This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Once again this season, I'll be generating the site's Weekly Pitcher Rankings and Weekly Hitter Rankings. They'll be posted Saturday with a refresh based on pitching changes late Sunday night. Here is a primer, explaining the process for each so you can maximize utility.
Weekly Pitcher Rankings
The rankings are designed for standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring. They reflect how each pitcher helps a team that week relative to everyone else scheduled. New this season is the inclusion of an average reliever, so you can gauge when it's best to insert a reliever into your lineup in lieu of a starter with a potentially damaging matchup.
From a strategic perspective, it makes sense to be conservative early, building up a foundation then streaming more liberally down the stretch if you need to chase points in wins and strikeouts. However, that is opposite of the approach dictated by history. Here is a chart showing starter's ERA by month from 2017-2019:
Clearly, being aggressive early is the most efficient plan of attack. It's not a coincidence the ERA trend dovetails with average temperature by month. The caveat is the lack of trustworthy player and team data by which to identify the lower-level arms worth acquiring.
Another consideration is the number of two-start options will likely be lower than