from the DL. The 24-year-old righty opens next week with a matchup against a Phillies team that ranks 29th in the Majors in runs and 28th in OPS. Meanwhile, the Rockies offense, despite placing in the top-5 in both runs and OPS overall, has not been as productive away from Coors Field, ranking in the bottom half in OPS on the road. Walker's ability to miss bats at a high rate only adds to his two-start week appeal.
Junior Guerra | Brewers | at Reds and vs. Marlins
Although Guerra is issuing too many free passes (5.7 BB/9), he has still managed to post a 2.86 ERA in six starts since returning from the DL. Considering that his control was fine last season (3.2 BB/9), it would not be surprising to see Guerra's walk rate improve significantly as he shakes off the rust from an absence of nearly two months. The 32-year-old will face a challenging matchup to begin next week, as the Reds rank in the top-10 of the Majors in both runs scored and OPS. But the Cincinnati offense has cooled off lately, placing in the bottom half of the league in runs and OPS this month. Guerra's erratic control so far this season should not be much of an issue versus the Marlins with Miami ranking 27th in the Majors in walks. Feel free to start the Brewers righty in the majority of mixed leagues.
Jordan Montgomery | Yankees | at White Sox and at Astros
Since making his big league debut in mid-April, Montgomery has exceeded expectations, and he's been especially sharp since the calendar turned to June. In four starts this month, the rookie southpaw is 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Montgomery's second matchup next week, versus an Astros club that ranks first in the AL in runs, batting average and OPS, makes him a borderline starting option in 12-team mixed leagues. But he should find success against the White Sox, as the South Siders rank only 20th in the Majors in runs and 21st in OPS. In deeper mixed formats, starting Montgomery next week is worth the risk.
Mike Fiers | Astros | vs. Athletics and vs. Yankees
Fiers' overall inconsistency this season and matchup against a powerful Yankees lineup relegates him to deep-league starting status for next week. But the Astros righty has quietly registered a 1.72 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP over his last five starts, collecting four wins along the way. Plus, the 32-year-old is fresh off a stellar performance (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) against the same A's team that he will be facing in his first outing of the week. Owners who take a chance on Fiers could be greatly rewarded.