For owners in weekly leagues, two-start pitchers are a key to maximizing wins and strikeouts. And oftentimes -- perhaps more often than you'd think -- they can be found on waivers or even your bench.
Let's take a look at the top two-start options heading into Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season.
Jeff Samardzija, Giants (at Mets, vs. Reds)
Since giving up seven runs in a start against the Rockies at Coors Field on April 23, Samardzija has turned in back-to-back dominant performances, allowing a combined two earned runs over 15 innings to go along with 16 strikeouts. Thanks to his season-long inconsistency, the 32-year-old veteran could be sitting on the waiver wire in some standard mixed leagues, but perhaps he has now turned the corner.
Samardzija's first matchup next week, on the road against the Mets, is a favorable one, as the Amazin's rank 22nd in the Majors with a .706 OPS against right-handers. His second outing, versus a Reds club that ranks seventh in the Majors in OPS, will be more challenging. But Samardzija gets to face Cincinnati at home in AT&T Park, where he sports a solid 3.60 ERA and 1.24 WHIP since joining the Giants. His ability to rack up strikeouts further enhances his two-start appeal.
Hector Santiago, Twins (at White Sox, at Indians)
Coming off a highly disappointing 2016 campaign, Santiago has opened 2017 in stellar fashion, allowing three runs or fewer in each of his first six starts. The 29-year-old southpaw's finest outing of the season to this point came against the White Sox back on April 16, when he blanked Chicago over seven innings, and he pitches against the Pale Hose again next week. As for the Indians: Despite being a mid-pack offense overall, Cleveland ranks 25th in the Majors with a .636 OPS versus left-handed pitching. Owners of Santiago should feel comfortable inserting him into their lineups for this two-start stanza.
Nathan Karns, Royals (at Rays, vs. Orioles)
Karns may be in the midst of a bounceback year, logging a 3.81 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP across five starts since struggling in an impromptu relief appearance April 5. Next week, the right-hander could compile a handful of whiffs against a Rays lineup that leads the Majors with 292 strikeouts before working at his pitcher-friendly home park against an Orioles lineup that ranks 20th in baseball with a .715 OPS against righties.
Matt Andriese, Rays (vs. Royals, at Red Sox)
In a light two-start pitcher week when it comes to potential waiver wire options, investing in Andriese could pay off. The Rays righty has notched a quality start in three of his past four outings and has a favorable matchup on tap vs. a Royals team that ranks last in the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS. Although starting Andriese at Fenway Park against a dangerous Red Sox offense is risky, Boston's lineup has underperformed so far this season, placing 27th in runs and 19th in OPS.
Adam Conley, Marlins (vs. Cardinals, vs. Braves)
Following a career-worst performance in which he allowed nine runs to the Pirates while failing to make it through the second inning, Conley was solid on Wednesday night vs. the Rays, giving up two earned runs across 5 1/3 frames with five strikeouts. The 26-year-old lefty will look to build on this bounceback outing next week, when he matches up against the Cardinals and Braves, teams that rank 14th and ninth, respectively, in the NL in runs scored. Consider Conley in deep mixed leagues and NL-only formats.
Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.