Taking Advantage of the Week 10 Schedule Part 2 by Mike Podhorzer September 17, 2020 Yesterday, I discussed the teams scheduled to play eight games next week and the players widely available who might be worth a pickup, depending on your alternatives. Today, let’s identify the teams with the fewest games next week and which hitters you might consider benching, or even outright dropping, as a result. The advice here is aimed at shallower (12 teams) mixed leagues with weekly transactions. Week 10 Games Team Games MIN 5 SD 5 ARI 6 BAL 6 BOS 6 CIN 6 DET 6 LAA 6 LAD 6 TB 6 Only two teams play just five games, so I included all the teams that play six as well. It’s going to be tough comparing a solid five game player with a lesser eight game player, but let’s try. After a breakout 2019, Max Kepler has reverted right back to his pre-2019 days. In fact, excluding last season, his wOBA each season has been .313, .314 (this year), .315, and .316. How crazy is that?! While it’s hard to say right now if he is scheduled to face a lefty (.286 career wOBA against, versus .339 against righties), only five games means he should probably be benched. In fact, I own him myself and already plan to do just that. The rest of the Twins are a bit tricky. Nelson Cruz appears to be the only must start, but depending on your other options, Josh Donaldson and Eddie Rosario are borderline. It’s hilarious to type this, but an eight game Jedd Gyorko may very well be the better choice here than Donaldson and Rosario, while the rest almost surely should be on the bench if debating between them and a decent enough eight-gamer. You’re not benching Fernando Tatis Jr., obviously. At nine homers and seven steals, Trent Grisham has been so valuable that you might find it difficult to bench him as well. That’s okay. Manny Machado is running a career low strikeout rate and career high Barrel%, while his IFFB% has dipped into single digits for the first time. Can you really bench him? Though Wil Myers is off to a great start, he’s stolen just one base, so his value is now entirely tied to his power. It’s not an easy bench call, but more acceptable than Tatis, Grishman, and Machado. I don’t care how great Mitch Moreland has been in his 122 plate appearances so far, you would never bank on this continuing for the 34-year-old if this was a full season. He’s definitely a bench in just five games. Everyone else is an easy bench, except Austin Nola since even in just five games, he’ll play around the same as most other starting catchers who are scheduled for more games. There’s no one on the Diamondbacks that are must plays, but remember they have six games, so the bench decision against an eight or seven game player won’t be as obvious. There are a number of Orioles hitters playing quite well that you would normally start. However, no one is at the level of the Padres, or even some Twins hitters. I would certainly prefer an eight game Gyorko over a six game Ryan Mountcastle or Renato Nunez. Man, what do you do with J.D. Martinez?! I’m guessing some fantasy owners have been so fed up, they have already been benching JDM. Are you nervous the one week you bench him, he finally performs like we all expected or do you figure the odds at this point that next week he rebounds are pretty low? I don’t have an answer, sorry! But generally I would stick with pre-season projections unless we know of an injury. And sure, it can’t be a positive that he has had limited access to video, but every hitter is dealing with it and I can’t imagine that’s solely to blame for a more than 100 point drop in wOBA. Start Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts, bench the rest if you have a reasonable eight game alternative. I would start Nick Castellanos and bench the rest of the Reds if you have a reasonable eight game alternative. Sadly, there’s no one on the Tigers that should be started in a six game week. I have to imagine you can find a better seven or eight game player! You’re starting Mike Trout, duh. Anthony Rendon, too, probably. You don’t need to start Jared Walsh, despite his total hotness, but given his power, you might not have any clearly better seven and eight game alternatives. Every other Angels hitter could be firmly planted on your bench. I think the Dodgers are an easy team to make a decision on, as you’ll likely play the guys you normally would if it were a seven game week. You might have a better option than Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson, but the rest you’ll either definitely (Mookie Betters, Cody Bellinger) or probably (Corey Seager, Max Muncy, etc) want to play. Even during a full seven game slate, the Rays hitters are a nightmare to guess playing time for. I’ve been personally benching Austin Meadows and next week’s six games isn’t going to make me want to start him again. Brandon Lowe has massively cooled off recently, but he might be your best option at second base. Everyone else should clearly be on your bench next week.