Each week, we’ve been taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 21 (8/26-9/1) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on projections as of this post’s publication. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top-of-the-line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.
Colorado Rockies hitters – Guess what week it is? That’s right, it’s Coors Field week for the Rockies. They get a seven-game week this week all at home in Coors Field, which means you should get your Rockies hitters out there. They start with a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox where they’ll see Rick Porcello, who doesn’t scare me at all, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who only scares me a tiny bit. Then, they’ll have a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates who own the fifth-worst team ERA in baseball. Ryan McMahon is slashing .293/.398/.565 over the past month and is available in 57% of leagues, he’s worth a grab if he’s out there. Similarly, Ramel Tapia is slashing .337/.371/.402 over the past month and is available in 91% of leagues, he’s worth a look in deeper leagues as he doesn’t really provide much in the way of power or speed, but can hit for a very good average and knock in some runs.
Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – As I mentioned earlier, the Pirates close their week with a four-game series in Coors against the Rockies, who own the second-worst team ERA in baseball, and that alone would be just enough for me to consider starting my Pirates hitters, but they also start the week with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies in home run-friendly Citizens Bank Park. Plus, while facing the Phillies, they’ll miss Aaron Nola’s turn in the rotation. Over the past month, Bryan Reynolds has been slashing .314/.385/.559 and is available in 49% of leagues, so make sure you grab him if he’s available.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds get to have an eight-game week this week thanks to a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, and lucky for the Reds, in that series against the Cardinals, they’ll get to miss Jack Flaherty’s turn in the rotation. Plus, they start the week off with a four-game series against the Miami Marlins, who own the 12th-worst team ERA in baseball. They will face Caleb Smith, who can be pretty good (though inconsistent), but the rest of the matchups I’m not worried about. Obviously you’re starting Aristides Aquino basically every day at this point, but make sure you’re starting him this week especially. Also, over the past month, Josh VanMeter has been slashing .316/.386/.468 and is available in 81% of leagues, and Freddy Galvis is slashing .327/.337/.564 over the past month and is available in 72% of leagues.
Oakland Athletics hitters – The A’s have a really nice week this week, starting with a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who own the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball, and closing with a three-game series against the New York Yankees. In that series, they will face Domingo German, who can be a tough matchup, but their other two games are against C.C. Sabathia and J.A. Happ, and I’m perfectly fine starting my A’s hitters against those two. Over the past month, Mark Canha has been pretty hot, slashing .318/.414/.482, and he’s available in 90% of leagues. Also, Stephen Piscotty has been slashing .315/.356/.574 over the past month and is available in 61% of leagues.
Austin Nola – In general, Austin Nola has been pretty hot lately, slashing .299/.365/.529 over the past month, but this week is especially a good week to start him, as the Seattle Mariners will get to see five left-handed pitchers this week. So far this year, Nola is slashing .347/.429/.755 against lefties, and he’s available in 87% of leagues.
Tampa Bay Rays hitters – The Rays have an incredibly tough schedule this week, starting with a three-game series against the Houston Astros where they’ll get to see Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke, which is just about the toughest three-game stretch you could imagine for an offense. Then, they’ll close the week with a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians where they’ll get to see Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber. I’d avoid just about all of my Rays this week.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – The Orioles only get a five-game week this week, and I’m really only interested in starting my Orioles hitters in two of those games. They start the week with a two-game series against the Washington Nationals where they’ll see Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer. Big no thanks from me on both of those games. Then, they’ll have a three-game series against the Royals, and I know I mentioned earlier that the Royals have the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball, and that’s true. But in that three-game series, the Orioles will face Mike Montgomery, who has been pretty solid lately, posting a 3.34 ERA over the past month. That means only the two games against the Royals are ones I’m comfortable starting my Orioles in, and that’s not enough value to warrant starting them in a weekly league. And for what it’s worth, Brad Keller, one of the other Royals pitchers they’ll be facing, has given up three or fewer earned runs in five out of his last seven starts.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks get a tough week this week, starting with a two-game series in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, if not the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball, Oracle Park against the San Francisco Giants. Then, they’ll host the Los Angeles Dodgers for a four-game series where they’ll get to face Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, and Walker Buehler. So yea, no thank you on that series.
Toronto Blue Jays hitters – Similar to the Orioles, the Blue Jays only get a five-game week this week, and there’s not much value to be had. They start the week with a two-game series against the Atlanta Braves where they’ll face Mike Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz. Soroka is a definite avoid, Folty is a probable avoid. He can be very good but he’s inconsistent. Then, the Jays will have a three-game series against the Astros, where they’ll get to see Wade Miley, who’s still been really good this year with that Astros black magic, and Justin Verlander.
Daniel Vogelbach – As I mentioned, the Mariners will face five left-handed pitchers this week, which is bad news for Vogelbach, as he’s slashing .159/.262/.336 against lefties this year. He hasn’t provided a ton in the way of average this year, but he’s been a decent power asset. This week though, I’d avoid him entirely.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire