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 22 (8/28 – 9/3) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. 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.
Chicago Cubs hitters – The Cubs are spending the entire week at home, and fortunately for them, they don’t see a single pitcher that scares you. They start with a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and fortunately miss Gerrit Cole’s turn in the rotation. Then they have a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves and their mediocre rotation. You’re already starting your Cubs studs, but I’d even consider starting guys like Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, and Alex Avila.
Mikie Mahtook – If you looked at the Tigers’ schedule and saw three games at Coors Field and said “I’m starting all my Tigers,” I wouldn’t blame you, but there are some Tigers you should start this week and some you shouldn’t, simply because they’ll see seven righties this week. Mikie Mahtook is a Tiger you should start. He’s been hot lately, and he’s been especially good against righties this year, slashing .288/.348/.436 against them on the season. He should be poised to take advantage of Coors Field this week.
Arizona Diamondbacks hitters – The Diamondbacks lucked out quite nicely this week. They have three games at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers and somehow they miss Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish in the rotation. Not only that, but the three games are at home in Coors-light (Chase Field). Then, they get to head to Coors Field to see the Rockies and nary a pitching matchup that scares you. I’d highly recommend starting just about every Diamondback you’ve got.
Colorado Rockies hitters – The Coors Field advantage swings both ways. The Rockies will be spending all week at home and while matchups against Michael Fulmer, Justin Verlander, and Zack Godley aren’t great for the hitters, being in Coors Field always is. But they also get to see Jordan Zimmerman, who has just been awful lately. I’d recommend just about all of your Rockies this week.
Minnesota Twins hitters – Did you start the Twins last week like I told you to? I hope so, cause they’ve been crushing the ball, and they should continue to this week too. There’s Jorge Polanco, who’s been slashing .388/.424/.663 over the past month (and is available in 84% of ESPN leagues), Byron Buxton who’s been slashing .315/.344/.562 over the past month, and Eddie Rosario, who’s been slashing .288/.345/.558 over the past month, not to mention your usual Twins studs like Brian Dozier.They’ll see the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals, and it’s nothing buy hitter-friendly matchups all week. Keep starting your Twins.
New York Yankees hitters – The Yankees have seven games at home this week, but they’re poised to have a difficult week of matchups, bookended by a matchup against Corey Kluber to start the week, and a matchup against Chris Sale to finish it out. On the plus side, they’ll be in Yankee Stadium, which is a hitter-friendly park, and that might balance things out a bit.
A few Detroit Tigers hitters – Like I mentioned earlier, the Tigers are facing seven righties this week, which means that there are some Tigers to start and some to avoid, despite the fact that they have three games in Coors Field. James McCann is slashing .213/.288/.331 against righties this year, Ian Kinsler is slashing .234/.315/.360 against righties this year, and Nick Castellanos is slashing .238/.300/.387 against righties this year, so I would avoid those three specifically, despite the Coors Field matchups.
Chicago White Sox hitters – The White Sox have a tough set of matchups this week, starting off with a three-game series against the Twins where they’ll see Jose Berrios, and then a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays where they’ll get to see Blake Snell (who’s had two straight starts with zero earned runs) and the always-impressive Chris Archer.
Milwaukee Brewers hitters – The Brewers will be spending all six games this week at home in hitter-friendly Miller Park, so that might help their week a bit, but they’ve got some tough matchups. First, they have a two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals where they’ll get to see the recently-impressive Luke Weaver, as well as the always-great Carlos Martinez. Then, they’ll see the Washington Nationals and Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. In daily leagues, I think the matchups against Tanner Roark and Edwin Jackson are worth taking advantage of, but in weekly leagues, I don’t think you’ll be able to extract enough value to make your Brewers worth starting.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres have a really rough week this week, starting off with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants where they’ll get to see Matt Moore (who has a 2.21 ERA in his last three starts) and Jeff Samardzija, who can admittedly be off an on. But then the real challenge comes in their four-game series against the Dodgers (including one double-header). They’ll get to see Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, and Rich Hill, not to mention whomever their TBD pitcher is for game two of that double header. And on top of all of that, they’ll be spending the whole week in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.