What an exciting week!
Fantasy baseball owners who waited all offseason have finally gotten their fix (Don’t be ashamed, Tyrone Biggums knows exactly how you’re feeling).
Of course, there’s still one more day to focus on for owners in head-to-head leagues — and what an important day it is!
Making sure you are starting players with the best possible matchups can ultimately decide whether you win your Week 1 fantasy baseball battle.
» Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds: Phillips definitely has something to prove after this past offseason. The Reds were openly shopping him but never ended up making a move. Awwwwk-ward! Phillips drove in 103 runs last year, but had gotten off to a slow start in 2014. That was until he finally broke out on Saturday, hitting his first home run and collecting his first two RBI. Hitting second in the Reds’ lineup should help his confidence, and he’ll be facing Mets’ starter Jon Niese on Sunday, who he’s absolutely creamed during Niese’s six years in the league. Phillips is 7-for-18 (.389) with 2 HR, a double, and 3 RBI vs. the Mets’ left-hander. He even has a stolen base against him, a facet of his game that really got away from him while the boring, toothpick chomping Dusty Baker was manager.
Put me in, coach: Garrett Jones (5-for-10, .500 BA, HR, 2B, 2 BB, 3 RBI vs. Kennedy), Lyle Overbay (9-for-28, .321 BA, 2 HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI vs. Lester), Russell Martin (9-for-22, .409 BA, 2 2B, 2 RBI vs. Wainwright), Billy Butler (14-for-34, .412 BA, 3 HR, 2 2B, 10 RBI vs. Sale), Alexei Ramirez (18-for-42, .429 BA, 2 HR, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 2 SB vs. Shields), Andre Ethier (30-for-68, .441 BA, HR, 4 2B, 3B, 5 RBI vs. Cain)
» Adam Jones/Nelson Cruz, Baltimore Orioles: If you play AL-only or mixed league fantasy baseball, you know this situation arises, well, at least once a week (maybe even twice!!). That phenomenon I am speaking of is when Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Detroit Tigers. With 13 wins, a 3.46 ERA, and 217 K, 2013 was considered to be an “off year” for Verlander, although those numbers would be a wet dream for 90 percent of starting pitchers. Other than a bad fourth inning in which the Royals scored three runs — two of them earned — on four hits and two errors, Verlander looked pretty sharp on Opening Day. The velocity isn’t where it used to be, but there’s a reason this guy has won a Cy Young, an MVP, and the heart of boner magnet Kate Upton. Understandably, many Orioles batters have not fared well against J.V., including Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz, who are a combined 5-for-47 (.106) with 14 K vs. the right-hander. The Orioles as a whole have trouble hitting Verlander, with J.J. Hardy (.258) being the team’s only active player hitting above .245 against him. Sunday is a good day to sit anyone wearing orange and black, as Verlander looks to take the “O” out of the Orioles.
Take a seat, meat: Mike Moustakas (4-for-20, .200 BA, 7 K vs. Sale), Adam Dunn (5-for-26, .192 BA, HR, 10 K vs. Shields), Luis Valbuena (0-for-13, .000 BA, 5 K vs. Burnett), Jose Bautista (2-for-23, .087 BA, HR, 8 K vs. Sabathia)