With only three weeks left in the regular season, most fantasy leagues are entering playoff contention. There are many tips that can give you an edge over your opponent to get you closer to the championship. Now is not the time to get fancy and mess around. However, there are many players to focus your attention to this week. All players are available to pick up in more than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues.
It is paramount that you take advantage of pitchers that will make two starts in your one-week playoff matchup. This means pitchers like Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer will be extra valuable this week. More innings means more opportunity to rack up strikeouts and wins, but has a high risk-reward for ERA and WHIP. With this being said, you don’t want to be picking scrubs in a bad matchup. There are a couple targets to look at for this week that are unowned for added opportunity.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Michael Pineda made his season debut last week and exceeded expectations going a full six innings. Fresh off his suspension, Pineda comes in this week with two favorable matchups against the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. The thirty one-year-old should be expected to make quality starts against his lack-luster opponents. The only downside is Pineda has a history of giving up the long ball and the Tigers and Indians have their fair share of power. Despite this, he should come out with his ERA in-check and a possibility for some wins.
You should have less confidence in J.A. Happ than Pineda, but he is still a two start pitcher with some upside. The bad news is that Happ has only 15 Ks this season compared to 11 BBs. The good news is in his last three starts he has 12 Ks to just 3 BBs. Like Pineda, Happ is susceptible to the long ball. More good news, he pitches for the New York Yankees who are going to likely give him run support.
He has to get through a tough matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays, and then he can glide into the weekend against the Baltimore Orioles without Anthony Santander. If you are hurting for starting pitching this week, Happ is a good streaming option to take a shot on.
Cue anyone from the Chicago White Sox. A young team with tons of talent that gets a full week of one-sided matchups to take advantage of. The downside is they only play five games, but those five games are against the Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dylan Cease‘s ownership has been increasing daily and is a great stream against the Pirates Tuesday.
Dane Dunning is in line for a start against the Tigers later in the week. The rookie is a high upside pick as someone who can rack up the Ks.
The Yankees are a team that always hits, and now they get more chances going against bad pitching. They get three games against a mediocre Toronto Blue Jays staff, then a four game series against a horrific Orioles rotation. The best available here to take advantage of is Clint Frazier.
Ride the Hot Hands
Baseball is filled with ups and downs, and a lot can happen in just one week of fantasy playoffs. The better team is nowhere near guaranteed to win. The best thing you can do is stick with your players that got you to the playoffs in the first place. Don’t try to get cute, play the guys that have been on a hot streak. In addition, it is okay to start a lesser name who is hot this time of year over a slumping, more well known player. There are still some key players available that are hot right now.
The San Fransisco Giants have a pair of low owned batters in Alex Dickerson and Brandon Belt that have been on fire lately. Dickerson had five games in a row this past week with multiple hits including his big three home run game against the Colorado Rockies. He is slashing .500/.571/1.222 over the past week.
Belt has less runs and RBIs to show for it, but he has a respectable .600/.714/1.500 line over this past week. The Giants face off against the Seattle Mariners to start the week, so there should be chances for these guys to keep their streaks going.
One other lower owned player to look at is Jackie Bradley Jr. The Boston Red Sox outfielder isn’t known for his offense, but he is riding a nine-game hitting streak. He also has some added pop lately adding three home runs to his resume last week.
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