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Weekly Fantasy Baseball Planner: Week 3 (2023)

Weekly Fantasy Baseball Planner: Week 3 (2023)

Welcome back to the Weekly Fantasy Baseball Planner as we take a look at the matchups ahead and players to target and avoid within those matchups.

Remember, we’re zeroing in on those fantasy baseball players on the bubble and some streaming options. Obviously, the superstars are going to be in the lineup regardless of how favorable or unfavorable their upcoming matchups are, but we’re here to give you the edge on some of those fringe players who might not be in your lineup on an everyday basis.

That being said, let’s dive in and take a look at some favorable and unfavorable matchups for Week 3 of the fantasy baseball season!


Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Planner

Favorable Matchups

Tampa Bay Rays: @ CIN (3), vs. CWS (3)

The second half of the week might not be such a cakewalk for the Rays, but we have to target them in one of the top hitter’s parks in baseball to begin the week.

I mean, if you have been under a rock to begin the season, the Rays are a cool 13-0 to begin the season and are the league’s best team on both sides of the ball. Offensively speaking, they sit first by a country mile with 32 home runs and a .289 isolated power on the season. Next closest is the Dodgers, with 24 long balls and a .250 ISO. We’ll see how long the magic lasts, but the venue is unavoidable to open the week.

Players to Target

Josh Lowe (OF – TB)

I apologize for including Josh Lowe in this piece twice already, but Lowe is a strong option in two of the first three games of the week. The Reds will send two right-handers to the mound in this three-game set, and the lefty-swinging Lowe should see starts in those two contests. He’s also off to a fantastic start.

After struggling last season, Lowe is hitting .345 with two homers, one steal, and a 1.096 OPS across 32 trips to the plate. The underlying metrics aren’t so kind, but Lowe not only has pop, but he also stole 25 bases in just 80 games at Triple-A last season. Great American Ball Park is a mouth-watering site for left-handed hitters, as Lowe should be able to put his power/speed combination to good use this week.

As a bonus, he will see a right-handed pitcher in the White Sox, Michael Kopech, to open up the second half of the week back home in Tampa Bay.

Luke Raley (OF – TB)

We’ll have to keep a close eye on who Kevin Cash rolls out in this Reds series, but Luke Raley should get some reps as well, perhaps at designated hitter in favor of Harold Ramirez in two of the first three games of the week against right-handed starters.

Like Lowe, Raley is mashing the baseball early with three homers and a .998 OPS on the young season in the exact same amount of plate appearances as Lowe (32). Unlike Lowe, however, Raley’s Statcast data is elite as he ranks in the 98th percentile in hard-hit rate and 97th in barrel rate.

Raley is the preferred option in points leagues, but Lowe’s speed could help out in other formats this week.

Pittsburgh Pirates: @ COL (3), vs. CIN (4)

The Pirates get their week started with three games at Coors Field. Kyle Freeland is the first opponent of the week, and he struggles mightily at home, while Jose Urena lines up for game two, and he struggles everywhere while allowing plenty of home runs.

I wish their games against the Reds later in the week were in Cincinnati, but the Reds sport a 4.66 ERA as a team on the season, ranking just outside the bottom 10. They haven’t allowed many homers as a team, and their strikeout rate is high, but so is their walk rate. I’m willing to roll the dice there.

Players to Target

Andrew McCutchen (OF – PIT)

Don’t tell me Andrew McCutchen is washed up, as he’s hitting .324 with one homer, three steals, and a .968 OPS through 12 games on the season. He’ll get his days off at age 36, but he’s already made 47 trips to the plate while he’s nearly halfway to his stolen base total from last season before week three of the fantasy baseball season.

He’s sure to start against Freeland to open the week, and the Pirates get another lefty in Austin Gomber to close out the series Wednesday. McCutchen posted a strong .214 ISO against lefties last season and a massive .329 ISO and 1.027 OPS against them in the 2021 season.

It’s a bonus if he starts Tuesday against Urena, who tends to throw meatballs on a consistent basis.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B – PIT)

It’s been a struggle out of the gate for Ke’Bryan Hayes, whose rostership has slipped below 60% in Yahoo leagues, but these are some fine scenarios to get him going to start the week.

Another right-handed hitter, Hayes’ career splits lean heavily towards left-handed pitching even if he hasn’t hit for a ton of power to this point in his big-league career. Let’s also remember he stole 20 bases last season and even has nine of his 31 career steals off left-handed pitching, so I’m not removing his stolen-base upside against Freeland and Gomber.

He’s getting every opportunity to break out of his early-season funk with 54 plate appearances in 13 games, but he’s still hitting just .157 without a homer and one steal. However, he also sports a tiny .174 BABIP that can only improve from here. Hayes has a fine opportunity to get it going this week.

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Unfavorable Matchups

Atlanta Braves: @ SD (3), vs. HOU (3)

The Braves take on a couple of tough pitching staffs this week as the Padres sit 11th in team ERA while the Astros check in at sixth. They begin their week against Blake Snell, which is not ideal, and it really doesn’t matter who the Astros throw out this week, but that series begins with Hunter Brown.

The Astros are a seriously tough matchup in the week’s second half, but Petco Park doesn’t exactly favor hitters to begin the week.

Players to Avoid

Vaughn Grissom (SS – ATL)

There will be many that want to hop right on the Vaughn Grissom train as he has been promoted due to the injury to Orlando Arcia. However, it’s going to be a tough week to hit the ground rolling, and he’s best reserved for your bench for now.

I mean, the guy raked to a .366 average and .220 ISO in 10 Triple-A games prior to his promotion, but let’s remember he didn’t hit for much power with five homers and a .149 ISO in 41 games with the Braves last season, He does have plenty of speed, and he got on base at a healthy .353 clip last season with the Braves but the pitching he’ll see this week is going to blow away the stuff he’s been seeing in the minors.

Obviously, the 22-year-old is an elite dynasty asset, but the extreme short-term outlook isn’t favorable.

Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL)

The fantasy baseball community has clearly soured on Marcell Ozuna, but if you’re within the 15% of Yahoo leagues that are still rostering Ozuna, now is the time to cut bait for good.

It’s been a miserable start for the veteran, who is 3-for-36 on the young season. Even though two of his three hits have left the yard, he’s still scuffling mightily. Now, his underlying metrics suggest better days are ahead, and his .048 BABIP is comical. However, it’s going to be tough for the baseball gods to reward him, given the pitching he’ll see this week.

New York Mets: @ LAD (3), @ SF (4)

It’s going to be a struggle for the Mets in Week 3 as they begin their week against a Dodgers team sporting baseball’s fourth-ranked FIP at 3.52 while their 5.3% BB% is the best mark in baseball. They’ll get Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, and Noah Syndergaard to begin their week.

Then it’s off to the pitcher-friendly Oracle Park in San Francisco, where home runs are few and far between. The Giants have struggled on the mound with a 4.46 ERA on the season, but their 7.6% BB% is the sixth-best mark in baseball. Free passes will be tough to come by in California this week.

Players to Avoid

Brandon Nimmo (OF – NYM)

I wouldn’t consider Brandon Nimmo a fringe fantasy player at 83% owned in Yahoo leagues, but this is a week where he could struggle to produce.

I noted walk rates for the Dodgers and Giants for a reason. After all, Nimmo’s bread and butter is the free pass with a career 13.8% BB% while he’s walked in 23.5% of his trips to the plate on the season. Nimmo has zero homers on the season and sits in the 1st percentile in barrel rate. He’s hitting for next-to-zero power so far this season.

If he can’t walk or hit for power, it’s going to be tough for Nimmo to deliver any value this week.

Francisco Alvarez (C – NYM)

Francisco Alvarez received a promotion due to the injury suffered by Omar Narvaez but Tomas Nideo is still getting solid playing time as an elite defender behind the plate.

I mean, he’s rostered in just 27% of Yahoo leagues, and he’s appeared in just two games since being called up. He only has one hit in eight trips to the plate, so it’s not exactly rocket science that he hasn’t been a fantasy asset to this point in a minuscule sample.

Just don’t expect a breakout week with the matchups he’ll face.

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