Week 7 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Greetings, friends, and welcome to Week 7 of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. We have two teams scheduled to play eight games in Week 7, nine teams scheduled to play seven games, and three teams scheduled to play just five games. We’ll get into this a bit more below, but the top of the Week 7 Quick Grades chart looks much different than how it has looked through the first six weeks of the season.
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:
Now, for Week 7. If you scroll down through the grades below, you’ll see some of our weekly favorites. But the Top 5 will likely cause you to do a double-take. Sure, Trevor Story makes sense there, but Chris Taylor, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Robbie Grossman, and Niko Goodrum round out the Top 5? What? Those five are also the only ones to earn grades above 90.00 this week, with Ronald Acuna, Shohei Ohtani, Adolis Garcia, Jared Walsh, and Mookie Betts just missing the cut.
Kiner-Falefa and Story making the Top 5 is even more impressive than the other three because they don’t have great matchup grades this week. Our formula weighs recent performance and upcoming matchups more than the other two categories, so cracking a 90 despite matchup grades of 14.64 and 15.00, respectively, is no small feat. I took a look back through the rest of the Quick Grades series, and no other hitter has scored above a 90 with a matchups grade of less than 17.50. That goes to show just how hot those two have been at the plate over the last couple of weeks.
Now, let’s get to the rest of the Week 7 grades and notes.
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 7 Hitter Grades
As we mentioned above, the Angels and Twins are scheduled to play eight games this week. The Angels have a solid matchup grade of 18.43 (on a scale of 25), while the Twins have a less appealing grade of 14.06. For the Angels, Taylor Ward is available everywhere and could be a worthwhile streaming option. He didn’t do much in 2020 but did hit 27 home runs and bat .306 in 106 games in Triple-A in 2019. For the Twins, Jorge Polanco has really been heating up and is still available in more than 50% of leagues. Max Kepler is also surprisingly available in many formats, though his ownership percentage is all over the place on different sites. Check your league for Week 7 if you need an outfielder. Trevor Larnach is also still available in more than 90% of leagues, and he is a worthwhile add everywhere. Corbin Young touched on Larnach more in his Depth Chart Review piece.
Fades of the Week
The Royals, Brewers, and Cardinals are all scheduled to play just five games this week. The matchup grades for those three teams are 18.50 (Cardinals), 16.50 (Brewers), and 11.50 (Royals). At 11.50, the Royals have the lowest matchup grade for Week 7, and it’s because two of their five games are against Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. And their other three matchups-Jose Urena, Matthew Boyd, and Casey Mize-aren’t exactly pushovers, either. The team with the next lowest grade for the week is the Giants (12.85 grade, seven games). Look elsewhere (starting with our Quick Grades chart above, of course) for streamers this week.
Worth noting as we look ahead to the Week 7 #FantasyBaseball schedule:
😬 2 of KC's 5 games are vs. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) May 15, 2021
Week 7 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).
- I don’t care that he’s getting the Dodgers and Rockies on the road. Madison Bumgarner has now turned in five solid outings in a row in which he has allowed one or fewer runs while mixing in a mini “no-hitter.” He’s earned his spot in my lineups, and I’m starting him everywhere. If he goes down this week, I’ll go down with him. He’s pretty much the only Diamondbacks starter I’m touching this week (RIP, Zac Gallen), though I do like Luke Weaver and am willing to roll the dice in deeper leagues. I like Taylor Widener, too, but he looks like he’ll be making his first start back from the injured list at Coors Field. No thanks.
- Don’t worry about that ERA. Max Fried has allowed just two earned runs over his last 11 innings and gets two starts against the Mets and Pirates this week. Let it ride. Charlie Morton has been…less good. But I’m still a believer and still want those two starts in most weeks.
- The Red Sox have been pulling all of the right strings with Garrett Richards and Nick Pivetta. I don’t expect consistent success from either one, but the early returns have been very promising. I would have gone above 50 for both if not for their matchup against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. I don’t love Martin Perez or Nathan Eovaldi, but they do both get to start in a National League park this week.
- Kyle Hendricks has been inconsistent, but I’m not yet ready to treat him as a matchup-based starter. He’s staying in most of my lineups for now.
- I was intrigued by Sam Hentges and considered him as a two-start streaming option to feature this week, but I didn’t like what I found when I took a closer look. We didn’t see Hentges in 2020, and he was BAD in 2019 in Double-A. He also walked four in his last start and has a 1.76 WHIP through 13 2/3 innings. Shark Tank Voice: And for those reasons, I’m out. I do kind of like Hentges as a player worth adding just to see how this week goes, but I don’t want to start him in any of my weekly leagues unless I really need to roll the dice on some innings.
- That 70 below Luis Castillo’s name might surprise some, but hear me out. You have already dealt with a 7.00+ ERA from Castillo this season. If you cut bait or bench him now, you aren’t going to benefit from the potential bounceback. You’ll essentially be accepting the 7.00+ he handed you through the first six weeks of the season. This is especially true in roto leagues. He has always been a slow starter, but he obviously hasn’t ever been this slow. He’s struggling with his changeup, which has affected his pitch mix. I think he and the Reds will figure this out, and I’m willing to let him ride it out for a two-start week.
- James Kaprielian is probably going to be a popular FAAB target this weekend because he is coming off a win over the Red Sox and is a two-start pitcher this week. But I have no interest in starting him in any of my leagues. I watched that start against the Red Sox, and he almost didn’t make it out of the first inning. And this week he gets the Astros and Angels in his two starts. Nope, nope, nope.
- Until we see him pitch more than a couple of innings, I’m only starting Dinelson Lamet in my daily lineup leagues.
That’s it for this week. Again, if you have any questions, feedback, or requests, hit me up on Twitter!
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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.