Hey there! Do you look familiar? I recognize you from reading this article over the past 20+ weeks. While this may be the end, let’s ensure it ends on a high note! While many will be happy just to have made it to the finals, our goal is to hoist that trophy…or cash those checks. Whatever it may be that is your driving motivation. Let’s take it one step further, do you have any clue who Ken Rosewall is? Didn’t think so. What about Raymond Poulidor? The correct answer to that is “WHO?”. How about an easier one? Have you heard of Jim Kelly? Yes? Perfect! So what do those names all have in common? Ken Rosewall was a historic loser of the Wimbledon finals! How about Raymond Poulidor? His nickname was “The Eternal Second” due to his countless 2nd place finishes in the Tour de France. And finally, Jim Kelly. Yes, most of us old-timers know him from his historic 4 Super Bowl losses with the Buffalo Bills.
Ultimately, what has the paragraph above taught us? Finishing second is an easy way to be forgotten. To quote the great Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” Now let’s Get Ahead In Head To Head and win that ‘ship!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR!
- Favorable schedules
- SPARP(S) Of The Week
- R/L Matchups to Exploit
Since it is Finals week and I can’t know everyone’s lineup, here is a list of team narratives that could influence some decisions. Or at the least, interesting things of note!
- ARI-despite playing 8 games, the matchups against LAD and SF are tough.
- BOS- Boston’s left-handed hitters have a nice matchup in Cincy but can’t say the same for their trip to Yankee Stadium (Montas, Taillon, Cole)
- CIN- Faces a bevy of RHP, but it’s littered with tough matchups.
- COL- Plays all 7 games at home. Matchups aren’t great. Maybe focus on visiting teams’ players?
- LAD- 8 Games w/DH on Tue. StL series could pose trouble for left-handed bats.
- SD- Left-handed bats could play well.
- SEA- Plays 7 games on the road. In the heat of a Wild Card Race. Unfortunately, they travel 3,304 miles during the week. There could be some jetlag.
- SF- Left-handed bats could be huge in the series at Arizona and Colorado!
- STL- Pujols’ chase for 700!
- TB-Despite playing 7 against all RHP, those RHP are Garcia, Javier, McCullers, Berrios, Manoah, and Stripling.
SPARP(S) OF THE WEEK
The SPARP(S) options this week are less than appealing. I will list some options if you have a serious issue or deficiency.
Austin Voth-SP/RP-Bal (10% rostered in Yahoo)- Voth is a tricky proposition for Finals week. For starters, he has been really good since July 1st. Over that span, he has gone 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. The tricky part of this option is the 2nd start over the weekend when he has to face the Astros. If you have the option to make daily changes, then you know what to do. Let’s end on a positive note. The 1st start is against the Tigers, who since 8/1/22, own the league’s highest K% at 26.4%.
Drew Smyly-SP/RP-CHC (20% rostered in Yahoo)- Since the beginning of August, Smyly has been making opponents frown. Since 8/1, Smyly is 4-2 with 41K’s and only 12 BBs. Despite the one terrible start against the Cardinals, Smyly has given fantasy owners at least 5 innings and less than 2 runs. This week, Smyly and the Cubs will face the Marlins, who are 25th in Runs, 5th in K%, and 30th in wRC+ since 8/1.
Michael Lorenzen-SP/RP (11% rostered in Yahoo)- Returned from injury to pitch well enough against the Astros to limit them to 1 run across 5 2/3 innings. Lorenzen will get the Mariners before this start against the Rangers, but it doesn’t appear he will need much work to be trusted to go deep enough to get the W. With the Rangers struggling against RHP, Lorenzen could be a sneaky source of ratios.
R/L Matchups to Exploit
Albert Pujols, 1B, UT, StL (35% rostered in Yahoo)- Wouldn’t it be fun to win your H2H like it was 2011 all over again! While it may sound like I am joking, sadly I am not. Pujols has put together the best 6 week stretch since his 2011 season. While it’s worth noting that he will most likely sit vs RHP, he has the fortune of seeing nearly all LHP this week. While they may be difficult matchups on paper, Albert has made his approach against LHP look very simple.
Garrett Cooper, 1B, OF, MIA (12% rostered in Yahoo)- While the Marlins have been ice cold over the past month, Cooper has been steadily producing for fantasy managers. Over the past 7 days, Cooper has hit .308 with a HR and 5 RBI. Heading into the final week, the Marlins have the best matchups as they face the Cubs and the Nats, two teams that are near the bottom in ERA.
Elvis Andrus, SS, CWS (48% rostered in Yahoo)- If you win your championship with Pujols and Andrus in your lineup, please screenshot us a picture! If the Fountain of Youth is in Chicago, nobody told LaRussa, cause there is plenty left for Elvis. Since joining the Sox, he is hitting .308 with 6 HR, and 3 SB, while batting in the leadoff spot.
Oscar Gonzalez, OF, CLE (32% rostered in Yahoo)- One of the rare hitters who hits both RHP and LHP nearly identically. Over the past two weeks, Oscar hasn’t been leaving his managers grouchy. It’s hard to complain when he has given us 7/4/12/.373 during that span…not garbage.
Myles Straw, OF, CLE (18% rostered in Yahoo)- Mentioned last week, and he responded with a SB and a .409 OBP. Take advantage
SAGNOF (PART DEUX)
Alexis Diaz, RP, CIN (43% rostered in Yahoo)- No clue how he is still under 50%, but if he is available, he is clearly the closer of the future…but it IS David Bell.
Seranthony Dominguez, RP, PHI (50% rostered in Yahoo)- As mentioned, there is a chance he was dropped and not picked back up yet. After getting a couple holds, he could easily get the 9th inning this week.
Always keep up to date with the ever-changing bullpens with the Bullpen Report. You can find it here.