Fantasy Forecaster: April 20-26

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, April 20, at 9:51 a.m. ET.

On tap: Week 3 is the most jam-packed of the 2015 season thus far, as 14 of the 30 teams play all seven days. It's also light on interleague play, with only two series and five total games, though among those is the annual "Subway Series" between the New York Mets and New York Yankees, this one at Yankee Stadium.

Carlos Carrasco will mark his return to the Cleveland Indians' rotation on Tuesday, after he was forced from his April 14 start early due to a scary incident when he was struck in the face by a line drive. He's not the only pitcher working his way back from injury, as the Los Angeles Angels' Garrett Richards will make his second start of the season on Friday. Ian Kennedy, too, is expected to rejoin the San Diego Padres' rotation before the week's conclusion, pitching on Saturday.

Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Patriots Day in Massachusetts on Monday results in the 2015 season's earliest scheduled start to a week, with Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox beginning at 11:05 a.m. ET. Fantasy owners with weekly lineup locks at the first pitch of the first game need get their rosters settled earlier for Week 3.

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, 11:05 a.m. ET (Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, the day's only day game); Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three different games); Wednesday, 2:10 p.m. ET (Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox, the day's only day game); Thursday, 12:35 p.m. ET (Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates, one of eight day games); Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET (three different games); Saturday, 1:08 p.m. ET (Indians at Detroit Tigers, one of six day games); and Sunday, 1:08 p.m. ET (Indians at Tigers, one of 14 day games).

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

Rangers' traditional DH(s): Mitch Moreland (5 starts) and Prince Fielder (4). Both of them are generally first basemen when not a DH, and both left-handed, so since Fielder is the more proven offensive force, he is therefore more likely to start both games at Arizona's Chase Field. Moreland could sneak in a start in left field, but the Rangers rarely floated the idea during the spring, instead seemingly shying from that strategy in order to protect his ankle. Considering the short schedule -- five games is a distinct disadvantage -- Moreland should be benched in almost all leagues.

Mets' probable DH(s): John Mayberry Jr. ... or Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson or Daniel Murphy? The latter three represent the Mets' weakest defenders, so the team could -- and probably will -- use the spot to stash a more offensively oriented player to open a field position for a better defender, but first base seems the likely such arrangement, with Mayberry picking up the majority of the added plate appearances. Considering the hitter-friendly environment at New York's Yankee Stadium as well as a Saturday lefty opponent (CC Sabathia), Mayberry could be a handy one-week plug-in for NL-only owners.

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.

Pitching scuttlebutt

  • There is some uncertainty surrounding the Cleveland Indians' rotation, with Danny Salazar having been summoned as the team's new fifth starter, Carlos Carrasco (facial) pushed back to Tuesday, and Zach McAllister, for now, relegated to bullpen duty. The Indians could use Thursday's off day to skip Salazar's or T.J. House's spot, in which case Carrasco would pick up a second turn.

  • The Detroit Tigers will finally need to fill Justin Verlander's (DL, triceps) spot in the rotation on Tuesday, that being the next date they'll need a fifth starter, and after Verlander cut an April 15 simulated game short due to fatigue, manager Brad Ausmus said that Kyle Lobstein would get the Tuesday assignment. It is unclear whether Verlander might be ready the next time that spot arrives on Saturday.

  • Brad Peacock (DL, side) returned to the DL and will be replaced in the Houston Astros' rotation with Asher Wojciechowski beginning on Monday.

  • Garrett Richards (DL, knee) rejoined the Los Angeles Angels' rotation on April 19, lining him up for a Friday start during Week 3.

  • Ricky Nolasco (DL, elbow) has been making progress and is eligible to return once his usual spot in the rotation arrives on Saturday, though it seems likely Trevor May would make another start in his place during Week 3.

  • The Tampa Bay Rays don't require their fourth or fifth starters until Friday and Saturday, and they'll likely push both spots in their rotation back to those dates. Erasmo Ramirez, Alex Colome (DL, pneumonia) and Drew Smyly (DL, shoulder) could all be candidates for either game, with Smyly a leading candidate for Friday after a successful April 19 rehabilitation start for Double-A Montgomery. Colome made a rehabilitation appearance for Class A Charlotte on April 16 and could assume Saturday's spot, though his current schedule doesn't neatly align with that day.

  • Thanks to Monday's and Thursday's off days, the Texas Rangers don't require a fifth starter in Week 3.

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks could, thanks to Monday's and Thursday's off days, skip one of their struggling starters during Week 3 if they wish. Rubby De La Rosa or Jeremy Hellickson, who began the year their Nos. 2-3 starters, would be the top candidates. Chase Anderson would pick up a second start in that event.

  • The Atlanta Braves could push the struggling Trevor Cahill back in the rotation to as far as Saturday, thanks to Monday's off days. In that event, Eric Stults would become the team's two-start pitcher and everyone else would move up a day.

  • Jorge De La Rosa (DL, groin) is scheduled to rejoin the Colorado Rockies' rotation on Monday, setting him up for a two-start Week 3.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers will next need a fifth starter on Saturday, but Hyun-Jin Ryu (DL, shoulder) seems highly unlikely to take that turn. It's unclear who would get the assignment, but among the options are Scott Baker, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland.

  • Ian Kennedy (DL, hamstring) is scheduled to throw 75-90 pitches in an extended spring training rehabilitation start on Monday, putting him on track to rejoin the San Diego Padres' rotation on Saturday. A setback is always a possibility and that return date isn't guaranteed, but it seems probable that he'd recapture his usual rotation spot, currently occupied by Odrisamer Despaigne.

  • The San Francisco Giants placed Jake Peavy (DL, back) on the DL, but they will not use Monday's off day to push his spot in the rotation back to Saturday. Instead, they'll give either Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit that open Thursday assignment.

Tristan's Week 3 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-@SF (Bumgarner)
2. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sat-@NYY (Sabathia)
3. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Thu-KC (Ventura)
4. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Fri-MIN (Hughes)
5. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Thu-STL (Wacha)
6. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Wed-@MIL (Nelson)
7. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Tue-CHC (Wood), Sun-@ARI (Hellickson)
8. David Price (DET) -- Wed-NYY (Warren)
9. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Mon-@PIT (Burnett), Sat-@CIN (DeSclafani)
10. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Sat-@MIA (Koehler)
11. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Fri-@NYY (Pineda)
12. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Wed-@CWS (Samardzija)
13. Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Tue-CIN (Marquis), Sun-STL (Lynn)
14. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Thu-@SF (TBD)
15. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Wed-LAD (Kershaw)
16. Alex Wood (ATL) -- Fri-@PHI (Harang)
17. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-@CWS (Noesi)
18. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Fri-NYM (DeGrom)
19. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Tue-STL (Lynn), Sun-@MIA (Haren)
20. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Sat-@MIL (Peralta)
21. A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Mon-CHC (Arrieta), Sat-@ARI (De La Rosa)
22. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Wed-MIA (Cosart)
23. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Mon-OAK (Graveman), Sat-TEX (Detwiler)
24. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Fri-@ARI (Collmenter)
25. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Fri-HOU (Keuchel)
26. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Mon-HOU (Wojciechowski), Sun-MIN (Gibson)
27. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Thu-NYY (Tanaka)
28. Chris Archer (TB) -- Tue-BOS (Miley), Sun-TOR (Buehrle)
29. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Thu-@NYM (Colon)
30. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Tue-@WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-@MIL (Fiers)
31. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Wed-@LAA (Weaver)
32. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Thu-@COL (Lyles)
33. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Fri-@MIA (Latos)
34. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Mon-@CWS (Danks), Sun-@DET (TBD)
35. Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Wed-CLE (Kluber)
36. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Wed-CIN (Cueto)
37. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Thu-@CWS (Sale)
38. Dan Haren (MIA) -- Tue-@PHI (Williams), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)
39. Shane Greene (DET) -- Fri-CLE (Salazar)
40. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Thu-@MIL (Lohse)
41. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-@SEA (Walker)
42. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-TEX (Lewis)
43. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Fri-KC (Duffy)
44. Drew Pomeranz (OAK) -- Tue-@LAA (Santiago), Sun-HOU (Wojciechowski)
45. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Mon-@DET (Simon), Sat-NYM (Harvey)
46. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Fri-@OAK (Kazmir)
47. Archie Bradley (ARI) -- Wed-TEX (Gallardo)
48. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Fri-@TB (Smyly)
49. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Thu-@DET (Sanchez)
50. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Mon-@MIL (Peralta), Sat-CHC (Arrieta)
51. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Thu-@WSH (Scherzer)
52. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Thu-BOS (Buchholz)
53. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Fri-@CIN (Leake)
54. James Shields (SD) -- Wed-@COL (Kendrick)
55. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Thu-ATL (Teheran)
56. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Fri-LAD (McCarthy)
57. Brandon McCarthy (LAD) -- Fri-@SD (Cashner)
58. Jason Vargas (KC) -- Tue-MIN (Milone), Sun-@CWS (Noesi)
59. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Thu-BAL (Tillman)
60. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Wed-@PIT (Worley)
61. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Thu-@TB (Odorizzi)
62. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Fri-@BAL (Gonzalez)
63. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Thu-OAK (Hahn)
64. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Mon-MIN (Gibson), Sat-@CWS (Danks)
65. Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Mon-NYY (Sabathia), Sat-CLE (House)
66. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Wed-STL (Lackey)
67. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Tue-ATL (Cahill), Sun-@NYY (Eovaldi)
68. Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Sat-@PHI (Buchanan)
69. James Paxton (SEA) -- Sat-MIN (May)
70. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Tue-@DET (Lobstein), Sun-NYM (Niese)
71. John Lackey (STL) -- Wed-@WSH (Fister)
72. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Fri-@CWS (Quintana)
73. Justin Masterson (BOS) -- Mon-BAL (Chen), Sat-@BAL (Chen)
74. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Fri-@SEA (Hernandez)
75. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Wed-@TB (Karns)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Tue-@SF (Lincecum), Sun-@SD (Morrow)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-BAL (Norris), Sun-@TB (Archer)
Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Mon-@BOS (Masterson), Sat-BOS (Masterson)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Mon-@KC (Volquez), Sun-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Wade Miley (BOS) -- Tue-@TB (Archer), Sun-@BAL (Norris)
Brandon Morrow (SD) -- Tue-@COL (Matzek), Sun-LAD (Anderson)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Tue-@TOR (Buehrle), Sun-BOS (Miley)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Mon-CIN (DeSclafani), Sat-STL (Wainwright)
Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Tue-OAK (Pomeranz), Sun-TEX (Martinez)
Travis Wood (CHC) -- Tue-@PIT (Liriano), Sun-@CIN (Marquis)

No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:

Trevor Cahill (ATL) -- Tue-@NYM (Niese), Sun-@PHI (Williams)
John Danks (CWS) -- Mon-CLE (Bauer), Sat-KC (Volquez)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Mon-SD (Despaigne), Sat-SF (Hudson)
Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Mon-@LAA (Shoemaker), Sat-HOU (Feldman)
Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Tue-LAD (Anderson), Sun-@COL (Matzek)
Jason Marquis (CIN) -- Tue-@MIL (Fiers), Sun-CHC (Wood)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Tue-@ARI (Anderson), Sun-@LAA (Santiago)
Tyler Matzek (COL) -- Tue-SD (Morrow), Sun-SF (Lincecum)
Hector Noesi (CWS) -- Tue-CLE (Carrasco), Sun-KC (Vargas)
Asher Wojciechowski (HOU) -- Mon-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-@OAK (Pomeranz)
Jerome Williams (PHI) -- Tue-MIA (Haren), Sun-ATL (Cahill)

Pitching advantages

Though they've gotten off to a slow start as a team, mostly due to some extremely disappointing pitching performances, the Seattle Mariners are in prime position to rebound with six home games, three against the strikeout-prone Houston Astros, then three against the comparably slow-starting Minnesota Twins. James Paxton (5.11), Hisashi Iwakuma (6.55) and Taijuan Walker (17.18) all have ERAs higher than five, but keep in mind that the Mariners' pitching matchups in their first nine games came against three good (and/or hot-starting) offenses. Iwakuma stands out as the team's two-start pitcher, as he has a 2.88 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 50 career games at Safeco Field; he has 3.47/1.23 numbers in 43 road contests. And while Walker is a risky pick after back-to-back awful starts, remember that he possesses swing-and-miss stuff and will be facing a whiff-prone, righty-heavy Astros lineup that will be playing away from Minute Maid Park and its short porch in left field.

Speaking of Walker-esque rebound candidates, Clay Buchholz, who pitched horribly in his April 12 game against the New York Yankees, should fare considerably better on Thursday at Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field. The Rays represent a much more favorable matchup for him, and he's 5-3 with a 1.95 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 10 career starts at Tropicana Field, the ERA/WHIP his best in any venue of at least five games.

Jimmy Nelson's matchup might not look enticing on paper, but look deeper at that Cincinnati Reds lineup. Two of its four most threatening bats are left-handed, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and one of the righties, Devin Mesoraco, might be unable to play. The lefties are the point here; Nelson has leaned more heavily upon a curveball on which he has altered his grip, and curveballs tend to neutralize lefty splits.

Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks:

1. Anthony DeSclafani (CHC, Saturday): He needs to be owned in more ESPN leagues than he is. DeSclafani's slider is better than advertised, contributing to his seven-shutout-inning, two-hit performance April 14 against [e] these same Chicago Cubs. Yes, they now have Kris Bryant, but considering Bryant's propensity for strikeouts, DeSclafani's slider gives him the better side of the matchup yet again.
2. Jason Hammel (@PIT, Wednesday): Why don't more people like this guy? Since the beginning of last year, he has a 1.13 WHIP and 3.73 K-to-walk ratio, which rank 15th and 22nd among qualifiers. He'll also be pitching against a Pittsburgh Pirates team that ranks among the bottom third in wOBA, runs scored and strikeout rate.
3. Nathan Eovaldi (NYM, Sunday): His slider and splitter looked noticeably better in his second than first start of 2015, and bode well in a matchup against a David Wright-less New York Mets offense that, even with him, had performed below-average.
4. Dan Haren (@PHI, Tuesday): He has back-to-back quality starts to begin his season against two projected-to-be-poor offenses that have actually outperformed these Philadelphia Phillies to date; the Phillies entered play on April 17 ranked third-worst in both wOBA (.270) and runs scored (24).
5. Kyle Gibson (@KC, Monday): He's as genuinely hit-or-miss as they come -- I've nicknamed him a "Jekyll and Hyde fantasy option" -- but his career history against the Kansas City Royals cannot be ignored; he's 4-for-4 in both wins and quality starts with a 1.38 ERA and 1.15 WHIP against them.
6. Aaron Harang (ATL, Friday): He's hardly exciting to own, but Harang nevertheless has 27 quality starts and a 3.41 ERA in 35 starts since the beginning of last season. He somehow gets the job done, and now he'll be facing his former team, the Atlanta Braves, who have a wOBA 10 against right-handers 10 points beneath the league average.
7. Vance Worley (CHC, Thursday): From a weak slate of streaming options, why not try Worley, pitching in spacious PNC Park against a Chicago Cubs team that, entering play on April 17, ranked among the majors' bottom 10 in runs scored and wOBA?

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 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:

It's a dream set of matchups for the Padres, who play four games at Colorado's Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies' bottom-five-in-baseball rotation, then three back home versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will throw neither Clayton Kershaw nor Zack Greinke during the series. Brandon McCarthy (Friday) is the toughest opposing starter the Padres will face, and he allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings against them as recently as April 8; both Justin Upton and Will Middlebrooks hit home runs against McCarthy in that game. The Padres have historically fared well offensively at Coors, including: Jedd Gyorko (.333/.380/.621 in 16 career games), Middlebrooks (3-for-9, 2 HR in 2 games) and Matt Kemp (.322/.396/.606 in 62 games).

The Royals' Lorenzo Cain has been one of the hottest hitters to start the season, and with four left-handed starters on the team's schedule, he'll probably remain similarly productive through Week 3. Cain and the Royals face the Minnesota Twins' bottom-five-in-baseball rotation, then play four at homer-friendly Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, two of those games against the Chicago White Sox's Nos. 4-5 starters John Danks and Hector Noesi. Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar should enjoy a nice boost in value with so many lefties on the slate, and Mike Moustakas is well worth keeping active, thanks to his No. 2 spot in the lineup as well as his .313/.450/.438 triple-slash line in 21 plate appearances against left-handers thus far.