It feels like only yesterday that we were beginning this Head-to-Head journey together, and magically we are entering the final weeks of the regular season. With only a few more weeks left until the playoffs start, the wins become ever so important. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention again that the fantasy football season has crept upon us, leaving, on average, 25% of the league’s cellar dwellers empty. There are those teams that are still competitive, despite their poor standings, but the odds are greatly reduced. This is also the time of year when I trim my roster. Here are a couple of “end-of-season” tricks that I use in preparation for the playoffs.
- Trim your roster. If you have players who are just “certain” they will come out of hibernation. It’s time to cut bait, it’s nearing September. I’m looking at you, J.D. Martinez.
- Check waivers for returning players. Not all leagues have IL spots (leave that league if so). Ozzie Albies, Bryce Harper, Mike Soroka, Manny Margot
- Rotating spot among staff. I always leave at least one spot available among my pitchers to have a stream-worthy option.
- Sunday night waiver dump. If you have limited roster moves per week, use the remaining moves on Sunday night for the week ahead.
What to look for!
- FAVORABLE TEAM MATCHUPS!
- SPARP(S) OF THE WEEK!
- R/L MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT
- SAGNOF/SAGNOF (PART DEUX)
Favorable Team Matchups!
SPARP(S) OF THE WEEK!
Jakob Junis-SP/RP-SF (@MIN) (12% rostered in Yahoo)- The big issue with Junis has been his inability to go 5 innings or more. After a series of rough stretches against the Dodgers twice and the Padres, Junis finally got a nice matchup against the D’Backs. Jakob climbed the 7-inning ladder but fell victim to a lack of run support. I like what I have seen in the way of progress for Junis on the season, and the Twins aren’t that scary of a matchup to exploit. Since July 1st, they are 20th in runs scored and wRC+.
Jose Suarez-SP/RP-LAA (@TB) (12% rostered in Yahoo)- If you have been following my work all season long, he is probably on your team already. If not, here is another chance to pick him up. The matchup isn’t as appealing as prior matchups, but there is still reason for hope. If you had a chance to read CoolWhip’s most recent article, he highlights Suarez’s slider usage. You can read it here. Also, seeing as this is also a playoff prep article, you may only have Suarez for this week since he is scheduled for a two-start next week vNYY and @HOU. So why the matchup vs TB? As noted, his slider usage has been propelling his success, and the Rays have the 8th highest swinging strike % since July 1st. Add in the fact that they are last in zone contact %, and I see a recipe for success.
Ross Stripling-SP/RP (@BOS/vLAA) (34% rostered in Yahoo)- Similar to the above statement, if you are familiar with my work, you have seen the Stripling recommendations for a long time now. There is an opportunity tho. seeing as how he went on the IL and his roster % clearly dropped. In his first start since coming off of the IL, he dealt 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Orioles. The matchup this week isn’t as appealing as Baltimore, but it does have a double-dip against the Red Sox and the Angels. Stripling has been very effective vs Bos, not allowing more than 2 ER in any of his 3 starts. Stripling has yet to start vs LAA, but both teams have been struggling offensively over the past 6 weeks.
R/L MATCHUPS TO EXPLOIT!
Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, NYM (9% rostered in Yahoo)- Since coming over to the Mets in a trade, Vogelbach has been crushing right-handed pitching and trying to dispel the rumor that he isn’t in shape. Round is a shape, right? Regardless, the Mets get a heavy amount of RHP, most of which like giving up taters. “Did someone say taters?” Get back in the batter’s box, Daniel!
Jake Fraley, OF, CIN (5% rostered in Yahoo)- I’ll leave all the food puns for Vogelbach, but Fraley is one hot schmotato. Damn, I did it again. “Get back in the batter’s box, Daniel!” Fraley has really been sizzling at the plate against RHP, raking to the tune of a .405 average since July 27th. Add in the surge of power (4HR/9RBI) atop the Reds’ lineup, and we have a payday. “No, Daniel, not the candybar”. Fraley had been sitting against lefties but gets Suarez and Corbin, to which I think he could see some abs, considering he started Wednesday against Suarez.
A.J. Pollock, OF, CWS (27% rostered in Yahoo)- “Did someone say pollock?” No, Daniel, not the fish. The OF for the White Sox”. Pollock and the Sox are set to play 8 this upcoming week, with 3-4 of them against lefties. Pollock has been cooking against southpaws since 7/28 to the tune of .294 with 2 HRs and 4 extra-base hits. The matchups are all advantageous, so if you find yourself in a bind at OF, go fishing with Pollock, you might catch something.
There are some hot-hitting players that I am going to highlight in the SAGNOF section, but just know that if you’re searching for other category bumps, they could be multi-tool adds!
Jake McCarthy, OF, ARI (5% rostered in Yahoo)- As mentioned above, McCarthy is more than just SAGNOF, as he has been hitting extremely well over the past month. During that time, he has 11 runs, 10 RBI, a 304 average and 7 SBs! Arizona only plays 5 this week, but 3 of them are against the White Sox, who have allowed the 4th most SB all season.
Bryson Stott, 2B/SS, PHI (12% rostered in Yahoo)- Recently promoted to the leadoff spot on the heels of a .356 average over the past two weeks. The Phillies play 7 this week, with juicy matchups against the Reds and the Pirates. The Reds have allowed the most SB, and the Pirates aren’t far behind at 12th.
SAGNOF (PART DEUX)
Scott Effross-New York Yankees (9% rostered in Yahoo)- Bret Boone has said he is going with a matchup approach with Holmes on the IL. Don’t be shocked to see both Effross and Aroldis with a couple of SV.