Fantasy Baseball – Previews And Rankings For Week 8

By Mark Hock

Every Sunday I’ll be giving my preview for the week ahead for Fantasy Baseball. I’ll be taking a look at which players have performed the best over the past week, who you should avoid, the best games of the week, and some key two start pitchers to stream.

Two start pitchers:

R.A. Dickey – The knuckleballer is posting another strong season for the New York Mets. This week he’ll be facing the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres, two of the worst offences in the majors. Seriously, the Padres and Pirates rank 29th and 30th respectively in runs scored. That’s awful. Fantasy Baseball owners couldn’t ask for a better match up, so if you’re looking for a pitcher to stream grab Dickey while you can.

Jerome Williams – While his matchups aren’t as favourable as Dickey’s, they’re pretty close. Williams faces off against the Oakland Athletics (28th in runs scored) and the Seattle Mariners (20th in runs scored). Jerome Williams isn’t a stud, but he’s a solid pitcher facing a pair of below average lineups. And that’s exactly what a Fantasy Baseball player should be looking for when they stream a pitcher.

Three batters on absolute fire:

Joey Votto – He got off to a slow start, hitting a bunch of doubles but failing to drive the ball over the wall. That all changed this week, as Votto mashed 5 homers, driving in 10 all while hitting 360. Not bad for a guy who one week ago had 2 home runs through the first month and a half of the season.

Andrew McCutchen – It’s a good thing the Pirates extended him before the season started, because he’s broken out in a big way. He was unstoppable this week, hitting 360 with 4 homers, 8 runs driven in and a stolen base. McCutchen is one of the best players in baseball, and it’s time Fantasy Baseball players recognize him as one of the top outfielders in the game.

J.P. Arencibia – He’s been on fire over the last couple of weeks, and with the demotion to Adam Lind he was promoted to the middle of the order. Arencibia didn’t disappoint, hitting 333 with 4 homers and 10 runs driven in. If you can handle the low batting averages, Arencibia is a nice option to use at catcher in deeper leagues.

Three hitters who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn:

Zack Cozart – The rookie shortstop got off to a great start to the season, but he’s stuck in a 1/23 slump right now. Cozart strikes out way too much for a guy without power, and until he cuts down on the Ks pitchers will continue to abuse his poor approach at the plate.

Ike Davis – At some point you have to wonder if the New York Mets will just do Davis a favour here and send him down to the minors. He went 1/17 this week, and his 160 batting average for the season just isn’t going to cut it. There’s something clearly wrong withDavis, and the Mets need to find a way to get him back on track.

Howie Kendrick – It’s been a rough season for Kendrick, and a 1/22 week isn’t going to cut it. Given how deep second base is, you shouldn’t be using Kendrick on your Fantasy Baseball squad unless you’re in an AL only league.

Three pitchers you don’t want to mess with:

Justin Verlander – 16 innings, 2 wins, 20 strikeouts, 3 hits allowed and an ERA of 0.56. The scary thing for the American League is that Verlander is pitching better than last year when he won the Cy Young and the MVP.

Josh Beckett – 7 innings, 1 win, 9 strikeouts, no runs allowed. Yes, Josh Beckett pitched a fantastic game against Seattle. Normally I’d put a caveat about him beating a below average lineup, but considering that he’d been getting hit all season it’s a step in the right direction.

Kevin Millwood – Turns out he has just a little bit left in the tank. 16 innings, 2 wins, 13 K’s and a dominant 0.56 ERA.

Three pitchers hitters can’t wait to face:

Chad Billingsley – He got off to a fantastic start, but he’s been looking very hittable lately. Billingsley didn’t make it out of the fifth in his last start, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits. Not the kind of performance Fantasy Baseball players were hoping for, and it’s what makes him such a frustrating pitcher to watch.

Ross Detwiler – Detwiler was looking dominant until this week, throwing 10 innings with a 9.00 ERA. That’s just not good enough. Detwiler should rebound though, so don’t give up on him.

Hiroki Kuroda – It looked like a terrific signing in the offseason, but so far Kuroda has failed to deliver. This week he allowed 7 runs over 5 innings, getting trashed by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Matchup of the week:

Washington Nationals vs Atlanta Braves (May 25-27)

The Nationals remain the team to watch for the second week in a row. This time they’re facing off against the Atlanta Braves, currently holding a 1.5 game lead over the Nats. This series could decide the NL East, and given how important winning the division is you don’t want to miss this preview of playoff baseball.

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