2017 Fantasy Baseball Weekly Planner: Week 8
Nate Miller breaks down the MLB schedule for Week 8 and highlights games played, home/road action and the starting pitchers to keep an eye on for the eighth week of the fantasy baseball season.
Headed into play on Sunday, May 21, three teams from the N.L. West are in playoff positions and the Giants are not one of them. Isn’t baseball great in its unpredictability?
The Twins, Brewers and Rockies are all division leaders at the moment. Mark Reynolds has an MLB-leading 39 RBI while Edwin Encarnacion, Hanley Ramirez and Eric Hosmer do not even have half of that amount. Alex Wood sports an NL-best 1.88 ERA while senior circuit All Stars like Jake Arrieta and Julio Teheran hold marks well above 5.00.
It’s virtually impossible to see some things coming, but by preplanning for each and every week of the Fantasy Baseball season, you can often get a jump on the trends that are brewing around the league. Let’s take a look at how Week 8 is shaping up.
Game Schedule Breakdown
|Braves||7||4||3||vs. PIT (4), at SF (3)|
|Phillies||7||7||0||vs. COL (4), vs. CIN (3)|
|Marlins||5||3||2||at OAK (2), vs. LAA (3)|
|Nationals||6||6||0||vs. SEA (3), vs. SD (3)|
|Mets||6||3||3||vs. SD (3), at PIT (3)|
|Pirates||7||3||4||at ATL (4), vs. NYM (3)|
|Cubs||7||4||3||vs. SF (4), at LAD (3)|
|Cardinals||6||0||6||at LAD (3), at COL (3)|
|Reds||7||2||5||vs. CLE (2), at CLE (2), at PHI (3)|
|Brewers||6||6||0||vs. TOR (2), vs. ARI (4)|
|Diamondbacks||7||3||4||vs. CWS (3), at MIL (4)|
|Rockies||7||3||4||at PHI (4), vs. STL (3)|
|Dodgers||6||6||0||vs. STL (3), vs. CHC (3)|
|Giants||7||3||4||at CHC (4), vs. ATL (3)|
|Padres||6||0||6||at NYM (3), at WSH (3)|
|Red Sox||6||6||0||vs. TEX (3), vs. SEA (3)|
|Yankees||7||7||0||vs. KC (4), vs. OAK (3)|
|Rays||7||4||3||vs. LAA (4), at MIN (3)|
|Blue Jays||5||3||2||at MIL (2), vs. TEX (3)|
|Orioles||6||3||3||vs. MIN (3), at HOU (3)|
|Indians||7||5||2||at CIN (2), vs. CIN (2), vs. KC (3)|
|White Sox||7||4||3||at ARI (3), vs. DET (4)|
|Twins||6||3||3||at BAL (3), vs. TB (3)|
|Royals||7||0||7||at NYY (4), at CLE (3)|
|Tigers||8||0||8||at HOU (4), at CWS (4)|
|Astros||7||7||0||vs. DET (4), vs. BAL (3)|
|Angels||7||0||7||at TB (4), at MIA (3)|
|Rangers||6||0||6||at BOS (3), at TOR (3)|
|Mariners||6||0||6||at WSH (3), at BOS (3)|
|Athletics||5||2||3||vs. MIA (2), at NYY (3)|
Analysis (Noteworthy information to keep in mind headed into the week)
Three teams are looking at short, five-game slates this week - the Marlins, Blue Jays and Athletics. On the flip side, more than half the clubs in the league will play at least seven times, including the Tigers who have eight games on the docket due to Friday’s planned doubleheader.
The Yankees, Phillies and Astros are the only teams that will play as many as seven home games over the next seven days. All three of them have significant home-road splits on the season, but in differing areas. The Yankees’ and Phillies’ batting orders have been taking advantage of their respective hitter-friendly home parks while the Astros’ pitching staff has been dominating in Houston so far this year.
The Yankees have not necessarily struggled to score away from New York City, as they are averaging better than 5.0 runs per game on the road. That number just simply pales in comparison to the 6.5 they are pushing across at home. Across 19 games at Yankee Stadium this year, the Pinstripers boast an incredibly impressive .871 OPS.
Heading into Sunday’s action, the Phillies (15-25) had played just 16-of-40 games on the season in their home park. They have evenly split those contests, going 8-8 in Philadelphia compared to an ugly 7-17 on the road. Much of the reason for that discrepancy is a solid .279/.350/.470 slash line at Citizen’s Bank Park and a mediocre .242/.304/.397 mark in other venues.
Finally, the Astros’ staff, which did unfortunately see ace Dallas Keuchel (neck) hit the DL over the weekend, has been simply sensational in Houston. Entering play Sunday at Minute Maid Park, Manager A.J. Hinch’s hurlers have cruised to the tune of a 2.90 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 10.0 K/9 through 205.0 innings at home.
|AWAY TEAM||HOME TEAM||# GAMES||DH?||PLAYER(S) IMPACTED|
|White Sox||Diamondbacks||3||No||Matt Davidson|
|Indians||Reds||2||No||Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall|
|Blue Jays||Brewers||2||No||Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak|
The potential absence of Nelson Cruz (.938 OPS, 10 HR) from the Mariners’ lineup over three games in Washington D.C. (Tue - Thu) is definitely something to keep in mind this week. Cruz has yet to play at all in the field this season and was out of the starting lineup for both games of a two-day visit to Philadelphia earlier this month.
Top-50 Starting Pitcher Rankings
|RANK||PITCHER||MATCHUP 1||MATCHUP 2|
|1||Chris Sale||vs. Rangers|
|2||Clayton Kershaw||vs. Cardinals|
|3||Lance McCullers||vs. Tigers||vs. Orioles|
|4||Zack Greinke||vs. White Sox||@Brewers|
|5||Max Scherzer||vs. Mariners|
|6||Yu Darvish||@Blue Jays|
|7||Michael Pineda||vs. Royals|
|8||Gerrit Cole||@Braves||vs. Mets|
|9||Jacob deGrom||vs. Padres|
|10||Carlos Carrasco||@Reds||vs. Royals|
|11||Michael Fulmer||@Astros||@White Sox|
|13||Stephen Strasburg||vs. Padres|
|14||Jake Odorizzi||vs. Angels||@Twins|
|15||Johnny Cueto||@Cubs||vs. Braves|
|16||Kyle Hendricks||vs. Giants||@Dodgers|
|18||Alex Wood||vs. Cubs|
|19||Rick Porcello||vs. Rangers||vs. Mariners|
|20||Ervin Santana||@Orioles||vs. Rays|
|21||Jon Lester||vs. Giants|
|22||Luis Severino||vs. Royals|
|24||Alex Cobb||vs. Angels||@Twins|
|29||Eduardo Rodriguez||vs. Mariners|
|30||Dylan Bundy||vs. Twins|
|32||John Lackey||vs. Giants||@Dodgers|
|35||Mike Foltynewicz||vs. Pirates||@Giants|
|36||Zack Wheeler||vs. Padres|
|37||Taijuan Walker||vs. White Sox|
|39||Jimmy Nelson||vs. Blue Jays||vs. Diamondbacks|
|40||Jerad Eickhoff||vs. Rockies||vs. Reds|
|42||German Marquez||@Phillies||vs. Cardinals|
|45||Matt Garza||vs. Blue Jays|
|49||Gio Gonzalez||vs. Mariners|
Jacob deGrom’s upcoming matchup with the Padres is certainly one for fantasy owners to salivate over, but a blister issue that apparently crept up in the last of his seven shutout frames against the Angels this past Friday is something to monitor with the All-Star righty.
Slotting into the rankings just behind deGrom, Carlos Carrasco could be looking at an inviting two-start schedule if the Indians follow through on reports that he will return to the mound Tuesday in Cincinnati. Carrasco has not pitched since last Monday when he exited after 3.2 innings due to a pectoral issue.
It is inadvisable to go too far with Jose Berrios’ ranking just yet, but his performance at the show so far this season has been outstanding. He was clearly overmatched in the bigs during 2016, posting an ugly 8.02 ERA over 14 starts for the Twins. This year, after dominating Triple-A bats across 39.2 innings, Berrios has surrendered only one run on four hits and two walks while registering 15 punchouts through 15.2 innings.
Next 25 Starting Pitcher Rankings
|RANK||PITCHER||MATCHUP 1||MATCHUP 2|
|51||Rich Hill||vs. Cardinals|
|52||Danny Salazar||vs. Royals|
|53||Jordan Montgomery||vs. Royals|
|55||Julio Teheran||vs. Prates||@Giants|
|57||Mike Clevinger||vs. Reds|
|58||Charlie Morton||vs. Tigers|
|59||Tanner Roark||vs. Mariners||vs. Padres|
|60||Dan Straily||vs. Angels|
|61||Sonny Gray||vs. Marlins|
|62||Patrick Corbin||vs. White Sox||@Brewers|
|63||Marco Estrada||vs. Rangers|
|64||Drew Pomeranz||vs. Mariners|
|66||Chris Tillman||vs. Twins|
|67||Kendall Graveman||vs. Marlins|
|69||Kyle Freeland||vs. Cardinals|
|71||Matt Andriese||vs. Angels|
|72||Derek Holland||vs. Tigers|
|74||Trevor Bauer||vs. Reds|
Danny Salazar has been frustrating for fantasy owners to this point in the campaign, but the peripherals are there to support some serious overall improvement. A 13.5 K/9 is obviously top notch, but a 5.66 ERA and 1.57 WHIP are almost too much to stomach. So what to do? Look at a 3.20 xFIP and .383 BABIP against the 2016 All Star this season for some direction. Run him out there for a meeting with the Royals on Friday night in Cleveland.
Nate Miller is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and has been an analyst in the industry since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad, where he is always up for fielding any Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football or DFS questions.