Sun Sep 22 10:00pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
This is it, barring a playoff game next Monday to determine a playoff team. This is one of the toughest weeks for a fantasy managers as they try to figure out who will be playing, and who won’t. As teams clinch postseason play, they rest some regulars. Teams will want to see some rookies and call-ups, and give them some major league exposure. Some managers will be setting up their post season rotations, leaving some stars on the bench for bigger things, and sitting rookies who they think have thrown enough innings this year, protecting those young arms.
The last week of season sees division races and wild card game hopefuls. Plus, a couple quirks in the schedule. The Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees have basically five useless games. The Yankees could be making a run at home field advantage for the playoffs, so they will put up more effort than the Royals and Braves and will want to get the rust off returning players like Giancarlo Stanton. But I’d be surprised if most players on these three teams get in more than four games, so take note.
The teams with seven games are Boston and Miami with the White Sox and Tigers getting in seven because of a doubleheader next Saturday. Does anybody really care if they play two?
The bonus comes with Washington and Philadelphia, both playing eight meaningful games because both teams are trying to get that wild card. They play five games against each other with a doubleheader on Tuesday. By the weekend, we might know if Phillies chances are over, which could eliminate a second start for ace Aaron Nola. Zack Eflin, who has been pitching great, should get two starts, but the Phillies might rest him if eliminated. On the Washington side, Patrick Corbin should get two starts. Max Scherzer’s second start would get skipped if Washington has clinched a wild card (and home field) as the Nationals will want him to pitch that wild card game.
A couple other pitchers that I think could get skipped are Blake Snell in Tampa, Walker Buehler for the Dodgers and all of the big three (Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zach Greinke) in Houston. Pitchers that have a good chance of making two starts are Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals, Marcus Stroman for the Mets and Sonny Gray for the Reds. Madison Bumgarner could have a two-start week and perhaps make his last Giants start at home against the Dodgers on the last game of the year. The Dodgers could have home field at stake, so he might like one last chance at bringing down their rivals not to mention it will be manager Bruce Bochy’s last game as the Giants manager. Another interesting scenario could be in Boston, where Eduardo Rodriquez might pitch on that Sunday going after win number 20.
Milwaukee will have a decision to make that last day with either Brandon Woodruff or Adrian Houser. Much depends on if there are still chasing that wild card spot and need a win in Colorado. I’d be leery of using either pitcher and having them cost me a point in ERA.
Which brings us to the Rockies, who end the year with three games in San Francisco then three at home against the wild card (or central division) hopeful Brewers. Load up on hitters on both teams because they could get you that extra point you need to win.
I’ll have a playoff preview for you next weekend. Good luck with the last week and I hope you bring home a championship in your fantasy league.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.