Week 26 Quick Grades (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
We did it, friends. We made it. Welcome to Week 26 of the Fantasy Baseball Quick Grades series. This is, of course, the final week of the season, so this is where our series ends. Thanks to everyone who reached out last week on Twitter or Discord. I loved hearing about all of your teams and how you have been using these grades. As I said last week, that’s the kind of stuff that keeps me going. Also, it was surprising to learn just how many people actually read this intro that I write. I assumed most people just skipped ahead to the grades and notes!
It has truly been a privilege to write this series and provide these weekly grades this season. I have received feedback from fantasy analysts I have long admired and first-time fantasy managers. That’s awesome. I like to think that we have all learned a lot along the way and will continue to learn together heading into the offseason and into next season. The best is yet to come, as they say.
On a much sadder note, we recently lost a pillar of our community. Mike “Tags” Tagliere, who was the Lead NFL Analyst at FantasyPros, passed away late Friday night after a long battle with COVID-19. If you follow FantasyPros, you have probably heard of Tags and either read his incredible “Primer” articles or listened to his useful analysis on podcasts. He was, in a way, the face of the franchise. If you want to know what kind of person Tags was, click on the GoFundMe link in the Tweet below and read the hundreds of comments about him. They are so beautiful that it’s almost overwhelming. And while you’re there, please consider donating to support his wife and children during this unimaginably difficult time.
We’re raising funds for the Tagliere family. If you’d like to consider helping, please visit the link below for more information.https://t.co/fgp2npcmYN
— FantasyPros (@FantasyPros) September 25, 2021
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, let’s get to the Week 26 grades and notes.
Week 26 Hitter Grades
Note: This table is multiple pages (see the button on the top right) and is sortable and searchable, so feel free to look around!
- The Indians, Tigers, Royals, Marlins, Mets, and Pirates all play seven games this week. All other teams are scheduled to play six games.
- The Red Sox play six games and have the best Matchups grade thanks to series against the Orioles and Nationals. The Cubs, Rangers, and Indians all also received significant Matchups grades.
Fades of the Week
- No teams play five games this week. Every team plays six or seven games.
- The Padres have the worst Matchups grade for the week, followed by the Yankees, Phillies, and Braves.
- There are some very interesting names near the top of the grades this week. Nick Gordon at 91.75 seems absolutely wild to me, but who am I to question the process now? Championship week isn't the week to abandon the formula that got us here. But if you're starting Gordon, don't bank on much power.
- There are a bunch of familiar Cubs names near the top of the list, including two with 90+ grades.
- A minor strategy note for this final week: Don't get nostalgic about big names or high draft picks in redraft leagues if they haven't been producing lately and have tough matchups this week. This is the end of the season. No one can pick them up if you drop them. If there are better options, don't be afraid to pull the trigger and move on.
- The Red Sox get six games against the Orioles and Nationals and are scheduled to start the week against three left-handers for the Orioles who are all ranked outside of the top 350. Bobby Dalbec is somehow available in more than 60% of leagues. If he is still available in your league, this is the week to grab him and throw him in your lineup.
Week 26 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 multiple pages to keep the length manageable (you can click to see the second page on the top right).
Disclaimer: If you play in leagues that count the final week of the regular season, starting pitching is often going to frustrate you. We always have a general outline of how the week is supposed to look, but then teams start to rest guys or move things around to try and line things up correctly for the playoffs. So, know that the above schedule is going to change, possibly significantly. And the pitchers who do start may be pulled early. Them's the breaks, and we just have to roll with it.
- The Phillies traded for Kyle Gibson at the MLB trade deadline. And while the Phillies were desperate for pitching and would probably be worse off without him, the trade cannot exactly be considered a great success. Gibson has an ERA near 5.00 since joining the Phillies and has struggled MIGHTILY in September.
Kyle Gibson in the first half of the season:
✅ 102 IP
✅ 2.29 ERA
✅ .259 wOBA
Kyle Gibson in September:
🔘 27 2/3 IP
❌ 7.16 ERA
❌ .342 wOBA#RingTheBell
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) September 25, 2021
- Ian Anderson was dominant in a recent win over the Diamondbacks and projects to be a two-start pitcher with decent matchups in Week 26.
- What do we do with Kyle Hendricks? He has been a land mine this season, and this is the championship (or final week of roto). Can we really trust him? The answer is probably not, but he IS facing the Pirates. I gave him a 50 because it's probably close to a coin flip for me.
- Wade Miley landed on the injured list but could potentially return near the end of the week. I have been in on Miley for most of the season, but I'm out of him this week. Avoid.
- Is anyone else riding Cal Quantrill to a championship right now? He has been fantastic, especially for fantasy managers who picked him up when one of their aces like Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, or Tyler Glasnow went down.
- As for Shane Bieber, I am cautiously intrigued for next week. He tossed three scoreless innings in his first start back and could potentially throw five innings and qualify for a win this week.
- When considering Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, just know that the Tigers are openly limiting their innings. Neither is likely to pitch long enough to qualify for a win, so they are only worth starting in daily lineup leagues where you are hoping for help with strikeouts and ratios.
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.