Fantasy Baseball Weekend Preview: How Nationals bats can help you wrap up Week 8 on a high note

Fantasy managers in shallow formats should aggressively stream starters this weekend, as there are plenty of solid options who are available in roughly half of Yahoo leagues. The streaming targets are slightly harder to find on the hitting side, with the Nationals being the best combination of favorable matchups and widely available players.

Matchups to target

Mets at Rockies

Coors Field series often produce plenty of offense, but this three-game set is tough to predict. Things are clear from the Mets' side — managers want to start as many New York hitters as possible against a subpar trio of Colorado starters. This list includes Jeff McNeil (78% rostered) in shallow leagues, and Brett Baty (30%) and Francisco Álvarez (20%) in deeper formats.

Things are more complicated with the Rockies, who in two of the games face starters (Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer) who have plenty of skill despite producing inconsistent results this year. Charlie Blackmon (40% rostered) and Brenton Doyle (8%) are my two top picks to target.

Astros at A’s

Until Oakland makes significant strides on its 6.95 team ERA, smart fantasy managers will have to target A's pitchers. Beyond the five Astros who are available in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues, I would stream Corey Julks (1%) in 12-team leagues.

Nationals at Royals

A Washington lineup with little star power could thrive against three unremarkable Kansas City starters and a bullpen with a 4.74 ERA. Lane Thomas (48%) should be started in every league, while CJ Abrams (26%), Luis Garcia (11%), Joey Meneses (59%) and Jeimer Candelario (10%) belong in 12-team-league lineups.

Braves vs. Phillies

Atlanta’s dangerous offense could continue to score in bunches against three Philadelphia starters with an ERA over 4.00 this year. Beyond the Braves' five stars, who are all rostered in more than 90% of Yahoo leagues, Orlando Arcia (57%) and Eddie Rosario (2%) stand out as streaming options.

Matchups to avoid

Twins vs. Blue Jays

Six right-handers are starting in this series, and their overall skill level is quite high. From the Twins, players not named Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo belong on fantasy benches. In terms of the Blue Jays, I’m looking to bench everyone except Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Daulton Varsho. Benching Matt Chapman makes sense in 10-team leagues, as he has cooled off after a hot start to the season.

A's vs. Astros

Oakland hitters are even less desirable than usual when the team faces three Houston starters with ERAs below 3.25. Starting speedster Esteury Ruiz in roto leagues is the only possible fit among this group.

Seeking steals

Those who hope to pick up a couple of extra steals this week should target speedsters in these contests.

Rays vs. Noah Syndergaard (Friday): Year in, year out, Syndergaard is arguably the easiest starter in baseball to steal a base against. There are several available Rays who could take advantage of this opportunity, including Taylor Walls, Manuel Margot and Jose Siri.

Jose Caballero vs. Roansy Contreras (Saturday): Despite showing solid plate skills (.825 OPS) and plus speed (6 SB) across 74 plate appearances, Caballero remains available in 98% of Yahoo leagues. He could swipe a base against Contreras, who places third in steals allowed this year.

Big boppers

Looking to add a homer or two to your total this week? Consider streaming one of these players.

Nationals vs. Jordan Lyles (Friday): I already mentioned Washington hitters as great targets this weekend. They are especially appealing for their Friday matchup against Lyles, who has allowed 14 home runs. Top streaming targets (in order of preference) include Jeimer Candelario, Lane Thomas, Joey Meneses and Luis Garcia.

Rangers vs. Grayson Rodriguez (Friday): Texas has several hitters who have thrived against right-handed pitching, which puts them in prime position to take Rodriguez (2.1 HR/9) deep on Friday. The prime candidates are players who are rostered in virtually all leagues, such as Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe, but Ezequiel Durán has shown surprising pop and remains available in shallow formats.

Streaming starters

In order, here are the best streamers from Friday to Sunday, with their start date and Yahoo roster rate in parentheses.