Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, May 10, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
On tap: Interleague play begins to ramp up during fantasy's Week 6, which features a season-high-to-date 15 such contests; nine of those will be played in American League ballparks. Thankfully, it doesn't lead to a more abbreviated schedule, as the only team subject to a five-game week due to the infamous two-game interleague series sandwiched by Monday and Thursday off days is the Los Angeles Angels. In a week in which 13 teams play seven games and 16 play six, however, that's a bad thing from a volume standpoint for the Angels.
Noah Syndergaard, Keith Law's No. 7 pitching and No. 19 overall prospect from his March rankings, and the New York Mets' No. 1 prospect, will make his major league debut on Tuesday, assuming the rotation spot of the injured Dillon Gee. Though Syndergaard has been promised only the lone spot start, it seems likely that, if he's effective on Tuesday, he'd align for a two-start week in his first week in the bigs.
The Chicago White Sox welcome both Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale back from suspensions, and have the ability to give both two-start weeks if they wish thanks to Thursday's off day. Sale doesn't currently align for two, but Samardzija's second turn is an intriguing one: He returns to Oakland's O.co Coliseum, which he called home for the final two months of 2014.
Only 18 days after he was struck in the head by a line drive, Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Archie Bradley is expected to return to action on Saturday. It's fantastic news for the right-hander, who had quality starts in each of his first three big league starts before his abbreviated fourth, and who would face a favorable matchup in the Philadelphia Phillies in a road game in his first game back.
Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel
ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines
It's another week with a late start time, as the first game is the Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds contest on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball, which begins at 7 p.m. ET.
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 (Braves at Reds); Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. ET (St. Louis Cardinals at Cleveland Indians); Wednesday, 3:35 p.m. ET (Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics, one of two day games); Thursday, 12:05 p.m. ET (Cardinals at Indians, one of five day games); Friday, 2:20 p.m. ET (Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, the day's only day game); Saturday, 1 p.m. ET (Braves at Miami Marlins, one of four day games); and Sunday, 1:10 p.m. ET (three games begin at that time, out of 14 day games overall).
This week's interleague series:
Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Angels (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
St. Louis Cardinals at Cleveland Indians (3 games, Tuesday-Thursday)
Detroit Tigers at Cardinals (3 games, Friday-Sunday)
White Sox's traditional DH: Adam LaRoche. Or take your pick between him and Jose Abreu, because they're both natural first basemen, but Abreu has 22 starts at first and 3 at DH, and LaRoche has 22 at DH and 3 at first. Abreu is the superior hitter, so he has good odds of capturing all three starts at first base in Milwaukee, but that the Brewers have an entirely right-handed rotation, it's possible that LaRoche might pick up a start there in one of the three games. LaRoche's owners are the ones to be concerned; he might be destined for only 3-4 starts this week.
Giants' probable DH(s): Buster Posey, Brandon Belt or Angel Pagan. The logic is simple for each: Posey would clear up catcher for Andrew Susac, Belt would free up first base for Posey (and, therefore, catcher for Susac), and Pagan would free up center field for the defensively superior Gregor Blanco. Blanco and Susac therefore benefit from a few additional at-bats this week, though each might pick up only one additional start apiece. Susac could be NL-only relevant as a No. 2 catcher.
Rockies' probable DH(s): Carlos Gonzalez. It's an obvious choice between one of the team's top four outfielders, and while Corey Dickerson was the preferred DH in 2014 (7 starts in 10 games), Gonzalez is the one with the worst defensive metrics to date and the greatest amount of injury risk. Drew Stubbs will benefit most, as a near lock to start Wednesday's game against the left-handed Hector Santiago, but even then, Stubbs might pick up only that start and Friday's against Clayton Kershaw.
Padres' probable DH(s): Take your pick from the Padres' three regularly starting outfielders, each of whom ranks among the worst defensive outfielders in baseball to date. In order of likelihood, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and then Justin Upton would DH, and it might be two different ones in a rotation, but Myers seems the most likely because Will Venable's defensive presence in center field would provide the greatest advantage. Here's the problem, though: The Mariners are scheduled to start two left-handers, so it's not unthinkable that the team could use the DH to squeeze a Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges and/or Yangervis Solarte in there instead. There's not a lot that fantasy owners can extract here, other than that both Solarte and right-handed third baseman Will Middlebrooks are somewhat more attractive weekly plays.
Cardinals' probable DH: Matt Holliday. He was the DH for 10 of the Cardinals' past 20 games in American League parks, and slotting him there in Detroit frees up an outfield spot for the defensively superior Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay (they usually platoon). Mark Reynolds could be a candidate for a start, affording the team to get both him and Matt Adams into the lineup, but that the Indians' rotation is entirely right-handed tilts this to more of an outfielders-only arrangement. Bourjos could be worth the one-week NL-only plug-in.
Tigers' traditional DH: Victor Martinez. He's performing considerably worse than fellow first baseman Miguel Cabrera, and he didn't start there with Cabrera at third base during any of the team's three games at Pittsburgh from April 13 to 15, so Martinez will likely be a three-day pinch hitter for the weekend series. His fantasy owners in shallow mixed should bench him accordingly, though it's worth pointing out that Martinez's matchups during the week-opening home series versus the Minnesota Twins are favorable enough that he should be used in anything deeper than standard.
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, May 11-17 P: The 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.
Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale are eligible to return from their suspensions on Monday and Tuesday, meaning that Carlos Rodon, who will make a spot start for the Chicago White Sox on May 9, is likely to return to the bullpen for Week 6. Though the White Sox suffered a May 8 postponement and May 9 doubleheader, Rodon's availability for the latter spot start means that the remainder of the team's rotation should go unchanged.
Bruce Chen is scheduled to serve as the Cleveland Indians' fifth starter on May 9, but it's unclear what is the team's strategy for that spot during Week 6. Monday's off day makes it likely the Indians will again delay a decision until Saturday.
David Price (hamstring) will have his Week 6 start for the Detroit Tigers pushed back to Saturday, giving him two extra days' rest to heal.
Brett Oberholtzer (DL, finger) will rejoin the Houston Astros' rotation on Wednesday, with Collin McHugh moving up a day to Tuesday to become the team's two-start pitcher.
Edinson Volquez (blister) is tentatively expected to make his scheduled Tuesday start for the Kansas City Royals. Chris Young replaced Jason Vargas (DL, flexor) in the rotation on May 10, lining him up for a Friday start during Week 6.
The Tampa Bay Rays placed Drew Smyly (DL, shoulder) on the DL, replacing him with Matt Andriese on May 9, and pushed Jake Odorizzi (flu) back from May 9 to May 10. Though Andriese might make only the one spot start, it seems likely that he would next pitch on Thursday of Week 6, with Odorizzi then pitching Friday.
Archie Bradley (DL, head) is scheduled to rejoin the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation on Saturday, assuming all goes well with a scheduled simulated game on Monday. The Diamondbacks can slot in their other four starters around him using Thursday's off day. Robbie Ray, who was returned to Triple-A Reno after making a May 6 spot start utilizing the "26th-man" rule, could be a candidate to replace Jeremy Hellickson in the rotation as early as this week.
The Cincinnati Reds will need a spot starter for Wednesday due to their May 8 postponement and subsequent May 9 doubleheader, and are expected to promote Raisel Iglesias for the assignment. It's possible that the team could then skip either Jason Marquis (scheduled for Friday) or Michael Lorenzen (scheduled for Saturday) in the Week 6 rotation to keep the other starters on regular rest, in which case Anthony DeSclafani would pick up a second start.
The Colorado Rockies demoted Tyler Matzek to Triple-A Albuquerque on May 8, and they are expected to push his spot in the rotation back to Saturday. Christian Bergman, John Lannan, Chad Bettis and Chris Rusin are candidates for the assignment.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will once again need a fifth starter on Thursday; that spot was originally required on Monday but was able to be pushed back following their May 9 postponement. Joe Wieland, who took that last turn, was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on May 7, making him ineligible to pitch (barring a DL-related roster move). Mike Bolsinger and Zach Lee are the most logical candidates for Thursday, as both are on the Dodgers' 40-man roster.
The New York Mets placed Dillon Gee (DL, groin) on the DL and, in order to fill his May 10 spot in the rotation, will move up Bartolo Colon to that date, Jacob deGrom to Monday and call up Noah Syndergaard to pitch Tuesday. It's unclear whether it'll be a spot start or whether Syndergaard will also pitch the next time his spot would arrive on Sunday, though it seems likely that he'll remain in the majors for a two-start week.
Tyler Lyons is scheduled to make another spot start for the St. Louis Cardinals on May 10, lining him up for a Saturday start during Week 6. With Marco Gonzales (MiLB DL, shoulder) returning to the Triple-A Memphis rotation on May 9, however, it's possible that Gonzales will receive consideration for that Saturday start.
Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) will have his next start for the Washington Nationals pushed back by a day to Tuesday, with Max Scherzer moving up by a day to Monday.
Tristan's Week 6 pitcher rankings: Top 75
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Fri-COL (De La Rosa)
Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Wed-@CHC (Hammel)
Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Mon-@ARI (Collmenter), Sat-@SD (Despaigne)
Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sat-BOS (Porcello)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-@ARI (De La Rosa), Sun-@SD (Kennedy)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Tue-NYM (Syndergaard), Sun-PIT (Burnett)
Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Mon-@PHI (Williams), Sat-@CHC (Lester)
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-@CIN (Marquis)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Mon-@CHC (Lester), Sat-MIL (Garza)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-STL (Lynn), Sun-@TEX (Martinez)
Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Thu-SF (Lincecum)
Chris Sale (CWS) -- Tue-@MIL (Fiers)
Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Mon-MIA (Koehler), Sat-COL (TBD)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-@PHI (Hamels)
Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Wed-BOS (Miley)
Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Fri-@KC (Young)
Jon Lester (CHC) -- Mon-NYM (deGrom), Sat-PIT (Cole)
Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-SF (Heston), Sun-TOR (Buehrle)
David Price (DET) -- Sat-@STL (Lyons)
Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Wed-PIT (Liriano)
Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Mon-BOS (Porcello), Sun-CWS (Samardzija)
Chris Archer (TB) -- Tue-NYY (Eovaldi), Sun-@MIN (Gibson)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Tue-@PHI (O'Sullivan), Sun-@CHC (Arrieta)
Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Sun-@BAL (Jimenez)
Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Mon-@MIL (Peralta), Sun-@OAK (Kazmir)
Alex Wood (ATL) -- Sat-@MIA (Latos)
Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Mon-@CIN (Leake), Sun-@MIA (Koehler)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Wed-STL (Lackey)
Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Thu-MIN (Pelfrey)
Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Fri-@TEX (Rodriguez)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Fri-TOR (Dickey)
Lance Lynn (STL) -- Tue-@CLE (Carrasco), Sun-DET (Simon)
Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Tue-CWS (Sale)
Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Tue-@SEA (Paxton), Sun-WSH (Strasburg)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Sat-@BAL (Norris)
Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Fri-@MIN (Hughes)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Tue-@CHC (Arrieta), Sun-MIL (Peralta)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Mon-CWS (Samardzija), Sun-@NYM (Syndergaard)
Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Wed-NYM (Harvey)
Michael Wacha (STL) -- Thu-@CLE (Bauer)
Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Sat-CWS (Danks)
CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Mon-@TB (Colome), Sat-@KC (Duffy)
Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Wed-@MIL (Nelson)
Tyson Ross (SD) -- Thu-WSH (Fister)
Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Mon-WSH (Scherzer), Sun-@PHI (O'Sullivan)
Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Fri-WSH (Zimmermann)
Alex Colome (TB) -- Mon-NYY (Sabathia), Sat-@MIN (May)
Adam Warren (NYY) -- Wed-@TB (Karns)
Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Mon-TOR (Estrada), Sun-LAA (Richards)
Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-@MIA (Phelps)
Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Wed-@ARI (Hellickson)
Vance Worley (PIT) -- Thu-@PHI (Harang)
Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Mon-@OAK (Kazmir), Sat-@SEA (Hernandez)
Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Wed-CWS (Quintana)
James Paxton (SEA) -- Tue-SD (Kennedy), Sun-BOS (Masterson)
Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Fri-DET (Greene)
Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Mon-@BAL (Jimenez), Sat-@HOU (Feldman)
Chris Heston (SF) -- Tue-@HOU (McHugh), Sun-@CIN (Leake)
C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Tue-COL (Kendrick)
Carlos Frias (LAD) -- Tue-MIA (Haren), Sun-COL (Kendrick)
Travis Wood (CHC) -- Thu-NYM (Niese)
Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Tue-@TEX (Martinez), Sun-NYY (Eovaldi)
Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Fri-@SD (Cashner)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Mon-@TEX (Lewis), Sat-NYY (Sabathia)
Archie Bradley (ARI) -- Sat-@PHI (Williams)
Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Fri-MIL (Lohse)
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Fri-@PHI (Billingsley)
Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Tue-MIN (Gibson), Sun-@STL (Lynn)
Mike Leake (CIN) -- Mon-ATL (Miller), Sun-SF (Heston)
Aaron Harang (PHI) -- Thu-PIT (Worley)
Drew Pomeranz (OAK) -- Tue-BOS (Masterson)
Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Thu-@CHC (Wood)
Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Wed-@TEX (Gallardo)
Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Tue-@TB (Archer), Sun-@KC (Volquez)
Aaron Sanchez (TOR) -- Wed-@BAL (Gonzalez)
Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Mon-@LAD (Greinke), Sun-ATL (Miller)
Justin Masterson (BOS) -- Tue-@OAK (Pomeranz), Sun-@SEA (Paxton)
Sean O'Sullivan (PHI) -- Tue-PIT (Burnett), Sun-ARI (Collmenter)
No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-@HOU (McHugh)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Tue-@DET (Simon), Sun-TB (Archer)
Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Tue-@LAA (Wilson), Sun-@LAD (Frias)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Mon-KC (Duffy), Sat-CLE (TBD)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Tue-KC (Volquez), Sun-CLE (Carrasco)
Jerome Williams (PHI) -- Mon-PIT (Cole), Sat-ARI (Bradley)
Any week with four games against the Philadelphia Phillies, baseball's worst team in terms of runs per game (2.83, more than one-quarter of a run less than the next-worst) and weighted on-base average (.273, six points beneath the next-worst), is a plus for a pitching staff, but throw in three games against the Chicago Cubs, whose 25.2 percent strikeout rate is highest in baseball, and the Pittsburgh Pirates' pitching staff is a standout choice for Week 6.
Both Gerrit Cole (2.27 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) and A.J. Burnett (1.66/1.18), the team's two-start pitchers, stand out among the week's top pitching choices, and Francisco Liriano (1.95/0.90) is one of the strongest one-start options thanks to his matchup against the Phillies on Wednesday. Vance Worley and Jeff Locke, too, are streaming candidates, even in shallow mixed formats. This could also be a big week for slow-starting closer Mark Melancon, who, by the way, has six consecutive scoreless outings.
Consider Week 6 a critical one for the Cleveland Indians from a bouncing-back perspective. They'll play three home games versus a St. Louis Cardinals team that has averaged more than a run and a quarter less per game on the road (3.73) than at home (5.00), then three at a Texas Rangers team that has averaged just 3.50 runs per game at Globe Life Park, that venue less of a hitters' heaven these days due to a ballpark change influencing the wind currents.
Defending Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber might be frustrating his fantasy owners, but a Wednesday game against the Cardinals suits him well. And both Trevor Bauer (STL, Thursday) and Danny Salazar (@TEX, Friday), both of whom have ERAs beneath four and strikeout rates greater than 23 percent, should be mainstays in your fantasy lineup facing these opponents.
Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks:
Vance Worley (@PHI, Thursday): He has three quality starts in his past four games, and now he'll face a Philadelphia Phillies team that has a major league-worst .257 wOBA against right-handers, 20 points worse than any other team.
Nathan Eovaldi (@TB, Tuesday): He might be one of the more hittable types, but Eovaldi has good strikeout potential, and besides, he's facing a Tampa Bay Rays team that has been baseball's worst to date against high-velocity pitches; they have .169/.244/.298 rates and a .246 wOBA against pitches 93 mph or faster.
Wily Peralta (CWS, Monday): The Chicago White Sox have struggled on the road, their 2.8 runs per game ranking 29th and .282 team wOBA 24th. Peralta, meanwhile, is 4-for-6 in quality starts, with three of those coming in his four home games.
Wily Peralta (@NYM, Sunday): A road assignment isn't that much more threatening for Peralta, especially against a New York Mets team that has averaged just 3.5 runs per game since the last time either Travis d'Arnaud or David Wright has played (as of the games of May 7). Peralta's best pitch, incidentally, is typically the slider (despite its so-so 2015 results), and these Mets are a bottom-10 team against sliders.
Adam Warren (@TB, Wednesday): From April 25 to May 7, the opposing Tampa Bay Rays never scored more than five runs in a single game, averaging 2.8 per contest during that time. Warren, whose off-speed stuff has been reasonably effective all year, contributed, limiting the Rays to one run in 5 2/3 innings on April 27.
David Phelps (ATL, Friday): He has three consecutive quality starts and this is a home game in a spacious Marlins Park, the latter helping ease some of the worry over a matchup against the better-than-expected Atlanta Braves.
Jesse Chavez (CWS, Saturday): On a weak day for streaming candidates, go with the pitcher facing, again, an on-the-road White Sox offense.
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, May 11-17 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.
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: Boston Red Sox 7, Kansas City Royals 7, New York Yankees 7, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Texas Rangers 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Los Angeles Dodgers 7, New York Mets 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, Washington Nationals 7.
Home games: Rangers 7, Cubs 7, Reds 7, Dodgers 7, Phillies 7, Baltimore Orioles 6, Houston Astros 6, Oakland Athletics 6, Seattle Mariners 6.
Versus RH: Nationals 7, Yankees 6, Mariners 6, Rays 6, Blue Jays 6, Atlanta Braves 6, Phillies 6.
Versus LH: Red Sox 4, Colorado Rockies 3.
It's quite the week for the Dodgers, the majors' most productive offense in home games, at least using wOBA (.377), slugging percentage (.520) and home run rate (4.4 percent) as measures; the Dodgers' 5.6 runs per game at home also ranks third in baseball. They play seven at home, three against the Miami Marlins and a trio of pitch-to-contact right-handers (Tom Koehler, Dan Haren and Jarred Cosart combined have a 16.4 percent strikeout rate), and four against the Rockies, who have baseball's worst ERA (5.38).
In the event Yasiel Puig returns to action, this would be an ideal week to immediately slot him in, even if that's bad news for lower-end fantasy plays Scott Van Slyke and Alex Guerrero, who have alternated starts in left field in the team's past nine games and who might have to duke it out with Andre Ethier for at-bats going forward.
Meanwhile, don't downgrade Toronto Blue Jays hitters simply because they'll spend the entire week on the road. Rogers Centre indeed grants an advantage to their lineup, but three games at Baltimore's Camden Yards and four at Houston's Minute Maid Park isn't all that much less favorable from a park-factors perspective, and besides, three of the Blue Jays' games will be played against Chris Tillman, Roberto Hernandez and Scott Feldman, all of whom have ERAs of 4.25 or greater.
In particular, center fielder Kevin Pillar warrants consideration, having started 12 consecutive games there while batting .304 (14-for-46) during that span, while both Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak could capitalize upon a week featuring six right-handed opposing starters.