Cumulative Stater Stats - 49 IP - 43 Strikeouts - 7.9 K/9 - 4 Wins in 8 Starts - 3.49 ERA - 1.18 WHIP
Starter Spreadsheet here
I told you Jackson was a no-brainer. The Tampa lineup is just dreadful, and Jackson made them look silly. His one earned run came in the eighth inning, late in a start for this early in the year. The 13 Ks are one less than the last three guys I suggested combined. All in all it was an amazing start for fantasy purposes. As I wrote in my Week 1 Thoughts and Pickups column Thursday, Jackson is worth rostering in all leagues. He has a decent match-up with the As next followed by another game against Tampa Bay. But if you need help sooner for this week's matchup, I have another great starter for you after the jump...
R.A. Dickey - New York Mets vs Washington - 4:10 PM EST - 17.1% Ownership in ESPN Standard Leagues
Dickey came out of nowhere to really save the back of the Mets' rotation last year. He had his best year as a major leaguer, winning 11 games with a 3.65 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), his first year of sub-4.3 FIP in his career. While a sudden improvement this late in a career is odd, Dickey is 36, it can be attributed to developing a knuckleball starting back in 2006. Dickey is now a true "knuckleballer" and has great success with the pitch. Dickey can be a good pitcher going forward. He is especially useful at Citi Field, where he had a 1.99 ERA last year. He also had good success against Washington, with a 1.80 ERA in four appearances against them last year. Add that priot success to the fact that Washington is second to last in runs scored so far, and is easy to expect a solid six innings where Dickey just lets up a run or two and should be able to pick up a win in the Mets home opener.
Before I get to the rest of the rankings, just a reminder to get out there and pick up Jordan Walden of the Angels. The newly minted closer is still only owned in 52.3 percent of leagues, when he really should be owned in every one.
Carlos Zambrano (30.5%) - Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee - Big Z is a pretty easy choice here. He had a fairly good start going his first time out before he cramped up and let up a home run to start off the seventh inning. Zambrano has a career K/9 rate of 7.71, so you know the strikeouts are going to be there in every start. More important here is how excellent he's been in his career at Miller Park in Milwaukee. He threw a no-hitter there in 2008 and is 9-5 lifetime in Miller Park and has had good success against Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun in his career. I like Zambrano for six or seven strikouts here and the win.
Jason Vargas (1.3%) - Seattle vs Cleveland - Vargas is the number two starter in Seattle this year and looked good his first time out. He let up just one run and racked up six strikeouts over 6.2 innings. Vargas isn't going to strike too many people out, but pitching at the pitcher's haven that is Safeco Field, he's going to have spot start value all year. He would be my recommendation for the day if the Cleveland offense was as pitiful as you would expect it to be on paper, but so far they are a top ten offense in the league. He is still a good play here, but not as rock solid as he could be.
Jorge de la Rosa (37.8%) - Colorado at Pittsburgh - De La Rosa had a great opening day start before his day ended because of a blood blister that developed on his middle finger. He had five strikeouts and no runs allowed before he left the game. I like him on his talent as a spot start here, but between the injury concerns and my like for the Pittsburgh offense, he's behind Dickey, Z and Vargas on the list. He's worth a spot start in mixed leagues, but only if those three are unavailable to you.
This is the 10 team mixed league cut-off line. Guys ranked after this are only recommended as spot starts for AL-Only/NL-Only/Deeper leagues.
Carlos Carrasco (0.2%) - Cleveland at Seattle - Carrasco had a poor first outing, but that was against the rough White Sox lineup, not the much less intimidating Seattle lineup. Carrasco had a K/9 rate of over 7.00 in the minors, which is a nice sign of things to come, but any poor outing still worries me. He's worth a start in deep leagues but I wouldn't trust him in a ten team mixed league just yet.
Zach Britton (15.2%) - Baltimore vs Texas - Britton was my recommendation the last time he was up in the rotation when he was going up against the pathetic Rays rotation in pitcher friendly Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. This time around, he is home in hitter friendly Camden Yards and going up against the powerful Rangers lineup that leads the league in slugging. I still like Britton long term, but he's a stay away for me this time around except for in deeper leagues.
Clayton Richard (2.5%) - San Diego vs Los Angeles Dodgers - Richard's value is directly tied to his home ball park. When he is playing at Petco Park against a bad team, he's worth a spot, but if he's not though, he's a stay away. This time around he has a match-up against a currently not hitting well Dodgers, but the Dodgers line-up should be hitting better. Add in the fact that the Dodgers have the excellent Ted Lilly on the mound, and I worry that Richard's stat line might involve few strikeouts with more runs than you'd want and not a good chance at a win.
Ross Ohlendorf (0.1%) - Pittsburgh vs Colorado - I don't have much to say about Ohlendorf. When you see his name it's a generally just a sign to stay away and there's no exception here. While theres scenarios where he has a good start tomorrow, its far less likely than it needs to be to make him worth starting here.
Kyle Davies (0.2%) - Kansas City at Detroit - Davies isn't worth starting either, just being listed separately here to separate him from the last group of guys.
Jake Westbrook, Randy Wolf, John Lackey, Carl Pavano - All of these guys had ERAs over 10 in their last start, so none of them get my recommendation here this week. They are all capable of putting together good games, but when you are that bad your first time out, I'm not going to start you until you prove that you have something this season.