Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 2 (4/10 – 4/16) of the fantasy baseball season.
Note: This article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup.
Cincinnati Reds hitters but especially Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza – This week is a good week to start your Reds hitters, as they not only have seven straight games, but some pretty favorable matchups. The only matchup that scares me is Jameson Taillon on Tuesday, especially after how he shut down the Red Sox, and maybe Tyler Glasnow on Monday (he can definitely get some strikeouts), but other than that, the Reds get an incredibly favorable series in Milwaukee. They will be facing Jimmy Nelson, Tommy Milone, Zach Davies, and Wily Peralta, none of whom scare you. And, even better, they get to face Francisco Cervelli with the Pirates and either Jett Bandy or Manny Pina with the Brewers at catcher, all of whom you can easily run on. Billy Hamilton and Jose Peraza are two of the fastest players in baseball, so not only do they have a favorable hitting matchup, but they have a very favorable matchup for stolen bases, so especially start them.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – The Blue Jays have a pretty favorable set of games this week. The only matchups that are even remotely scary this week are against Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, but even then, the Blue Jays will be playing them in Rogers Centre, a hitters park, so that should help. Other than those two, the Blue Jays get to face Wily Peralta, Chase Anderson, and Wade Miley, all pitchers that don’t scare you at all, especially in Rogers Centre. So while you were already going to start Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, it would be a good week to take a look at players like Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, and maybe even Steve Pearce.
Cleveland Indians hitters – The Indians have some good matchups this week, specifically a few against some lefties that make some of the Indians platoon players like Brandon Guyer and Austin Jackson worth consideration. In general though, aside from their matchup against Justin Verlander on Saturday, they’ve got a breeze of a week, facing pitchers like James Shields, Derek Holland, and Daniel Norris, among others.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Not only do the Rockies get a series of home games this week but those home games get to be against the AAA rotation of the San Diego Padres. They get to face Trevor Cahill, Jered Weaver, and Luis Perdomo, all in Coors Field. Which means start every Rockies hitter you’ve got basically. Maybe, maybe even consider starting Mark Reynolds in a deep league. After the Padres series, the Rockies get a series in San Francisco, with two games you’ll want to skip. One against Madison Bumgarner and one against Johnny Cueto, so watch out for those. Other than that though, start your Rockies.
San Diego Padres hitters – That Coors hitter advantage swings both ways. You should start your Rockies against the Padres in Coors, but you should also start your Padres against the Rockies. Fortunately for San Diego, they miss Jon Gray in this series, so they’ll be facing Tyler Chatwood, Antonio Senzatela, and Kyle Freeland, three matchups that do not scare you at all. During that series in Colorado, hitters like Travis Jankowski, Yangervis Solarte, and Ryan Schimpf are all worthy of consideration. After the series in Colorado, the Padres head to Atlanta for some less favorable, but not terrible matchups. However, the series in Atlanta will be pretty solid for stolen bases, as you can steal on Tyler Flowers, which makes hitters like Jankowski and Manuel Margot pretty attractive.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – This one is a little tricky as there are some days you’re going to want to avoid Arizona righties and some days you’ll want to avoid Arizona lefites. And then there’s one matchup against Clayton Kershaw on Friday that you’ll just want to avoid altogether. The Diamondbacks start off in San Francisco with a matchup against Jeff Samardzija that’s going to be rough for lefties. Jake Lamb is especially someone you’ll want to sit during those lefty matchups, as he’s batting .123/.219/.228 since the 2016 All-Star break against lefties with a .209 wOBA. David Peralta is another hitter to sit against lefties, as he’s batting .222/.283/.343 on his career against left handers. You’ll want to think twice about your Diamondback righties in the matchups against Matt Moore on Tuesday, and Kenta Maeda on Saturday. And like I said, just avoid the Kershaw matchup on Friday altogether.
Miami Marlins hitters – The Marlins have a tough stretch this week. While they’ll be playing six games, they’re going to have some really difficult matchups. They start with a two-game series against the Atlanta Braves, where they’ll be facing some ok pitchers in Bartolo Colon (the gift that keeps on giving) and Jaime Garcia. But then they get a four-game stretch against the Mets where they’ll be running the gamut in good Mets pitchers, facing Robert Gsellman, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, and Matt Harvey. So while you’ll likely still be starting Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich, maybe think twice before tossing J.T. Realmuto, Justin Bour, or Marcell Ozuna out there.
Detroit Tigers hitters in Cleveland – The Tigers start off the week on Monday with a tough matchup against Chris Sale at home, so I’d also avoid that one just about entirely. They then have a three-game matchup against the Minnesota Twins that’s not scary at all, and then a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians that I’d probably avoid in general. They’ll be facing Trevor Bauer in their first game, not a great pitcher but not a bad one, and then they get Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, two matchups that are going to be very difficult. You always start your studs, but in those matchups, I’d think twice about guys like Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez.
Los Angeles Dodgers lefties – While the Dodgers don’t have a horrible schedule this week, their schedule is generally pretty tough against lefties. Their game on Monday against Jon Lester and their game on Friday against Zach Greinke are going to be tough overall, but they face another lefty in Brett Anderson on Thursday, and Patrick Corbin (yet another lefty) on Saturday. While your Dodgers righties should generally be ok in those matchups, I’d consider benching hitters like Adrian Gonzalez, and definitely Joc Pederson in those lefty matchups.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – The Phillies get the joy of facing a few aces/borderline-aces this week, as they have matchups against Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey, and Stephen Strasburg, as well as a tough matchup against Tanner Roark. The only matchups this week that don’t really scare you are their games against Zach Wheeler and Jeremy Guthrie, so you should be ok on those days, but the other three are going to be tough, especially for the Phillies righties, so if you were on the fence about starting players like Howie Kendrick, or Maikel Franco, you might want to consider benching them.