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 6 (5/8 – 5/14) 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. Always start your studs.
San Diego Padres hitters – The Padres play seven games this week, and really only two of the matchups are scary, which would be their games against Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana. Other than that, the rest of the matchups should be cake. You’re already starting Wil Myers regardless of matchup, and likely already starting Yangervis Solarte and Manuel Margot, but maybe even consider Austin Hedges and even Ryan Schimpf this week. Maybe even consider Jabari Blash in the two matchups the Padres have against lefties (against Quintana and Martin Perez).
Oakland Athletics hitters – The Oakland A’s will be facing a whole bunch of pitchers that are not scary at all. They’ll be seeing the likes of Ricky Nolasco, Jesse Chavez, and Nick Martinez, among others. This is the time to take advantage of Yonder Alonso, who I personally believe in (to a point). He should have a great week and is still available in a ton of leagues. You’re obviously already starting Khris Davis (I hope), but take Jed Lowrie, Matt Joyce, and maybe even Ryon Healy into consideration.
Washington Nationals hitters – The Nationals have a nice schedule this week, with two games against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards (which means they gain a DH spot), and three games against the Phillies. And luckily for them, the pitching matchups are pretty favorable, with games against the struggling Kevin Gausman and the incredibly inconsistent but mostly bad Ubaldo Jimenez. They’re also scheduled to face Wade Miley’s turn in the rotation, however that may change depending on Miley’s health considering he got hit by two consecutive line drives in Friday’s game. You might be able to snag a handful of DH at-bats for Adam Lind, and Michael Taylor is worth a look too. Most of the Nationals lineup are automatic starts at this point anyways, but consider just about anyone in that lineup this week.
Chicago Cubs hitters – Look, I know it’s been frustrating to own Kyle Schwarber, with his .193 batting average and all. And it’s been frustrating if you believed in Jason Heyward, picked him up, and then dealt with his .208 batting average over the past two weeks. But this week should be a good one for your Cubs hitters, as they have three games in Coors Field, and then three games at the St. Louis Cardinals, with only a matchup against Carlos Martinez that would give you pause (and even then, he’s struggled). So be confident, start Schwarber, start Heyward, start Ben Zobrist and Wilson Contreras, I think they’ll have a good week.
Texas Rangers hitters – One of the joys of facing the Padres is you get to face their pitching staff, and the Rangers play the Padres four times this week, followed by three games in Oakland. And in all honesty, none of the projected pitching matchups are particularly scary (maybe Sonny Gray?) so you should feel confident starting Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, and even Delino DeShields (assuming they start him) because his stolen base matchups are very favorable. I’d even consider Shin-Soo Choo this week, especially in OBP leagues.
Philadelphia Phillies hitters – It’s a rough week for Phillies hitters, especially for any of their stolen base guys, as they get to go against Mike Zunino and Matt Wieters, both catcher who are very good at catching stolen bases. Plus, on top of that, they have a relatively tough stretch against the Nationals, facing Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, and Max Scherzer. And, even better, there’s a chance some of these games will get affected by weather, so as a whole, I’d probably avoid Phillies hitters in general this week.
Cincinnati Reds hitters – The Reds start the week off with a two-game series against the New York Yankees, which features a matchup against Masahiro Tanaka, which is never fun. Then, they travel to the major pitcher’s park of AT&T Park to go against the Giants, a trip that also includes a matchup against Johnny Cueto. You start your studs, Joey Votto should be in your lineup, but if you have other options than Adam Duvall or Billy Hamilton or Jose Pedraza, I’d consider it.
Chris Davis – This week grades out relatively rough for Orioles lefties as they face two lefties in Gio Gonzalez and Danny Duffy, plus some generally tough matchups against Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Now, in the matchups against Gonzalez and Duffy, Seth Smith and Hyun Soo Kim will likely be benched as they’re part of platoons, but Chris Davis won’t be, he’ll be out there. Against lefties, Davis is a career .237 hitter, so facing Gonzalez and Duffy will be tough, and nobody likes facing Scherzer or Strasburg, so I’d generally avoid Davis this week.
New York Yankees lefties in Houston – The Yankees start their week with a two-game series in Cincinnati, and that should be fine, but their four games in Houston grade out hard for lefties. Now, you would look at their matchup against Dallas Keuchel and say “Sure, he’s a lefty, I get that” but you might look at the rest of the week and see they face nothing but righties and wonder why I’m saying to avoid lefties. Here’s why: Lance McCullers has a career .292 wOBA against lefties, Mike Fiers has a career .307 wOBA against lefties, and Charlie Morton has a .232 wOBA so far this year against lefties. They may be facing righties, but these are righties that actually perform better against lefties than righties. So if you’ve got other options than Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Didi Gregorius, I’d consider it.
Kansas City Royals lefties in Tampa Bay – The Royals start their week with a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. They’ll get to see lefty Blake Snell as well as Chris Archer, so those two matchups are rough for lefties (a matchup against Archer is rough for anyone). They also get to see two righties who have fared relatively well against lefties in Matt Andriese (.289 wOBA against lefties so far this year) and Jake Odorizzi (career .285 wOBA against lefties). Now, you’re probably going to start Eric Hosmer regardless, though if you have another better option, I’d consider it, but I would say it’d be best to look elsewhere than Mike Moustakas and Brandon Moss (he’ll be benched in the Snell matchup most likely).
Hey Ben. Love what you do here. I was offered his McCullers for my Yelich. I have deep hitting, and my outfield is Braun, Conforto, and Bellinger. I need pitching and he needs OF. Redraft H2H 6×6. Am I selling Yelich short?
Also Haniger DL’d. Forgot about him.
That’s selling wayyyyyy low on Yelich, no way I’d do that.
The Nats have a home and home 4 game series with the O’s,not 4 @ Camden