Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-day Fantasy Baseball league tonight. It's $5 to enter and pays out $100,000 in cash prizes. First place wins $10,000. Sign up now!
This week is one of those weeks when I can come up with far more hitters I don't like than do.
Which is sure to make this column a depressing read. Or maybe an aggravating one, if you're inclined to disagree with any negative assessment of one of your players.
You hooked yet?
Crazy thing is just one team, Milwaukee, is playing only five games, and its matchups aren't even that bad. A full week of road games for the Rockies doesn't help, and the teams with an unusual number of lefties or righties on tap don't have the kind of hitters who can exploit it.
To make matters worse, the two designated hitters Fantasy owners care about most, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, are in danger of losing at-bats with each of their teams playing three games in an NL park. Each of them is a risky start in standard mixed leagues, especially Rodriguez, who hasn't played the field since April.
So who benefits from this week's matchups? Let's take a look.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 21:
1. Pirates: @MIA4, COL3
2. Mets: @PHI4, BOS3
3. White Sox: BOS3, SEA4
4. Cardinals: @ARI4, @SF3
5. Rays: MIN3, KC3
• The Pirates' matchups are exactly what I'm talking about. They'd be much more promising if they didn't include four left-handed pitchers, which severely limits Gregory Polanco's, Neil Walker's, Jung Ho Kang's and Pedro Alvarez's appeal -- four of their hottest hitters, naturally. Same goes for Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton of the White Sox, who are also facing four left-handers. The Pirates should at least get to the bullpen fast enough that Walker and Kang should be OK, but neither is especially advisable.
• Oh look, the Mets have favorable matchups right when David Wright is expected to return. Starting him is the kind of gamble you only make with someone else's money, though. No one knows if he'll even be effective playing through this potentially career-ending back condition, and the Mets aren't counting on him playing every day. A better choice would be Daniel Murphy, who has hit safely in all but two games this month, batting .338 (22 for 65) with three homers and seven doubles.
• Maybe this is the week Fantasy owners begin to show Stephen Piscotty the appreciation he deserves. He has hit only two home runs in 93 at-bats, yes, but project his numbers over a full season, and he's on pace for more than 70 extra-base hits -- a number normally reserved for elite players. He has been hot since arriving in the big leagues, so why not take a shot when the matchups are right? Those matchups may also be your excuse to stick it out with Kolten Wong despite his struggles in the second half.
• My favorite sleeper for the week comes from the fifth team here, the Rays. Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire since returning from a hamstring injury July 28, batting .410 (32 for 78) with three home runs and eight doubles in 20 games, and even though it's probably just a hot streak, playing streaks may be your best option at a position like shortstop. Logan Forsythe, while not as widely available, is also a strong play against pitchers like Tommy Milone, Jeremy Guthrie and Danny Duffy.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 21:
1. Red Sox: @CHW3, @NYM3
2. Twins: @TB3, HOU3
3. Giants: CHC3, STL3
4. Indians: @CHC1, MIL2, LAA3
5. Diamondbacks: STL4, OAK3
• So about that DH situation for the Red Sox. Given his production of late, I'm skeptical they would actually sit Ortiz for all three of their games at the Mets. He started both games at first base during their recent trip to Miami, after all. Then again, that was before Travis Shaw had really emerged. So is Shaw the odd man out? I certainly wouldn't choose now as the week to buy into him, especially given the matchups, but Pablo Sandoval could just as easily take a seat since Shaw is capable of playing third base. Hot-hand plays Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt are also probably no-goes against pitchers like Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
• The Twins, like the Red Sox, are rife with the type of fringy players you might start or sit based on matchups. As excited as you should be for Byron Buxton's return (those first 37 at-bats aren't going to define his career), I wouldn't say he has earned your trust against the best the Rays and Astros have to offer. Torii Hunter's 5-for-48 (.104) performance in August makes him an easy choice to sit. Trevor Plouffe has swung the bat well of late, but he plays such a deep position that most mixed-league owners can turn elsewhere.
• You'd normally consider starting Brandon Belt whenever the Giants have a bunch of righties on the schedule, as they do this week, and the fact that three of those righties are Jake Arrieta, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn isn't necessarily the reason I'd sit him. The bigger issue is that all six of their games are at home, where he has hit just four of his 17 home runs. He's not the only one who could struggle there. I'm guessing Marlon Byrd owners won't like his first full week in a Giants uniform.
• Remember when Welington Castillo was one of the fastest risers at the catcher position with eight home runs during a 12-game span? He has one hit in six games since, so that ended as quickly as it started. The power binge was more surprising than this stretch now, so if you own him in Fantasy, I'm thinking you can use this week's games against Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez and Sonny Gray to audition his replacement.