Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Pitching Planner (April 19 - April 25).
In this week's edition, we highlight who to start, sit, and pitchers with two starts this upcoming week.
Many fantasy players are having trouble with their pitching this year. In looking for streamers, we don't only focus on good matchups, but also pitchers who are showing glimpses of potential and those who could be season-long assets.
Benching top pitchers is never easy because of the draft capital we invest in them. Draft capital needs to be out of the window by week three, as it is now winning time.
With that being said, let's get into our 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Pitching Planner!
2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Pitching Planner (April 19 - April 25)
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Start Of The Week
David Peterson, New York Mets, AT Chicago Cubs (April 21) (11% Owned)
David Peterson was filthy against the Phillies, recording 10 strikeouts and allowing just one earned run in six innings. He had an outstanding 35% CWS rate (Called strikes plus whiffs) which demonstrates just how in control he was. Coming off an underrated 3.44 ERA season in 2020, Peterson should be on everybody's radar after this dominating win.
Peterson’s velocity was up nearly two miles per hour in this outing, upping it to 93-94 MPH. If he can keep this up, he should be a very interesting player going forward. I believe he has the ability to be useful in plus matchups with the potential for more.
The Cubs are in a rut offensively, and as of April 15th, they are ranked dead last in every offensive category. Feel comfortable using Peterson in this spot, as if he is anything close to what he was against the Phillies you’ll be in good shape.
Pitcher To Target
Alex Cobb, Los Angeles Angels, AT Houston Astros (April 23) (8% Owned)
Cobb has been very solid in his first two starts this season, as he has recorded 17 punchouts in 11.2 innings while recording a 4.63 era. The era isn’t great, but 2.11 FIP and 3.03 xERA shows us he has had some bad luck in that department.
Cobb looks like he might’ve found something this season, as he is in the 99th percentile for chase rate and 80th in whiff rate. He has increased the spin rate on his curveball by 100 RPM’s and this has helped increase the whiff rate on it from 23.4 percent to 34.8 percent. He is throwing this curveball five percent more often than he did last season, and I believe as long as he is healthy he could be a serious contributor
Huascar Ynoa, Atlanta Braves, vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (April 24) (47% Owned)
Ynoa has been exceptional to begin the 2021 season and he has a 0.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings to show for it. Most of this work came against the Marlins on the 12th, as he went six innings and allowed one run while striking out ten.
Ynoa has been plagued by walks early in his career, but he has potentially turned a corner this season. He ranks in the 79th percentile for walk rate. For comparison, he was in the 13th percentile last year. He can be effective as long as he doesn’t get himself into trouble, and he has been able to avoid trouble so far this season.
The Diamondbacks, while not terrible, are not strong enough offensively to avoid. Ride the hot hand in Ynoa confidently, and if he keeps impressing just hold onto him, you could have a potential gem.
Matt Harvey, Baltimore Orioles, at Miami Marlins (April 21) (1% Owned)
The Dark Knight is back. Okay, maybe not back, but he has been solid in his three performances this season. The ratios aren’t very impressive, as he has a 5.02 ERA, but he has been serviceable in each start.
His velocity was at 95-96 against the Mariners, which is certainly a good sign. His Statcast page, while mediocre, is much stronger than it was in prior seasons which shows he has improved a bit since he was last relevant.
I don’t recommend Harvey for the whole season, but you can probably sneak one solid start out of him against the Marlins in this spot. The Marlins offense will be the weakest one he has faced this season, and now that he is fully stretched out I suspect he could have some success in this game.
Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, Vs. Texas Rangers (April 20) (19% Owned)
Canning has shown improvements this season, upping his whiff and chase rate dramatically. He has also been hit hard less often, as his average exit velocity against is now in the 76th percentile rather than the 38th like last season.
His ERA, similarly to Cobb, doesn’t do him justice. He is currently sitting at a 5.23 ERA but a 3.81 xERA. He was a strikeout per inning guy last season and looks to be again this year, and if he can keep those ratios respectable he can be very useful.
The Rangers aren’t great, as they rank around 20th in all offensive categories despite their hot start. Expect Canning to have a similar performance as he did against the Royals, where he recorded a line of five innings, two runs, and five strikeouts. The potential for much better than this is there, and he should snag a win being lined up against Jordan Lyles.
Pitchers To Avoid
Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves, AT New York Yankees (April 21) (95% Owned)
Anderson has not built off of his strong 2020 season like many thought he would, as he has pitched to a 4.70 ERA this year. The strikeouts are still encouraging, as he has 19 in 15.1 innings, but the walks have been concerning. As a prospect, walks were his major flaw, and he still has some ironing out to do before he becomes a must-start pitcher.
The Yankees have gotten off to a slow start, but they are still among the scariest offenses in baseball. If Anderson’s control is off in this spot, it could get messy. He struggled against the Marlins because of this issue, and one can imagine what could happen against the Yankees.
I love Anderson long term, and I think he will be an impact pitcher this season. I am just not ready to call him a must-start in every situation, and this is one of those games where I would sit him. If he lights it up, great, get him in there next start. I would like to remain risk-averse early in the season so I don’t destroy my ratios, and that is what I recommend doing here.
Jesus Luzardo, Oakland Athletics, Vs. Minnesota Twins (April 19) (86% Owned)
Luzardo has struggled mightily so far in 2021, pitching to an 8.31 ERA over 13 innings. His xERA is 4.66 but that is still not great by any means. He has mainly struggled with control this year, as his walk rate is at 10.8% instead of his usual six or so percent. This is alarming, but I do think he’ll get it under control over the course of 162 games.
The Twins are not the type of offense you want to go in struggling against. They are top ten in all offensive metrics and will take advantage of any walks Luzardo issues in this one. The Twins are always a scary lineup, but especially when Donaldson and Buxton are both healthy. This is an offense you’ll want to avoid.
Luzardo should be fine long-term and improve over the course of the season, I just don’t recommend putting him in against this Twins team while he is struggling with control. For right now, Luzardo is matchup dependent, but that can change at any moment for a pitcher with his talent.
Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals Vs. St Louis Cardinals (April 20) (78% Owned)
Corbin has been atrocious to start the 2021 season and owns a 21.32 ERA with a 13.78 xERA. Not great. He gave up nine earned runs against the Diamondbacks on Thursday in only two innings. Everything he is throwing is getting crushed, and he just doesn’t look like he has anything left in the tank.
While Cardinals aren't the most powerful offense, they are formidable enough to punish what Corbin currently has to offer. They're middle of the pack in terms of offensive rankings, but that is all it takes against Corbin right now.
Corbin’s Statcast page is terrible, and he is in the bottom five percentiles of most categories. He's getting no whiffs, he is walking guys, and everything that gets hit off of him is crushed. There’s no reason to roster Corbin if he struggles mightily again against the Cardinals.
Lance McCullers, Houston Astros, vs. Los Angeles Angels (April 25) (92% Owned)
McCullers has been alright to start the season, as he has a 5.27 ERA in 13.2 innings but that is inflated due to one blowup start. His xERA of 5.04 shows that maybe he wasn’t as great as he was lucky in those first two starts of the season as well. All in all, it has been an up-and-down start to the season for McCullers.
The Angels lineup is scary. Rendon could be out for this game, but even if he is, this lineup is still plenty scary. They rank around the top five in every offensive category, and I expect that to continue throughout the entire season.
McCullers has been getting whiffs, but he has also been getting hit very hard. Going against an extremely talented lineup that doesn’t strike out a ton like this one is a bad matchup for McCullers. He is a very talented pitcher, but I would like to see some more consistency before I trust him against lineups like this one.
Two Start Pitchers
Brad Keller (TB, @DET)
Romano and Merryweather hit the injured list in Toronto. Rafael Dolis should be next in line for save opportunities.
Sorry Karinchak owners, Emmanuel Clase is the unquestioned closer in Cleveland. Pick Clase up anywhere he is available (70% Owned)
Jose Alvarado looks to be the guy in Philadelphia for saves, and he is only owned in 16% of leagues. Grab him if you need save help.
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