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All of the starting pitcher movement at the trade deadline has an impact on hitters as well. The Yankees' matchups would be among the five best if the Blue Jays hadn't just added David Price, and the Dodgers' addition of Alex Wood means three lefties on tap for the Phillies instead of just two, making their one Fantasy-relevant hitter, Maikel Franco, less appealing if you buy into the splits.
Another team you won't see here: the White Sox, who are worthy of distinction just for the way they've played over the last week, piling up runs against quality pitchers, for the most part, after sleepwalking for the first 3 1/2 months. They don't have the best matchups, but they don't have the worst either, so you wouldn't want to shy away from red hot hitters Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton, especially given their favorable splits against right-handed pitchers. The White Sox join the Astros and Angels as the only teams facing nothing but righties this week.
Aaron Hicks also deserves a shoutout here for his .565 (13 for 23) batting average and two home runs over his last six games. He has been sizzling all of July but is started in only 16 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, and the Twins were one of the last cuts for the ...
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 18:
1. Nationals: ARI4, COL3
2. Cardinals: @CIN3, @MIL3
3. Mariners: @COL3, TEX3
4. Tigers: KC3, BOS3
5. Astros: @TEX3, @OAK4
• Granted, it's only three games, but Ryan Zimmerman looks like he's back to being a relevant Fantasy contributor after missing seven weeks with plantar fasciitis, having homered once and doubled twice. His matchups are an excuse to get him active at any of the three positions where he's eligible. Rotisserie owners should also take note of Michael Taylor, who's batting .375 (12 for 32) with three homers and four steals in his last eight games. It's not like Denard Span is coming back this week.
• Another week of good matchups for the Cardinals means another week of good vibes for Randal Grichuk, especially now that he's past the groin injury. His playing time is even more assured with Matt Holliday back on the DL. Matt Carpenter's monster game Thursday was probably enough to convince you he's still a must-start player, but he, Kolten Wong and Jason Heyward get an extra bump with all the righties on tap this week.
• Mark Trumbo is batting .338 (25 for 74) over his last 22 games, but you wouldn't know it by his start percentage. So what if he's a notoriously streaky player with 30-homer power? I wouldn't expect him to do anything against Eddie Butler, Chris Rusin, Kyle Kendrick or Martin Perez either (he said sarcastically). Mike Zunino is a tough sell even with those matchups, but he's batting .375 (12 for 32) with five doubles and a homer in his last nine games and plays a position where at least someone in every league has a need.
• The most frustrating part about Preston Tucker's five home runs in his last nine games? The Astros faced enough left-handers during that stretch for most of his owners to bench him. That won't be the case this week. The Astros nothing but right-handers, against whom Tucker has a .945 OPS and all 10 of his home runs, and those right-handers are by and large the worst the Rangers and Athletics have to offer (with the notable exception of Sonny Gray). Sleeper alert!
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 18:
1. Pirates: CHC3, LAD3
2. Rays: @CHW3, NYM3
3. Phillies: LAD3, @SD3
4. Rockies: SEA3, @WAS3
5. Angels: CLE3, BAL3
• The problem with the worst hitting matchups this week is that all five teams have the kind of hitters that are immune to matchup treatment in Fantasy. They're all either too high-end or too low-end. Gregory Polanco qualifies as fringy, though, and might trick you into starting him with his .316 (18 for 57) batting average and .869 OPS over his last five games. Jung Ho Kang is also hot, but now that he's playing every day, he may be on the verge of must-start status at a weak position.
• You may recall that Steven Souza has generally been an advisable play against left-handed pitchers this year, but he's just 6 for 30 (.200) with 13 strikeouts since returning from a DL stint for a finger laceration. Besides, the lefties on tap -- Jose Quintana, Chris Sale, and Carlos Rodon -- probably aren't going to give him too much to hit. Neither will righties Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, for that matter.
• The Rockies do actually play half their games at home this week, but their matchups are still bad enough to earn them the No. 4 spot. Part of the reason is the other options, including the Angels at No. 5, don't really stand out. Which Rockies would you actually sit with those matchups? I suppose you could make a case for DJ LeMahieu in a league where second basemen abound (now that's a fantasy) or Nick Hundley if you're somehow deep at catcher. Certainly not Carlos Gonzalez.
• Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun are obviously still starting for your Fantasy team even with the unfavorable matchups, but who else? Well, since the Angels are facing nothing but right-handers, so this week seems like the perfect time to try out David Murphy in deeper leagues. No reason to get cute if you don't have to, though. His .296 batting average and .768 OPS against righties doesn't mean much when those righties are Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.