Playoff Battles Heat Up Over the Final Six Weeks of the Regular Season

Max ScherzerIt’s time to fish or cut bait for fantasy owners. Are you in the playoff hunt or not? If your team is currently ranked in the Top 12, you have a fighting chance. If you are outside of the Top 12, you better hope the bats get hot and the arms don’t fall off.

If you are outside of the Top 12, don’t despair! This is a keeper league with three “NA” spots. You have the opportunity to build for 2019. Scour minor league rosters and look for players that have an opportunity to play next year and will complement the five players you expect to keep next season. It’s the quickest way to rebuild a team in this league.

Here is a look at each team as we finish the regular season.

PITTSBURGH XPLOSION

Francisco Lindor continues to rake. He’s the top-rated shortstop in the league and third-rated hitter. In 457 plate appearances this season, Lindor has posted a .933 OPS. The biggest question facing the league’s top team is starting pitching as the rotation is led by J.A. Haps and Sean Newcomb.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .502. The Xplosion face the second toughest schedule to end the season of the top five teams in the league. Their six remaining opponents are all playoff-caliber. If they retain the top seed, they’ll have earned it.

JETSETTERS

David’s team has nine players ranked in the league’s Top 50 led by infielder Jose Ramirez. Zack Greinke is the team’s ace but Ross Stripling has emerged as an excellent starter. Will the Dodgers limit Stripling’s innings down the stretch?

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .486. How big is the season-ending series between the JetSetters and High Cheese? It could decide the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The only other top five opponent the JetSetters face in the final six weeks of the regular season is the Lower Haighters.

HIGH CHEESE

The offense is led by outfielder Andrew Benintendi, Gerrit Cole is the team’s ace, and relievers Edwin Diaz and Aroldis Chapman anchor the bullpen. Matt and Zach Patchell have assembled a championship-caliber team but they face the league’s toughest schedule to end the season.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .521. High Cheese faces the toughest schedule of any playoff contender over the final six weeks of the regular season. They play the top two teams in the standings and four of the top eight.

BACON AT MILE 11

Outfielder Mike Trout quietly goes about his business being one of the best hitters in baseball. Combined with Nolan Arenado and Trea Turner, Eric Brown’s team has the ability to dominate the hitting categories in any series. Trevor Bauer has emerged as the team’s ace while Lou Trivino anchors the bullpen.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .486. This team is on a roll and finishes the season with a relatively easy schedule. They’ve won eight of their last nine series and face just one team currently ranked in the top five (Lower Haighters) over the final six weeks.

LOWER HAIGHTERS

If the Lower Haighters are going to make a playoff run, Luis Severino needs to pitch like an ace. Severino is the team’s top-rated player followed by reliever Josh Vader, outfielder Starling Marte and veteran infielder Matt Carpenter. The team desperately needs shortstop Carlos Correa to return to health for the stretch run.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .495. The Lower Haighters face two of the league’s top four teams over the final six weeks of the regular season (JetSetters, Bacon at Mile 11). The team has struggled to string together back-to-back series victories this season.

THE BULLS

The Bulls are a playoff team because Aaron Nola and Charlie Morton have been excellent on the bump. They have combined for 29 quality starts. Infielders Did Gregorius and Cesar Hernandez lead an offense that is devoid of power but does generate runs.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .482. The Bulls face just two teams currently ranked in the top five over the final six weeks of the season. The schedule is set up nicely for a playoff run.

A-ROD’S MIRRORS

How will Manny Machado’s move to Los Angeles impact his numbers? Will Bryce Harper break out of his season-long slump? There are no questions surrounding Justin Verlander. He provides Sean’s team with a reliable ace and a series-changing player during two-start weeks.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .511. If the Mirrors are going to secure one of the league’s eight playoff spots, they’ll need to beat good teams. From Week 17-19 they’ll face three of the top five teams in the league. They’ll end the season either battle-tested or battle-weary.

MY NAME IS JUDGE

Sean Doolittle’s injury came at an inopportune time for Andy’s team. Doolittle is the team’s top-rated player with 21 saves. First baseman Jesus Aguilar is also banged up forcing Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger to carry the offense.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .553. After last season’s great run through the playoffs, My Name is Judge faces a gauntlet of good teams to end the 2018 regular season. They’ll face the league’s top four teams over the final six weeks. It will be a battle for Andy’s team to make the playoffs.

MIDTOWN MARSUPIALS

If Jacob deGrom starts twice in a week, the Marsupials can be tough to beat in the pitching categories. The Mets’ ace is ranked seventh overall and the only player on Allen’s roster that ranks in the league’s Top 50. The offense is led by Xander Bogaerts, Nick Castellanos and Ian Desmond.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .499. The Marsupials trail My Name is Judge by 2.5 games for the league’s final playoff spot with six weeks remaining. They play just one of the league’s top five teams to finish the season (Pittsburgh Xplosion, Week 19). They also face My Name is Judge in Week 20 in a series that could determine the playoff fate of both teams.

HAPAMON

Can Clayton Kershaw stay healthy for the stretch run and will the Dodgers limit his innings? Kershaw is Robert Kirkbride’s top-ranked pitcher and the key to his playoff hopes. Outfielders Christian Yelich and Charlie Blackmon power the offense.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .502. Hapamon has lost just one series over the last seven weeks and has quietly moved into playoff contention. The Week 18 series with the Midtown Marsupials looms large but to remain in contention, they need to be competitive against Bacon at Mile 11 and the Pittsburgh Xplosion.

WARNING TRACK POWER

Chris Sale is the top-rated player in the league this season and provides Warning Track Power with a player that can turn a series. The same can be said for outfielder J.D. Martinez, the league’s third-rated outfielder. Both will need to finish strong if Warning Track Power is going to make the playoffs.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .478. Mark Peterson’s team has the second easiest schedule to end the season but he’s facing must-wins over the next six weeks. None of the team’s next four opponents are currently ranked in the top eight but divisional foes A-Rod’s Mirrors and the Lower Haighters await in the final two weeks.

LET’S PLAY 2

Corey Kluber needs to stay healthy if Louie’s team is going to repeat as champs. He’s the team’s second best player behind outfielder Mookie Betts. Infielder Max Muncy has been on a tear and could provide a spark on offense.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .492. The defending league champs are on the mat and the Mirrors are poised to deliver the knockout punch this week. Louie’s team can’t afford a blowout loss to the Mirrors with the JetSetters and High Cheese looming in Weeks 19-20.

STADIUM MUSTARD

James Paxton, the team’s best pitcher, is injured. Veteran Albert Pujols is also injured. This is going to make it difficult for Chris to put together the necessary winning streak to make the playoffs. A combination of Tyler Anderson and Alex Wood will need to carry the pitching staff while Andrelton Simmons, Ender Inciarte, and Edwin Encarnacion power the offense.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .476. Is there any gas left in the tank for a playoff run? The schedule sets up nicely for Stadium Mustard as they face just one team ranked in the top eight over the final six weeks. If they can get on a run, the Week 21 series against the Midtown Marsupials could have playoff implications.

MARIN MENEHUNES

The playoffs might be too much to ask but this is a dangerous team with Max Scherzer and Blake Snell on the mound and Seranthony Dominguez coming out of the bullpen. Calvin’s hurlers can dominate the pitching categories on any given week, especially when Scherzer or Snell make two starts.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .502. Last week’s 11-1 loss to High Cheese was probably the final nail in the coffin for the Menehunes. At this point, they are playing spoiler, as they face four of the top eight teams over the next six weeks. Make no mistake, the Menehunes will have an influence on the playoff field but it’s highly unlikely they’ll find themselves in the postseason party.

BROOKLYN BOMBERS

Pitcher Noah Syndergaard has some kind of childhood disease, Eduardo Rodriguez is hurt the and the pitching staff can no longer compete. Infielder Alex Bregman is dangerous at the plate, but playoff contenders need to beat the Bombers over the final six weeks of the season.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .525. Now is the time for Dwight to use the NA slots on the roster and begin building for next season. The pitching staff has been decimated by injuries. Scan the minor leagues for valuable arms and protect them now.

HOME RUN 101

Starting pitching is a big problem for Home Run 101 and should be the focus of the team’s 2019 rebuild. Jose Altuve is the team’s best player but he’s the team’s only hitter ranked inside the league’s Top 175.

Upcoming Opponent’s Win/Loss %: .482. Bailey’s team can play spoiler but, like the Bombers, she should also have her eye on the future. Her challenge will be to add three minor league prospects to her NA roster spots that can help her turn the franchise around in 2019.

 

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