Though normally in Fantasy Baseball, you'd start your best players every week regardless of matchups, in those weeks when you do need a fill-in, whether because of injuries or the total collapse of a trusted starter, Michael Hurcomb is here to help.
At each position, he'll list the players who are "too obvious" for the upcoming week, meaning the ones you wouldn't consider sitting for anyone off the list, and then suggest a start and a sit based on a variety of short-term factors.
All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 30.
Allen Craig, Martin Prado and Asdrubal Cabrera were some of the bigger names to switch leagues at the non-waiver trade deadline. The trade to Boston boosts Craig's sagging Fantasy value since now he could see more playing time and hopefully the change of scenery will spark his offensive game. The same sentiment could be said for Prado, who goes from a non-contender to contender. Prado has shown moderate power in the past, but even that's been dormant this season, so maybe the move to Yankee Stadium breathes new life into his home run swing.
The Astros will play half of their six games without the DH in Fantasy Week 19 (Aug. 4-10), so they will have to get creative with Chris Carter, who is swinging a hot bat. Carter is batting .311 with a .716 slugging percentage, 1.097 OPS, six doubles, eight home runs and 19 RBI in his last 20 games. He can play first base and in the outfield, so he might not sit many games in the upcoming scoring period.
|1.||Chase Headley, 3B, Yankees||69/48|
|2.||Carlos Beltran, OF, Yankees||75/53|
|3.||Arismendy Alcantara, SS/2B/OF, Cubs||70/53|
|4.||Mark Trumbo, OF/1B, Diamondbacks||94/61|
|5.||Justin Morneau, 1B, Rockies||96/45|
|6.||Austin Jackson, OF, Mariners||87/75|
|7.||Dioner Navarro, C, Blue Jays||43/36|
|8.||J.P. Arencibia, C/1B, Rangers||12/7|
|9.||Michael Morse, 1B/OF, Giants||83/52|
|10.||Martin Prado, 3B, Yankees||92/77|
Joe Mauer (oblique) is expected to start a rehab assignment in Week 19, so his return doesn't appear to be far off. Troy Tulowitzki underwent a dry needling procedure to help with the healing process with his left hip flexor, but while he has begun movement activities, he isn't expected back until mid-August at the earliest.
George Springer (knee, quadriceps) has increased his baseball activities and appears to be inching closer to a return from the disabled list. Angel Pagan (back) is pretty far along in the recovery process and could be back in the lineup Week 19. In a bit of surprising news, we thought Avisail Garcia was lost for the season due to shoulder surgery, but he's planning to be back in the White Sox lineup before the season ends.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
Start: Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays
Navarro has a .295/.326/.462/.788 slash line over his last 35 games. He also has four home runs, 10 doubles and 21 RBI in that span. The Blue Jays will be home for six games in Week 19 and Navarro thrives at the Rogers Centre. He has a .296/.333/.475/.809 slash line in 45 games, and all seven of his home runs have come at home.
Instead of: Kurt Suzuki, Travis d'Arnaud, Yasmani Grandal
Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Norris has had a pretty quiet run since late June, batting just .269 with one home run, two doubles and six RBI in his last 24 games. Although the A's have seven games next week, they face just two lefties. Even if he gets a start or two against a right-handed pitcher, Norris is batting just .259 with a .400 slugging percentage and .771 OPS against righties this season.
Instead of: Stephen Vogt, J.P. Arencibia, Jason Castro
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Bautista, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Lucas Duda
Start: Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians
Chisenhall hasn't been a great Fantasy option for several weeks, batting just .211 with two home runs and nine RBI in his last 37 games. However, Week 19 presents a good opportunity for Chisenhall to break out of his slump. The Indians will be on the road for 5 of 7 games, and the five road games come in hitter's parks (Cincinnati, N.Y. Yankees). He has a .325/.516/.904 slash line in 46 road games. The Indians are also lined up to face seven right-handed pitchers. Chisenhall has a .303/.483/.856 slash line against righties.
Instead of: James Loney, Allen Craig, Mike Napoli
Sit: Brock Holt, Red Sox
The good times might finally be over for Holt, who is mired in a 3-for-32 slump in his last eight games. Holt might have trouble emerging from his slump in Week 19, as Boston hits the road for six games. Three of those games are in NL parks, so with no DH, there's a chance Holt might sit a game, especially if he is struggling. Also, the Red Sox will be facing the likes of Adam Wainwright, Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards, and Holt has just eight RBI in 33 road games.
Instead of: Mark Teixeira, Michael Morse, Justin Morneau
Start: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
Lowrie has been a much-improved hitter since late June, batting .308 with a .348 on-base percentage, .439 slugging percentage and .787 OPS in his last 27 games. The A's will be home for seven games in Week 19, where Lowrie has a career .261/.329/.410/.739 slash line at O.co Coliseum. Since the Rays traded David Price, the pitching matchups look a little more favorable for the A's. Oakland is set to face Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly and Jeremy Hellickson in a three-game series with the Rays, then face Logan Darnell, Yohan Pino, Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes in a four-game series with the Twins.
Instead of: Yangervis Solarte, Scooter Gennett, Tommy La Stella
Sit: Dustin Ackley, Mariners
Fantasy owners might be tempted to finally trust Ackley since he has a .370/.386/.481/.867 slash line since July 1, but Week 19 might not be the time to take that leap of faith. The Mariners will be home for six games, where Ackley is batting just .230 with nine RBI in 51 games. Seattle is also set to face three lefties. Ackley is batting .289 against lefties, but he has no home runs and has drawn just one walk to 20 strikeouts against southpaws this season.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Arismendy Alcantara, Lowrie
Start: Chase Headley, Yankees
Headley has seen his production turn around since he made a change to how he grips the bat. Since July 1, he is batting .316 with a .459 slugging percentage and .796 OPS in his last 24 games. Fantasy owners should continue to ride the momentum into Fantasy Week 19, as New York is home for seven games. Headley is liking his new digs, as he is batting .348 with one home run, two doubles and three RBI in his first six games at Yankee Stadium.
Instead of: Yangervis Solarte, Chris Johnson, Brock Holt
Sit: Chris Johnson, Braves
Johnson has been on a pretty good run offensively over the last two months, batting .300 with six home runs, 11 doubles, 21 runs and 32 RBI in his last 50 games. From Fantasy Week 11 through Week 17, he averaged 16.8 Fantasy points per scoring period. Well, for at least one week, it's time for Fantasy owners to rely on another third baseman. The Braves have just five games in Week 19, and they face the two teams with the best ERAs in baseball -- Seattle (3.05) and Washington (3.11). Some of the pitchers the Braves will face in the upcoming scoring period include Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
Instead of: Headley, Xander Bogaerts, Nick Castellanos
|4.||Mets||SF1, @WAS3, @PHI3|
Start: Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs
Alcantara makes his first trip to hitter-friendly Coors Field next week. We can't wait to see what kind of damage the 22-year-old infielder/outfielder can do in the thin air in Colorado. Alcantara put up very good numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season, so he knows how to perform in favorable ballparks. Also, the Cubs are set to face three lefties next week in Colorado. Though Alcantara hasn't done well against lefties since coming to the majors (5 for 25), he thrived against them in the minors, posting a .374/.667/1.085 slash line in 99 at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season at Triple-A. Maybe this is the week his lefty-killing history translates to the big leagues.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, Yangervis Solarte, Everth Cabrera
Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
The Angels are up for seven games in Week 19, with five at home. Angel Stadium has not been favorable to Aybar, who has a .250/.337/.624 slash line in 55 home games at Angel Stadium. The matchups are not really ideal for Aybar, as he faces Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to open the week. Not helping Aybar's case is that he is batting just .250 with one home run and 10 RBI in 59 games against lefties this season. He's mired in a 9-for-44 slump in his last 12 games, and it doesn't look like Aybar has a good chance to turn it around in the upcoming scoring period.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Alcantara, Asdrubal Cabrera
OutfieldToo obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton, Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, Christian Yelich, Charlie Blackmon, Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist, Lucas Duda
Start: Carlos Beltran, Yankees
Beltran's performance at the plate is on the rise as his elbow injury becomes less of a problem. He has a .316/.364/.532/.895 slash line in his last 21 games. He has five home runs in that span as well. Most of Beltran's success this season has come at home and against right-handed pitchers. The Yankees will be at home for seven games and will face six right-handed starters in Week 19. Beltran has a .260/.514/.847 slash line in 40 games at Yankee Stadium and 9 of his 12 home runs have come at home.
Instead of: Khris Davis, Nick Markakis, Desmond Jennings
Sit: Khris Davis, Brewers
Davis has not performed very well over the last few weeks, batting just .234 with a .429 slugging percentage and .734 OPS in 22 games since July 1. It doesn't appear he will get off to a promising start in August, as the Brewers are up for six home games against the Giants and Dodgers. Davis feasts on lefty pitchers, but Milwaukee faces just one in Week 19 and it is Clayton Kershaw. Davis has a .232/.435/.723 slash line against righties and a .230/.443/.730 line at home this season.
Instead of: Martin Prado, J.D. Martinez, Austin Jackson