Week 21 of the Fantasy Baseball season is here. If you aren't already beginning your playoffs then this is most likely your last week to either secure a spot or strengthen your roster. There's much to discuss so let's get started!
Week 21 Interleague Matchups
Texas Rangers at San Diego Padres (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
Week 21 Bullpen Report
The following bullpen situations are as of the date of this column's submission. Please check the lineups daily for any changes to the following bullpens.
The Boston Red Sox closing situation is a mess. Junichi Tazawa is the man for the moment and just this past week has recorded a hold, a save and a blown save. What an appealing hat trick! He's currently available in over 80 percent of all Major Fantasy Baseball leagues.
The Oakland Athletics have a unique situation as Drew Pomeranz has been quite reliable with a save and a blown save and 11 strikeouts over the past two weeks. What makes this interesting is Sean Doolittle is back so who knows how long before he returns to his role as the closer of the Athletics.
The Seattle Mariners have had a tough time in the bullpen this season and now it appears that the new closer of record, at least for the moment is Tom Wilhelmsen. Over the past week Wilhelmsen has recorded 3 saves for the Mariners and is currently available in over 80 percent of all Major Fantasy Baseball leagues.
Week 20 Two Start Pitchers
The following two start pitchers are the probable starting pitchers as of the date of this column's submission. Please check the lineups daily for any last minute changes.
Chris Sale (Tue-Sun), Zach Greinke (Tue-Sun), Madison Bumgarner (Tue-Sun), David Price (Mon-Sun), Felix Hernandez (Mon-Sun), Chris Archer (Mon-Sun), Johnny Cueto (Tue-Sun), Tyson Ross (Mon-Sat), Justin Verlander (Tue-Sun), Shelby Miller (Tue-Sun), Andrew Cashner (Tue-Sun), Gio Gonzalez (Mon-Sat), John Lackey (Mon-Sun), Joe Ross (Tue-Sun), Bartolo Colon (Mon-Sun), Chris Bassitt (Mon-Sun), Kyle Hendricks (Mon-Sun), Jimmy Nelson (Tue-Sun), Wie-Yin Chen (Mon-Sun), Brett Anderson (Mon-Sat), Josh Tomlin (Mon-Sun), Jerad Eickhoff (Mon-Sun), Hector Santiago (Mon-Sun), Tyler Duffey (Tue-Sun), Jake Peavy (Mon-Sat), Patrick Corbin (Mon-Sun), Rick Porcello (Mon-Sun), Chris Narveson (Mon-Sun), Colby Lewis (Mon-Sun), Jeff Locke (Tue-Sun), Chad Bettis (Mon-Sat), Mike Foltynewicz (Mon-Sat), Yohan Flande (Tue-Sun), Ivan Nova (Mon-Sun) and David Holmberg (Mon-Sun).
Starting Pitching Options For Week 21 Monday-Wednesday
The following recommendations are as of the date of this column's submission. Please check the lineups daily for any changes.
Chris Bassitt has been good this season. Not great but good and I look for him to be good on Monday evening at home against the struggling Los Angeles Angels. Over his past 4 starts he's averaged 7 strikeouts per nine innings and less than one bomb per nine with a bit high xFIP of 4.32. That should work against the Angels and their second half 19 percent strikeout rate with a team ISO of .137 to go along with a below average wRC+ of 85. This is a good situation to stream the over 50 percent available
Bartolo Colon and the red hot New York Mets host the Phillies on Monday night and I'm looking for a repeat performance of Colon's 5 hit and 8 strikeout performance against the Phillies last Wednesday night. Colon has been fairly decent over the past 4 starts and he will usually pitch deep into ballgames, give up a bomb or two a night, walk less than 3 and keep his team in the game and he'll need to against a Phillies team with a 21 percent strikeout rate, a team ISO of .167 with a wRC+ of 105 and I think the just over 50 percent available Colon will take care of business on Monday night.
Joe Ross and his Washington Nationals are in St Louis for a Tuesday night game with the Cardinals. Over his past 4 starts Ross has struck out nearly 8 batters per nine innings while serving up just over a bomb per nine with a decent 4.36 xFIP over 21.2 innings pitched. His 2-2 record suggests he's able to go deep in games and against a Cardinal team with a strikeout rate of nearly 30 percent with a .150 ISO and wRC+ of 94 I suspect Ross will pitch deep into this game and possibly even beat the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Tyler Duffey and the Minnesota Twins host the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. Duffey has been solid over his past 4 games striking out almost 9 hitters per nine innings; the drawback to streaming Duffey is his nearly 5 walks per nine innings and nearly 1.5 bombs per nine innings during that 4 game stretch so you'll need to consider this also but the White Sox since the break have a 20 percent strikeout rate with a .161 ISO and wRC+ of 106. I'm going to focus on the strikeouts and let everything else take care of itself on Tuesday.
Carlos Rodon has had an interesting season and that season continues on Wednesday night when the White Sox play the Twins in Minnesota. Over his past 4 starts Rodon is averaging over 9 strikeouts per nine innings and less than 1 bomb per nine which makes the nearly 4 walks per nine innings more tolerable. Rodon's 3.05 xFIP is spectacular and he'll need all of this against a Twins team that since the break have a 23 percent strikeout rate with a .167 ISO and wRC+ of 90. If the good Rodon shows up this could be money in the bank in all categories on Wednesday.
Aaron Nola and the Phillies are in New York for a Wednesday night game against the Mets. Nola has been solid over his past 4 starts with nearly 7 strikeouts per nine innings with less than a bomb per nine and just over 3 walks per nine innings. His 4.24 xFIP is solid enough and even though the Mets are the hottest hitting team in baseball they do strikeout at a 21 percent clip with a .186 ISO and wRC+ of 117. Its daunting but focus on strikeouts and hope for the best on Wednesday.
Week 21 Waiver Wire Options
Nick Hundley C Colorado Rockies: Hundley is available in over 60 percent of Major Fantasy Leagues for a reason; his home road splits are nuts but as luck would have it the Rockies are at home this entire week. At home this season Hundley has slashed a .358/.580/.973 line with 7 bombs, 33 RBI, 30 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. Hundley also does most of his damage against righties and again as luck would have it the Rockies will see 5 righties and 2 lefties this week. Hundley usually bats 7th or 8th in the Rockies lineup.
Ryan Howard 1B Philadelphia Phillies: It appears as though Howard won't be playing against lefties giving way to Darin Ruf but again as luck would have it 4 out of the 6 games the Phillies have this week will start out against righties. For the season Howard slashes a 272/.525/.843 line against right handers with 18 bombs, 62 RBI and 38 runs scored. You'll have to accept the 27 percent strikeout rate as part of the Howard package but he is available in over 70 percent and normally bats cleanup for the Phillies.
Cesar Hernandez 2B SS Philadelphia Phillies: Hernandez is now essentially playing every day for the Phillies and over the past 30 days he's slashing a .254/.302/.314/.616 line with zero bombs, 6 RBI, 16 runs scored and 6 stolen bases. His 0.76 ISO indicates that you won't see too many balls flying out of the yard but he gets on base, steals bases and scores runs along with the occasional RBI. He bats either 1st or 2nd in the Phillies lineup and is available in over 50 percent of all Major Fantasy Baseball leagues.
Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians: A month ago the Indians were going to send Lindor back to the minors but since that time he's slashed a .368/.409/.521/.930 line with 4 bombs, 18 RBI, 18 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. How Lindor is still available in over 50 percent of Major Fantasy Baseball leagues is a mystery to me. He does a little bit of everything and if you need a little bit of everything this week at the shortstop position than Lindor, who generally bats 2nd in the Indians lineup might just be your man this week.
Justin Turner 3B Los Angeles Dodgers: For a good part of the season Turner was on fire and then like most journeymen utility types he couldn't sustain it and has fallen off the grid so to speak. Turner is still the everyday third baseman for the Dodgers. Over the past month he's slashed a .220/.262/.424/.686 line with 3 bombs, 10 RBI and 8 runs scored. Turner hits righties well with 11 bombs, 39 RBI and a .332/.579/.968 line and as luck would have it the Dodgers face 6 right handers this week. Turner generally bats either 3rd or 5th and is available in just over 50 percent of Major Fantasy Baseball leagues.
Ender Inciarte OF Arizona Diamondbacks: Inciarte has found a home this season in the Diamonbacks lineup and over the past month he's delivered a .293/.344/.405/.749 line with 2 bombs, 12 RBI, 18 runs scored and 3 stolen bases. The big numbers have come against right handers this season and this coming week 4 of the 6 starting pitchers facing the Diamondbacks are right handers. Inciarte bats leadoff against righties and lefties and is available in just over 60 percent of all major Fantasy Baseball leagues.
Delino DeShields 2B OF Texas Rangers: DeShields greatest asset is that he gets on base to the tune of 35 percent of the time. Then he steals bases (22) and he scores runs (59). Over the past 30 days his slash line of .229/.333/.314/.647 with 2 bombs, 11 RBI, 18 runs scored and 6 stolen bases. His lefty righty splits are about the same with the edge against righties and with 5 of the 6 Rangers games this week against righties the just over 60 percent available DeShields can help you with runs, stolen bases and the occasional power numbers all the while batting generally batting leadoff for the Rangers.
Nori Aoki OF San Francisco Giants: Aoki had an amazing start to the 2015 season; then he hurt his leg and is slowly finding his form. Over the past month he's slashed a .222/.282/..417/.699 line with 3 bombs, 7 RBI, 7 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. Aoki generally hits righties better than lefties while leading off for the Giants and is available in over 60 percent of all Major Fantasy Baseball leagues. He'll help you straight across the board this week I think.
Good luck this week Fantasy Baseball owner!
On this weeks Phil's Fantasy Sports Fake Teams Ray Guilfoyle joins me to discuss the top 25 starting pitchers for 2016, Draft Kings Playbook writer Jason Walker and I have a great Fantasy Football discussion regarding sleepers at the running back position, Rotowire NHL Fantasy Hockey expert Brian Rutherford and I discuss defencemen who might be considered Fantasy Hockey sleepers and SLC Dunk NBA expert Amar joins me to discuss the Fantasy Basketball value of several NBA rookies as well as the Fantasy Basketball value of Nicolas Batum, Aaron Afflalo, Robin Lopez and Lou Williams. You can download the show from my site or just listen on the player provided below.
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