2021 Fantasy Baseball: Week 22 Hitting Planner
If you’re in the playoffs in your redraft league or are simply in need of clutch weekly fantasy plays for DFS, there isn’t an easier start to your planning for offensive players than this. Your go-to for matchup-hunting for MLB hitters in the upcoming week is here.
Welcome back to the Hitting Planner, a matchup-focused look into the hitters and lineups you can Pick (start and trust given their schedule for the upcoming week) or Fade (consider sitting, avoiding on the waiver wire due to a rough upcoming week of matchups). All players mentioned will generally be around the threshold of either ownership or starting/sitting for your fantasy team.
As usual, I’ll point out the teams and corresponding players with noticeably poor matchups (the Fades) and noticeably great matchups (the Picks). Let’s get started with Week 22 (Monday, August 6 — Sunday, September 12). For each team we evaluate, we will note their opponents for the week in italics, including the number of times they play. For this week, stats mentioned from the season until now will be up-to-date as of the end of Friday night games.
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Week 22 Hitting Planner
Fades: Stay Away
New York Yankees
Opponents: TOR (4), NYM (3)
The Yankees, having several fantasy-relevant players in their lineup including the return of Gleyber Torres, often make appearances in the hitting planner. Sometimes, it’s grabbing them at their upside given their power and opportunities at home. This week, we’re flipping the script and avoiding the streaky Yankee hitters.
The Yankees start their week at home where they have recently been productive offensively but they will have to face a formidable Blue Jays starting rotation that will likely send Hyun-jin Ryu, Steven Matz, Alek Manoah, and José Berríos to the mound, most of whom have already developed a track record of success against the Yankees this season.
|Starter||2021 performance vs. NYY|
|Hyun-jin Ryu||3 starts, 2.50 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, 7.5 K/9|
|Steven Matz||1 start, 1.35 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 13.5 K/9|
|Alek Manoah||1 start, 0.00 ERA, 0.667 WHIP, 10.5 K/9|
The Yankees then head to Queens to face the Mets who, despite lacking Jacob deGrom, have been an above average pitching staff over the last month. The Yankees also perform worse offensively on the road than they do at home, making the entire 7-game slate this week an uphill climb for fringe start possibilities on the team. Start Aaron Judge for sure as the most elite hitter on the team. But do not consider any other player in that lineup invincible or a must-start in weekly formats.
Los Angeles Angels
Opponents: TEX (1), SDP (2), HOU (3)
The Angels are the definition of inconsistency on offense, especially with Anthony Rendon out for the season and Mike Trout still not back on the field. The upcoming six-game slate starts off for them in a somewhat encouraging fashion as they face a Rangers pitching staff that has consistently been one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball in 2021. However, Texas will start rookie A.J. Alexy, who was solid in his first career start, throwing 5 shutout innings giving up only one hit.
For the Angels, the rest of the week is just massively downhill. They will play a quick interleague set against the Padres. Although San Diego has had its disappointments recently on the mound, their two starters for the series, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, still have All-Star upside and in August, Snell was stellar, posting a 1.72 ERA, 30.2% K-BB%, and 13.25 K/9 during the month.
To finish out the series, the Angels will face the Astros, a top 5 pitching staff in baseball over the last one month in ERA and xFIP. Houston will throw out their best starting pitching out to the mound in the series, featuring Framber Valdez, Luis García, and Lance McCullers Jr.
Bench everybody if your league depth allows you to—except the MVP, Shohei Ohtani. I better not see you considering the bench for him.
Opponents: NYM (3), ATL (3)
We’ve already discussed the Mets’ ability to pitch at an above-average level despite being depleted at the top. How about the Braves, who rank first in baseball over the last month in xFIP and SIERA as a pitching staff? Also sending out their top two in Charlie Morton and Max Fried to finish out the series, the Marlins are in for a rough ride on the road in those three games. The Marlins’ .669 OPS and 82 wRC+ on the road over the last month both rank #24 in MLB in that span.
There is nobody in the Marlins lineup that deserves to be an auto-start given the circumstances in the upcoming week, not even power-hitter first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Only use that spot on him if the depth of choices at the position is slim for you.
Kansas City Royals
Opponents: BAL (4), MIN (3)
Quietly putting up one of the most impressive offensive seasons of the generation by a catcher, Salvador Pérez has eclipsed the 40-mark in home runs in 2021 and now should get some help in overall lineup production for seven straight games in the upcoming week.
#MLB catchers with 40+ HR in a season (since 1901) ⬇️
Roy Campanella (1953)
Johnny Bench (1970, 1972)
Todd Hundley (1996)
Mike Piazza (1997, 1999)
Javy Lopez (2003)
Salvador Pérez (2021)
Pérez is the first ever AL catcher to pop 40 in a year. 💪pic.twitter.com/DCgPpRqLUR
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) September 5, 2021
The Orioles are the hitting planner’s best friend as they continue to be the worst statistical pitching staff in baseball. Four games against this clown show—four! To finish out the week, three more games against the Twins, who rank bottom 10 in MLB as a pitching staff in ERA, xFIP, and SIERA over the last one month. Start the life-savior at catcher, Pérez, of course. But also go back to ol’ trustworthy Whit Merrifield, the reliable on-base ability of Carlos Santana, and in deep leagues, take flyers on Nicky Lopez, Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor, and Hunter Dozier depending on format.
Opponents: WSH (3), MIA (3)
This is clearly a Braves appreciation post—not my fault that they deserve it. This lineup rakes even without Ronald Acuña Jr. and their .803 OPS and 112 wRC+ at home both rank top 5 in MLB in that span. Now, they get six games at home against struggling pitching staffs. The Nationals and Marlins both rank among the bottom 10 pitching staffs in MLB in ERA, xFIP, SIERA, and K-BB% over the last month.
Don’t just settle on the fantasy superstars like Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley. Make sure you fire up Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall. In deep leagues where you need power, don’t forget Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, and Eddie Rosario.
San Francisco Giants
Opponents: COL (3), CHC (3)
It’s well-known how good the Giants are at this point—they’ve let their game prove they are a good team in every aspect of the game. There isn’t too much explaining necessary on this one. The Rockies and Cubs both rank mediocre-to-poor in every pitching statistic in the book over the last month. The series against the Rockies will be held in the hitter’s paradise, Coors Field. Fire up all Giants bats as they are set to have a gigantic week—All-Star acquisition Kris Bryant, franchise cornerstone Brandon Crawford, power-hitter Mike Yastrzemski, future Hall-of-Famer Buster Posey, underrated hard-hitters Brandon Belt and LaMonte Wade Jr, and in deep leagues a shot at Darin Ruf.
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