The Smash and Grab: 7 Teams With Elite Hitting Opportunities in Week 2
One thing I have learned in my journey in fantasy baseball is that volume is key -- especially in hitting.
In standard rotisserie leagues, only one category is ratio based (batting average), which allows us to maximize at-bats and plate appearances to rack up those counting statistics in runs, home runs, runs batted in, and stolen bases. And as simplistic as the approach seems, the best players find ways to garner as many shots as possible -- via volume.
Each week, this report will analyze the matchups for the upcoming week to see if any teams in particular stand out from a volume perspective as we gear up for those Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) bids.
The seven-game teams? Those are obvious. But what about the other matchups? Let's dig in and find out.
Only the Toronto Blue Jays have a full slate next week, and while the first three contests are in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park (Texas), the team will play the next four at "home" at the team's spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida.
Stud bats are likely off your waiver wire, but possible adds such as Rowdy Tellez, Randal Grichuk, and Alejandro Kirk could be sneaky volume adds. Six of the seven matchups are against right-handed pitchers, with the lone exception being Andrew Heaney, so Tellez becomes particularly appealing.
Five-Game Teams (to Fade)
Cleveland and Kansas City lock horns in a bizarre Monday-and-Wednesday-only set.
Astros hitters at least carry some appeal in leagues like the NFBC where you can swap hitters out on Friday -- they have an off day on Wednesday and Friday, so they have less appeal over the weekend. Matchups against Jose Quintana, Griffin Canning and Cole Irvin are particularly tempting.
Baseball's other 26 teams play six times, so the real question becomes who sticks out amongst those matchups?
In alphabetical order:
Baltimore Orioles: O's hitters are nearly must-plays for me early in the week. Early on, they start with three games in Yankee Stadium followed by a Thursday tilt in Boston. Using the term stud for this offense may be peculiar, but it's true. If available, Cedric Mullins provides some top-of-the-lineup goodness, Anthony Santander is likely unavailable (but has returned from an oblique injury), and Austin Hays was straight crushing in Spring Training.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds give us a nice, clean, three games in each Monday-to-Thursday and Friday-to-Sunday split, making them equally palatable on either stretch. To start the week, they get to play in Great American Smallpark (shout out to Bubba Dentrek!) for the first three, and that should provide plenty of tantalizing opportunities. The law firm of Caleb Smith, Taylor Widener, and Luke Weaver should provide plenty of juicy opportunities down in the desert over the weekend.
Chicago White Sox: This one is pointed out due to the matchups they will face, as it's a lefty-heavy slate as presently constructed. The Sox will face four southpaws in six games, including Justus Sheffield, James Paxton, Mike Minor and Danny Duffy. That likely puts Adam Eaton and Zack Collins at risk, but don't sleep on Yermin Mercedes.
Los Angeles Angels: The early-week tilts against the Houston Astros, including Zack Greinke, are not great. But a four-game set against the Jays? Yes, please. They get to avoid Hyun-jin Ryu and will attack Ross Stripling, Robbie Ray, Tanner Roark, and Steven Matz. Jared Walsh may be the odd man out against Ray and Matz, but veterans Justin Upton and Albert Pujols could be fantasy relevant in Week 2.
Minnesota Twins: With Josh Donaldson already coming up lame after a first at-bat double, Luis Arraez becomes an even sexier play. Three games against the Detroit Tigers followed by three games against the Seattle Mariners, including lefties Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi, make Max Kepler and Jake Cave bats to ignore, but Miguel Sano and even Kyle Garlick could be sneaky.
Don't forget to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely, particularly in Washington. This could put Atlanta Braves hitters at risk early in the week -- stay tuned!