2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Hitting Planner: Bombs Away

by Jonathan Chan
2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Hitting Planner

Remember when you were a kid and you dreamt about hitting a game-winning home run? Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, a full count and trailing by three. You produce a mighty swing of the bat and launch the home run over the center-field wall to win the game. The crowd goes wild and you celebrate with your teammates as you cross home plate.

Well, David Bote fulfilled that dream a few nights ago. Here is the incredible series of events:

Wait. Bote's pitch count was only 2-2, not a full count. Obviously, it takes away all the magic of the moment. Sorry Bote, maybe next time.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Hitting Planner

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Offense To Target - New York Yankees

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The Yankees won't have a full schedule this week, but their opponents will more than make-up for the six-game schedule.

The Yankees will start the week with a two-game series in Miami against the Marlins. We all know about the Marlins rotation and how easy they are to pick on. Trevor Richards and Jose Urena will be on the mound, who should be no match for the Yankees second-ranked offense.

After another off day, the Bronx Bombers will start a four-game series in Baltimore. While the Orioles pitching staff isn't as bad as the Marlins, they still rank 29th in ERA and HR/9. Camden Yards also is also an above average power park, which should play right into the Yankees strengths.

Notable Players

Oriole Park is very friendly to right-handed power hitters, so Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar should see increased production next week. The red-hot Aaron Hicks is a switch-hitter who performs better against right-handers. Baltimore's rotation is exclusively righties, making Hicks a great add candidate this week, as he's still just 73% owned in ESPN leagues.

Gleybar Torres has been cold lately, but the great matchups should give him a much-needed boost. Austin Romine had a great series against the Rangers and should be a great option for owners streaming catchers next week.

Offense To Avoid - Los Angeles Angels

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What a difference a week makes. I was all over the Angels for Week 20, but I want no part of them in Week 21. The Angels only have five games this week against very tough opponents.

The Diamondbacks have a top tier pitching staff, ranking fourth in ERA, eighth in WAR and ninth in K-BB%. Their scheduled starters against the Angels will be Patrick Corbin and Clay Buchholz. Corbin has been superb this season, ranking sixth in K-BB% among all qualified starters. Buchholz has been good in his own right, holding opponents to a 2.67 ERA.

Following the D'Backs series, LA will head back home for a series against the Astros. The Houston rotation hasn't been historically dominant like they were early in the season, but they're still good enough to maintain their top ranking in ERA, K-BB%, and WAR. Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole are on the docket, so there's no reprieve at all next week.

Notable Players

All Angels get a massive downgrade this week, but I doubt anyone is going to sit Justin Upton despite the light schedule. Shohei Ohtani has been used consistently as a DH, but may struggle against a tough slate of opponents. Owners in weekly leagues also run the risk of him playing in just four or even three games, making him nearly unplayable.

Anyone who added Albert Pujols last week should drop him for a hot bat in Week 21, as I don't see the future Hall of Famer doing much with the limited opportunity. Any owners who added rookie catcher Taylor Ward will want to exercise patience with him next week. Dominating Triple-A is very different than facing two of the best rotations in the league.

Offense To Target - Atlanta Braves

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I was going to go a little off the road here and suggest the Tigers offense this week. But no one is going to trust the Tigers this close to the Fantasy playoffs. If you do, you're far braver than I am. Instead, I'm going to pick on the Marlins again and recommend the Braves.

Atlanta will play a full seven-game schedule next week, all against subpar opponents. Their first series is against the Pirates, who's pitching staff ranks in the bottom half of the league. The addition of Chris Archer should bring some improvements, but Archer himself hasn't been great this season. He carried a 4.31 ERA through 17 starts in Tampa Bay and has been average in his two starts with the Pirates.

If they don't perform against the Pirates, the series in Miami should boost them right up. Four games against them are like legal PEDs for any offense. Except maybe the Mets.

Notable Players

Among the lesser-owned Braves, Johan Camargo is the main add for next week. Since the All-Star break, Camargo is slashing .310/.347/.563. Over the last two weeks, he's collected 10 extra-base hits and 11 RBI.

Ender Inciarte should have a bounce-back week against subpar competition. Kurt Suzuki is a good option for catcher streaming owners, just don't expect him to play more than five games.

If you're in the 10% of ESPN leagues where Ronald Acuna Jr. is unowned, please go add him.

Offense To Avoid - Arizona Diamondbacks

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The Diamondbacks, much like the Angels, are victims of a light schedule. Of course, the two teams will face off to start the week, with Los Angeles throwing Felix Pena and a TBD pitcher to the mound. These are pretty enticing matchups, but Diamondbacks owners can't solely rely on two games to get them through the week.

Arizona's second series is when things get tougher. The Seattle pitching staff has been good this season, ranking seventh in K-BB% and WAR. Marco Gonzales is having an excellent season, despite his recent hiccups.

Of course, any deficit against the Mariners is tough to overcome, thanks to the looming threat of Edwin Diaz in the bullpen. As I'm about to submit this, Paxton was placed on the DL, so he will not be available for the series. The matchup is now easier, but the D'Backs still have a tough schedule.

Notable Players

Gonzales is a tough lefty who could present some D'Backs with an issue next week. David Peralta is batting .244 against southpaws, while fellow outfielder Jon Jay is batting .164 against them.

Eduardo Escobar has shown almost no power against lefties, hitting just two of his 17 home runs against them. Weekly league owners need to think long and hard if playing Diamondbacks not named Paul Goldschmidt or A.J. Pollock is worth it next week.

Platoon Targets

Aledmys Diaz, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

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Remember a few years ago when Diaz was an automatic, everyday starter? These days, Diaz is a matchup-based hitter who has occasionally morphed himself into a power-hitter. He hasn't been able to get on base with regularity this season (.292 OBP) and only seems to contribute with streaky power-binges. However, he will have some appeal this week thanks to his scheduled opponents.

Diaz will be facing right-handed pitchers all week, who he hits nearly 50 points higher against than lefties. Especially early in the week, when the Jays face the Orioles, Diaz will be a very appealing option for owners struggling in the middle infield. The Phillies do have a good staff, but the Jays won't have to face Aaron Nola, making the matchups much easier to stomach.

Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs

Similar to the recommendation I made in Week 19  Zobrist will be facing a plethora of right-handed pitchers next week, and he should get plenty of playing time to take advantage of his stronger platoon side. Hopefully, he doesn't get ejected next week.

Check out the rest of our great 2018 Fantasy Baseball content.

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