Fantasy Baseball Weekend Preview: Cody Bellinger's resurgence should continue
With just over a month of regular-season action in the books, fantasy trends are starting to emerge. We can now determine which teams have ineffective relief corps, and we can identify low-scoring lineups, some of which are not the ones we expected when the first pitch was thrown in 2023.
Here are my favorite matchups to target or avoid this weekend, with a special note that this Saturday is a great day to stream starters.
Matchups to target
Reds vs. White Sox
Cincinnati’s lineup is far from potent, but the Reds might maximize their potential when they work at their offense-inducing home park against a trio of Chicago righties (Lance Lynn, Mike Clevinger, Michael Kopech) who have been mediocre at best and a bullpen with a 6.44 ERA. My main waiver wire targets for this series are left-handed hitters TJ Friedl (13% rostered) and Jake Fraley (14%). I’m also happy to use Spencer Steer (10%), who occupies a premium lineup spot.
Royals vs. A’s
Wise managers will lean into any offense that faces the A’s (7.45 team ERA) — even the Royals, who own a lowly .645 OPS. Even with Oakland set to start two lefties, I’m keeping Vinnie Pasquantino and MJ Melendez active everywhere. Using Edward Olivares (7% rostered) in 12-team leagues is also a good idea.
Cardinals vs. Tigers
I absolutely love the idea of starting several St. Louis hitters against a Detroit starting trio of Matt Boyd, Spencer Turnbull and Tyler Alexander. Nolan Gorman (73% rostered) should be started everywhere, while Lars Nootbar (65%), Paul DeJong (4%) and Brendan Donovan (52%) ought to get the nod in situations where they are being considered.
Brewers at Giants
The Brewers hitters will not enjoy their park switch this weekend, but they could find success nonetheless against a Giants bullpen that has logged a 6.26 ERA. Additionally, two of the three scheduled San Francisco starters (Sean Manaea, Ross Stripling) have thus far posted bloated ERAs. Despite the platoon-heavy nature of this roster, I advise starting Rowdy Tellez (79% rostered) and Brian Anderson (65%) in most formats.
Rangers vs. Angels
Texas will face three unimposing lefties (Tyler Anderson, Reid Detmers, Jose Suarez), which should make managers lean into starting Josh Jung (67% rostered) in every league. Additionally, Robbie Grossman (5%) and Ezequiel Duran (16%) can be used in deeper formats.
Cubs vs. Marlins
Chicago sits sixth in baseball in OPS and could continue its strong start to the season this weekend. The club faces vulnerable starters (Edward Cabrera, Bryan Hoeing) on Friday and Saturday, and the matchup with Sandy Alcantara (5.09 ERA) on Sunday seems less daunting than it would have a year ago.
Additionally, Miami ranks 25th in the majors in bullpen ERA. Cody Bellinger and Ian Happ should be started in every league, and Eric Hosmer (2% rostered) can be considered in deep formats.
Matchups to avoid
Orioles at Braves
Baltimore hitters could struggle when working against the trio of Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton and Max Fried. Aside from Jorge Mateo, Ryan Mountcastle, Adley Rutschman and Cedric Mullins, I would look to keep Orioles hitters on my bench.
Guardians vs. Twins
Despite dealing with rotation injuries, Minnesota will start three quality right-handers (Bailey Ober, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan) in Cleveland this weekend. Amed Rosario owns a lifetime .671 OPS vs. righties and is off to a poor start this year, making him an easy option to bench.
Although Josh Bell has balanced career splits, he has logged a .622 OPS vs. RHP this season. With Cleveland having posted a team OPS of .645 so far this year, the Guardians should be easy pickings for Minnesota’s strong staff.
Yankees at Rays
New York will face three starters (or bulk relievers if the Rays use an opener for Josh Fleming), with an ERA below 3.70. And without sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees lineup is not imposing. I would start Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres in most leagues, and I’ll consider Anthony Volpe in situations where I need steals. I would prefer to bench the others.
In order, here are my favorite streamers (starters rostered in less than 70% of leagues) from Friday to Sunday, with their start date and Yahoo roster rate in parentheses.
Alex Cobb vs. MIL (Saturday, 67)
Logan Allen vs. MIN (Saturday, 37)
Bailey Ober @ CLE (Friday, 23)
Brady Singer vs. OAK (Saturday, 50)
Drew Smyly vs. MIA (Saturday, 59)
Adam Wainwright vs. DET (Saturday, 30)
Brad Keller vs. OAK (Friday, 13)
Nathan Eovaldi @ LAA (Friday, 61)
Josiah Gray @ ARI (Friday, 33)
MacKenzie Gore @ ARI (Saturday, 53)
Martin Perez @ LAA (Saturday, 63)
Tylor MeGill vs. COL (Saturday, 30)
Josh Fleming vs. NYY (Sunday, 2)
Yusei Kikuchi @ PIT (Sunday, 66)
Reid Detmers vs. TEX (Saturday, 49)
Domingo German @ TB (Saturday, 33)
Hayden Wesneski vs. MIA (Sunday, 32)
Johan Oviedo vs. TOR (Saturday, 37)
Tyler Wells @ ATL (Sunday, 39)
Bailey Falter vs. BOS (Saturday, 8)
Marco Gonzales vs. HOU (Saturday, 13)