Carlos Zambrano - Chicago Cubs - vs Pittsburgh Pirates - 1:05 PM EST Saturday 4/2/11 - 40.4% ESPN Ownership
If you needed me to make this choice for you, you probably don't follow much baseball. Zambrano is a former staff ace and 200 strike out pitcher. He had a rocky year overall last year, but ended 2010 on an 8-0 run with a 1.41 ERA in his last eleven starts. He should get off to a great start this year going against a Pirates lineup that was second worst in the majors last year. Zambrano gets my strongest recommendation because of the match up. Even if you don't "need" the start I recommend a pickup and play if he's available in your league.
The rest of the starters available in more than 50% of leagues in the order I would pick them up (ESPN ownership in parenthesis)
Edwin Jackson (18.3%) Chicago White Sox @Cleveland - Jackson is a strong strike out pitcher who is going up against a weaker lineup and has a good offense behind him. Expect 6-8 Ks and a win with a solid ERA and WHIP.
Ervin Santana (49.3%) Los Angeles Angels @Kansas City - Santana is a pretty good starter who is on a decent team and is playing the Royals on Saturday. He should be good for 5-6 Ks and a win with a decent ERA and WHIP.
Jorge de la Rosa (34.1%) Colorado vs Arizona - De La Rosa will get you the same amount of Ks and likely the same win that Jackson will get but De La Rosa will be playing at home at Coors Field and gets marked down a bit because of that.
Jake Westbrook (11.7%) St. Louis vs San Diego - Westbrook won't get you as many strikeouts as the guys above him on the list, but he should give you a solid ERA and WHIP and the Cardinals aren't likely to lose two in a row to the Padres.
Kyle Drabek (9.3%) Toronto vs Minnesota - Drabek has a decent lineup behind him and could easily give you a win and decent ERA and WHIP here but it has to be noted that the opposing pitcher is Francisco Liriano. He might not give the Jays' offense anything to hit.
Jonathon Niese (0.8%) New York Mets at Florida - Niese is a pretty decent pitcher that would normally make it higher on this list, but last year he was just 1-4 with a 6.49 ERA against Florida.
Clayton Richard (1.1%) San Diego at St. Louis - Richard is usually an okay start at home, but here at St. Louis you are just likely to some middling strikeout, ERA, and WHIP numbers without a highly likely win.
A.J. Burnett (47.5%) New York Yankees vs Detroit - While Burnett is a sleeper candidate of mine for this year, you would be crazy to start him Saturday. He's recovering from a head cold and going up against a strong Tiger lineup. Stay away this time out.
Brad Penny, Jason Vargas, Carlos Carrasco, John Lannan, Kyle Davies, Paul Maholm (All Less Than 1%) - If these are the only guys available in your league, just walk away from the free agent list. We'll find you a starter tomorrow.