Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 19
There are a handful of teams — four specifically — that draw the short stick with a five-game week next week. That’s offset by only two teams playing eight games. A pair of teams also have seven-game weeks due in part to a doubleheader. Per usual, I advise treating their weeks as six-game weeks with a cherry on top. One of the offenses that plays in a hitter’s paradise is on the road for the entirety of next week while another plays six games in their high-octane scoring environment at home.
Orioles vs. Mets (2), @ Indians (3)
The Orioles kick off the highlighted teams with a five-game week next week, and their projected pitching matchups with the likes of Zack Wheeler, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco (even with his brutal home/road splits), and Mike Clevinger are tough as nails. Two thumbs down for Baltimore’s bats next week.
Red Sox @ Phillies (2), vs. Rays (3)
The Red Sox will be without the services of a designated hitter for their two-game series in Philadelphia to start next week, and with Philadelphia projected to start righties Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, Steve Pearce is likely to ride the pine and only appear as a pinch-hitter.
Astros vs. Rockies (2), @ Athletics (3)
The Astros offense has been in a funk, but that’s understandable with their talented double-play duo on the disabled list. Carlos Correa is expected back for the weekend series that starts tonight, and Jose Altuve might not be far behind, so the offense will get a jolt, but the short week is a bummer. The pitching matchups aren’t overly exciting for attacking with Houston’s bats, either. Houston’s studs should obviously be in fantasy starting lineups, but their fringe options are benchable depending on your alternatives.
Brewers @ Cubs (2), @ Cardinals (3)
The Brewers are on the road for all five of their games next week, and the handedness split is two southpaws and three righties. Eric Thames is hitting just .218/.307/.474 with four homers in 88 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers on the road this year, and he’s relegated to bench/pinch-hitter duties when Milwaukee draws a southpaw starter, so he should be benched on teams he’s rostered on in leagues with weekly lineup changes. In addition to benching Thames in weekly lineup change formats, I’d also advise benching Travis Shaw, Jonathan Schoop, and Ryan Braun. The playing time shuffling and short week render them poor plays.
Braves vs. Marlins (4), vs. Rockies (4)
Atlanta begins next week with a doubleheader against the visiting Marlins on Monday. They’re currently projected to face at least five right-handed starters and just one southpaw with one of the doubleheader probable pitchers unannounced. The righty-heavy slant of the pitching matchups paired with all eight of Atlanta’s games being at home next week is a double whammy of bad news. The Braves have hit considerably worse against righties than lefties and at home compared to on the road. The volume of games played for their hitters is a plus, though.
Mets @ Yankees (1), @ Orioles (2), @ Phillies (5)
The Mets are the other team with eight games scheduled next week. They hit the eight-game mark thanks to a Thursday doubleheader in Philadelphia. Their lineup will get a lift from playing on the road all next week and from being able to use a designated hitter at Yankee Stadium for one game and in Baltimore for two games. They’re slated to face at least seven right-handed pitchers with one probable pitching matchup not yet projected. The righty slant of probable pitching matchups is a boon for Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.
Marlins @ Braves (4), @ Nationals (3)
Miami is one of two teams that get to a seven-game week next week as the result of a doubleheader. They’ll start their week off with two games on Monday at the Braves. According to ESPN’s projected pitching matchups, they’ll face three lefties and four righties next week. Max Scherzer is among the righties they’re projected to face, and the other pitching matchups include some potential challenges such as Mike Foltynewicz and Anibal Sanchez.
Phillies vs. Boston (2), vs. Mets (5)
The Phillies are the second club that gets to a seven-game week as a result of a doubleheader. Their doubleheader comes in the middle of the week versus the Mets on Thursday. They have the good fortune of ducking Chris Sale when Boston comes to town, but Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom will be tough draws. Still, the pitching matchups are mostly a plus for the Phillies, and being at home for all seven games is a huge plus since the Phillies own just a 86 wRC+ on the road and 98 wRC+ at home.
Diamondbacks @ Rangers (2), @ Padres (4)
The Snakes are road bound for a pair of series next week. The first is a two-game set in Texas where their hitters will get a boost from Globe Life Park’s dreamy hitting conditions as well as the presence of a designated hitter in their lineup. They’ll conclude the week with four games at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. The pitching matchups are great for the offense getting fat and hanging crooked numbers, and they’re split down the middle in terms of handedness with them facing three righties before facing three lefties.
Indians @ Reds (3), vs. Orioles (3)
The Indians open with three games in a National League park next week — albeit a good one for ripping dingers. The Reds are projected to start three right-handed pitchers against them, so it’s possible Yonder Alonso gets a start in that series, but I’d guess he’ll sit at least two of three in favor of Edwin Encarnacion.
Rockies @ Astros (2), @ Braves (4)
The Rockies have been at home all this week, but they’ll be on the road for two series next week. For the two games they’re in Houston, they’ll be able to utilize a designated hitter. That’s little consolation for facing Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, though. Additionally, a road series in Atlanta is bad news for Colorado’s bats. Per ESPN’s 2018 park factors, SunTrust Park has the third lowest park factor for homers (.701) and sits 19th in park factor for runs (.976).
Dodgers vs. Giants (3), @ Mariners (3)
The Dodgers close this week with a four-game series in Coors Field, so there could be a little bit of a hangover effect when they return home to play the Giants for three to start next week. They’ll be able to use a designated hitter for their three-game series in Seattle. The Dodgers are projected to face five lefties in six games next week. They’ve been significantly worse against lefties than righties this year, but they did acquire significant help against southpaws in the form of Manny Machado and Brian Dozier, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in their full-season numbers against lefties.
Pirates @ Twins (2), vs. Cubs (4)
The Pirates will travel to an American League park for their first two games next week, thus, they’ll be able to use a designated hitter. They’ll finish up the week with four versus the Cubs. They open the week with three righties and conclude it facing three lefties.
Rangers vs. Diamondbacks (2), vs. Angels (4)
The Rangers rank tied for 21st in wRC+ (86) on the road this year, but they make the most of their home digs ranking tied for sixth in wRC+ (108) at home. A 22-point gap in wRC+ is massive, so the Rangers will enjoy some home cooking for all six of their games next week. The fantasy outlook for their hitters is favorable next week as a result of playing at home.
Angels @ Padres (3), @ Rangers (4)
The Angels won’t be able to use a designated hitter for their three-game set in San Diego, so that means no Shohei Ohtani save for some pinch-hitting possibilities. That’s a bummer for gamers in leagues with weekly lineup changes, because he should probably be benched in those formats and will miss out on a trip to hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. With soft pitching matchups, the good news outweighs the bad for the Angels hitters’ outlook next week.
Yankees vs. Mets (1), vs. Rays (3), vs. Blue Jays (3)
No offense has been better at home this year as measured by wRC+ (123) than the Yankees. They’re home for a full complement of seven games next week. Jacob deGrom and Blake Snell could give them some trouble, but the rest of the pitching matchups aren’t daunting.
Mike Trout (LAA)
Trout made his return, but quickly landed on the disabled list for only the second time in his career. He’ll be eligible to return Thursday, August 16, so weekly players will need to pick up a replacement now.
Rafael Devers (BOS)
Devers was activated from the disabled list Wednesday and needed no time to shake off the rust. He hit eighth for the Red Sox and clubbed a double and a homer. He hasn’t taken the step forward many gamers hoped he would in year two, but he remains a viable corner infield option as part of Boston’s loaded lineup.
Stephen Strasburg (WAS)
Strasburg threw a bullpen session Wednesday, and he’ll throw another bullpen session before a likely rehab assignment. If there aren’t any setbacks, there’s still time for Strasburg to return before the end of August.
Sean Doolittle (WAS)
According MASN’s Dan Kolko, Doolittle threw without a boot on Wednesday. Ryan Madson will continue to close while Doolittle and Kelvin Herrera are out.