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!
Second-to-last week here. This is when titles are won.
Too bad we still have to guess which pitchers each team will be facing. I'll say this for September baseball: It keeps things interesting.
The good news is this week offers a couple of scenarios that are advantageous independently of pitching matchups. The Rockies are at home all week, so you can trust their hitters to do well. The Pirates and Dodgers are visiting them, and while only the latter cracks my top five, the Pirates were the final cut and still offer attractive plays like Neil Walker, Josh Harrison and potentially Aramis Ramirez with Jung Ho Kang sidelined.
What else? Thanks to a doubleheader Monday at Detroit, the White Sox are playing eight games this week. More on them later.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 25:
1. Rockies: PIT4, LAD3
2. Mets: ATL3, @CIN4
3. Dodgers: ARI4, @COL3
4. White Sox: @DET4, @NYY4
5. Cardinals: CIN3, MIL4
• I'd like to just say start all your Rockies, but of course, this time of year, playing time is an issue. I do feel like you can trust Corey Dickerson to get his at-bats, though. He has been in and out of the lineup since returning from a rib injury, but the surplus of lefties the Rockies have faced recently may have had something to do with it. They're probably also easing him in, kind of like the Royals did with Alex Gordon before he got back to playing everyday. You certainly won't find a higher-upside outfielder on waivers right now. Jose Reyes is also an advisable play now that he's back from an Achilles' injury.
• The Braves and Reds rotations are held together by whatever healthy arms they can find in their farm systems this time of year, so pitting them against a red hot Mets lineup is like leading lambs to slaughter. Michael Conforto should benefit in a big way since the pitchers are almost exclusively righties. Daniel Murphy should see more playing time as well given his near-.800 OPS against righties this year. David Wright's recent increase in doubles gives me home hope he's healthy enough to capitalize on these matchups as well, though you shouldn't count on more than five games or so from him
• I may be preaching to the choir at this point (since the choir is growing smaller by the week), but Corey Seager is a must-start option for as long as Jimmy Rollins is sidelined -- and especially in a week he's playing three games at Coors Field. If in June, the No. 1 prospect in the game was hitting .426 for a big-market club, we wouldn't stop hearing about it, and from a Fantasy perspective, it's a godsend at shortstop. Another item that may have slipped through the cracks: Justin Turner is back to playing every day and hitting well, going 11 for 36 (.306) with three doubles in his last nine games. He's back in the mixed-league discussion with these matchups.
• No doubt, playing eight games is a good thing for the White Sox and all of their hitters, but as things stand today (and they could certainly change tomorrow), some of the worst pitchers they're facing are all left-handers: Daniel Norris, Kyle Ryan, Randy Wolf and CC Sabathia. Two of the White Sox who you might actually consider starting given the favorable matchups and their production of late, Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton, both have unfavorable splits against lefties. So in three-outfielder leagues, I don't know that I'd make them much of a priority this week. I do like Alexei Ramirez, though, who has been one of the more overlooked players in the second half.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 25:
1. Reds: @STL3, NYM4
2. Diamondbacks: @LAD4, @SD3
3. Brewers: @CHC3, @STL4
4. Angels: @HOU3, SEA3
5. Phillies: @MIA3, @WAS3
• As if you needed another excuse to sit Jay Bruce, right? He's batting only .173 since the start of August, so a week against Jaime Garcia, John Lackey, Lance Lynn, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey at a time of year when few good pitchers are pitching all that often isn't going to do him any good. The more interesting calls are Brandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez, who play weaker positions and have been more productive of late. I wouldn't call either a must-sit, but if I could find more exciting options for this week, I'd be all about it.
• Having to face both Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw is enough to get the Diamondbacks on this list, but they're facing four lefties in all, including Alex Wood, who just threw a one-hit gem against the Rockies. That's especially bad news for Ender Inciarte, who's batting .234 with a .529 OPS against lefties, and David Peralta, who sits against them most of the time. Neither look like mixed-league material this week.
• Not only do the Brewers have difficult matchups against pitchers like Jake Arrieta, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia and John Lackey, but all seven of their games are on the road, where Adam Lind has hit .233 with a .733 OPS compared to .335 and .952 at home. He's a no-go, and I wouldn't be so motivated to start Khris Davis either. He qualifies as hot with 14 home runs in his last 37 games, but his batting average during that time is .233. He's as all-or-nothing as it gets, and I expect more nothing against these pitchers.
• Sitting Albert Pujols isn't quite the same as sitting Lind, but with the Angels' matchups this week, I think it's a worthy consideration in shallower leagues where you have access to viable alternatives. I'm not thinking waiver claims so much as players who may already be on your bench such as Carlos Santana and Brandon Belt, who have both hit much better than Pujols of late. In deeper leagues, C.J. Cron has been the flavor of the week off the waiver wire, but look for him to go cold this week. Kole Calhoun might be tough to sit in five-outfielder leagues, but the four lefties on tap make him not such an exciting play.