Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 22 (2021)
A pair of teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum next week, with one playing five games and another scheduled for a week-high eight. The remaining 28 teams have game totals of six and seven, with 19 clubs scheduled for the former and nine for the latter.
Chicago White Sox vs. PIT (2), at KC (3)
The White Sox are the club drawing a week-low five games next week. It’s not all doom and gloom for gamers counting on integral pieces of the Pale Hose, as their pitching matchups aren’t daunting.
Cincinnati Reds vs. STL (3), vs. DET (3)
Cincinnati’s hitters get a value bump with a pair of series at home next week. According to the MLB Park Factors page, Great American Ball Park has the second-highest park factor for runs (1.106) and first for homers (1.347). The Reds have done a masterful job of taking advantage of their dreamy hitting conditions, ranking third in wOBA (.346) at home this year, per FanGraphs.
Houston Astros at SEA (3), at SD (3)
The Astros find themselves in this section because of three games in San Diego. Without the designated hitter, it’s possible the team could prioritize defense or avoid overtaxing Yordan Alvarez’s knees and sit him during any of those games. Still, he’s played the field for 27 games this year, so gamers in leagues with weekly changes can fire him up. Gamers in leagues with daily lineup changes may wish to pay a little extra attention to make sure he’s in the lineup, though.
Los Angeles Angels vs. NYY (3), TEX (3)
The Angels are home for six games next week, so Shohei Ohtani’s not in danger of riding the pine. Additionally, with a potentially challenging matchup pitching against the Yankees on tap, gamers who have to pick between using him as a pitcher or hitter have a no-brainer decision to start him as a hitter in weekly leagues.
Atlanta Braves at LAD (3), at COL (4)
The Braves project to open the week against Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer. However, that’s where the bad news ends. They’re scheduled for seven games and play four at Coors Field. It’s a great layout for Atlanta’s hitters.
Boston Red Sox at TB (4), vs. CLE (3)
It’s a great layout for the Red Sox, too. They play three games to close the week at Fenway Park, where they’ve amassed the second-highest home wOBA (.347). They also play a full complement of seven games. In addition, the pitching matchups are ho-hum.
Colorado Rockies at TEX (3), vs. ATL (4)
Here are the Rockies. In addition to getting a value bump from playing four games at home, they get a lift from playing seven gamers. Additionally, the Rangers are a non-imposing matchup, tying for the 11th-highest ERA (4.58) since the MLB trade deadline. Finally, their lineup gets a pick-me-up from the services of a designated hitter for the three games in Texas.
New York Mets vs. MIA (4), at WSH (4)
The Mets lead the way with eight games next week. There’s a caveat, though. It’s an unusual eight-game week, with a pair of doubleheaders scheduled. As a reminder, MLB is utilizing seven-inning doubleheaders again this year. In other words, their eight-game week isn’t as exciting as it might seem at first blush.
Buster Posey (SF)
Brandon Crawford (SF)
Crawford returned to the lineup following an early exit from Tuesday night’s contest with back tightness. He’s good to go. However, Posey exited the same contest with left knee soreness, and he didn’t start Wednesday or Thursday. Still, he hasn’t been placed on the injured list. Barring an unexpected turn, gamers should expect to have him back soon.
Alex Bregman (HOU)
Bregman was reinstated from the injured list on Wednesday. He was dropped all the way to sixth in the order, despite having the platoon advantage, facing a southpaw. Regardless of the lineup demotion, Bregman belongs back in fantasy baseball starting lineups.
Nelson Cruz (TB)
Cruz’s inclusion in this space isn’t related to an injury, so gamers can breathe a sigh of relief. Rather, he’s here to point out a transition to a new position, first base. Cruz’s value gets a lift with his usage at first base, as he’ll likely remain in the lineup in National League ballparks the rest of the season. Adding positional eligibility beyond utility will be great, too.
Byron Buxton (MIN)
Buxton is nearing a return, with a clearer timetable coming into focus on Friday.
Byron Buxton will meet the team at Target Field tomorrow after competing in four rehab games, but no decisions yet on whether he’ll be activated tomorrow.
Rocco Baldelli said they would have a better sense once they talk to him in person and get a chance to watch him take BP.
– Betsy Helfand (@betsyhelfand) August 26, 2021
Jake Flaherty (STL)
Gamers are again without the services of Flaherty. This time, he’s on the injured list with a right shoulder strain. The righty’s status for the rest of the year is uncertain. I don’t see a reason to hold him in leagues, as a best-case scenario is a return for only a couple of starts, and it will be hard to trust him fresh off of the injured list.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
Kershaw returned to the mound for a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. However, he has many hoops to jump through. Thus, his timetable for a return and his exact role when he returns is still to be determined.
Jose Urquidy (HOU)
Urquidy pitched four innings in a Triple-A rehab start on Tuesday night, throwing 49 pitches. According to Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle, Urquidy’s projected to make another rehab start on Sunday and be activated after that, barring a setback.
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