Fantasy baseball forecaster for Week 12: June 18-June 24

Week 12 is the first time this season the Colorado Rockies will play seven home games. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

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'The Nine' for Week 12

  • The Colorado Rockies play only three seven-game weeks entirely at Coors Field in 2018 -- barring postponements creating additional such weeks later in the year -- and Week 12 is the first of them. Better yet: When the Rockies host the New York Mets for a four-game, week-opening series, they'll have little to no chance of facing fire-balling right-hander Noah Syndergaard (DL: finger), with a resulting matchup instead against Jason Vargas giving them a huge matchup advantage. The Rockies' weekly matchups aren't merely the best in the game; they are, in fact, 20 percent more favorable than anyone else's. That the team is scheduled to face four left-handed starters in their seven games is fantastic news for Trevor Story, who has a .435 wOBA against lefties (behind .295/.384/.636 slash rates) since his 2016 debut, but could conversely temper expectations from Carlos Gonzalez, a .241/.268/.333 hitter (.267 wOBA) against lefties this season, while making Gerardo Parra, a .204/.232/.278 hitter (.229 wOBA) against lefties this year, a player to sit. All of the team's other top-six-in-the-order hitters -- DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond -- are musts, and there could be sneaky-good NL-only (or deep-mixed) value in Noel Cuevas, a .388/.433/.605 hitter against lefties between the majors and minors in 2017-18.

  • The Mets and Miami Marlins, the two Coors Field visitors for Week 12, have the next-best weekly matchups. To be clear, that represents the level of opportunity available to each offense, not the strength of their offenses as fantasy plays, as the ratings evaluate the matchups assuming a league-average offense. In the case of the Mets, that they're scheduled to face three (and possibly four, if Caleb Ferguson remains in the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation) left-handed starters is a significant disadvantage for them, considering they're easily the majors' worst offense against left-handed pitching (.261 wOBA, 26.4 percent K rate). The Coors game and hefty volume of lefty pitching, however, could be what gets Todd Frazier's (available in more than 75 percent of ESPN leagues) season back on track, as he generates much more quality contact against lefties than righties, with roughly 11 percent fewer grounders and more than seven percent greater hard contact against them in 2017-18.

  • The Marlins, meanwhile, will avoid Madison Bumgarner in the San Francisco Giants' rotation during their week-opening series, in addition to their weekend set at Coors. Like the Mets, the Marlins will face at least three lefty starters, but that's better news for their more righty-oriented lineup. Brian Anderson (available in more than 40 percent of ESPN leagues) is a .299/.386/.494 hitter against lefties this season, and Cameron Maybin (available in more than 98 percent) could finally get things going, as he's a .292/.356/.385 hitter against lefties in 2018.

  • As a result of their two-game, week-opening interleague series, both the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers suffer the disadvantage of five-game weeks, in a week where 10 other teams play seven times. Nevertheless, both teams enjoy near-league-average weekly hitting matchups, as the Braves benefit from a three-game, week-ending series against a Baltimore Orioles pitching staff with the game's second-worst ERA (4.92), while the Tigers start their week in hitting-friendly Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Catcher (-eligibles) are the storylines for both teams: The Braves used their designated hitter during their May 25-27 series at Boston's Fenway Park to get both Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki into the lineup, with the prospects of a repeat making both catchers strong fantasy plays. The Tigers, meanwhile, haven't had DH Victor Martinez play first base since 2016, so John Hicks, the team's catcher-eligible first base fill-in for Miguel Cabrera (DL: biceps), should make five starts.

  • Besides the Tigers, the Orioles, New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics are the other three American League teams to visit National League parks and therefore lose their DH. The Yankees play only a makeup game at Washington's Nationals Park on Monday, a minimal issue from a weekly perspective, while the Athletics should shift Khris Davis to left field for their two-game series at San Diego's Petco Park. The Orioles, however, play all six of their games in NL parks, beginning with three at Washington's Nationals Park and concluding with three at Atlanta's SunTrust Park, meaning usual DH Mark Trumbo will need to shift to right field. One fewer lineup spot means no favors for an Orioles offense that has been one of the game's weakest thus far.

  • A pair of two-start pitchers face challenging matchups in Week 12, making each a roll of the dice in mixed leagues: Luke Weaver (available in roughly 40 percent of ESPN leagues), only the No. 107 pure starting pitcher on the Player Rater thus far, draws matchups at a pair of hitting-friendly venues in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park and Milwaukee's Miller Park, albeit against a pair of strikeout-rich lineups. Marco Gonzales (available in roughly one-third of leagues), the No. 37 starting pitcher thus far, draws treacherous road matchups at the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The matchups (and therefore my rankings) favor Weaver, and both are ranked within the realm of mixed-league relevance, but be forewarned if you play in a league that minimizes the value of two-start pitchers and/or has a starts cap.

  • Among the two-start values for Week 12 are a pair of Chicago pitchers: Mike Montgomery (available in more than 85 percent of ESPN leagues) of the Chicago Cubs, who should fill in for Yu Darvish (DL: triceps) for at least another week and is riding a streak of three quality starts, faces the Dodgers at home and Cincinnati Reds on the road, matchups that are middling to slightly below-average for the pitcher. Carlos Rodon (available in roughly 80 percent) of the Chicago White Sox, who had a pair of decent starts against tough offenses to begin his season, faces the Cleveland Indians on the road and Athletics at home, with the latter his stronger matchup.

  • If you're seeking weekly lefty/righty matchups plays, consider: Ehire Adrianza (available in more than 98 percent), whose Minnesota Twins face three left-handed starters in six games and who has .326/.371/.505 rates against lefties during his two-year Twins career; Ketel Marte (available in roughly 75 percent), whose Arizona Diamondbacks face at least five (and possibly six) right-handed starting pitchers and who has batted .261/.308/.565 against righties in June; Eric Thames (available in roughly 50 percent), whose Milwaukee Brewers face nothing but right-handed starting pitching and who has .263/.376/.563 rates against righties during his two-year Brewers career; and Ben Zobrist (available in roughly 50 percent), whose Cubs face six righty starters and who has batted .288/.395/.440 against righties this season.

  • The Washington Nationals finally appear to have a healthy lineup for the first time all season, with Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy back in action. They'll face nothing but right-handed starting pitching in their seven-game week, which is great news for both players as well as Matt Adams (available in roughly 50 percent of ESPN leagues), a .286/.366/.619 hitter against righties this season. Rookie Juan Soto should also continue his hot hitting facing this favorable schedule.