Every additional edge you can garner brings you one step closer to glory.
Analyzing the matchups is one such way to do it, and this time of year, with major league rosters in such flux, it's often a good idea to re-evaluate which teams have the best or worst remaining schedules. After all, with so many types of league formats -- Rotisserie, head-to-head, leagues with daily or weekly transactions, playoff systems that lock transactions before the playoffs, just to name a few -- sometimes knowing the entire final 20 days' worth of schedule is as important as merely dissecting today's.
Four short weeks ago, I analyzed all 30 teams' remaining schedules, both for the entire remainder of the 2014 regular-season schedule as well as merely the September games. Today, let's update it looking at those final 20 days to see which teams now have the best and worst remaining paths for fantasy.
To recap how these calculations are done, we take all 30 teams' remaining schedules, totaling their opponents' per-game averages in a few key statistical categories to give a sense of what an average team might do granted that schedule: We use runs and home runs for hitters, runs and strikeouts for pitchers. Again, this is a study determining what an average team would do with the listed team's schedule; each team's relative talent naturally will have an influence on its results.
Now for some quick thoughts on what lies ahead:
• The Arizona Diamondbacks' offense might be sorely lacking in talent -- they have a major league-worst .269 team weighted on-base average (behind .223/.285/.327 slash rates) since Aug. 1, which was the day Paul Goldschmidt last appeared -- but their remaining schedule is quite favorable. This isn't to say that you should load up on Diamondbacks players, nor should you fear your pitchers who draw Diamondbacks matchups -- those will still rate among the most favorable in the game the rest of the year -- but this could be a team from which you could extract some useful daily/weekly fill-ins: A.J. Pollock and David Peralta both have wOBAs greater than .350 in September, Ender Inciarte is a cheap source of runs scored and Mark Trumbo can provide underrated power. Schedule highlight: Four games at Colorado's Coors Field, Sept. 18-21.
• Considering their offensive struggles of late, it's a terrible thing that the Oakland Athletics' pitchers have one of the more challenging schedules; this team's slide might extend until season's end. Be aware that the Athletics' have a 3.94 ERA in the past month, which ranks 20th. And this team has three games at homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field (Sept. 9-11), three against the Los Angeles Angels (Sept. 22-24) and four at Texas' Rangers Ballpark (Sept. 25-28). By the way, in the past month, Scott Kazmir (7.61), Sonny Gray (4.54) and Jeff Samardzija (4.38) all have ERAs greater than four.
• Both the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants have the unfortunate "honor" of potentially two more games apiece against the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. Oh, and neither team's rest-of-year hitting schedule is especially pleasant. In addition to those Kershaw games, both teams face the Los Angeles Dodgers for six games, both have three-game trips to San Diego's Petco Park and the Rockies also make stops at pitching-friendly ballparks Citi Field and Busch Stadium. Yes, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Corey Dickerson deserve regular places in your lineup regardless of their schedules, and it can be argued that Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado do, too. But beyond them, these teams are classic pick-and-choose squads, and their number of useful matchups isn't likely to be significant.
• Look at that Toronto Blue Jays pitching schedule! It's often thought that the American League East is not the division to look to for pitching success, but with that division shaping up as largely overrated, especially offensively, the Blue Jays might provide quite a sneaky volume of viable-matchup types. After all, Monday stud Marcus Stroman found himself widely available in many leagues, and other Blue Jays starters such as Mark Buehrle, J.A. Happ and Drew Hutchison have seen their ownership percentages fluctuate, and often hover beneath 50 percent, for weeks now. Heck, R.A. Dickey is available in more than one-third of ESPN leagues. Schedule highlight: Week 25, when the team hosts the Seattle Mariners (Sept. 22-25) and a Baltimore Orioles (Sept. 26-28) team that will have long since clinched the division and should rest starters.
Each column in the chart below is sortable. All "total" statistics account for the team's individual opponents' per-game averages using home/road splits in the category, totaling those numbers. So, for example, the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday visit the Boston Red Sox, who have allowed 4.58 runs per game at home this season; then, on Wednesday they visit the Red Sox again, so another 4.58 is added to the total, for 9.15 (fractional amounts are rounded); then, on Thursday they are off; then, on Friday they host the New York Yankees, who have allowed 4.23 runs per game on the road this season, in a doubleheader, so 8.45 (again, fractional amounts rounded) more is added to the total, for 17.60; and so on. Both seasonal ("Year") and second-half ("2H") statistics are used.
Each column in the chart below is sortable. All "total" statistics account for the team's individual opponents' per-game averages using home/road splits in the category, totaling those numbers. So, for example, the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday visit the Boston Red Sox, who have averaged 3.78 runs per game at home this season; then, on Wednesday they visit the Red Sox again, so another 3.78 is added to the total, for 7.56; then, on Thursday they are off; then, on Friday they host the New York Yankees, who have averaged 4.27 runs per game on the road this season, in a doubleheader, so 8.54 more is added to the total, for 16.10; and so on. Both seasonal ("Year") and second-half ("2H") statistics are used.