Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 4 (8/17 – 8/23)

The hitters you should stream and avoid this week

Each week, Ben takes a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of and five hitting matchups you should avoid. However, Ben’s on vacation this week, so they let me pinch-hit! Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 4 (8/17-8/23) of the fantasy baseball season.

Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based on projections as of this post’s publication. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change for any number of reasons, especially given how fluid things are this season. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top-of-the-line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs.




Los Angeles Dodgers hitters – Oh awesome. Wow, Rich, your big bold call is to start Mookie Betts? Bear with me. The Dodgers have a cake schedule as they get four games against Seattle (2 home, 2 away) and three at home against the Rockies. I love attacking teams that have poor bullpens and the Mariners and Rockies have posted a 6.49 ERA and 4.71 ERA, respectively, on the year. If we dive in a little closer, they’ve been just as bad over the last 7 days – 6.29 and 6.86. While I root for Taijuan Walker and Jon Gray to have success, them being the top arms on the seven-game schedule against the Dodgers is not ideal. I’m looking to guys like Edwin Rios, Enrique Hernandez, and Chris Taylor if they’re available in my leagues.

Boston Red Sox hitters – If there was ever a team that needed some good match ups, it’s the Red Sox. I’m not even talking about the fringe hitters. Rafael Devers needs something big to kick him out of this funk. Relief looks to be coming in the form of the Phillies’ bullpen. The Red Sox start the week with one game on the road in Yankee Stadium, before heading home for two games against the Phillies. They then head down to Baltimore for a four-game set against the O’s. In Philadelphia, they avoid Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler as they get Jake Arrieta and Zack Eflin. Once the starters are out of the game, the Red Sox get to face the worst bullpen in the league. For the year, the Phillies’ pen has posted a 9.12 ERA, and there are no signs of that improving as that number has hit 10.13 over the last 7 days. This should mean good things for guys like Mitch Moreland and Michael Chavis.

Atlanta Braves hitters – The trend of attacking bad bullpens continues as the Braves get a pair of three-game sets against the Nationals and Phillies. They’re currently projected to avoid both Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola, but will see Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler. The start against Strasburg doesn’t scare me that much as he struggled in his first start against the Orioles, allowing five runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. We’ve already discussed the Phillies’ bullpen, but the Nationals’ pen has been poor as well. They’ve posted a 4.16 ERA on the year, but that number has ballooned to 5.85 in 32.1 innings over their last seven games. That schedule puts guys like Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, and Tyler Flowers in play.

Baltimore Orioles hitters – This seems weird to say, but the Orioles hitters have been really good this year. They’ve crushed lefties to the tune of a .391 wOBA for the year. On the flip side, they’ve hit righties well also, posting a .327 wOBA which ranks in the top third of the league. The O’s get 7 games in Camden Yards against the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Those four games against the Red Sox should feature plenty of fireworks as their staff has been hot garbage to start the year. There’s a laundry list of underappreciated Oriole hitters that I’d consider playing this week, including Pedro Severino, Austin Hays, and Rio Ruiz.

Austin Slater – You’ll have to keep an eye on Slater’s status as he’s day-to-day for now, but if he plays this week, I love his matchup. Slater has been quite the power-speed threat, hitting three homers while swiping five bags. This week, the Giants face the Angels for 4 games and the Diamondbacks for 3 games. Those two teams are ranked first and second in stolen bases allowed on the year. Unfortunately, Slater is the only base-stealer on the Giants, so if he lands on the IL, this play isn’t really actionable with another player.




Colorado Rockies hitters – The Rockies play seven games this week, with only two coming in Coors. They head to Houston for two against the Astros before heading home to host the Astros for two. They then travel to LA to face the Dodgers for three games over the weekend. The Rockies face Zack Greinke, Dustin May, Ross Stripling, and Julio Urias in the games outside of Coors, which isn’t a complete murderers row, but just like when I liked the Dodgers because of the bullpens they face, I hate the Rockies because of the Astros and Dodgers pens. The Dodgers have been excellent to start the year posting a 1.49 ERA. Other than the games in Coors, I’m avoiding the fringe guys.

St. Louis Cardinals hitters – IF the Cardinals play this week, I’m avoiding their hitters despite them having 9 games on the bill. Not only do I expect their hitters to be behind due to the days off, but they’re scheduled to face Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, and Luis Castillo in six of the nine games. Even the Reds and Cubs bullpens, which are straight trash, can’t help salvage that dumpster fire. While I’m still picking up top-prospect Dylan Carlson, I’m not planning on starting any Cardinals other than Paul Goldschmidt this week. UPDATE: Keep an eye on this situation, as a Cincinnati Red just tested positive for COVID-19.

Seattle Mariners hitters – It makes me sad to report that my favorite cheap steals team is a hard pass this week. They open the week with four games against the Dodgers. They’ll see Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling, and Julio Urias. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, the Dodgers’ bullpen has posted a 1.49 ERA on the year. The rest of their week isn’t nearly as scary as they get the Rangers for three games, where they’ll avoid Lance Lynn. However, the four games to start the week makes the Mariners hitters a pass for me. I’m sadly sitting J.P. Crawford, Dylan Moore, and probably Kyle Lewis.

Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – This is a pretty low bar to begin with as the Pirates have been pretty brutal so far this year. Their 72 wRC+ for the year is the third-worst in the league. This week, the Pirates get three games against the Indians followed by three against the Brewers. Both bullpens have been excellent this year, posting a 2.98 ERA and 3.24 ERA, respectively. On top of the bullpens, the Indians will throw the trio of Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, and Carlos Carrasco. That’s a solid no for the Pirates’ bats this week.

Detroit Tigers hitters – For those of you that don’t know, the Tigers lead the league in wOBA against left-handed pitchers this year. They’ve been sneaky streamers in daily transaction leagues and a favorite of mine as a cheap stack in DFS. Unfortunately, they’re currently projected to face just one lefty this week in Gio Gonzalez. They will then face righties the rest of the week including Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, and Carlos Carrasco.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

4 responses to “Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 4 (8/17 – 8/23)”

  1. Harry Lime says:

    And I was thrilled to have my Cardinal OF’s back. Another woe is all those pitchers listed are going deeper into games than most.

    • Rich Holman says:

      I was impressed with how the bats looked in the DH yesterday! But those pitchers scare me pretty good.

  2. larry womack says:

    Need to add a bat
    Cano, Verdugo, McCutchen, Ruiz, Piscotty or A. Cabrera.

    Yahoo 12t h2h points

    Thank you

    • Rich Holman says:

      I’m never going to argue against upgrading your catcher spot, so depending on who he’s replacing, I’m all about Ruiz. That being said, I’m going Verdugo of these options for this week.

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