Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Rankings: Top Five Starters For September 18

The Red Sox and Yankees get the Major League Baseball schedule off to an early start with a matinee in the Bronx, but the other 28 teams are all in Tuesday’s 14-game main fantasy baseball slate. There are some big names on the mound in key matchups for playoff races as well as some who are just looking to finish their season out strong over the next couple of weeks. As you dig through the scheduled starters to select your SP for the day, make sure to take a look at these top-five options.

1. Blake Snell – TB at TEX – $12,100

With Chris Sale’s injury costing him some down time, Snell has emerged as a strong candidate for the AL Cy Young. Even though he’s in a less-than-ideal environment in Texas, he’s still the top arm on the slate given his superb recent form. The lefty has allowed two runs or fewer in all eight starts since coming off the DL and has gone 7-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 45 innings. He has at least 25 DKFP in each of his past seven outings, including road outings in Toronto, New York (AL) and Cleveland.

Snell faced the Rangers once this season and struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings, got the win, and finished with 31.9 DKFP. He has been outstanding all season, and can get his 20th win of the year with a strong showing in Texas as he goes head-to-head with Yovani Gallardo ($4,500).


2. Corey Kluber – CLE vs. CWS – $10,600

Kluber will be going for his 19th win of the season when the Indians open their series with the White Sox. He has had a couple of rough outings on the road recently in Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but looked outstanding in his two starts at home in between those two outings, dominating both the Royals and the Rays for 35.2 and 33.4 DKFP, respectively. On the season, Kluber is now 10-3 with a 2.05 ERA at Progressive Field and 4-2 with a 4.02 ERA on the road.

Not only is Kluber at home, but he also has a great matchup against the White Sox. The Indians ace has made two starts against his divisional foe this season and has gone 2-0, striking out 17 in 13 shutout innings. Kluber at home against the White Sox is just a little better than the rest of the options on this list, although his lack of consistency keeps him behind Snellzilla.


3. Clayton Kershaw – LAD vs. COL – $11,300

Kershaw hasn’t been his most dominant self lately, but has gotten enough strikeouts to compensate. He has allowed multiple runs and at least one home run in each of his past four outings, but has produced an average of at least a strikeout-per-inning in seven of his past nine starts. In those nine starts, he is 5-0 with a 2.34 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings and 23.4 FPPG.

Two starts ago, Kershaw beat the Rockies at Coors Field, and he is usually a better start when playing at home at Dodger Sadium. Kershaw has at least 21 DKFP in four of his past five starts, and the Dodgers will need him to rise to the occasion and keep them in first place as they continue their critical series with the Rockies.


4. Jameson Taillon – PIT vs. KC – $9,200

Taillon has had an up-and-down year, but he has a nice finishing kick going as the Pirates host the Royals in the only interleague game on the slate. Taillon has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past 10 starts and only failed to pitch six innings twice. He is 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA over that run and has picked up his strikeout rate lately with at least six whiffs in four of his past five. He has averaged 19.9 FPPG over his past 10 and has at least that many in each of his past five.

This will be the first time Taillon faces the Royals, so he should have a bit of an advantage especially pitching at home. He doesn’t have the massive strikeout rate to be an elite option, but he’s a very safe play given his consistency and his matchup.


5. Kyle Freeland – COL at LAD – $9,500

Freeland faces Kershaw in a great matchups of NL West southpaws with first place in the division on the line. Freeland beat the Dodgers two starts ago allowing four hits and one run in six innings for 27.9 DKFP. That outing is even more impressive since it came at Coors Field. Freeland has avoided ugly starts despite Coors being his home park, and he has turned in eight straight quality starts, going 6-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 23.3 FPPG.

In three starts against the Dodgers, Freeland is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. While L.A.’s lineup is stacked no matter what, they have struggled a bit against left-handed starters like Freeland. He’ll try to out-duel Kershaw and continue his strong run of recent success.


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