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Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Planner: Joey Votto, Kyle Tucker, James Outman

Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Planner: Joey Votto, Kyle Tucker, James Outman

We’re back from the all-star break, and it’s officially crunch time. It’s time for you and everyone else to start locking in, making great roster decisions, and maximizing the talent you have. One easy way to do that is by checking matchups and player trends and finding where those intersect in a positive way. That’s where I come in. Each week I comb the matchups and do my best to pinpoint the guys you should be keying in on and staying away from in the coming week.

This article is going to be a bit different, though. Only really because of the extra three days from this weekend I’m tacking on. With this current week being All-Star week, there was no planner for me to work on. I’m happy as ever to get back into the swing of things and let the articles start flying once again.

Let’s get into who you need to be targeting.

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Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Planner

Matchups To Target

Cincinnati Reds: vs MIL (3), vs SF (4), vs ARI (3)

It’s not often you get a chance to capitalize on a team playing 10 games in a row at home in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. Thoughts and prayers to the Reds’ pitching staff, but their hitting is about to have a field day. Since the beginning of June, Cincinnati is second in baseball with 198 runs, third in home runs with 55, and their .795 OPS is third in baseball. Elly De La Cruz got called up, and the Reds became a juggernaut. They’ll face some tough pitching against the likes of Corbin Burnes and Zac Gallen, but at this point, they feel matchup-proof.

Hitters To Target:

Joey Votto (1B – CIN)

You hate to see the 32.8% strikeout rate that Votto has currently, but he’s been so good everywhere else it’s gotten very easy to overlook. In just 17 games, Votto has seven home runs, 18 RBI, and a 1.001 OPS. I know the sample size is small, but his batted ball metrics look as good as ever as well. His 91.1 MPH average exit velocity and 51.4% hard-hit rate are the second-highest of his career. His 22.9% barrel rate is the highest mark of his career by far. Take those numbers with a grain of salt, but Votto did hit 36 home runs just two seasons ago, so it’s crazy to think he may have one last impressive run in him.

Will Benson (OF – CIN)

At this point, it’s starting to feel like the Reds’ organization has the magic touch. Benson is a prime example of that. Starting the season as essentially an afterthought, he’s become one of the best hitters in baseball over the last month. Since May 30, he has had four doubles, four triples, four home runs, and seven stolen bases. All while hitting .356 with a 1.080 OPS. He’s improved his quality of contact, started pulling the ball more, and lowered his swinging strike rate to just 7.8%. This lines up to be a 10-game stretch with plenty of righties for him to demolish.

Houston Astros: @ LAA (3), @ COL (2), @ OAK (4)

Quite literally the complete opposite of the Reds’ all-home schedule, but it’s ok. The Astros may be headed for a bit of a road trip, but their opponent’s quality is so poor it more than makes up for it. Facing the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Reid Detmers this weekend is the toughest thing the Astros will have to do in the next 10 days. After that, they face the Colorado Rockies, who have the worst Pitching+ numbers in baseball. They then face an Oakland Athletics team destined to give up the most runs in MLB history. Astros hitters should do just fine this week.

Corey Julks (OF – HOU)

Julks has solidified himself as a young Astros player you have no choice but to acknowledge at this point. While he may not start every single game, he’s proven that when he does, he’s productive, especially as of late. In his last 16 games, Julks is batting .386 with five XBH, five stolen bases, and a low 14.1% strikeout rate. He’s managed seven multi-hit games in that span, and although he’s hitting in the bottom third of the lineup, he’s still getting enough at-bats to be fantasy relevant. He’s feasted on weak pitching this season, and this coming week should be no different.

Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)

Yes, I am aware you don’t technically need anybody to tell you to start Kyle Tucker this week. I’m adding him here because I need people to understand just how dominant he’s been as of late and how dominant of a week he’s about to have. Since June 1st, Tucker is hitting .318 with 16 XBH, 23 RBI, eight stolen bases, and an 18:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Tucker has an incredible combination of power and speed that often goes overlooked. This road trip should treat him well also, as he’s hitting better on the road (.313) than he is at home (.264) this season. It’s highly likely Kyle Tucker is a top-three fantasy baseball player over the next 10 days.

Matchup To Avoid

Los Angeles Dodgers: @ NYM (3), @ BAL (3), @ TEX (3)

Nine games in 10 days isn’t something normally seen as a negative, but then when you take who they’re facing into account…it becomes a problem. The Dodger’s offense has been fine this season, but the pitching they line up against is nuts. They’re set to face Verlander, Senga, and Scherzer this weekend. All matchups are worth avoiding in their own right. They then have to go on the road and face the surprisingly good rotation in Baltimore as long as the not-so-surprisingly dominant staff out in Texas. Nobody faces a tougher test this coming week.

Hitters To Avoid

James Outman (OF – LAD)

A lot of outfielders making this list, and honestly, it’s for good reason. Yes, I’m aware Outman popped off with the double-dinger game the other day, but don’t let that distract you from his overall season. Outside of his 14 XBH March/April, Outman has been slumping in a terrible way. In his 54 games since, he’s slashing just .205/.285/.310 with four home runs and a 35% strikeout rate. Before the two-dinger game, he hadn’t homered since May 17. His early season was cool, but I don’t think this week does Outman any favors.

David Peralta (OF – LAD)

Much like Outman, Peralta is here because these matchups are likely to eat him alive. He’s the lowest-rostered player on this list, but he’s had a nice little 28-game stretch and likely has plenty of people eyeing him on the waiver wire. In those games, he’s hitting .365 with nine XBH and a .997 OPS. Those games came against far easier competition, though. 18 of those games came against the Reds, Rockies, Royals, Yankees, White Sox, and Pirates. While he may very well top my waiver wire list for week 16, I can’t suggest anyone start him against this murderers’ row in week 15.

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