Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 21, at 12:42 p.m. ET.
On tap: Injury comebacks are the storyline of fantasy's Week 12. Victor Martinez will be playing his first full week since his activation from the disabled list on June 19. Stephen Strasburg (neck) should rejoin the Washington Nationals' rotation early in the week. The San Francisco Giants might get both Matt Cain (forearm) and Jake Peavy (back) back into their rotation by mid-week. And Ivan Nova, on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, might rejoin the New York Yankees' rotation.
After three straight games where both teams cleared the benches, the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics will meet for the first time since their tense April 17-19 series, as they play three weekend games at Oakland's O.co Coliseum.
The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, combatants during the 2009 World Series, will meet during a week-opening series at Yankee Stadium. Seven members of those teams' 25-man rosters from that Fall Classic remain active players on either team; they should all see action in this series, considering the two who are pitchers, CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels, are scheduled to pitch on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. That's assuming, of course, that Hamels' hamstring injury, which cost him his June 19 start, sufficiently heals in time. Better yet, both pitchers as well as all five hitters - Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira - have favorable enough matchups to warrant your lineup spots.
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Monday's slate takes place entirely in the evening, so fantasy owners in weekly leagues have until 7:05 p.m. ET to set their lineups.
Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon #DFS planning, so be aware of every day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are: Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET (Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees); Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins); Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. ET (Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays, two of five day games); Thursday, 1:08 p.m. ET (Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers, one of eight day games); Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time); Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays, one of 10 day games); and Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays, one of 14 day games).
This week's interleague series:
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
Phillies' probable DH(s): Ryan Howard and/or Chase Utley, as was their arrangement during their series at Baltimore's Camden Yards June 15-16. Switch-hitter Cesar Hernandez manned second base during both of those games, against a left- and right-hander, with Howard and Utley rotating between DH/first base. NL-only owners might extract a hint of stolen-base value from Hernandez during Week 12.
Twins' traditional DH: Kennys Vargas, who has 34 starts in the 48 Twins games he has been in on their active roster, 26 of them at DH and eight at first base, with Joe Mauer handling the other position (first base or DH) in 33 of those 34. The two must duke it out for first base at-bats in Milwaukee, but there's no obvious righty/lefty arrangement because the Brewers' rotation is entirely right-handed. Mauer seems likely to get the most action at first base, perhaps all three starts, relegating Vargas to pinch-hitting duty, but it's possible Vargas could fill in for one of the three games.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a projected Bill James Game Score for each day's starter.
Projected starting pitchers, June 22-28
P: The starting pitcher's projected Bill James Game Score, accounting for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A "50" is typically deemed a "quality start" by this measure, while a "70" is considered a dominant start.
The Baltimore Orioles should get both Miguel Gonzalez (DL, groin) and Wei-Yin Chen back in their rotation this week. Gonzalez, who will make a rehabilitation start for Double-A Bowie on June 20, is on track to return on Thursday, while Chen, who was demoted to Class A Frederick on June 16, will be eligible to return on Friday. While the team had not confirmed either move as of the June 21 a.m. update, that they demoted Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk indicated this the likely plan.
The Cleveland Indians designated Shaun Marcum for assignment on June 18, replacing him with Cody Anderson, who was scheduled to pitch June 21 with Trevor Bauer pushed back to Monday. It is unclear whether the team would skip Anderson's next turn following Thursday's off day, but if they do, Danny Salazar would get a second start on Sunday.
Following their June 18 rainout, the Detroit Tigers appeared likely to push their entire rotation back by one day, resulting in the order listed above.
The Los Angeles Angels placed Jered Weaver (DL, hip) on the DL on June 21, and will use Thursday's off day to push his spot in the rotation back until June 30 (Tuesday of Week 13). C.J. Wilson picks up a second start as a result.
The New York Yankees flip-flopped Nathan Eovaldi and Masahiro Tanaka in their rotation on June 20-21 to give the latter an additional day's rest. Ivan Nova (DL, Tommy John surgery) was scheduled for his third rehabilitation start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 19, and he could be a candidate to replace either Adam Warren or Eovaldi on Wednesday or Thursday.
Erasmo Ramirez (groin) was forced to leave his June 20 start early, and it is unclear whether he'd be ready to make his next scheduled turn on Friday. The Tampa Bay Rays might skip his turn following Thursday's off day if Ramirez can't go, as they should get Jake Odorizzi (DL, oblique) and/or Matt Moore (DL, Tommy John surgery) back in the next couple of weeks.
The Toronto Blue Jays demoted Scott Copeland to Triple-A Buffalo on June 21, and are likely to skip his spot in the rotation following Thursday's off day. R.A. Dickey is likely to pick up a second start as a result.
Following their June 18 rainout, the Cincinnati Reds appeared likely to push their vacant fifth-starter spot back to Saturday. David Holmberg, Keyvius Sampson and Josh Smith were the three leading candidates for that start.
Cole Hamels (hamstring), who had his scheduled June 19 start for the Philadelphia Phillies skipped, is expected to miss only one start. He'll return to action on Wednesday. The team will also need a fill-in for Jerome Williams (DL, hamstring) on June 21, with Adam Morgan the leading candidate. Morgan could start again on Saturday, or the team could get Chad Billingsley (DL, lat) back in time for that game.
Matt Cain (DL, forearm) and Jake Peavy (DL, back) are currently on rehabilitation stints with Triple-A Sacramento, and both could be candidates to rejoin the San Francisco Giants' rotation this week. Manager Bruce Bochy has said he won't use a six-man rotation. Peavy is expected to return sometime during the weekend, while Cain is expected to make another rehab start before presumably returning sometime during Week 13.
Stephen Strasburg (DL, neck) is likely to rejoin the Washington Nationals' rotation early in Week 12, with Tuesday a logical return date due to his being on five days' rest following his June 17 rehabilitation start for Double-A Harrisburg. With Strasburg back, both Tanner Roark and Joe Ross appear likely to be skipped in the rotation this week, though the team could opt for a six-man rotation for one turn.
These rankings include the entire slate of projected starters, in order to provide a more organized approach to favorable matchups, #DFS tidbits and the "Streamer's Delight" picks. Notes for relevant pitchers are included below.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Mon-@CHC (Wada), Sat-@MIA (Phelps)
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Fri-@PHI (Harang): It's his fourth start against these Philadelphia Phillies this season. Game Scores from his past three: 62, 79, 75.
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-@MIN (Hughes)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Mon-KC (Blanton), Sun-@LAA (Wilson)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sat-CIN (TBD)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-SD (Despaigne), Sun-COL (Kendrick)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Wed-CIN (Leake)
David Price (DET) -- Tue-@CLE (Salazar), Sun-CWS (Samardzija)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-@BAL (Chen)
Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Tue-@PIT (Locke), Sun-@NYM (Niese)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Thu-@MIL (Jungmann)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-@CHC (Hammel), Sun-@MIA (Urena)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Fri-ATL (Perez)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Fri-@STL (Lackey)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Thu-@TEX (Lewis)
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Fri-@HOU (Velasquez)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Tue-DET (Price)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Wed-DET (Verlander)
Alex Wood (ATL) -- Tue-@WSH (Strasburg), Sun-@PIT (Locke)
Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Wed-@NYY (Warren)
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Mon-PHI (Correia), Sat-@HOU (Oberholtzer)
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-@MIA (Urena), Sun-CHC (Hammel)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Tue-TOR (Dickey)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Tue-@TEX (Gonzalez), Sun-KC (Blanton)
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Sat-CHC (Wada)
Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Tue-NYM (Niese), Sun-MIN (Milone)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-SEA (Walker)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-ATL (Wood), Sun-@PHI (Correia)
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Tue-LAD (Greinke), Sun-@STL (Martinez)
Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Wed-@MIA (Latos): Hot hand meets rough matchup, but that Marlins Park leans more pitching-friendly tilts the scales. Garcia has six consecutive quality starts, but these Miami Marlins have baseball's second-best team wOBA against left-handers (.341).
A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Thu-CIN (DeSclafani)
C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Tue-HOU (McHugh), Sun-SEA (Hernandez)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Thu-NYY (Eovaldi)
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Tue-@MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-@DET (Price)
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Mon-DET (Ryan), Sun-@BAL (Jimenez)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Wed-HOU (McCullers)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Fri-CIN (Lorenzen)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-@BOS (Kelly), Sun-CLE (Bauer)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Fri-ARI (Ray)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Mon-HOU (Oberholtzer), Sat-SEA (Happ)
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Wed-ATL (Miller)
Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Thu-BAL (Gonzalez)
Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Sat-KC (Young)
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Wed-@TB (Karns)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Thu-LAD (Frias)
Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Fri-CWS (Quintana)
Adam Warren (NYY) -- Wed-PHI (Hamels)
Chi Chi Gonzalez (TEX) -- Tue-OAK (Chavez), Sun-@TOR (Dickey): It's a weaker crop of two-start pitchers on the lower tier and, honestly, I want no part of the Toronto matchup. With the Texas Rangers whispering about a six-man rotation, Gonzalez would be a better fantasy play if he loses the second turn. Really.
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Fri-@DET (Sanchez)
Chris Heston (SF) -- Thu-SD (Shields)
Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Mon-@TB (Andriese), Sat-TEX (Gallardo): Now we're into the two-start crop where questions are warranted; this is the OK-in-"onlies" tier. At least the Tampa Bay Rays are so extremely right-handed that there's one favorable matchup here. The other one is awful, considering all the Texas Rangers' lefty power bats.
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Fri-@MIA (Koehler)
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Wed-@WSH (Zimmermann)
Kyle Ryan (DET) -- Mon-@CLE (Bauer), Sat-CWS (Danks): The Chicago White Sox matchup is the most tempting one. Their numbers against lefties in the past month: .176/.227/.239, 28.6 percent strikeout rate.
Lance McCullers (HOU) -- Wed-@LAA (Shoemaker)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Sat-@PIT (Morton)
Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Fri-@LAA (Richards)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-@LAA (Wilson), Sun-NYY (Sabathia)
James Shields (SD) -- Thu-@SF (Heston)
CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Tue-PHI (O'Sullivan), Sun-@HOU (McHugh): The Houston matchup is a trap; Sabathia's ground-ball rate is his lowest in six years, the Houston Astros have powerful right-handed bats and Minute Maid Park inflates righty power.
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Fri-@TB (Ramirez)
R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Tue-@TB (Archer), Sun-TEX (Gonzalez)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Sat-@PHI (TBD)
John Lackey (STL) -- Fri-CHC (Arrieta)
Mike Bolsinger (LAD) -- Wed-@CHC (Hendricks)
Dan Haren (MIA) -- Thu-STL (Lynn)
Williams Perez (ATL) -- Fri-@PIT (Liriano)
Joe Blanton (KC) -- Mon-@SEA (Hernandez), Sun-@OAK (Chavez): The ranking number places him within the real of mixed-league relevance, and most owners' gut reaction will be, "Joe Blanton, really?" It's simple: The Mariners are baseball's coldest June offense (MLB-worst 2.29 runs per game average) and Oakland's O.co Coliseum is a middling park for runs but below-average for homers. Not all mirages immediately vanish.
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Thu-@MIA (Haren): A couple of issues here: One, the potential return of Lance Lynn. Two, the Miami Marlins have a second-ranked .351 wOBA against left-handers in the month of June, mainly on the strength of their league-best 4.4 percent home run rate.
Mike Montgomery (SEA) -- Tue-KC (Guthrie)
Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Thu-@DET (Simon): The Detroit Tigers versus left-handed pitchers in June: .316/.362/.439 rates, third-best-in-baseball .351 wOBA.
Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Tue-@MIL (Fiers), Sun-CIN (Cueto)
Matt Garza (MIL) -- Sat-MIN (Gibson)
Jesse Hahn (OAK) -- Fri-KC (Volquez)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Wed-NYM (Colon)
Odrisamer Despaigne (SD) -- Tue-@SF (Bumgarner), Sun-ARI (Anderson)
Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Sat-@TOR (Hutchison)
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Tue-@COL (Kendrick), Sun-@SD (Despaigne)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Wed-LAD (Bolsinger)
Matt Andriese (TB) -- Mon-TOR (Hutchison), Sun-BOS (Kelly): The issue: Volume. Andriese has been a cog in Kevin Cash's quasi-"bullpen days" rotation strategy on the back end, failing to exceed 5 2/3 innings or 85 pitches in any one outing. Throw in the Toronto Blue Jays matchup and he's an iffy play.
Mat Latos (MIA) -- Wed-STL (Garcia)
Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC) -- Mon-LAD (Kershaw), Sat-@STL (Wacha): He's just so darned unpredictable, you know? Sure, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals hit right-handers better than left-handers, so if you want to roll the dice, this could be a sneakier one. But again, that unpredictability...
Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Sat-ATL (Teheran)
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Sat-ARI (Hellickson): I need him to show results before I'll trust him again. But hey, it's a home game...
Carlos Frias (LAD) -- Thu-@CHC (Lester)
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Wed-@SF (Vogelsong)
Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Wed-KC (Duffy)
Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Wed-CWS (Sale)
Nathan Karns (TB) -- Wed-TOR (Estrada)
Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Tue-BAL (Jimenez), Sun-@TB (Andriese): He only escapes the "no thank you" two-start treatment because one of his matchups is against the righty-heavy Tampa Bay Rays, who have bottom-eight-in-baseball wOBA (.298) and K rate (22.0 percent) against right-handers in June.
Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Wed-@TEX (Rodriguez)
Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Tue-CIN (Cueto), Sun-ATL (Wood)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-@MIL (Nelson)
Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Fri-@SD (Ross): A plus: It's a Petco Park game. A minus: Petco has been far more homer-friendly this year than in the past, and Ray is a fly-ball pitcher. A plus: Ray lacks a significant platoon split. A minus: The San Diego Padres are significantly right-handed and sure to load their lineup with righties. Ultimate coin flip, and in mixed leagues I'm leaning a firm "no." But I'll be watching closely!
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Thu-CWS (Rodon)
David Hale (COL) -- Wed-ARI (Webster)
Jose Urena (MIA) -- Tue-STL (Martinez), Sun-LAD (Greinke): Here's where the clear "no thank yous" begin. The Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball's best team wOBA against right-handers this season (.347), and the St. Louis Cardinals have the ninth-best wOBA against righties (.324).
Trevor May (MIN) -- Fri-@MIL (Lohse)
Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Wed-BAL (Norris)
Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Fri-MIN (May)
Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Thu-NYM (deGrom)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Sat-@TB (Colome)
Brett Oberholtzer (HOU) -- Mon-@LAA (Santiago), Sat-NYY (Pineda)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Fri-CLE (Kluber)
Alex Colome (TB) -- Sat-BOS (Miley)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Wed-@SEA (Elias)
Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Mon-CWS (Danks), Sun-@MIL (Fiers)
Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Fri-@NYM (Syndergaard)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Fri-@OAK (Hahn)
Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Thu-@WSH (Fister)
J.A. Happ (SEA) -- Sat-@LAA (Santiago)
Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Tue-CWS (Samardzija)
Wandy Rodriguez (TEX) -- Wed-OAK (Graveman)
Jeremy Hellickson (ARI) -- Sat-@SD (Cashner)
Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Sat-@BAL (Tillman)
Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Fri-BOS (Porcello)
David Phelps (MIA) -- Sat-LAD (Kershaw)
Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Thu-@COL (De La Rosa)
Doug Fister (WSH) -- Thu-ATL (Wisler)
John Danks (CWS) -- Mon-@MIN (Milone), Sat-@DET (Ryan)
Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Thu-@BOS (Rodriguez)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Fri-WSH (Scherzer)
Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Sat-COL (Rusin)
Vincent Velasquez (HOU) -- Fri-NYY (Tanaka)
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Thu-@PIT (Burnett)
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Fri-LAD (Anderson)
Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Sat-CLE (Anderson)
Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-@CLE (Carrasco)
Tim Hudson (SF) -- Fri-COL (Bettis)
Mike Leake (CIN) -- Wed-@PIT (Cole)
Chris Rusin (COL) -- Sat-@SF (Lincecum)
Chad Bettis (COL) -- Fri-@SF (Hudson)
Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Tue-ARI (Anderson), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Wed-SD (Kennedy)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Fri-TEX (Martinez)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Sat-@MIL (Garza)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Wed-@BOS (Buchholz)
Chris Young (KC) -- Sat-@OAK (Kazmir)
Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Tue-@SEA (Montgomery)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Thu-OAK (Gray)
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Thu-@HOU (Keuchel)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Thu-ARI (De La Rosa)
Sean O'Sullivan (PHI) -- Tue-@NYY (Sabathia)
Kevin Correia (PHI) -- Mon-@NYY (Pineda), Sun-WSH (Strasburg)
Allen Webster (ARI) -- Wed-@COL (Hale)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Fri-@TOR (Buehrle)
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
Hitting matchup chart, June 22-28
H: Hitters' matchup rating, which accounts for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days) as well as ballpark factors. L: Hitters' matchup rating accounting only for left-handed hitters. R: Hitters' matchup rating accounting for only right-handed hitters. S: Base stealing matchup rating, which accounts for the opponent's catchers' ability to gun down opposing base stealers. Ratings range from 1-10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst.
Here are this week's "volume plays," defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Though the Yankees tend to hit right-handers better than lefties -- that's unsurprising, considering their great-for-lefty-power home ballpark makes it a smart strategy for them to give their roster an annual left-handed leaning -- their matchups this week stand out despite the three opposing left-handed starters. After all, the Yankees do have some right-handers/switch-hitters with pop, including Alex Rodriguez (.216 isolated power against lefties), Chris Young (.340/.417/.679 against lefties) and Mark Teixeira (.241 isolated power against lefties), and besides, their opponents' scheduled starters include Kevin Correia, Sean O'Sullivan, Vincent Velasquez and Collin McHugh, four right-handers this team's lefties should certainly hit. Incidentally, should Cole Hamels -- the Philadelphia Phillies' scheduled Wednesday starter -- be skipped, the Yankees' matchups would vault to the best of the week, considering that the only truly scary matchup they'll face is Dallas Keuchel on Thursday.
Don't sleep on the San Francisco Giants, who get three games against the Colorado Rockies to cap off a week that'll begin with games against hittable San Diego Padres righties Odrisamer Despaigne and Ian Kennedy. A five-righty-starter week makes the less-heralded, left handed-hitting Giants much more attractive plays in all formats: Brandon Belt is a .302/.376/.541 hitter against righties this season, Joe Panik .298/.360/.461, Nori Aoki .303/.364/.388 and Brandon Crawford .250/.322/.422; all of them resulting in wOBAs greater than the league average. And with Gregor Blanco also back from the DL, he's a handy NL-only matchups play, considering his .300/.377/.450 rates against righties this season.
Extract a hint of value from your lesser-known Boston Red Sox left-handed hitters as well, as they'll face six right-handed starters. Alejandro De Aza has been getting a fair share of playing time against righties, and he's a .261/.311/.441 hitter against them this season; Brock Holt has batted .317/.396/.463 against righties and has been batting in the first or second spot in the lineup most of the time; and Pablo Sandoval, disappointing year or not, is still a .325/.386/.517 hitter against righties.