Is your fantasy starting rotation struggling? Or maybe you just need some extra strikeouts? Then consider adding these pitchers, who are all scheduled to make two starts in Week 12.
12-team mixed leagues
Drew Smyly (@CLE, @BAL): After failing to record a quality start in any of his previous three outings, Smyly turned in one of his best outings of the season on Wednesday, limiting the Mariners to two runs on four hits with 12 K's over 6 2/3 innings. Next week's matchups are far from favorable, as both the Indians and the Orioles rank in the top half of the AL in runs scored this season. But the Rays southpaw did pitch well against the Indians back in April, allowing just two earned runs with 11 strikeouts over seven innings. His ability to miss bats (10.3 K/9 this season) makes him an appealing option in any two-start week.
James Paxton (@DET, vs. STL): A former top prospect, Paxton has been hampered by health woes throughout most of his young big league career. But perhaps he is now finally on the verge of realizing his potential. Following a rough season debut, the 27-year-old has allowed a mere one earned run combined over his last two starts, spanning 12 1/3 innings, to go along with 17 strikeouts. The Mariners lefty will face a tough test next week, as the Cardinals and Tigers rank third and sixth, respectively, in the Majors in runs scored. That said, Paxton's results so far, highlighted by an exceptional 24-to-4 K/BB ratio, are hard to dismiss.
Doug Fister (vs. LAA, @KC): Coming off a largely disappointing 2015 campaign, Fister has successfully revitalized his career with the Astros this season, boasting a 7-3 record to go along with a 3.26 ERA and 1.23 WHIP through 13 starts. The veteran righty is unlikely to help owners in the strikeout department (5.6 K/9 this year), but thanks to his contributions in the other categories, he deserves a spot on most mixed-league rosters. As for next week, Fister -- who has allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of his starts this season -- deserves a spot in most lineups. The Angels and Royals rank 16th and 27th, respectively, in the Majors in runs scored.
Josh Tomlin (vs. TB, @DET): The owner of a solid 3.27 ERA and 1.12 WHIP through 12 starts this year, Tomlin now heads into a two-start week with one favorable matchup and one tough matchup. While the Rays rank in the bottom third of the AL in both runs scored and batting average, the Tigers rank among the top four teams in the Junior Circuit in those two categories. The good news, however, is that in two starts vs. Detroit this season, the Indians righty is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.
Deeper mixed leagues
Kevin Gausman (@TEX, vs. TB): Gausman struggled on Wednesday in a very challenging matchup, on the road against the Red Sox. Unfortunately for him, the schedule will not lighten during the first half of next week, as he will take the mound at hitter-friendly Globe Life Park in Arlington to face a Rangers team that ranks third in the Majors in runs scored at home. For this reason, the 25-year-old is more of a deep-league option. On the bright side: The Rays rank 11th in the AL in runs and 14th in batting average, and the Orioles righty sports a strong 8.1 K/9 rate through 11 starts, giving him added value in two-start weeks.
Nathan Karns (@DET, vs. STL): Inconsistency is the main theme of Karns' 2016 season so far, and erratic command (4.2 BB/9) is mostly to blame. One area that has been consistent, however, is his strikeout production (9.5 K/9). Because the Tigers and Cardinals both rank in the top six in the Majors in OPS, pitching Karns next week is plenty risky. But at least for deep-league owners chasing strikeouts, starting the Mariners righty could be a risk worth taking.
Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.