Fantasy411: Two-start hurlers for Week 7

Jays' Happ, Marlins' Chen among best options

May 12th, 2016

Is your fantasy starting rotation struggling, or perhaps simply in need of a strikeout influx? Then consider adding these pitchers, who are all scheduled to make two starts in Week 7.

12-team mixed leagues

J.A. Happ (vs. TB, @MIN): With seven quality starts in seven tries to go along with a 2.05 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP, Happ has been one of baseball's most consistent starting pitchers in 2016. Although his career 4.04 ERA and 1.36 WHIP hint that regression is likely, the Blue Jays southpaw is unlikely to meet that fate in the coming week. Entering play on Thursday, both the Rays and the Twins rank among the bottom five teams in the Majors in runs scored. Plus, Happ has pitched to a solid 3.55 ERA in two starts against the Rays this year.

Wei-Yin Chen (@PHI, vs. WAS): Coming off a shaky outing in a seemingly favorable matchup against the Phillies, Chen bounced back nicely in a start on Wednesday that saw him allow two runs while racking up 12 strikeouts across 6 1/3 innings vs. Milwaukee. Gaudy strikeout totals are not the norm for Chen, but he has been a very dependable starter through four-plus seasons in the big leagues, thanks largely to his pinpoint control (2.2 BB/9). The Marlins lefty is a must-start for next week in all league formats, as the Phillies rank 29th in the Majors in runs, batting average and OPS. And while the Nationals' lineup has several dangerous hitters, it ranks eighth in runs, ninth in batting average and 10th in OPS among NL clubs.

Jerad Eickhoff (vs. MIA, vs. ATL): Although Eickhoff surprisingly did not perform well Wednesday against the offensively challenged Braves, his first full season in the Majors can be described as a success to this point. The Phillies righty will carry an impressive 36-to-8 K/BB ratio and 1.23 WHIP into his two starts next week, and his ERA should be considerably lower than its current 4.43 mark by the end of the week. The Marlins rank 12th in the NL in runs scored, and Eickhoff is unlikely to struggle twice in a row against a Braves club that ranks last in the Majors in both runs and OPS.

Deeper mixed leagues

Juan Nicasio (vs. ATL, vs. COL): Nicasio has been highly effective at times this season, but his inconsistency makes him more of a deep-league option for next week. The Pittsburgh righty has yet to post back-to-back quality starts, and his favorable matchup with the Braves will precede a showdown with a Rockies club that ranks among the Majors' top seven teams in runs, homers, batting average and OPS. On the plus side, Nicasio has whiffed nearly a batter per inning, so he should continue to help owners in need of strikeouts.

Nathan Eovaldi (@ARI, @OAK): Five-plus seasons into his big league career, Eovaldi has yet to provide consistent results in spite of his elite-caliber stuff. The Yankees righty is still just 26 years old, however, so he has time to take his game to the next level. Having allowed three runs or fewer in three of his past four starts, Eovaldi now heads into a two-start week that includes one tough matchup and one favorable matchup. Starting him at hitter-friendly Chase Field against a D-backs team that ranks sixth in the Majors in OPS at home is plenty risky. On the other hand, the A's rank among the bottom four big league teams in both runs and OPS at home. This is ultimately a decision that should be based on categorical needs, though Eovaldi is much more appealing in deeper formats than in standard 12-team mixed leagues.

NL-only leagues

Aaron Blair (@PIT, @PHI): Blair has gotten off to a solid start in his first three big league outings, recording a 3.31 ERA. True, the lack of strikeouts (2.8 K/9) and his high walk rate (5.0 BB/9) are somewhat troubling. But his Minor League rates of 8.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 suggest that he will significantly improve in those areas with additional Major League experience. Although Blair is not yet mixed-league relevant, owners in NL-only formats should feel comfortable adding him and starting him in most two-start weeks.