By Chris Cwik, CBSSports.com
How much can a poor home park impact Fantasy numbers? Chase Headley owners are going to find out the answer fairly soon. With the trade from San Diego to New York, Headley leaves one of the worst offensive parks in the majors in favor of one of the friendliest home runs parks out there. He also goes to a lineup that actually has players you’ve heard of before.
While the Yankees don’t actually play any games at home this week, Headley should benefit from playing in the AL East. Four of the five teams in the division play in parks that favor offense. Given the frequency with which these teams will play each other over the second half, Headley could be a sneaky breakout candidate over the next couple weeks.
Chase Headley, 3B, Yankees (36 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: At Rangers, Red Sox
After hitting a walk-off single in his first game with the Yankees, Headley officially established himself as a “true Yankee.” Now that he’s gotten that out of the way, he can enjoy hitting in small American League Parks. Headley moves from one of the worst power parks to one of the best in Yankee Stadium, and though he won’t play any games there Week 18, he still gets some tasty offensive parks. Headley’s a strong bet to improve purely based on getting out of Petco. He could become a useful option again sooner rather than later.
Players I would start him over: Pedro Alvarez, Martin Prado, Conor Gillaspie
Ervin Santana, SP, Braves (64 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Padres, at Padres
There are two things going on with Santana that make him a must-start this week. For one, he should be performing much better. His strikeout rate has taken a nice step forward this season, and he’s kept the ball on the ground more often than usual. Both numbers indicate improvement moving forward. On top of that, he faces the Padres twice Week 18. The same Padres who traded away their only recognizable player a few weeks ago. Santana is set up for a monster week.
Players I would start him over: Jose Quintana, Jered Weaver, Dallas Keuchel (one start)
Jesse Chavez, SP, Athletics (60 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: At Astros, home against Royals
Chavez turned into somewhat of the forgotten man following the Jeff Samardzija deal. He’s been relegated to the fifth starter slot, and there’s some concern with him hitting his season-high in innings soon. Despite that, Chavez has continued to be a surprisingly effective fantasy option. Taking on the Astros and Royals should help him turn in another strong Fantasy week. He’s suddenly become one of the better fifth starters in the game.
Players I would start him over: Ian Kennedy, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello (one start)
J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles (58 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Angels, Mariners
It’s been a strange season for Hardy, but there’s still hope for a turnaround. After going homer-less the first two months of the season, Hardy has upped his home run total to four through most of July. That’s a far cry from his previous numbers, but the bar at short is low, and Hardy certainly has the potential to go on a big home run binge. That has a better chance of happening at home, where the park encourages offense.
Players I would start him over: Derek Jeter, Yangervis Solarte, Andrelton Simmons
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (55 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Rockies, at Dodgers
Alcantara is no more than a high-upside play right now. He’s only received 47 plate appearances in the majors, making his performance tough to really judge. There’s clearly some talent in his bat, which led to the Cubs keeping him over veteran Darwin Barney. The offensive bar at second isn’t all that high, so Alcantara could be the answer some owners are looking for at the position.
Players I would start him over: Kolten Wong, Aaron Hill, Omar Infante
Jake Odorizzi, SP, Rays (55 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Brewers, Angels
Odorizzi has been pretty good this season. In fact, there’s evidence he should be doing better. As a longer-term prospect, Odorizzi looks like a candidate to go on a second-half surge. So, why exactly should you bench him Week 18? Well, he plays two fairly strong offenses. The Brewers rank just outside the top 10 in wRC+ (an advanced stat that measures offensive performance). The Angels, who Odorizzi also faces, rank first in wRC+. Neither matchup is all that enticing. Keep Odorizzi for the long run, but consider someone else next week.
Players I would start instead: Trevor Bauer, Henderson Alvarez, Zack Wheeler (one start)
Jered Weaver, SP, Angels (82 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: At Orioles, Rays
Weaver continues to get it done year after year despite declining peripherals. He’s certainly not a bad pitcher, but it’s been a while since he’s been elite. While he’s still solid, he, like Odorizzi, faces some tough opponents this week. Both the Orioles and Rays rank in the top 10 in wRC+. The Rays may not have looked like a strong offensive team on paper, but the team’s ballpark severely depresses their overall numbers. Both teams could present some issues for Weaver Week 18.
Players I would start instead: Ervin Santana, Jesse Chavez, (one start) Tim Hudson
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Rays (80 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Brewers, Angels
Zobrist remains an effective player, but he’s clearly in his decline phase. The 33-year-old has seen his batting average take a tumble this season, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be hitting close to 20 home runs again. That’s fine at second base, but not exactly exciting. He’s still a solid option, but owners can now take a chance on riskier, but higher-upside options instead of just sticking with Zobrist.
Players I would start instead: Scooter Gennett, Howie Kendrick, Kolten Wong
Michael Morse, OF, Giants (60 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Pirates, at Mets
Things have really dropped off for Morse after a strong start. In the past two months, he’s hit .233 and .269, with just three home runs. Morse hit .302 and .289 over the first two months of the season, with 11 home runs. He’s always had a hacktastic approach at the plate, and tends to run hot and cold. Things don’t look all that great now, and Morse can be benched in a fair share of Fantasy leagues for the time being.
Players I would start instead: Adam Eaton, Marcell Ozuna, Corey Dickerson
Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets (40 percent started Week 17)
Week 18 schedule: Home against Phillies, Giants
The former prospect has acquitted himself well since he was recalled, causing both his ownership and start rate to rise. While he’s still being started in less than 50 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, it’s worth looking into his performance. While it hasn’t all been a fluke, d’Arnaud’s July numbers don’t seem sustainable. He’s still utilizing a poor approach at the plate, walking less than five percent of the time and striking out in over 20 percent of his plate appearances. Improvement should be expected, given how bad he was to open the season, but he’s not suddenly going to turn into a must-start option this season.
Players I would start instead: Wilson Ramos, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Stephen Vogt
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