With one week left in the regular season for most H2H leagues (20 regular season matchups) you most likely know if you will be making a championship push in the playoffs, or if you came up short. If you are still reading these at this point in the year, I’m assuming your team is still alive. So let’s make one last push this week if you are on the bubble, or let’s starting thinking about next week if you have a spot secured.
Part of prepping for the playoffs includes scooping up the pitchers that will have juicy matchups come next week. Many fantasy players look ahead in the week to pick up those who they will stream. But like usual in H2H, if you want to stay ahead of the curve you need to act before your competition. Check out who the available pitchers are, and what teams their starts should be lining up against. For example, Dinelson Lamet is a guy I’ve been adding everywhere I can and is still available in 14.6% of ESPN leagues. He has a tough matchup this weekend against the Red Sox so won’t be on many radars, but his start next week should line up against the Giants in San Fran. Another streamer with a great matchup next week is Anthony DeSclafani (12.6%), who plays the Marlins in Miami. He has been a little rough lately, but it’s a reason he should be available. Both he and Lamet will go up against weaker offenses in some of the most pitcher friendly ballparks. The waiver wire is pretty thin at this point in the season, so playing matchups is imperative.
Some like to play it safe with the ratios when it comes to pitching, but I’ve always been a fan of getting as many starts as possible in H2H matchups. This holds true in the playoffs as well, as your whole season comes down to a single week. And even if your guys have had solid ratios all year, a couple bad starts out of your staff can really dig you into a hole. Instead I like to pile up the starters in order to go for wins, strikeouts, and quality starts if your league uses them as a category. I feel as though this gives me the best chance to win the pitching categories since ERA and WHIP vary so drastically week to week. You have no control over what matchups your pitchers will see, and how their ratios that week wind up. However, you can have control over giving yourself more pitchers to try to edge out your opponent in K’s and wins. And it is still very possible to win ERA and WHIP as well.
When it comes to hitting, this is the time of the year where we need to ride the hot bats. If some players you drafted have been severely underwhelming all season long, they aren’t likely to turn it all around now. It can be tough cutting ties with guys you drafted with high expectations, but they are often times deadweight at this point in the season. Instead, consider dropping your bottom hitter for someone who has been hot at the plate and in a position to continue that streak.
One option to consider is Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who is owned in 20% of ESPN leagues. Yaz has quite the name to live up to, but has done a great job so far this season and been hot as of late. Over the past 15 days, he has hit .311 through 45 AB to go along with 6 HR, 11 RBI, and 8 runs scored. On the season he has slashed .276/.326/.548 with 16 HR and 45 RBI. His recent success has allowed him to settle in the #2 spot in the Giants lineup. Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk (26.7% owned) is another option to consider. Over his past 15 days, Grichuk has hit .271 with 5 HR, 9 RBI, 9 runs scored, and 1 SB. He is a solid option if you are in need of some power, and now has 23 long balls on the year. Toronto has actually had a pretty solid offense in the month of August (tied for 11th in runs) due to some youngsters that are dialed in, and Grichuk has been hitting right in the middle of the order.
One last thing to consider is that the bubble teams will likely be much more aggressive than other teams in this final week. That means they will probably be dropping some quality players in order to stream an additional pitcher or make a push in a certain category. So hopefully you’ve played it safe with waiver claims so that you are ready to pounce on someone that ordinarily wouldn’t be on the wire. Best of luck these next few weeks and let’s finish the season strong!