This is it. Back when we were podcasting in April and May, I didn't know if we would get to this point. Look at us. It's Fantasy Baseball Championship week.
For the most part, don't overthink things this time of year. Start your studs, assuming they're healthy and actually performing like studs. There's quite a bit of injury news just below, so make sure to monitor these situations before your weekly lineups lock on Monday. The last thing you want is a zero this time of year. Also, this may not be what you want to hear if you play in Roto leagues, but no lead is safe. Not actually, but because we're still just two months into the season, Roto standings are still changing quite dramatically on a daily basis. It's going to be stressful week.
On to this weekend's action!
We break out the "Championship Start-O-Meter" and the weekend highlights on the Monday edition of the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all of our of podcasts and subscribe here.
The latest in the world of Fantasy baseball
- Jacob deGrom threw a side session Saturday and is on track to make his regularly scheduled start Monday. Get him in there for your championships.
- After trying to rehab and return this season, it turns out Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery. He turns 38 years old in February. He likely won't pitch in 2021.
- Garrett Crochet, who was selected in this year's draft, was called up and made his debut for the White Sox this weekend. He pitched two innings in relief with two strikeouts. He's more of a name to pay attention to for keeper and dynasty leagues.
- J.T. Realmuto, dealing with that hip issue, won't be ready to catch Monday, and it's unclear whether he'll be able to serve as the designated hitter. If he isn't in the lineup Monday, you should get him out of your Fantasy lineups.
- Bryce Harper left Sunday's game with lower back discomfort. You should know by Monday afternoon if Harper will be in their lineup.
- Nolan Arenado is undergoing tests on a sore left shoulder Sunday and could miss the rest of the 2020 season. Manager Bud Black said the team should have more information on Monday.
- Tim Anderson exited Sunday's game against the Reds with a right hamstring cramp. The White Sox play Monday evening so pay attention to see if he's in the lineup.
- Nelson Cruz was scratched Saturday with knee soreness. He was out of the lineup Sunday as well. The Twins do not play until Tuesday at 7:40 ET and only have five games this week. I'm leaning towards benching Cruz in this spot.
- Mike Clevinger was slated to start Saturday against the Mariners, but he was ultimately scratched ahead of the outing with right biceps soreness. As of now, Clevinger is expected to make a start on Wednesday against the Angels. I'm OK starting him there in a positive matchup.
- Tommy Pham returned from the IL on Friday, going 2-for-7 in two games and then sat out Sunday. The Padres play six games this week. Pham is worth starting in five-outfielder leagues.
- Aaron Boone indicated Saturday that Aroldis Chapman could have a second hearing on the appeal of his suspension, potentially delaying it until next season.
- Sonny Gray will return to the Reds' starting rotation Tuesday against the Brewers. He's a risky start for the final week.
- Eric Hosmer returned on Saturday and went 1-for-8 over two games. He's worth getting back into your lineups as a corner infielder.
- Mike Yastrzemski remained out of the lineup Sunday with that calf injury. He left Thursday's game and has not seen the field since. If you want to play it safe, it sounds like you should bench him.
Weekend's biggest winners
- This past week featured some of the best pitchers in baseball getting hit pretty hard. Jack Flaherty was looking for a bounce-back on Sunday, and usually the Pirates are the team to provide that. Flaherty allowed just one run in this start while striking out 10 (thanks to 21 swinging strikes). While Flaherty has struggled in Miller Park, I still consider him a must-start this week at the Brewers.
- George Springer was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday, blasting two home runs and stealing his first base of the season. He's a tear on September, batting .304 with eight home runs in just 20 games. He likely got off to such a slow start because he was dealing with that elbow injury earlier in the season. Continue to start him with confidence.
- Dallas Keuchel returned from the IL Saturday and tossed four shutout innings with seven strikeouts against the Reds. While I don't buy everything Keuchel has done this season, his swinging strike rate is way up from where it's been, and he's among the best in the league at limiting hard contact. I would start him with confidence this final week against the Indians, a team that is 25th in wOBA against left-handed pitching this season.
Weekend's biggest losers
- Woah there, Patrick Corbin. What happened on Saturday? Corbin got lit up for seven runs against the Marlins, allowing 14 hits. On the season he has a 4.76 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. There are quite a few warning signs, too, has his velocity is down across the board, as well his swinging strike rate. I would really try and get away from Corbin in the final week of the season against the Mets considering his recent form.
- Another pitcher you should be dropping for anybody is Dylan Cease. How's this for a fun line Sunday against the Reds: 3 IP, 0 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 5 K. His surface stats are deceiving because he's had favorable matchups all season, but the walks have been a huge issue. Cease has now allowed 12 free passes over his past two starts. Do not start him against the Cubs this week and again, feel free to drop him.
- It almost felt too good to be true for Deivi Garcia to this point. He entered Sunday's start against the Red Sox with a 3.28 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Garcia proceeded to allow six runs over just three innings. Most concerning was that his fastball velocity was down a little bit in this start. I still think Garcia can be used in deeper leagues this final week because of his matchup with the Marlins, but he can be dropped in any shallower formats.