Time for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Hitting Planner!
Week three can always be an interesting time for Fantasy Baseball. If people were overreacting to one week, how do we react to two weeks of Fantasy Baseball?
Should I buy low on Ozzie Albies? Should I be avoiding Albies? Would someone be willing to move on from Albies after spending the high draft pick or are they committed to him because of the draft capital?
What about guys like Tyler Naquin or Akil Baddoo? The waiver wire darlings have been phenomenal early in the season but is it sustainable? Should we be looking to cash in on these players and sell high in case they do fall off? It can be hard to give up on those great waiver wire finds that have helped our fantasy teams in these early weeks.
That is what makes Fantasy Baseball so exciting and difficult at the same time. There are a lot of different options to explore and almost everyone has a different idea of what they should be doing.
Especially when it comes to what hitters we should be targeting in these upcoming weeks for Fantasy Baseball. Thankfully, we here at Fantasy Six Pack have that covered with the weekly hitting planner.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Hitting Planner
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OFFENSES TO TARGET
Boston Red Sox
Team wRC+: 123
I will admit that I was not sure what to think of the Red Sox coming into 2021. However, their offense has done nothing but impress so far.
The Red Sox currently have the fourth-best team OPS in the majors at .792. After a couple of weeks, they have not shown signs of slowing down. In fact, they have been getting better and still have guys that have not hit their stride.
They do have an interesting week. Monday against the White Sox and then two against Toronto should be fun matchups, but maybe not the best for offensive production. However, the fun could begin on Thursday when they start a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners currently have the 11th worst team ERA (4.55). The Mariners are struggling to pitch, and the Red Sox bats appear to be catching stride, which could make for a fun offensive series in Boston.
J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers have been terrific, both with an OPS over 1.000. Christian Vasquez has provided great production at a thin catcher position with a .840 OPS. Xander Bogaerts is not hitting for great power right now, but a line of .370/.431/.457 still benefits any fantasy team.
Alex Verdugo has gotten off to a slow start, .194/.286/.389 one home run, nine runs, five RBIs, and a 78 wRC+. I know that it can be disheartening as fantasy owners to see that slow start and have difficulties wanting to play Verdugo, but I would not be worried.
Looking at Verdugo's baseball savant page, he has a .300 xBA and a .505 xSLG, meaning he could see an uptick in production soon. His wOBA currently sits at .286 but his xwOBA is currently .366, which provides more evidence that Verdugo could turn it around soon.
Enrique Hernandez is another guy that could see an uptick in production. I know a 61 wRC+ may cause some fear, and he is a lot easier to cut due to draft capital, but there could be some value coming. Check out the .268 xBA, .593 xSLG, .262 wOBA, and .377 xwOBA. This leads me to believe he could provide some decent value for deeper fantasy leagues.
Team wRC+: 107
The Twins have gotten off to a sluggish 5-5 start in 2021. They may have faced some of the toughest luck in all of baseball, as they have lost a few heartbreakers early this season.
However, their offense has looked great, coming in at 5th in team wRC+ ranking and team OPS (.771).
I think we could be in for another great offensive week from the Twins. They start the week in Oakland with a three-game set against the worst ERA (6.00) in baseball before finishing the week with a three-game weekend set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Please let me have a fully healthy Byron Buxton in 2021. I need to know what it would look like. I would say the 1.622 OPS and 334 wRC+ probably are not sustainable. Just a guess, but I think that comes down a tad. However, I really want to see what he looks like if he can stay healthy.
Not much to say about Nelson Cruz other than he still will not age. His 262 wRC+ early in the season tells me that he will probably crank another 40 homers this year and maybe for the next several years.
Luis Arraez has been hot, .323/.436/.452 with a 152 wRC+. This is supported by a .331 xBA, .553 xSLG, .392 wOBA, .420 xwOBA, and .443 xwOBAcon. He is also currently walking in 17.9% of his plate appearances, so he is providing great value in all formats. He has never hit for a ton of power, even throughout the minors, but he looks like he could be providing great sleeper value based on where he was drafted.
OFFENSES TO AVOID
Team wRC+: 78
I am not sure what is wrong in Milwaukee, but I do know that they are not hitting. They have had a difficult time making solid contact and doing anything consistently offensively.
They are ranked 28th in team wRC+ and 29th in OPS currently in 2021. It has been difficult to watch so far.
It does not look to get any easier this week as they travel to San Diego for three games against one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Then, they find themselves in Chicago against the Cubs.
Omar Narvaez has been the best Brewers hitter so far with his 212 wRC+ and batting line of .423/.500/.654. I will take that every time from my catcher.
Travis Shaw has been solid this year, hitting .281/.361/.500 two home runs, three runs, ten RBIs, and 135 wRC+. That is great value considering the cost it was to get Shaw.
Christian Yelich has not been bad, but he has not been exactly what one would hope for based on his draft position. I would not be worried about Yelich, as I figure the power will eventually come. I wonder if the back tightness that is keeping him out of the lineup is the cause of his lack of power.
The rest of the lineup, well it is a different story.
I think the offense eventually finds a way to turn it around, but I am not betting on it being this week.
OFFENSES TO AVOID
Team wRC+: 79
Cleveland has not gotten off to the best start offensively. I think most of us knew there would be a few more issues after trading away a guy like Francisco Lindor. I think we thought it would be a little better than this though.
They are currently below average offensively, coming in at 17th in wRC+.
They have not been the worst offensive team in 2021, but I would consider avoiding some of their players due to the matchups this week. The Indians play two against the White Sox and then start a four-game series with the Yankees on Thursday. Both of these teams rank in the top ten in team ERA.
I do not think Jose Ramirez was being drafted for a .731 OPS or a 103 wRC+. I think he was drafted to provide a little more value. Something I think he will eventually do.
I know I have a few shares of Josh Naylor, hoping for a breakout year. It has not come so far with a 63 wRC+.
Andres Gimenez has not provided the start that we were hoping for thus far. I think most of us were hoping for a little bit more than a 49 wRC+. It also hurts that he has zero stolen bases. We were hoping that even if he were not the best hitter at the plate, maybe he would provide some value with his legs.
Every other semi-regular player on the Indians roster sports an OPS under .600 right now, and I do not see it getting any easier in the upcoming week against potentially tough pitching.
2021 FANTASY BASEBALL HITTING PLANNER WEEK 3 SLEEPER/WAIVER OPTION
Phillip Evans, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Currently owned in 51% of Fantrax leagues, and 34% of ESPN leagues, Evans has been a pleasant surprise so far in 2021. The injury to Ke'Bryan Hayes opened up more playing time and he has run with it. He is currently hitting .382/.475/.706 with three home runs, eight runs, five RBIs, and a 216 wRC+.
Pittsburgh really has no reason not to pay him either, so he should get consistent playing time, even when Hayes returns from injury. Especially if he continues to play like this.
I flipped over to his baseball savant page to check out his advanced metrics and there is a lot of red. Evans has a .338 xBA, .602 xSLG, and a .502 wOBA. The only slightly concerning issue would be his xwOBA is .442 meaning he could be due for slight regression. However, overall, I see a profile that is currently backing up Evans's performance.
I am not sure how long Evans will keep this up, but if there is room on the bench or someone that could be cut, Evans could be worth rostering at this point. May as well ride the high as long as possible. If he wins fantasy owners a week or two, or helps out with some roto stats, it will be worth it.
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.