It's week 4 of the fantasy baseball season, and patterns are starting to emerge.
It's still early, certainly, but by week 4 it's time to start taking some of the season's breakouts and slumps a little more seriously. Is Joey Votto really this poor a hitter? No. But Patrick Corbin might actually be an ace in the Diamondbacks rotation, as is Gerrit Cole for the Astros.
With games every night, it's tough to pay attention to every storyline around Major League Baseball, so let us help you by providing a weekly outlook on what to expect from your fantasy roster, and some players you may not realize could be difference-makers.
As always, 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 4 (4/23-4/29)
One Nationals pitcher to start: Gio Gonzalez
We'll get more into this recommendation in the two-start pitchers section (spoiler alert, Gonzalez is lined up to start twice this week), but the simple sell is this: he's no longer a stud, but when Gonzalez is pitching well and gets two starts in a week, start him.
One Nationals position player to start: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
Zimmerman has notoriously struggled out of the gate this season, and given that half their games this week will be in San Francisco, it might make sense to sit him. That said, entering the Dodgers series, Zimmerman had the highest average exit velocity in baseball, so he was bound to turn it around, and against the Mets he went yard twice and hit a triple. It seems like his ability to hit the ball hard might be translating to the field for him, and you definitely want him in your starting lineups when his hot streak comes. And it will come.
One Nationals pitcher to sit: Jeremy Hellickson
This isn't the most inspiring selection, since it's pretty unlikely Hellickson is owned anyways. That said, just to be safe, you definitely don't want to buy into his "decent" start in New York. Every other Nats starter is worth using this week, though, so Hellickson is the only option that we recommend sitting ion week 4.
One Nationals player to sit: Howie Kendrick, 2B
This may seem blasphemous, since Kendrick has been a consistent source of a high batting average this season, and hitting in a quality lineup you expect the runs to be there. That said, the Nats face a killer rotation this week in the Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley, and Robbie Ray. It's probably for the best to sit the non-stars in the Nats' lineup this week in particular.
Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?
Gio Gonzalez, who we recommended last week (you're welcome), and we're going to double down. Gonzalez pitched well vs the Mets, and one of his starts this week comes in San Francisco, probably the best pitcher's park in baseball. He also faces the Diamondbacks, but with Goldschmidt struggling to start the season, it's not the nightmare matchup it once was. Start Gonzalez with confidence.
Any 2-start pitchers worth streaming around MLB this week?
Tyler Skaggs, a member of the Angels rotation. I know what you're thinking; we're supposed to start a guy facing the Astros and Yankees this week? Yes, those two may be the best offenses in baseball, but I'd rather start a good pitcher in a bad matchup than a bad pitcher in a good matchup. Follow the talented, and believe me, Skaggs is talented. Health has always been the key for him, and with the Angels' 6-man rotation, he won't have many opportunities for two-start weeks, so take advantage while you can. If it helps, he avoids the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium, so his matchups are actually quite good from a location standpoint.
One player you might not realize you should pick up: Gleyber Torres, SS (Yankees)
If you pull up Torres' stats, you'll notice he hasn't played a single major league game this season. Rumors are, however, that the uber-prospect is going to be called up this week, and he's the type of talent you want on your fantasy squad, period. Last year, rookies Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger led many teams to fantasy titles, and Torres has the ability to be that kind of difference maker. Don't feel obligated to start him until he proves himself, but he should be rostered in every league as soon as he reaches the majors.
One player you might not realize you should drop: Matt Harvey, SP (Mets)
Harvey was a popular deep sleeper entering draft season, and it's not hard to see why. He's immensely talented, has pedigree, and has flashed incredible stuff in the big leagues before. That said, it appears his comeback just isn't going to materialize, and even Mets manager (and pitching guru) Mickey Calloway looks less confident in Harvey's future this season. If he starts getting his velocity back, and it translates to the games, feel free to jump back on the bandwagon. For now, though, it's safe to drop him for another flier.
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