MLB Weekly Planner: Week 14 (7/6 – 7/12)
Jamie Calandro breaks down week 14’s top matchups and streaming options.
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Welcome to this edition of the fantasy baseball planner for Week 14 (7/6 – 7/12). Whether you play in a league that offers weekly or daily lineup changes, you can still gain a distinct advantage by scouring the matchups for the week ahead and by planning accordingly. This is the time to get your FAAB bids in or to make your waiver claims, and I’m here to help target to right guys.
Taijuan Walker (SEA) – vs. DET, vs. LAA
Walker is really starting to live up to his potential over the last several contests. He has won his last five games while posting a 36/2 K/BB ratio. If you scooped him up after an impatient owner dropped him, you’re laughing all the way to the bank right now. Walker has an 8.87 K/9 this season (even with his early struggles), and gets two home starts. The matchups could be better (Detroit and the Angels are both capable offenses that don’t strike out a ton), but Walker is averaging a 63 game score at home this year and the Tigers just lost their top hitter in Miguel Cabrera. Get him active (he already should have been).
Brett Anderson (LAD) – vs. PHI, vs. MIL
Anderson doesn’t miss many bats anymore, but he has an elite 68.4 GB% this season, and has really done a good job in limiting the damage as evidenced by his 3.00/3.47/3.31 ERA/FIP/xFIP slash. Anderson will also have two home starts this week, and he’ll be taking on the Phillies and Brewers who rank 30th and 27th in team wOBA, respectively. The Brewers can be a little scary against lefties, but Anderson is not a typical platoon attack point (pretty even splits for his career).
Chris Heston (SF) – vs. NYM, vs. PHI
Heston gets to revisit the Mets who he no-hit the last time out. These matchups could really not get any better for him. The Mets and Phillies are the bottom two in both wOBA and wRC+ vs. RHP since June 1, and don’t look to be doing anything to rectify their offensive woes. Heston’s biggest bugaboo is left-handed batters, and the Mets and Phillies offer very few threats outside their big first basemen (both of whom are struggling mightily right now). With the recent DL-bound pitchers on San Francisco, Heston’s spot is safe for now.
Mike Fiers (MIL) vs. ATL
Fiers’ biggest strength is his strikeouts, and his biggest weakness is the long ball. The Braves rank dead last in the league in ISO, and Freddie Freeman has confirmed he won’t return before the end of the first half, so Fiers is safe from him. Fiers has been very inconsistent, but the Braves have been striking out a lot more lately, and Fiers has an elite 9.62 K/9.
Steven Matz (NYM) vs. ARI
Matz was electric in his debut, but be careful here since he is slated to pitch on the last day of the week. If there is a rainout (or any other factor concerning their 6-man rotation), Matz could conceivably miss this start, giving you nothing. That being said, Arizona ranks 19th in overall wOBA since June 1, and Matz’ 99 MPH fastball has rung up a lot of batters in AAA.
Lance McCullers (HOU) @ TB
McCullers is posting an excellent 9.79 K/9 in his rookie campaign, and his 2.19 ERA is somewhat backed up by a 2.63 FIP and 3.38 xFIP. He doesn’t pitch very deep into games, but he has high K-upside and is facing a Rays team that has struck out 28.1% of the time (most in the league) since June 15.
STREAMING HITTERS – START/SIT
Jace Peterson (ATL)
Yes, I know I trashed the Braves offense a bit in the Fiers blurb, but he is actually the best pitcher they will be seeing this week, and they are playing their games in very hitter-friendly environments (Milwaukee and Colorado). With six RHP set to face them, the Braves’ lefties gain mixed-league relevance is this lead-up to the All-Star break. Peterson hits atop the order and is a great MI option if you are looking to boost your average and speed.
Nick Markakis (ATL)
It’s likely Markakis isn’t even owned in your league, but he makes for a nice plug-and-play this week. I mentioned the fact that the Braves face six RHP this week, and Markakis has a career .355 wOBA and 118 wRC+ vs. righties. He has been hitting third in Freeman’s absence and should get nice RBI opportunities.
Andre Ethier (LAD)
All the Dodgers’ LHB are in a great spot, but you’re starting the others anyway, and not always Ethier necessarily. The Dodgers as a team rank first in the league in wRC+ against RHP (by far), and face a series of mediocre righties for Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Ethier has an .868 OPS vs. RHP this year and has a career .392 wOBA against them. He should be a very nice play this week.
Miguel Sano (MIN)
You undoubtedly paid top dollar for him, so you better get him in there! The Twins are built to crush lefties, and they get to face three of them this week. Sure, one is David Price, but the other two are Kyle Ryan and Wei-Yin Chen who both project to be awful against RHB. Sano has immense power upside and will be the team’s regular DH (and it looks like he’ll bat sixth, which is not a prohibitive spot).
A.J. Pollock (ARI)
This is a hard one to sit, as he is a legitimate hitter and clearly the second-best on his team behind Paul Goldschmidt. However, the Diamondbacks only play five games this week, and three of them take place in pitcher-friendly Citi Field against the juggernaut pitching staff for the Mets. As of right now, Pollock at least faces Harvey and Matz.
Elvis Andrus (TEX)
The Rangers are another five-game team this week, and even though they’re home for those five games, they face four RHP. Andrus has a .226 wOBA and .066 ISO vs. RHP over the past two seasons, and his lineup spot has been very volatile lately. I think we can safely avoid him this week.
Chris Carter (HOU)
Carter has been flashing some serious power lately, but will play all his games away from Houston this week, and both Cleveland and Tampa are big park factor downgrades (especially Tampa). We also know Carter to be a heavy strikeout guy, and this week he will be facing the likes of Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore, all of whom have very above-average K-rates. I think he needs to be sat, ESPECIALLY if your league penalizes for strikeouts.