It’s a tough pill for me to swallow, but the fantasy baseball regular season is starting to come to an end. Some of you have started your playoffs already if you’re in a crazy league. Some of you start in the coming weeks. Many of you are still scrambling to make the playoffs as you read this. Whether you’ve already made the playoffs or are fighting for your playoff life, as always, I’ve got you.
Last week, I told you guys to be keying in on the Pirates’ Liover Peguero and Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Athletics’ Zack Gelof and Seth Brown. Both Hayes and Peguero have had monster weeks for Pittsburgh so far. And as I type this, Gelof just homered for the second time this week. Seth Brown is…well he’s still working on it but he’ll come around. The only thing we missed on was recommending avoiding Willy Adames. He’s been on quite the hot streak, which you love to see.
This week there are plenty of exciting matchups. As I decide who I want to highlight, I think it’s important to point out that only eight teams play next Thursday. That feels like the day you can really get an edge over your opponent. Atlanta, Detroit, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, the Yankees, and the Dodgers all play on Thursday, so make sure you’re mindful of that.
Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner
Matchup To Target
Atlanta Braves: @COL (3), @LAD (4)
At this point of the season, you shouldn’t need someone to tell you to focus on the Braves. But with this upcoming schedule, it should be more apparent than ever you should be getting as many Braves in your lineup as you can. Currently, Atlanta is on pace to hit the most home runs in a season in MLB history. They’re not just hitting for power, though. In the month of August, the Braves are hitting .299 as a team with a ridiculous .896 OPS. They’re clicking on all cylinders.
They’re set to face a Rockies team that has an August team ERA of 6.18, the second-worst in baseball. They’re striking out just six batters per nine innings and gave up 34 home runs. With their series being in Colorado, a hitters’ paradise, the Braves hitters should feast. The Dodgers matchup will be a bit more difficult, but the Braves have proven they can beat anybody up. This will be a big week for Atlanta.
Hitters To Target
Rosario has been on absolute fire in the month of August. Someone I was highlighting for weeks back in June and early July, he seems to have found that spark once again.
In August, Rosario is hitting .356 with four home runs, 15 RBI, a stolen base, and a robust 1.043 OPS. He’s recaptured that fire he was on previously and is putting together the kind of at-bats that lead to productive games. He’s the kind of guy whose hot streaks tend to be lengthy, so take advantage of Rosario tearing the cover off of the ball while you can.
Much like Rosario, Ozuna has been on one of his famous hot streaks. The difference between Ozuna’s and Rosario’s is the fact that Ozuna has somehow been even more productive. In 80 August at-bats, he’s hitting .368 with eight doubles, six home runs, 18 RBI, and some incredible hitting with runners in scoring position.
Regardless of how you feel about Ozuna off the field, his play on the field has been impressive. His season-long 16% barrel rate and 49% hard-hit rate are both career highs (if you take out the weird COVID year), and with 28 home runs he’s on pace to flirt with his career-high 37. This should be a big week for Ozuna.
Matchup to Target
Seattle Mariners: vs OAK (3), @NYM (3)
Yes, they may only play six games instead of seven, but the teams Seattle is set to face this week have some of the weakest pitching staffs in the league. Oakland has been historically bad this season, and it’s not because of their offense. Their pitching staff has a 5.76 ERA and 5.16 xFIP. Both of which are worse in the league. In August, the Mets haven’t been any better. Their 5.41 ERA and 4.86 xFIP are two of the worst in the league for a team now without Verlander and Scherzer.
Seattle being hot has a lot to do with this decision as well. Deciding to focus on a lineup that’s playing out of their minds while also lining up against some very poor pitching can be the deciding factor in your fantasy baseball week. Their 7 fWAR in August is second only to Atlanta’s 7.1 and their 140 wRC+ is tops in the league. Seattle is a team looking to take the division lead, don’t expect them to slow down any time soon.
Hitters To Target
Rojas may be the most under-the-radar dominant hitter in the month of August. A guy who was productive in both 2021 and 2022, he got off to a rough start in 2023. Now that he’s in Seattle and playing every day, he’s making the most of it.
In his last 10 games, Rojas is hitting .395 with four XBH, 13 runs scored, and three stolen bases. He’s doing an amazing job of getting the bat on the ball and being extremely smart on the base paths. Hitting ninth in the order isn’t great, but it’s not much to worry about the way that lineup has been hitting.
Big Dumper is taking the baseball world by storm right now. Well, at least in Seattle. If you’re familiar with Dumper’s game you’ll know that batting average isn’t his strong suit, that hasn’t changed in August. He’s hitting just .197, but it’s the power that everyone should be paying attention to.
After leading the catcher position in home runs in 2022, Raleigh has once again taken the lead in 2023. His eight in August give him 24 on the season, and his 19 RBI are tied for the sixth-best in all of baseball. Raleigh feasts on bad pitching and he’s set to face plenty of it in week 21.
BIG DUMPER’S SECOND OF THE NIGHT🤯
This man and the Mariners’ lineup cannot be stopped right now! pic.twitter.com/JyTsL8b3vB
— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) August 22, 2023
Matchup To Avoid
Tampa Bay Rays: @MIA (2), @CLE (3)
The most surprisingly good team of the 2023 season who seems to have a lineup that’s 13 productive players deep made the avoid list. Seems crazy but I promise you it’s not without reason. First of all, they’re the only team in baseball to play just five games in week 21. The best ability is availability and the Rays offer much less availability than anyone else next week. Second, in those five games, they match up with some of the best pitching in baseball.
They’re set to face Jesus Luzardo, Sandy Alcantara, Tanner Bibbee, and Gavin Williams. All have proven to be volatile, but they’ve also proven that they have dominant stuff. They’ve all gone seven innings with 8+ strikeouts in a game this year, with Luzardo, Alcantara, and Williams all having gone seven innings with double-digit strikeouts. Tampa Bay does their fair share of swing and miss at the plate, so they could be in for a very long week.
Raley started out the 2023 season by being one of those guys who went almost completely overlooked in drafts. He then proceeded to cement himself as one of the best all around players in baseball for a few months. Since that, though, he’s really cooled off.
In the month of August. Raley is hitting just .188 with three home runs, five RBI and no stolen bases. He started to chase a lot more and his strikeout rate jumped to 42%. In a five game week where he faces excellent strikeout artists, avoid the inconsistent Raley.
He started the year out with seven quick dingers and had since become one of the coldest bats in baseball. In August, Lowe has just nine hits. Two of which are of the long ball variety. Those have been his only XBH. The swing and miss he’s become known for has continued to haunt him in August.
Lowe currently has almost twice as many strikeouts (17) as hits for the month and his .176 batting average never plays well in fantasy. Especially when it’s accompanied by lack of power. There may be a time when Lowe regains some of that home run power, but it’s not likely to be week 21.