It's May 14th, the season is more than six weeks old and the Nats are finally playing great baseball. As fun as it is to follow a team that seemingly can't lose, it's also still important to focus on your fantasy team (if you care about winning, that is). This is the time of year when apathy starts to set in for fantasy owners who have gotten off to slow starts, and it's up to you to take advantage.
It's never easy paying close attention to everything going on throughout Major League Baseball during the grind of the regular season, but don't let that keep you from putting forth your best possible roster. As always, we're here to help. It's your team, and your decisions you ultimately have to deal with, but that doesn't mean you can't turn to us for advice every once in a while.
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 7 (5/14-5/20)
One Nationals pitcher to start: Max Scherzer
Yes, this is the most duh advice we could possibly give. Obviously, you're starting the number one player in most fantasy scoring formats this season. This is mainly to highlight the fact that there are no borderline playable starters on the Nats worth using this week.
According to a MASN graphic, Nats starters lead the National League in wins, ERA, innings, opp. batting average, strikeouts, and WHIP.— NBC Sports Nationals (@NBCSNationals) May 12, 2018
The rotation as a whole has been great this season, but with only five games on the docket and all coming against the Yankees and Dodgers, this is a week to avoid everyone but the studs.
One Nationals position player to start: Pedro Severino, C
With Matt Wieters hurting, Severino has a clear opportunity to get most of the starts, and that rings especially true given the matchups this week. With only five games, Severino could find himself with every catcher at-bat this week, and he has ranked against lefties all season long with a .389 batting average.
Catcher has been a notorious wasteland in fantasy baseball this season, so anywhere you can find quality at-bats is worth looking into. Severino almost certainly isn't owned in your league, and he should provide value over the next five games at least.
One Nationals pitcher to sit: Jeremy Hellickson
Hellickson has pitched well this season, especially during the month of May so far. That said, it's been well-documented that Dave Martinez wants him to avoid facing opposing lineups for a third time through the order, and the limit on his innings is probably too much to overcome for him to be valuable in a one-start week.
Innings are the biggest market inefficiency in Major League Baseball right now, and starting a pitcher who is all but guaranteed to give you fewer than six innings in a given week isn't the way to exploit the current status quo.
One Nationals player to sit: Matt Adams, 1B
We recommended him last week, but this week we're singing a different tune. Not only are the Nats facing tough matchups in their limited number of games, but it's likely that three of their five games will be started by lefties. As dominant as Matt Adams has been this season, and it has been quite impressive, he has still struggled against southpaws, hitting just .250 with just one of his home runs.
It's fair to want to keep riding his hot streak while he's seeing the ball so well, but you have to play the odds here, and his numbers against lefties just aren't worth using in most lineups.
Any 2-start pitchers for the Nationals this week?
Nope. The Nats get both Monday and Thursday off, meaning they only play five games this week, so each pitcher will get just one start.
Any 2-start pitchers worth streaming around MLB this week?
Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals is my favorite option this week. One of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Flaherty is only as available as he is in most leagues due to a lack of opportunity in the Cardinals starting rotation. Now that a few of their pitchers are banged up, Flaherty is back in the big leagues.
He's the type of guy whose talent you trust in, regardless of Major League experience or matchup. In a week where a talent like that takes the mound twice? Sign me up, and hope that he performs well enough to earn consistent starts going forward.
One player you might not realize you should pick up: Seung Hwan-Oh, RP (Blue Jays)
Oh hasn't been the clear option to replace Roberto Osuna (who was recently arrested) just yet, but he seems to be the more talented reliever over Tyler Clippard, and he has far more closing experience. The fact that he hasn't gotten the ninth-inning opportunities just yet means he might be available in your league, and if he is, he's worth a speculative add.
Saves are often difficult to come by in competitive leagues, so any time a guy comes along who could end up in the closer's role for a quality team, he's worth owning in all but the shallowest of formats. If he's available, pick him up right away, and if he continues to not earn save opportunities, he'll make for an easy drop the next time you need a roster spot.
One player you might not realize you should drop: Aaron Hicks, OF (Yankees)
Hicks has been a popular sleeper candidate for a couple of years now, and early on this season, it appeared 2018 might be the season it finally happened. Unfortunately for him, as has been the case all too often, he found himself dealing with an injury right as he was getting hot. Now, he's struggling to find his stroke again.
Hicks is batting just .213 on the year, and his four stolen bases and spot in the best lineup in baseball aren't nearly enough to overcome his slump. Keep Hicks on your scout team in case he starts to get hot again, but for the time being, consider him very droppable if you're looking to make a change in your outfield.
MORE NATS NEWS:
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?