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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 3

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Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Week 3

The 2018 Major League Baseball season is well underway at this point, and with it comes another year of fantasy baseball.

The time and effort required to succeed in fantasy baseball dwarfs the commitment necessary to win your fantasy football league, so to help you out, every week we'll be making your lineup decisions a little easier.

These tips will have a Nationals slant, offering some players in D.C. to avoid, and some you definitely want to play in any given week. We’ll also suggest some players around the league you should have interest in.

NOTE: Don’t expect to see guys like Bryce Harper or Trea Turner mentioned too often. They are clear must-starts every week. Don’t overthink it.

Week 3 (4/16-4/22)

One Nationals pitcher to start: Gio Gonzalez

As well as the Mets have played this season (and yes, they’ve been superb), they’ve still struggled against left-handed pitching, scoring just 11 runs in 13 games vs southpaws. 

Gonzalez has a 2.20 ERA this season, and facing a team with a collective .210 batting average against lefties, he should be a nice sleeper this week.

One Nationals position player to start: Wilmer Difo, 2B/SS/3B 

With Daniel Murphy on the Disabled List and Anthony Rendon nursing a toe injury, Difo will have plenty of opportunities to play this week. He’s barely owned (1% of Yahoo! leagues), but he’s 5-for-14 since April 10th, and is hitting an a talented lineup.

You won’t want to start him most weeks, but he could be a sneak-good value for the next few days, if you have the flexibility to pick him up.

One Nationals pitcher to sit: Stephen Strasburg

Let’s be honest; you’re not sitting Strasburg. He’s probably your best pitcher (maybe second-best at worst), and he’s been great to start the season. Plus, the Dodgers play in a notorious pitcher’s park.

Still, if there was ever a matchup in which you’d even fathom sitting a guy like Strasburg, it’s when the pitcher for the other team is Clayton Kershaw. It’s always an uphill battle going up against the best pitcher of his generation.

One Nationals player to sit: Michael A. Taylor, OF

The combination of his excellent defense and Adam Eaton’s injury gives Taylor a high floor for playing time this week, and it’s easy to get tempted by his 4 stolen bases.

Still, Taylor is someone to avoid. As much as he helps on the basepaths, he’ll hurt in batting average, as he’s still at just .167 on the season, with next to zero power to go with it.

RELATED: 2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS

Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?

A.J. Cole, but even with the two starts, you probably want to avoid him in anything but the deepest leagues. Cole will be facing the white-hot Mets while going up against the talented Jacob deGrom, and then will battle maybe the best team in the National League on the road when the Nats take on the Dodgers.

Any 2-start pitchers worth streaming around MLB this week?

Blake Snell, who’s coming off a terrific start against the White Sox where he struck out 10 batters in 6.0 innings. Snell is supremely talented, and has been great this season in 2 of his 3 starts (we’ll forgive him for struggling at Yankee Stadium). Start Snell this week and thank us later.

One player you might not realize you should pick up: Trey Mancini, 1B/OF (Orioles) 

A lot of people have overlooked Mancini in his young career. He didn’t enter the majors with high prospect pedigree or an overwhelming skill, but he showed excellent power last season, and this year has turned into a quality contact hitter since settling in atop the Orioles lineup.

He’s 9-for-23 since April 9th, and while he has just one home run so far this season, he’ll end up with around 20-25 dingers on the season. Plus, dual-eligibility is always a nice bonus. He’s available in over 30% of Yahoo! Leagues, so check to make sure he’s not owned in your league.

One player you might not realize you should drop: Manuel Margot, OF (Padres) 

This is dependent on your league settings, as Margot is currently on the Disabled List. If you’ve got room to keep him in a DL slot without taking away a roster position, then feel free to hold onto him. But, if you need to drop him to take a flier on a talented pitcher or upcoming prospect, don’t hesitate.

The popular sleeper choice in drafts this spring started off slowly before hitting the 10-day DL, and playing half his games at Petco Park is never going to help. Margot is talented, but he’s still inexperienced, and sometimes it pays to be proactive in moving on from busts early.

RELATED: AROUND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

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A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

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USA TODAY Sports

A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

Tuesday evening's All-Star game was fairly uneventful until its later innings. The American League triumphed over the National League, 8 - 6, for their sixth straight All-Star game victory.

Despite fears of potential rain and inclement weather delaying the game, there were no unexpected stops in play. 

The AL started very strong offensively, with runs from Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in the top of the second and third innings, respectively. Jean Segura's three-run homer in the top of the eighth made victory look inevitable for the AL by the fifth. 

Max Scherzer, unsurprisingly, was well received among fans at Nationals Park. The Nats starter pitched the first two innings, giving up four hits. One was Judge's second-inning homer, but Scherzer remained unfazed and lighthearted. Four strikeouts made his performance commendable.

Bryce Harper did not get on as well, striking out in both of his at-bats. After Harper's Home Run Derby win last night, there was chatter of him going for the MVP title as well. 

It didn't work out, but given Harper's consistent presence at the All-Star game, there's always another chance.

Elsewhere in the dugout for the NL, who rallied back from the three-run deficit, the kids were all right. Willson Contreras of the Cubs had a solo homer at the bottom of the third, the Rockies' Trevor Story had one in the seventh, and Christian Yelich added another in the eighth. A two-run homer by Scooter Gennett in the bottom of the ninth brought the game back to a 5-5 tie.

Jesus Aguilar struck out for the NL, and extra innings began.

In the top of the tenth, Alex Bregman and George Springer, both of the Astros, hit home runs almost immediately off of Dodgers pitcher Ross Stipling. Stop us if you've heard that one before.

With no outs, Michael Brantley took a sacrifice flyout to right field, and Jean Segura got in one more run to put the score at 8-5.

Though Joey Votto (Reds) hit one last home run in the bottom of the tenth, the NL couldn't quite make up the deficit.

After a late night, the American League will be going home happy.

MORE ALL-STAR GAME NEWS:

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2018 MLB All-Star Game Live Blog

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USA TODAY Sports

2018 MLB All-Star Game Live Blog

This is the year's most ambitious crossover event in baseball. Dozens of MLB standouts from dozens of teams ally along either the National or American league. The two teams play against each other in a lighthearted frankensquad matchup. It's a welcome change of pace, considering how stressed we are about the Nationals' win percentage.

At the moment, we're keeping our eyes to the sky to monitor incoming rain. Aside from the threat of rain delay, we're excited to see how things unfold.

TOP 10 - Yikes, uh, so that's two solo home runs, and still no outs?

BOT 9 - A lot of people have either Bad Bunny or Post Malone as their walk up music. Also, uh, Scooter did a two-run homer, so now we're going to extra innings.

TOP 9 - Nothing is happening. Yawn.

BOT 8 - Yelich homers! We love one Brewer! It's 5-3 AL.

TOP 8 - Segura hits a three-run homer. Cruz adds it to his Instagram story. The AL is up 5-2. Yikes.

TOP 8 - Blackmon is very charming when mic'd up. He's talking about how lonely the outfield is. In other adjacent boredom news, Mike Trout follows over 145 weather related accounts on twitter. Yes, we went through his 2,400 user long following list to check.

BOT 7 - Bottoms tend to be the most exciting. Arenado knows this. So he tied it with a solo homer.

TOP 7 - Please, we are all so tired, and this pace is so slow. Votto has a nice tag, Yelich loses a ball in the lights but still makes the out. 

BOT 6 - Everybody Hates The National League. Votto, Yelich, and Blackmon all come up short.

INT 6 - Everyone on the internet and the broadcast loses their minds over Manny Machado.

TOP 6 - Nelson Cruz goes up against pitcher Jeremy Jeffress to start the inning. We take a brief pause for another selfie. Isn't it kind of a bad idea to have your phone in your pocket when you're at bat? Anyway. Bregman hits a double, but is immediately outshined as we go to Manny Machado for an interview about how it feels to wear an Orioles uniform for (maybe) the last time. Limor pinch hits for Machado, and doesn't quite get it out of the park. Oh well.

BOT 5 - Contreras gets a hit off Jose Berrios and promptly gets tagged first. Javier Baez looks amazing at the plate, but flies out. Arenado walks. Trout-man catches Molina's almost-homer. NL, do better please.

TOP 5 - Aaron Nola strikes out Brandon Crawford fairly easily and Mookie Betts not so easily. Mike Trout, who looks like he would post pictures with trout and other fish on Instagram, pops up and across the first base line. Sorry AL.

BOT 4 - Bryce Harper faces Blake Snell and strikes out for the second time tonight. Maybe he thought tonight was a Strikeout Derby?

TOP 4 - Machado pops up to the third baseman in what may be his final at-bat wearing an Orioles uniform.

TOP 4 - Matt Kemp deftly avoids tampering charges when the FOX broadcast crew asks him about his selfie with Machado.

BOT 2 - Manny begins acquainting himself with his LA teammates.

BOT 2 - Chris Sale only stuck around for one inning, apparently. It's Luis Severino time in D.C. He allows a double from Matt Kemp to start but then strikes out Bryce Harper. 

TOP 2 - Aaron Judge takes Scherzer deep. 1-0 AL. Sigh.

BOT 1 - AL Starter Chris Sale responds with a scoreless frame of his own. We're on our way to that 3-2 thriller after all!!! 

TOP 1 - Scherzer strikes out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve before walking Mike Trout (can't blame him) and allowing a hit to J.D. Martinez. No damage done though, and it's 0-0. 

MORE ALL-STAR NEWS