Fantasy baseball forecaster for Week 7: Sept. 7-13

A healthy dose of right-handed pitching could be just what Shohei Ohtani needs. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

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  • There are six rescheduled games on the Week 7 schedule, five of which make up games postponed for COVID-19 reasons, which push the week's grand total of games to a busy 100: Houston Astros-Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, a makeup of their Aug. 30 postponement, which creates a doubleheader in which each team will play as the home team at the Oakland Coliseum; a Detroit Tigers-St. Louis Cardinals doubleheader on Thursday at St. Louis' Busch Stadium, making up their Aug. 5-6 postponements; a pair of Philadelphia Phillies-Miami Marlins makeup games at Miami's Marlins Park, one on Friday and the other on Sunday to create doubleheaders on both days, and making up their Aug. 4-5 postponements; and Athletics-Texas Rangers on Saturday at Texas' Globe Life Field, a makeup of their Aug. 27 postponement in support of racial justice, which creates a doubleheader. In addition, in order to accommodate these makeup games on the schedule, the Boston Red Sox at Phillies and Minnesota Twins at Cardinals two-game series that were set for Aug. 8-9 will now both be played in their entirety as Tuesday doubleheaders. Remember, all doubleheaders this season are seven regulation innings in length.

  • Reminder: Monday is Labor Day, which means more day baseball than usual, five games to be exact. The first two begin at 1:10 p.m. ET, with the Marlins visiting the Atlanta Braves on ESPN+ and the New York Mets hosting the Phillies. In this shortened year and with fantasy playoff races now in the stretch run, don't forget to set your lineups before shifting to your holiday activities.

  • These rescheduled games grant three teams -- the Marlins, Athletics and Phillies -- the advantage of unusual nine-game weeks. The added volume, while beneficial, does come with a slight caution of fatigue and a heightened probability of regulars getting days off. The Marlins, for example, will be playing days 4-10 of a season-concluding, 24-day span during which they're scheduled for 28 games. The Athletics will be playing days 4-10 of a 13-day stretch during which they're set to play 16 games. The Phillies, while granted a Wednesday day off, will nevertheless be playing days 11-17 of a 27-day stretch during which they're scheduled for 31 games. Bear in mind that the Forecaster doesn't include a fatigue calculation in its formula -- it projects what an average team in an average situation would be expected to do in each individual game on the schedule -- but the added games make all three teams strong stacking choices, regardless of these risk factors. To further underscore the point of going all-in where you can from these offenses: If we ran Forecaster projections on the original Week 7 schedule, the Marlins would have a 6 hitter rating, the Athletics 7 and the Phillies 8. Those numbers are 8, 9 and 10 with the current schedule.

  • Eight game weeks are also supremely advantageous, and in Week 7, there are three team scheduled for them: The Tigers, Cardinals and Rangers. Unfortunately, these teams don't enjoy the high-level projections that the aforementioned three teams do, in part because they've got more challenging individual matchups. The Rangers' schedule is the most favorable of the three, but they're also the lowest-scoring (3.64 runs per game) team as well as one with the fifth-worst pitching staff in terms of ERA (5.12). With the new Globe Life Field performing as one of the game's most extreme pitchers' parks thus far -- the small-sample caveat, of course, applies -- it's still a great week to have either two-start pitcher and fantasy ace Lance Lynn or 16th-among-relievers-on-the-Player-Rater closer Rafael Montero in your Week 7 lineups.

  • At the opposite side of the spectrum, there are four teams scheduled to play only five times during Week 7: The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Interestingly enough, none of these teams has a weekly hitting projection worse than 4, and two of them -- the Dodgers and Pirates -- grade above-average, in large part because each plays a three-game, weekend series against a last-place team. It's not quite as necessary to fade players from these teams than it would be in a typical five-game week, though be aware that with six teams set to play at least eight times, there's absolutely a volume-related disadvantage for each.

  • The Los Angeles Angels enjoy the rare week with better overall hitting ratings as a visitor to Coors Field than its host team, the Colorado Rockies. Sure, the Angels are scheduled to face Lance Lynn (Tuesday) during their week-opening three game trip to Texas' Globe Life Field and German Marquez on Friday at Coors, but outside of that (plus the Rangers' or Rockies' closers), they shouldn't face a terrifying pitching matchup the rest of the week. As the Angels are scheduled to face five right-handed starers, this might be the week during which Shohei Ohtani, a career .288/.353/.568 hitter against righties, finally shakes his season-long funk.

  • Take those San Diego Padres seriously, especially after they made six trades to acquire nine major leaguers in the three days immediately preceding the Aug. 31 deadline, not to mention moved into the top 10 in baseball in terms of win-loss percentage (.590, entering play on Sept. 4). Theirs is a dream Week 7 schedule, with three games against the Rockies and four against the San Francisco Giants, all played at home, where the Padres have averaged 5.56 runs per game with a 3.99 ERA. With six their seven games slated to come against right-handed starters, this should be another standout week for Jake Cronenworth, who has slashed .338/.393/.663 against them this year, Trent Grisham, who has .252/.362/.532 rates against them, and Eric Hosmer, a .343/.403/.657 hitter against righties in what has been a rebound year for him.

  • A pair of high-performing National League West right-handers draw two-start weeks with one of the turns coming against the Giants. Can Zac Gallen of the Diamondbacks and Dinelson Lamet of the Padres tame this offense, which scored 23 runs on Sept. 1, 94 in its past 14 and is 11th-best against right-handers in wOBA for the season (.321)? Based upon their season-to-date performances, bank on "yes," but their two-start status make them among the week's top starting pitchers nevertheless, especially since Gallen's second turn is a home game against the light-hitting Seattle Mariners and Lamet's other turn is a home game against a Rockies team that has averaged only 3.88 runs per game away from Coors.

  • Among the teams scheduled to face a greater-than-usual number of left- or right-handed starting pitchers are the Astros, who are scheduled to face four left-handers; Diamondbacks, Mets, New York Yankees, Phillies, Mariners, Blue Jays and Nationals, who are scheduled to face three left-handers; Tigers and Marlins, who are scheduled to face seven right-handers; and Braves, Cubs, Reds, Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Athletics, Giants and Rays, who are scheduled to face six right-handers. Among the hitters you should activate accordingly: Brandon Belt (78% available in ESPN leagues), a .360/.442/.640 hitter against righties; Alex Dickerson (81% available), a .264/.340/.537 hitter against righties; Robbie Grossman (73% available), a .266/.414/.557 hitter against righties; Garrett Hampson (68%), a .292/.356/.585 hitter against righties; Tommy La Stella (40% available), a .293/.384/.533 hitter against righties; Martin Maldonado (69% available), a .393/.514/.679 hitter against lefties; and Nick Markakis (86%), a .304/.371/.518 hitter against righties.