Week 18 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Wow! What a trade deadline! I usually start the process of creating these grades on Thursday night and finish them on Saturday morning. With all of the trade activity right before the deadline, I knew I was going to have to wait until all of the dust settled before really diving into everything. Now that my head has stopped spinning and I actually know which teams these players are playing for next week, I can get into the matchups and grades. Let’s get to it.
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:
First up, the 90s: Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Starling Marte, Charlie Blackmon, Gleyber Torres, Harrison Bader, Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, and Daulton Varsho. Without looking back, this feels like the longest list of 90s we’ve had this season. Varsho just cracks the list at exactly 90, while Harper led the way with a 94.75. With all of the activity, we’re going to see a lot of new faces in new places this week. Keep an eye on lineups over the weekend and heading into next week. We’ll want to see not only where new players are batting with their new teams, but also which players on teams that sold at the deadline could see additional opportunities.
Now, let’s get to the rest of the Week 18 grades and notes.
Week 18 Hitter Grades
Note: This table is three pages (see the button on the top right) and is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!
- The Toronto Blue Jays play eight games this week and have a solid Matchups grade of 18.75. This lineup is so deep that many of their players are already rostered, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is available in more than 20% of leagues.
- The best Matchups grades this week: Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Yankees.
- The New York Yankees play seven games this week, and they play all seven of them at the little league ballpark they call Yankee Stadium. They also face four lefties and have favorable matchups throughout the week. Heck, it's worth streaming any Yankees you can find just for their matchup against Matt Harvey.
Fades of the Week
- The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics only play five games this week.
- The Minnesota Twins have the lowest Matchups grade for the week, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals.
- Joey Votto is the hottest player on the planet. He may be the hottest player since planets have existed. I'm waiting for my science guy to get back to me about that. That's it. No analysis is needed here. If you have read anything by Brendan Tuma over the last three months, this is what you were waiting for. He saw this coming. Well, maybe not THIS, but he saw good things in the data and has been pounding that drum for a while now. Take your victory lap, Tuma.
- Shohei Ohtani is now -650 on FanDuel Sportsbook to win the AL MVP, and that kind of feels like a discount. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is second, at +450. That's how good Ohtani has been.
- One of the players who should benefit from more playing time and a better lineup slot (though without anyone around him) is Patrick Wisdom. Wisdom's ownership percentage has dropped in recent weeks after his offensive explosion from June faded, but he has two home runs in his last four games and is worth an add in most formats.
- Another player who is available everywhere and needs to be added is Abraham Toro. Toro was just traded from the Astros to the Mariners and should see regular playing time going forward. He homered in four straight games this week, with two of them coming against the Astros after the trade. He is someone the Mariners wanted, and they were willing to give up Kendall Graveman to get him. He's going to play, and he's hot right now. He received a grade of 83.87 for the upcoming week.
- Cody Bellinger continues to disappoint and has a 52.30 grade this week. Just brutal. Here's hoping he can turn things around soon and that he's healthy, but nothing looks good right now. He did homer the other day, so at least there's that?
- Daulton Varsho continues to be hot and should be catcher-eligible in most leagues. He's still available in more than 50% of leagues somehow. Go. Get. Varsho. I drafted Varsho in a few leagues back in March but wasn't able to hold onto him due to the slow start and lack of playing time.
Daulton Varsho is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, is eligible at catcher, and is available in more than 50% of leagues. What are we doing here? Go grab this dude.#RattleOn
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 31, 2021
Week 18 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).
- Kyle Freeland hasn't won a start since June 28. Since then, he's tossed four quality starts in five trips to the mound while lowering his ERA from 6.54 to 4.52. He faces the depleted Cubs and the Marlins this week. He's available in more than 90% of leagues. If you're desperate for innings, Freeland is someone who is probably available in your league.
Kyle Freeland hasn't won a start since June 28. Since then, he's tossed four quality starts in five trips to the mound while lowering his ERA from 6.54 to 4.52. He faces the depleted Cubs and the Marlins this week.#Rockies
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 31, 2021
- Max Fried gets two starts this week. One is against the St. Louis Cardinals, and the other is against a Washington Nationals lineup that may feature you or me by the end of the week. Fried also has a 2.84 ERA and a 10.42 K/9 in three starts since the All-Star break.
- Frankie Montas has thrown four consecutive quality starts, with 10 strikeouts in three of those starts. Over that span, he has 37 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.
- Matt Harvey hasn't allowed a run in three starts since the All-Star break. I don't care. I'm not starting him in Yankee Stadium against that new-look Yankees lineup that now features Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo.
- Madison Bumgarner just earned his first win since May 11 and has allowed just four earned runs combined over his last three starts. But he hasn't exactly been dominant in those starts and faces the Giants at home and the Padres on the road this week. Avoid unless you're desperate.
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.