Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
Welcome! 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. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 7 (5/14 – 5/20) of the fantasy baseball season.
Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on 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 get to play eight games this week thanks to a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. As far as pitching matchups go, I’m not overly worried. They will see Mike Foltynewicz and Mike Soroka in Atlanta, both of whom have been pitching well, and they’ll see Luis Castillo in Cincinnati, but generally speaking, those matchups don’t worry me too much. What’s especially good about this week is that the Cubs are likely to see all right-handed pitching, which is good news for Kyle Schwarber, who’s a .293/.389/.610 hitter against righties this year, and also Ben Zobrist, who’s a .320/.393/.460 hitter against righties this year. Zobrist is available in about 85% of leagues, too.
Giancarlo Stanton – The New York Yankees have just five games this week, with two of them coming in a National League park, so Stanton might not play all five games, but that doesn’t matter. Why? Because the Yankees are likely to see Danny Duffy and Eric Skoglund during their series against the Kansas City Royals, both lefties, and while Stanton has been (putting it mildly) a disappointment so far, the dude has been mashing lefties, slashing .406/.444/1.094 on the year so far. The Yankees are also likely to see Gio Gonzalez, another lefty, while in Washington, so if Stanton plays that game (and I bet he does), start him there too.
Tim Anderson – The White Sox will likely face off against three left-handed pitchers this week, only one of which (Cole Hamels) gives you any sort of pause. But I’m not taking Tim Anderson out of my lineup against lefties. So far this year, he’s slashing .355/.375/.710 against lefties, so start him with confidence.
Boston Red Sox hitters – I know, this feels cheap, because you’re probably starting all of your Red Sox anyways, but this week is especially good for them. They start off with a three-game series at home against the Oakland Athletics where the only truly scary pitcher they’ll see is Sean Manaea (while I am a Daniel Mengden fan, I’m not worried for the Sox in that matchup), and then they get to have a four-game series against one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball—the Baltimore Orioles. And even better, they get to miss Kevin Gausman, the only pitcher who’s been any good lately.
Tampa Bay Rays – Weird, right? The Rays have a solid set of games this week, with a nice seven-game week. They start off with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals and follow with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. While they do get to see Shohei Ohtani in L.A., they get to miss Garrett Richards, and Ohtani is the only pitcher they’ll be seeing that scares you at all. There’s some worthwhile streaming value to be had out of the Rays offense this week, including from Daniel Robertson who’s 80% available, C.J. Cron, who’s 69% available, and one of my favorites, Mallex Smith, who’s 74% available.
Brett Gardner – So remember earlier how I said the Yankees will be seeing three lefties out of their five games this week? While that’s good news for the aforementioned Giancarlo Stanton, that’s pretty bad news for Gardner. Gardner hasn’t had a great year (and that’s being kind), but he’s been especially bad against lefties, slashing .138/.242/.138 against them on the year so far. This isn’t anything new either, as Gardner slashed .209/.299/.291 against them last year too.
Washington Nationals hitters – Similar to the Yankees, the Nats have just five games this week, but they’ve got some tough matchups. They’ll get to see Masahiro Tanaka, Rich Hill, and Alex Wood this week. Obviously you’re starting your Nats studs, but I wouldn’t start anyone else, and that includes Matt Adams who’s been on a tear lately. This might be your last chance to sell high on him before a slump starts.
New York Mets hitters – The Mets are another team that have just five games this week, and of the five games they have, only two look worthwhile for hitters. They start off with a two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, and I have no real problem starting your Mets hitters there, but then they head home to face off against the Arizona Diamondbacks where they’ll see Zack Godley, Patrick Corbin, and Zack Greinke. If you’re in a daily league, go ahead and start your Mets in the short Toronto series, but if you’re in a weekly league, I don’t think it’s worth it.
Baltimore Orioles hitters – I know, you’ve probably been avoiding Orioles hitters all year. Well just keep it up this week. The Orioles start off the week with a two-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies where they’ll see Nick Pivetta, and then they’ll have a four-game series against the Red Sox where they’ll get to see David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez, the last of whom has a 14.40 K/9 over the past two weeks.
Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – This one is more for daily leagues than weekly. The Dodgers start off their week against the Miami Marlins, and in their matchups against Wei-Yin Chen and Dan Straily, all Dodgers are good to go. But they’ll also see Caleb Smith, who has a 3.08 ERA and an 11.62 K/9 over the past month. Then, they head to Washington to face off against the Nationals. They’ll see Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, which are hard passes, but then they’ll see Jeremy Hellickson, so I’m fine starting them there. If you’re in a weekly league, it’s really going to depend on your roster, because the Dodgers have three good matchups and three bad matchups, which evens out to a pretty neutral week. Obviously start your studs, but if you’re in a weekly league and have better options than some of your mid-level Dodgers, I might go with them.