Week 6 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Greetings, friends, and welcome to another instance of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. My apologies for the absence last week. I was traveling from Wednesday through Monday and just wasn’t able to dedicate the time that these grades require, so we tabled the series for Week 5. But we’re back now. We’re refreshed (not really). And we’re better than ever.
I went over how the grades for this series are calculated in Week 1, and I’ll link to that breakdown every week rather than filling this space with a lengthy explanation every time. If you’re interested in knowing my process or just want to talk baseball, feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher. I reply to Tweets, and my DMs are open. Here’s a link to the Week 1 piece with the full Quick Grades breakdown:
This week, our leaderboard features two players at the top with grades above 90: Fernando Tatis Jr. and Nick Castellanos. This isn’t Tatis’s first time at the top, and it probably won’t be the last time as long as that shoulder continues to hold up (fingers crossed). After those two, we have some interesting names. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is no longer just a catcher-eligible cheat code to be used on Yahoo. For Week 6 at least, he has the third-best grade at 89.29. Then we have Franmil Reyes who might be the only consistent hitter in Cleveland not named Jose Ramirez, who is sixth on this list. And then, my gawd, is that Andrew Benintendi‘s music? Ladies and gentlemen, Andrew Benintendi, The Great Bendini himself, has returned from the dead and cracked the Top 5 for Week 6!
As for the bottom of the list, well, here’s a preview…
Currently wrapping up #QuickGrades and just took a look at the results after running all of the numbers. The worst grade for Week 6 belongs to…Francisco Lindor at 45.15 🥶🥶🥶
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 8, 2021
Note: This table is three pages (see the button on the top right) and is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!
Week 6 Hitter Grades
The Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Rockies, Astros, Marlins, and Pirates all play seven games this week. Of those, the Reds are my favorite team to target for hitting streamers this week. They get three games in Pittsburgh against Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker, and Trevor Cahill before heading to Coors Field for four games against Chi Chi Gonzalez, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Jon Gray. Nick Senzel is available in more than 75% of leagues heading into this weekend. The White Sox and Royals play seven games too, but that comes with a doubleheader on Friday.
The Cleveland Indians are lined up to get six games vs. Adbert Alzolay, Zach Davies, Erik Swanson, Chris Flexen, Ljay Newsome, and Justus Sheffield. Their only problem is no one on their team other than Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez really hits the ball. Cesar Hernandez is showing signs of life and could be an option in deeper leagues, maybe? It is somewhat ironic that the Indians have two hitters ranked in the Top 6 of Quick Grades despite having one of the worst offenses in the league.
Fades of the Week
Non-studs on the Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals should be avoided where possible this week. The Mariners play six games this week but have matchups against Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, and Shane Bieber in five of them. The Cardinals, likewise, have six games and face the Milwaukee trio of Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes (maybe?) before heading to San Diego to get Joe Musgrove and then some combination of Dinelson Lamet, Ryan Weathers, and the Padres bullpen.
For weekly leagues, the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets all only play five games this week. Francisco Lindor homered on Friday but has the lowest grade out of 243 eligible players heading into Week 6. If he struggles on Saturday and Sunday, this is the week to consider benching him if you have any kind of other option at shortstop or middle-infield.
Week 6 Pitcher Grades
Below, you’ll see a grid of probable starters, their matchups, and their grades. The grade is on a scale of 0-100, and here’s what those numbers mean.
These grades assume you are in 10 leagues of varying size and format, with a good mix of shallow, deeper, scoring, and roster/lineup sizes. The score for all of these players corresponds to how many leagues I would start a pitcher in if I had him in every league. So, a pitcher with a score of 100 means I would start him in all 10 leagues. A pitcher with a score of 50 means I would start him in five leagues. Zero, zero leagues. Got it? Great.
Note: The starters below are grouped alphabetically by team and schedule, and the table is two pages to keep the length manageable (you can click to see the second page on the top right).
As I have mentioned in the past, two-start pitchers tend to get a small bump in the above grades. Two starts with decent matchups are how someone like Luke Weaver goes from a 10 to a 40. I still don’t love him as an option, but two starts against the Marlins and Nationals are enough for me to roll the dice in my deeper leagues where I need wins and strikeouts. I’m banking on him being able to avoid any kind of implosion thanks to those two matchups, but I wouldn’t recommend streaming him in shallower leagues.
Martin Perez and Nathan Eovaldi both get 50s where I would otherwise probably avoid them this week. Jeff Hoffman gets two starts for the Reds with a good matchup against the Pirates, but his second matchup is against the Rockies at Coors Field. Proceed with caution there. Dylan Cease is one of my favorite two-start streamers for this week, and he is still available in about 50% of leagues.
For a complete breakdown of Week 6 two-start pitchers, check out Michael Waterloo’s Two-Start Pitchers piece.
Wade Miley – Miley through what was already the fourth no-hitter of the season on Friday, and that doesn’t even include Madison Bumgarner‘s seven-inning mini no-hitter. I was never someone who was in on Miley years ago because he relied so much on his sinker and was mostly a below-average innings-eater for a good chunk of his career. And while he wasn’t very good in an extremely small sample size in 2020 with the Reds, I found myself drawn to Miley and his new plan of attack on the mound. Below is a Twitter thread from a few weeks ago if you want to check out some of the numbers on Miley. He is a completely different pitcher than he was four years ago.
Nothing to see here. Just a thread of me talking about Wade Miley's new approach from a few weeks ago 👀 https://t.co/WBpsOhw3G1
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 8, 2021
Colorado Rockies – The Rockies play all seven of their games at home this week. Stay away from most of those pitchers. Start German Marquez where you must, and roll the dice on two starts from Jon Gray. But…gross.
Doubleheader – Note that the White Sox and Royals have a scheduled doubleheader this week. If you’re really desperate for some relief stats in deeper leagues, those bullpens could get a lot of work heading into the weekend.
Dinelson Lamet – I did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the new FantasyPros Forum this week and got a few questions about Lamet. The Padres haven’t released their probable pitchers for the upcoming week, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Weathers get the start on Monday and Lamet take the mound with some extra rest on Saturday. In weekly leagues where you have other options, he should probably stay on your bench. It’ll be fascinating to see if his velocity is back in this start and if he is able to get through a handful of innings healthy. If he can’t, this might be it for him in 2021. But he isn’t a drop just yet. You have waited his long. Wait another week and see how he looks.
That’s it for this week. Again, if you have any questions, feedback, or requests, hit me up on Twitter!
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.
Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaher, and visit his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.