End of Season Strategy and Strategic Waiver Wire Targets
We did it y’all. We’ve reached the home stretch of the fantasy baseball season, and what a season it’s been. We’re up to something like 47 no-hitters and 589 COVID-IL stints, but none of that matters now. What matters is that we finish the season strong in both roto and H2H leagues. I’ll dive into tome end of season strategies and tips below along with some strategic waiver wire targets. Go get that money!
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End of Season Strategy/Tips
Formulate A Plan of Attack (H2H)
At this point, if you play in a H2H league, it’s playoff time. You’ve been facing an opponent each week this season, but now it’s time to really focus on what your opponent is doing to try and beat you. It’s very important to enter the weekly matchup with a plan of attack but quickly try to identify what your opponent’s plan of attack is as well. Once you do, you can play it one of two ways.
- Stick to your plan and try to beat them that way.
- Beat them at their own game.
The 2nd one is riskier and I’d only advise doing so if you have a high level of confidence in pulling it off. But more often than not, stick to your plan. And remember, you only need to win more categories than the other person. It doesn’t have to be sexy or a massive win. Winning 5-5 on a tiebreaker moves you on just like a 10-0 beatdown would Make sure you know your league settings and what that tiebreaker is as you might just need it at the end of the week.
Knowing what your team’s strengths are as well as your opponent’s is key. If your opponent has dominated steals all season and you’re been near the bottom, trying to win that category isn’t the wisest idea. Focus on targeting specific categories to get you to the number of wins you need.
Pay Attention to Matchups And Schedules
This becomes increasingly important down the stretch, especially in head-to-head leagues. Finding those favorable matchups can help you decide who to start each week and make a significant difference in your head-to-head matchup. For example, if you’re debating between two players and one of them is a left-handed batter that struggles against southpaws, and he faces four southpaws that week, it might be best to find a different option. Or, if a team like Toronto is putting up nearly nine runs per game in the month of September, it might not be wise to use any pitchers against them that aren’t no-doubt options like Gerrit Cole. Here are some matchups and schedule trends to avoid or exploit.
The Blue Jays are averaging 8.8 R/G in September.
Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend streaming the probable starters below facing them this week…
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) September 13, 2021
Avoid Streamers Against Tampa Bay & Toronto: These two teams lead MLB in runs scored by a country mile over the last four months. Obviously, start your studs, but unless it’s a no-brainer, look elsewhere.
Stream Against Miami & Cleveland: The Marlins rank 2nd to last in runs over the last 30 days with the 5th most strikeouts. Their upcoming series are against the Pirates, Nationals, Rays, and Mets so I’d recommend looking there for streamers if needed. As for Cleveland, they’re hitting just .216 over the last 15 games with the most strikeouts while averaging only 3.4 R/G.
Erick Fedde just pitched five innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts against Miami Tuesday night and gets these Nats again in his next start. I’d have no objections going back to that well again after how he looked last night.
I Don’t Give A Damn What The Player’s Name Is
Now is not the time to get attached to your big named players. Just because you might’ve used a high draft pick on them six months ago doesn’t mean a damn thing now. Play the players that give you the best chance to win that week or that help you make up ground in roto formats. And yes, that might mean dropping players you never thought you’d be dropping when the season began. Nobody should be starting Cody Bellinger right now. Period. End of discussion. If you are, that’s your own fault.
Other players I’d be benching or cutting right now depending on available options are Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Mike Moustakas (platooning), Joey Gallo, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Tyler Mahle. Mahle has extreme home/road splits and is lined up for two straight home starts after tomorrow’s road start. I don’t care that he’ll be facing Washington and Pittsburgh either. Mahle is unuseable at home with a 6.09 ERA this season.
Focus on Specific Categories (Roto)
If you are in a roto #FantasyBaseball you should be meticulously looking into your standings to figure out where you can gain points and set your lineup accordingly.
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) September 13, 2021
This one is the most crucial in my eyes, especially in roto formats. While you should never ignore one category entirely, some require extra attention right now. In one of my leagues that I’m in contention to win, my team is winning SB comfortably right now but HR is very close. So instead of starting someone like Garrett Hampson (It’s a 15-teamer), in my outfield, I’ll give Patrick Wisdom a shot and hope he can crank a few more. Focus on the categories where the potential point swing is the largest and try to make up ground there or at least not lose any ground if a few teams are nipping at your heels.
Strategic Waiver Wire Targets
Bryan De La Cruz (OF – MIA) AVERAGE: Very quietly, Bryan De La Cruz has been ranking since being recalled by Miami. The 24-year-old outfielder is hitting .338 across 149 plate appearances with four homers, a steal, and a 24.8% strikeout rate. This obviously isn’t sustainable, but De La Cruz is on a hot streak worth riding out and can help out a bit in the power department as well.
Yonny Hernandez (3B – TEX) SPEED: Over the last two weeks, only Adalberto Mondesi has more steals than Yonny Hernandez’s five. Sure, he doesn’t provide much more than that, but he’s been playing close to regularly for Texas lately and can provide a major boost in steals. Andres Gimenez is a fallback option in deeper leagues. Also, make sure Myles Straw isn’t sitting on your waiver wire.
DJ Peters (OF – TEX) POWER: From now until the end of time, DJ Peters will always be an all-or-nothing type of hitter, but that “all” is some serious raw power. When Peters puts a charge into one, it can get out in a hurry and he’s got 10 homers in the last month to prove it. If you need a cheap power boost and expect nothing else, Peters is your guy.
Bobby Dalbec (1B – BOS): POWER: After a disappointing first four to five months of the season, Bobby Dalbec has turned up the heat over the last month with eight home runs, including four over the last week. Boston has been dealing with plenty of lineup absences which has allowed Dalbec to play regularly and he’s making the most of it. His immense raw power absolutely can provide a substantial boost over the last few weeks. For power, also consider Jesús Sanchez, Anthony Santander, and Brad Miller. Also, make sure Brandon Belt isn’t still available as he’s been belting plenty over the outfield wall recently. I’ll see myself out.
Bobby Dalbec crushes one to put the @RedSox on the board with HR No. 21.
414 feet | 109.5 mph exit velocity pic.twitter.com/tbaccrgwTC
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 11, 2021
Eric Lauer (SP – MIL) ERA/WHIP: Lauer isn’t as electric as his rotation mates, but he’s sure getting the job done right now. Over the last month, Lauer has posted a 2.23 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across 32.1 innings and has a 3.10 ERA on the season. He’ll get the Cubs and the Mets at home in his next two starts who are hitting .216 and .221 respectively over the last week and are both bottom-10 offenses against left-handers this season.
Carlos Hernandes (SP – KCR) ERA/WHIP: While he doesn’t get many strikeouts, Carlos Hernandez has 2.05 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over the last month and has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his last eight starts. After a tilt against Oakland on Thursday, he’ll get back to back tasty matchups against Cleveland.
Tarik Skubal (SP – DET) STRIKEOUTS: He’s fallen off a bit after his early-season success, but Tarik Skubal is still racking up the strikeouts. Skubal has recorded a 34.7% strikeout rate over his last five starts and has the 8th best K-BB% in baseball since 8/1. He does get the Rays on Sunday though, but if it’s strikeouts you want, Skubal just record six in three innings against Tampa Bay in his last stsrt. After the Rays, Skubal will toe the rubber against the Royals at home next weekend.
Dylan Floro (RP – MIA) SAVES: Somehow, Dylan Floro is still available in 2/3 of fantasy leagues despite picking up seven saves over the last month. He’s posted a 1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP to go with those saves. Other saves targets include Scott Barlow (KCR), Kyle Finnegan (WAS), Andrew Kittredge (TBR), and Drew Steckenrider (SEA).
Media Credit: MLB Pipeline, Chris Clegg, PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire
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