Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Cheat Sheet (2021)
The first week is always weird and 2021 was no exception. In addition to having a lack of information at the start of the season, Week 1 of fantasy baseball typically isn’t the usual seven day Monday-Sunday cycle. This year, it was a total of 11 days. I’m personally not a huge fan of these long weeks, but I also acknowledge that there isn’t exactly an easy solution.
Alas, we’re on to Week 2. I mentioned last time that the goal of these cheat sheets is to provide readers with the best process. When dealing with a sample size as small as one week of fantasy baseball, it’s going to be impossible to be 100% correct on our takes. Therefore, I’m interested in continuously refining our process when it comes to possible waiver adds, lineup decisions, etc. Good process will lead to good results, not just in fantasy sports but for life in general.
We learned a lot in Week 1. Now let’s apply this information to Week 2 and beyond.
As a reminder, the bottom of this article has a chart with ratings for hitter matchups, but often times it requires some nuance. I elaborate on a few teams below before discussing some specific players in my “Lineup Notes.”
Toronto Blue Jays vs Yankees (3), at Royals (4)
It looks as if George Springer is going to be sidelined for longer than we thought. He almost returned from his oblique injury, but now there’s also a quad issue. This gives a longer leash to some hitters who otherwise might’ve been part-time players, most notably Randal Grichuk (who has been hot) and Rowdy Tellez (who has not).
Unfortunately, Alejandro Kirk hasn’t been able to take advantage of Danny Jansen‘s slow start, but I’ll keep monitoring the playing time on both of them. Kirk could become a top-12 catcher if he steals the majority of at-bats.
Minnesota Twins vs Red Sox (4), at Angels (3)
Josh Donaldson‘s hamstring injury has opened the door for Luis Arraez to handle the majority of starts at third base. A .333 career average is nice and an .825 career OPS is nothing to scoff at, but the 23-year-old is a zero in the power department. He makes sense for roto leagues, especially if he’s leading off regularly. I view him as Nick Madrigal without the stolen base upside.
Mitch Garver has started 4-of-7 games so far and I’m willing to give him another week in 12-team leagues. I bought into Garver as an upside play in shallower formats, but he needs to start playing against right-handers too. Still, I’m trying to get all the Twins into my lineups next week. Boston’s starting rotation is mostly off to a strong start, but this is still a staff to target until we see it over a larger sample. Oh, and Byron Buxton is elite.
Cincinnati Reds at Giants (3), vs Indians (3)
The 2020 Reds posted one of the “worst” (unluckiest?) BABIPs ever last summer. So far this year, though, the offense is humming. No, we aren’t buying into Tyler Naquin. And yes, Eugenio Suarez is going to be fine. If there’s a tiebreaker needed for some other Cincinnati bats, compared to possible alternatives, these matchups certainly favor your other options. Three games in spacious San Francisco followed by three against Cleveland’s pitching machine factory are ones to shy away from. Sorry, Jonathan India truthers.
Coors Field Schedule
I mentioned last week that taking advantage of Coors Field doesn’t need to be limited to just DFS or season-long analysis. We can benefit from the park’s strong offensive environment on a week-to-week basis, both for Rockies hitters as well as visiting bats. Recommendations that paid off last week included Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon.
Colorado has six games in Week 2 — three on the road against the pitching-dominant Dodgers, and three at home against the Mets. This works out to be a pretty neutral situation, so I wouldn’t start any Rockies that I wouldn’t have used otherwise. Note that after the series in LA, the Rockies begin along home stand next home stand (April 16 – April 25).
- Entering Friday, Andrew Vaughn has started just 4-of-8 games. Curiously, the White Sox chose to start his service time clock so that they could give an equal number of starts to Leury Garcia, Billy Hamilton (x2), and “Nick Williams.” Unless something drastic happens over the weekend, it’s tough to recommend Vaughn in a weekly league next week.
- Start Yermin Mercedes everywhere. We’ll figure out how legit this is later. For now, though, he needs to be in lineups.
- Similar to Mercedes, Akil Baddoo is another “squeeze the juice” type — basically, let’s ride the hot streak for however long it lasts.
- Michael Taylor‘s hot start has been overshadowed this week, but he should remain in fantasy lineups as the Royals have seven games this week.
- One Royal who isn’t doing so hot is Andrew Benintendi. The longtime Red Sox has had a swing-and-miss rate between 19% and 21% in each season from 2016-18. However, that has risen every year, and it’s at 31.9% entering Friday. He isn’t worth starting in most leagues right now.
- I’d also bench Keston Hiura this week, especially in a points league. He’s 1-for-23 with an 11:0 K:BB ratio through six games. I’m worried that he’s going toget sent down.
- I haven’t exactly been recommending Cedric Mullins, who’s decision to ditch switch-hitting has paid off so far, but the Orioles have seven games to work with next week. Entering Friday he has led off every game for Baltimore.
- It might be obvious but I’m not starting Fernando Tatis in any weekly leagues, despite the Padres’ insistence that this might just be a 10-day injury.
- Another year, another hot stretch from Garrett Hampson. Entering Friday he has started 6-of-7 games for Colorado. Additionally, he has hit first or second in their past five contests. The Rockies’ history suggest we shouldn’t get overly excited, but for some reason I can’t quit the speedster.
Picking up Garrett Hampson (after already having dropped him this year) and unsure if I'm out-smarting my league mates or myself
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) April 9, 2021
- This week’s two-start streamer recommendation is Nathan Eovaldi (@Twins, vs White Sox). The matchups aren’t the strongest, but the right-hander has looked good through two turns in the rotation.
- One-start streaming candidates include Drew Smyly (@Cubs), Steven Matz (@Royals), Logan Webb (@Marlins).
- Sit of the week: Carlos Rodon (@Red Sox) — I’ve been very impressed with the lefty so far this year, but I’m not quite ready to trust him in a spot like this just yet.
- I’m benching Marcus Stroman, who is lined up to start in Coors Field.
- I’d once again rather start Shohei Ohtani as a hitter this week.
- The great Julian Merryweather vs Jordan Romano war rages on. Lines are being drawn. Families are being divided. As of Friday morning I’m choosing Merryweather if I can only pick one.
- Amir Garrett gave up a grand slam in a non-save situation, which is killing his ERA, but I’m still starting him everywhere and will assume he’s Cincinnati’s closer until proven otherwise.
- Peter Fairbanks is on the IL. Expect more save chances for Diego Castillo.
- I’m rolling with Nick Wittgren for Cleveland and Gregory Soto for Detroit, for those seeking saves.
- If you play in a saves+holds league or need a ratio arm to add, go with Michael Kopech, who I wrote about more in this week’s prospect report.
- If you play in a saves+hold dynasty league or a deeper redraft format where ratios are valuable, then consider Garrett Whitlock of the Red Sox.
I’ve recently become obsessed with Garrett Whitlock and am adding him in any deeper holds leagues as well as in dynasty pic.twitter.com/C6QRkQTTR0
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) April 9, 2021
Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy – like How to Make Custom Fantasy Baseball Rankings with Microsoft Excel – to learn more.