Fantasy Forecaster: Aug. 31-Sept. 6

Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, Aug. 30, at 10:15 p.m. ET.

On tap: Two important baseball calendar dates arrive at the beginning of Week 21. The first, Aug. 31, represents the deadline for teams to set a postseason roster: At the day's conclusion, only those players on the 40-man roster are eligible (even though major league active rosters remain at 25 men through Aug. 31). For our purposes, this means it's the final day we can logically expect significant trades, so as with July 31, we might see some roster maneuvering, albeit on the smaller scale. Brace for changes, which, as always, will be updated here throughout the weekend.

The second date, Sept. 1, allows all teams to expand their rosters to a maximum of 40 players -- all members of the 40-man roster are eligible for activation. This means the potential activation of injured players, such as Matt Adams, Alex Gordon, Tim Hudson, Howie Kendrick, Steven Matz and George Springer, and potential promotion of prospects, such as Jose Berrios, Joey Gallo, Max Kepler, Jose Peraza, Dalton Pompey, Gary Sanchez and Corey Seager. (Note: Berrios and Seager are not currently on their respective teams' 40-man rosters, so the teams would have to make additional moves to clear space before the prospects could be activated.) And, yes, this also means somewhat watered-down rosters, which will result in a gradually increasing frequency of rotation or lineup changes as teams shift focus to 2016 and contenders rest veterans. Change is often the name of the game in September, and that could begin on the first of the month but will certainly be a significant factor once we reach Weeks 24-25 (Sept. 21-Oct. 4).

With all that said, not a single American League team plays a full seven-game schedule this week, and in an even odder twist, five of the seven schedules of seven or more games are in the National League West, including the Colorado Rockies' eight-game week, played entirely at Coors Field. Their eighth game this week is a make-up game of their May 4 postponement versus the Arizona Diamondbacks; they'll play a split doubleheader Tuesday, with the first game beginning at 3:10 p.m. ET.

The NL is also the source of two of the most critical series from a playoff-contention standpoint: The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants from Monday through Wednesday, with 4 games separating the two teams in the standings (entering play on Aug. 28); and the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Pirates from Friday through Sunday, with 4½ games separating them.

Quickly jump to any section if you want specific intel.

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Week 21 has a 7 p.m. ET start, kicked off by New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball. Fantasy owners in leagues with weekly transactions have a bit more time than usual to get their lineups in.

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 p.m. ET (Yankees at Red Sox); Tuesday, 3:10 p.m. ET (Game 1 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies doubleheader, the day's only day game); Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. ET (Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves, one of four day games); Thursday, 1:10 p.m. ET (Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins, the day's only day game); Friday, 2:20 p.m. ET (Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs, the day's only day game); Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Tampa Bay Rays at Yankees, one of six day games); and Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET (Rays at Yankees, one of 14 day games).

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

Rangers' traditional DH: Prince Fielder, who has 106 of the team's 119 starts at the position. He has also started five of the team's seven games in NL parks at first base (15 there overall), and should get at least two starts during the team's three-game series at Petco Park. If you're a Fielder or Mitch Moreland -- the team's usual first baseman -- owner, plan around five starts for Fielder and four for Moreland this week.

Phillies' probable DH(s): Ryan Howard, who has five of the team's seven starts there this season and 10 of 17 since the beginning of 2014. By using Howard at DH for all three games at Fenway Park, the Phillies open up first base for Darin Ruf and/or Andres Blanco, the latter freeing up third base for Cesar Hernandez and second base for Darnell Sweeney. NL-only owners seeking to squeeze value out of any of the four should be pleased with the three extra offensive lineups spots this week.

Projected starting pitchers

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, Aug. 31-Sept. 6 P: Each 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.

Pitching scuttlebutt

  • Eduardo Rodriguez, whose Week 20 start the Boston Red Sox skipped to keep his innings in check, is expected to return to the rotation on Tuesday, the next time the team needs a fifth starter.

  • Matt Moore is expected to rejoin the Tampa Bay Rays' rotation sometime shortly after the Tuesday 40-man roster expansion. He would be on four days' rest for Wednesday's game, making it possible that he could replace Erasmo Ramirez, replace another starter or push Ramirez back with the team moving to a six-man rotation for Week 21. Chris Archer would lose his second start in the latter arrangement.

  • The Toronto Blue Jays could use Thursday's off day to to skip fifth starter Drew Hutchison, though as of publishing time they hadn't indicated that they would. Marco Estrada would pick up a second start in that event.

  • Danny Salazar (illness) had his turn in the Cleveland Indians' rotation pushed back to Monday.

  • The Houston Astros shuffled their Week 21 rotation with an eye on future series against division rivals, announcing only Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman and Scott Kazmir for Monday-Wednesday. Based upon the rest of the team's September schedule -- think upcoming Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers series -- it appears likely that Keuchel will pitch again on Saturday or Sunday, meaning that either Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers or Lance McCullers will be skipped this week, McCullers the best guess due to innings-cap concerns.

  • The Oakland Athletics pushed Felix Doubront (foot) back in their rotation to Monday, giving Aaron Brooks his Aug. 29 start. Brooks should start Friday's game and Doubront again on Sunday, though either could be skipped following Thursday's off day, granting Jesse Chavez a second start during Week 21.

  • The Seattle Mariners will skip Felix Hernandez's turn in the rotation on Monday, replacing him with Vidal Nuno; Hernandez is expected to make his next start on Sunday. Edgar Olmos also replaced Mike Montgomery in the rotation on Aug. 30, lining Olmos up for a Saturday start.

  • The Atlanta Braves demoted Williams Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett on Aug. 29, leaving them without a Wednesday starter. Edwin Jackson or Ross Detwiler could get the call in a "bullpen day" arrangement, or the team could activate Manny Banuelos (DL, elbow), who made his first rehabilitation start for Gwinnett on Aug. 27, while keeping him on a strict pitch count.

  • The New York Mets, who are concerned about both Matt Harvey's and Noah Syndergaard's innings, could use Thursday's off day to skip Syndergaard. The team has two possibilities to fill in: Jonathon Niese could pick up a second start by working Sunday, or Steven Matz (DL, lat) might be ready by Saturday or Sunday, pending the results of a Monday rehabilitation start for Double-A Binghamton.

  • Alec Asher joined the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation on Aug. 30, bumping Jerome Williams to the bullpen and aligning Asher for a Saturday start during Week 21.

  • The Washington Nationals are concerned about Joe Ross' innings, so it's possible that either of his two scheduled starts could be skipped. Tanner Roark is the most logical candidate to fill in anytime Ross is skipped.

  • Michael Lorenzen will replace David Holmberg in the Cincinnati Reds' rotation beginning on Monday.

  • The Milwaukee Brewers will next need a fifth starter on Saturday, though Tyler Cravy (DL, elbow) apparently isn't an option, as he'll pitch in relief upon activation. Zach Davies could be a candidate for that assignment.

  • Lance Lynn (ankle) is expected to be ready for his next start for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

  • Allen Webster joined the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation on Aug. 30, pushing Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin back to Monday and Tuesday. It is unclear whether Webster will then stay in turn to pitch Saturday's game, but with the team trying to keep its young starters' innings in check, a six-man rotation seems likely. Randall Delgado could be another candidate for a spot start during the week. In the event the Diamondbacks use only five starters, Patrick Corbin would pick up a second start.

  • Kyle Kendrick (DL, shoulder) is expected to start one of the Colorado Rockies' Tuesday doubleheader games. It seems likely that he'd then stay on four days' rest to pitch Sunday's game, though Yohan Flande could start then instead.

  • Chris Heston replaced Matt Cain (DL, elbow) in the San Francisco Giants' rotation on Aug. 30, aligning Heston for a Friday start during Week 21.

Tristan's Week 21 pitcher rankings

These rankings include the entire slate of projected starters in order to provide a more organized approach for finding favorable matchups, DFS tidbits and the "Streamer's Delight" picks. Notes for relevant pitchers are included below.

  1. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-@MIN (Duffey), Sun-@KC (Cueto)

  2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-SF (Leake)

  3. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-SF (Bumgarner), Sun-@SD (Cashner)

  4. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-@COL (Kendrick)

  5. David Price (TOR) -- Mon-CLE (Salazar), Sun-BAL (Chen)

  6. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Wed-@STL (Wacha)

  7. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-@DET (Farmer)

  8. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sun-@OAK (Doubront)

  9. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Fri-@MIA (Koehler)

  10. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Sat-ARI (Webster)

  11. Chris Archer (TB) -- Mon-@BAL (Chen), Sun-@NYY (Nova)

  12. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Fri-ATL (Teheran)

  13. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Mon-SEA (Nuno), Sun-MIN (Duffey)

  14. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Sat-@MIA (Hand)

  15. Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Tue-DET (Verlander), Sun-CWS (Sale)

  16. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Wed-PHI (Nola)

  17. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Wed-LAA (Heaney)

  18. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Fri-ARI (Chacin)

  19. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Mon-TEX (Lewis), Sat-LAD (Anderson)

  20. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Wed-@SD (Kennedy)

  21. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Wed-@MIL (Jungmann)

  22. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Mon-@TOR (Price), Sun-@DET (Verlander)

  23. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Thu-@MIL (Garza)

  24. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Tue-@KC (Cueto), Sun-CLE (Salazar)

  25. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Wed-@BOS (Owens)

  26. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Fri-@OAK (Brooks)

  27. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Sat-MIN (Santana)

  28. Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Tue-MIA (Nicolino), Sun-@WSH (Ross)

  29. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Tue-@BOS (Rodriguez)

  30. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Tue-TEX (Gallardo), Sun-LAD (Greinke)

  31. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Sat-PIT (Morton)

  32. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Wed-WSH (Scherzer)

  33. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Mon-@STL (Lackey), Sat-ATL (Foltynewicz)

  34. John Lackey (STL) -- Mon-WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-PIT (Locke)

  35. Kris Medlen (KC) -- Fri-CWS (Samardzija)

  36. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Wed-@CHC (Hammel): He has four positive-run-value pitches since the All-Star break, garners much of his fantasy value from strikeouts and this is a strikeout-generating matchup.

  37. Scott Kazmir (HOU) -- Wed-SEA (Walker)

  38. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Tue-WSH (Ross)

  39. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Sat-TB (Karns): His splitter, a new offering in 2015, has been one of the game's most effective overall pitches since the All-Star break, and it forces us to take an entirely different look at him fantasy-wise for the remainder of the year. Frankly, the case could be made that Eovaldi is ranked 10 spots too low, but in a one-start week, this feels about right.

  40. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Tue-@STL (Martinez), Sun-ATL (Miller)

  41. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Fri-@NYY (Severino)

  42. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-TEX (Perez)

  43. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Thu-ATL (Wisler)

  44. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Fri-MIN (Pelfrey)

  45. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-@WSH (Strasburg)

  46. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Tue-@OAK (Bassitt)

  47. James Shields (SD) -- Fri-LAD (Wood)

  48. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Wed-TEX (Hamels)

  49. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Tue-CLE (Anderson)

  50. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Wed-CIN (Iglesias)

  51. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Wed-PIT (Cole)

  52. Nathan Karns (TB) -- Sat-@NYY (Eovaldi)

  53. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Wed-TB (Ramirez)

  54. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Mon-PHI (Eickhoff), Sun-@MIA (Narveson): Based on Colon's recent track record of complete unpredictability, I'm tempted to declare him an "onlies" two-start pitching consideration, but these matchups are too favorable to ignore, at least on paper.

  55. Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Fri-@KC (Medlen)

  56. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Fri-PIT (Happ)

  57. Luis Severino (NYY) -- Fri-TB (Odorizzi)

  58. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Wed-@MIN (Milone): At this stage, I'd guess that the White Sox realize how much better Rodon performs with Tyler Flowers as his personal catcher and will pair them in every one of his remaining starts. The rating accounts for slight risk of Geovany Soto, plus the hitting-friendly nature of Target Field, but Rodon's Week 21 ceiling might be that of a top-40 starter.

  59. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Mon-CIN (Lorenzen), Sun-ARI (Ray)

  60. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Sat-SEA (Olmos)

  61. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Tue-PIT (Locke), Sun-@CIN (Lorenzen)

  62. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Wed-@HOU (Kazmir)

  63. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Tue-PHI (Harang)

  64. Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-TB (Archer), Sun-@TOR (Price): Here's where we enter the "onlies" tier of two-start pitchers, and Chen is mostly that because of the Rogers Centre assignment against all of those righty Blue Jays boppers. Hmmm, might the Orioles demote him to Class A again before Sunday to help him avoid such an awful matchup? (Kidding, kidding.)

  65. Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Mon-SF (Peavy), Sat-@SD (Ross)

  66. Alex Wood (LAD) -- Fri-@SD (Shields)

  67. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Sat-@KC (Duffy)

  68. Drew Smyly (TB) -- Tue-@BAL (Tillman)

  69. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Wed-DET (Wolf)

  70. Henry Owens (BOS) -- Wed-NYY (Tanaka)

  71. Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Sat-@DET (Simon)

  72. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Wed-@TOR (Dickey)

  73. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Mon-@NYM (Colon), Sun-@BOS (Porcello)

  74. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Mon-@OAK (Doubront), Sun-TEX (Lewis)

  75. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Wed-@NYM (Harvey)

  76. John Lamb (CIN) -- Sat-MIL (TBD)

  77. Tyler Duffey (MIN) -- Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-@HOU (Keuchel)

  78. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Fri-BAL (Jimenez)

  79. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Sat-@LAA (Weaver): This might be a bit too critical a rating, considering the Angels' August struggles, but it's a road game and Holland isn't an elite strikeout option.

  80. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Tue-LAA (Shoemaker): Back home, Bassitt should at least recapture a bit of an advantage. The Angels, incidentally, have been one of the coldest-hitting teams in August.

  81. Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Wed-@BAL (Gausman)

  82. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Mon-@LAD (Anderson), Sat-@COL (Bettis): With one Coors Field assignment, Peavy could belong in the "no thank yous" below. Plenty of risk here.

  83. Mike Leake (SF) -- Wed-@LAD (Kershaw)

  84. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Mon-NYY (Nova), Sun-PHI (Eickhoff)

  85. Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Sat-@STL (Garcia)

  86. Adam Conley (MIA) -- Wed-@ATL (TBD)

  87. Vidal Nuno (SEA) -- Mon-@HOU (Keuchel)

  88. Mat Latos (LAD) -- Thu-@SD (Rea)

  89. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Fri-@TOR (Hutchison)

  90. Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Tue-@HOU (Feldman)

  91. Chris Narveson (MIA) -- Mon-@ATL (Foltynewicz), Sun-NYM (Colon): Welcome to the "no thank yous" among two-start pitchers. Narveson pitched poorly in his first start for the Marlins, he has pitch-count concerns in Start No. 2 and there's no guarantee he's in there for the duration besides.

  92. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Sat-TEX (Holland)

  93. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Thu-DET (Boyd)

  94. Wade Miley (BOS) -- Sat-PHI (Asher)

  95. Justin Nicolino (MIA) -- Tue-@ATL (Miller)

  96. Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Tue-@SD (Cashner)

  97. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Wed-CLE (Bauer)

  98. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-TB (Smyly)

  99. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Mon-@SD (Ross), Sun-@LAA (Santiago)

  100. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Thu-PIT (Liriano)

  101. J.A. Happ (PIT) -- Fri-@STL (Lynn)

  102. Dan Haren (CHC) -- Tue-CIN (DeSclafani)

  103. Colin Rea (SD) -- Thu-LAD (Latos)

  104. Alec Asher (PHI) -- Sat-@BOS (Miley)

  105. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Tue-NYY (Pineda)

  106. Chris Heston (SF) -- Fri-@COL (De La Rosa)

  107. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Tue-@MIL (Nelson), Sun-@STL (Lackey)

  108. Edgar Olmos (SEA) -- Sat-@OAK (Chavez)

  109. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Tue-@CHC (Haren)

  110. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Sat-@HOU (Fiers)

  111. Brad Hand (MIA) -- Sat-NYM (Syndergaard)

  112. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Tue-@COL, Gm. 1 (Flande): Even if he picks up the second start this week, that Coors Field matchup is scary enough to keep him beneath the start-worthy radar.

  113. Aaron Brooks (OAK) -- Fri-SEA (Iwakuma)

  114. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Fri-NYM (deGrom)

  115. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Tue-@COL, Gm. 2 (Kendrick)

  116. Chad Bettis (COL) -- Mon-ARI (Ray), Sat-SF (Peavy)

  117. Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Wed-@OAK (Gray)

  118. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Tue-SEA (Elias)

  119. Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Tue-@NYM (Niese)

  120. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Thu-CWS (Danks)

  121. Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) -- Mon-MIA (Narveson), Sat-@WSH (Gonzalez)

  122. Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Wed-@COL (Gray)

  123. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Fri-SF (Heston)

  124. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Fri-PHI (Morgan)

  125. Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Tue-@TOR (Estrada)

  126. Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Wed-CWS (Rodon)

  127. Jon Gray (COL) -- Wed-ARI (Anderson)

  128. Jhoulys Chacin (ARI) -- Fri-@CHC (Lester)

  129. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Fri-@LAA (Richards)

  130. Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Mon-@BOS (Porcello), Sun-TB (Archer)

  131. Keyvius Sampson (CIN) -- Fri-MIL (Peralta)

  132. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Fri-@CIN (Sampson)

  133. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Sat-BAL (Gonzalez)

  134. Felix Doubront (OAK) -- Mon-LAA (Santiago), Sun-SEA (Hernandez)

  135. Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Sat-CLE (Tomlin)

  136. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Sat-CWS (Quintana)

  137. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Mon-@COL (Bettis), Sun-@CHC (Hendricks)

  138. Matt Boyd (DET) -- Thu-@KC (Volquez)

  139. Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Thu-@COL (Rusin)

  140. Yohan Flande (COL) -- Tue-ARI, Gm. 1 (Corbin)

  141. Randy Wolf (DET) -- Wed-@KC (Ventura)

  142. Buck Farmer (DET) -- Fri-CLE (Kluber)

  143. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Sat-@TOR (Buehrle)

  144. John Danks (CWS) -- Thu-@MIN (Gibson)

  145. Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Fri-@BOS (Kelly)

  146. Allen Webster (ARI) -- Sat-@CHC (Arrieta)

  147. Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Fri-@HOU (McHugh)

  148. Chris Rusin (COL) -- Thu-SF (Vogelsong)

  149. Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Mon-@CHC (Hendricks), Sun-MIL (Nelson)

  150. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Thu-@WSH (Zimmermann)

Hitting ratings

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, Aug. 31-Sept. 6 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.

Hitting advantages

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:

  • Total games: Colorado Rockies 8, Atlanta Braves 7, Washington Nationals 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7, San Diego Padres 7, San Francisco Giants 7. All 23 other teams play six games apiece.

  • Home games: Rockies 8, Padres 7, Boston Red Sox 6, Toronto Blue Jays 6, Kansas City Royals 6, Houston Astros 6, Oakland Athletics 6, Chicago Cubs 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6.

  • Versus RH: Nationals 7, Detroit Tigers 6, Dodgers 6, Red Sox 5, Tampa Bay Rays 5, Blue Jays 5, Cleveland Indians 5, Texas Rangers 5, Miami Marlins 5, Cubs 5, Cincinnati Reds 5, Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Rockies 5.

  • Versus LH: Royals 4, Minnesota Twins 4, Braves 4, Giants 4, Baltimore Orioles 3, Los Angeles Angels 3, Athletics 3, Seattle Mariners 3, Milwaukee Brewers 3, Cardinals 3, Rockies 3, Padres 3.

Eight games at Coors -- even if one of them is against Madison Bumgarner -- is a slam-dunk schedule for hitters, as Bumgarner's own Coors history illustrates: He has a 4.05 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and .286/.330/.429 opponents' hitting rates in 11 career starts there, which paints the picture of an effectively league-average pitcher. Naturally, you start your Rockies, but what's especially advantageous about their week is that the eight games gives them a 5-and-3 righty/lefty split in terms of opposing starting pitchers, which means enough volume of quality matchups to make even their platoon types, like Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker, stronger options in the majority of leagues. Paulsen, after all, is a lifetime .287/.336/.488 hitter against righties and .304/.360/.525 overall at Coors, while Parker was a .279/.357/.495 hitter against lefties for Triple-A Albuquerque to begin his season. Parker is more of an NL-only consideration, but that's enough starts against lefties, and he's playing frequently enough against both types of pitchers.

The Cubs have the next-most-attractive week of matchups: six games at Wrigley Field against the patchwork, relatively young rotations of the Reds and Diamondbacks. Not a single one of the team's six opposing starters has a WAR (wins above replacement) greater than 0.7, and Raisel Iglesias on Wednesday represents arguably the team's toughest individual matchup. The Cubs' lineup construction, however, will be the X factor to watch: They face three left-handed starters but have a good share of useful left-handed hitters. Still, considering that both Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber tend to start against all lefties -- Rizzo a .325/.439/.508 hitter against them this season -- about the only individual Cubs who might not garner an advantage this week are Chris Coghlan and Tommy La Stella, who might make only three starts apiece. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler might gain the greatest individual matchup on the team.

Among AL squads, the hot-in-August Red Sox have the league's best set of matchups, mainly due to their three-game series at Fenway Park against the Phillies, but also because Monday opposing starter Ivan Nova has been struggling. Left-handed Red Sox stand out in particular: David Ortiz, with the DH spot back in play in an AL park, is a .280/.398/.560 hitter against righties this season; Travis Shaw has batted .311/.358/.541 against righties; Pablo Sandoval .283/.337/.462 and Brock Holt .286/.350/.392. This might also be an ideal week to get Jackie Bradley Jr., a scorching .328/.418/.701 hitter in August, into your lineup.