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Fantasy Forecaster: July 27-Aug. 2

UPDATED on July 27.

On tap: With the July 31 trade deadline looming there will be a plethora of on-the-fly changes to the pitching schedule as contending teams look to fortify their rotations. Be sure to check our Daily Notes for the most up-to-date information and fantasy implications.

There are some very high-profile starting pitchers being bandied about as trade candidates, including Dan Haren, Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake and David Price A great way to get a jump on your competition is to anticipate potential replacements; though in some cases, whoever is called upon will be working in a hitter-friendly home venue so their utility could be limited. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter who the Philadelphia Phillies tab to replace Hamels if they finally move their veteran lefty. The Chicago White Sox usually call upon Scott Carroll when they need some rotation reinforcements, thus he heads the list of Samardzija replacements. The Detroit Tigers could turn to Buck Farmer until Kyle Lobstein is ready. The Miami Marlins have Brad Hand as a fill-in, assuming they can't identify what ails Jarred Cosart. The Reds have already unloaded Johnny Cueto, but were using a six-man rotation. If Leake is dealt, Tony Cingrani and the newly acquired John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan are all candidates for the last spot, perhaps even two and a return to a six-man staff.

It's important to note that Price, Samardzija and Leake are scheduled to work on Tuesday and Sunday so a trade could cost them a two-start week. Haren and Hamels are both slated for Thursday so they'll get their one start regardless.

Closers could also be on the move with Tyler Clippard, Jonathan Papelbon and Aroldis Chapman the most prominent names mentioned. Ken Giles is the one to target among the potential new closers if the Phillies finally move Papelbon.

The marquee matchup in the early part of the week features Clayton Kershaw putting his scoreless innings streak on the line in an interleague tilt against the Oakland Athletics in Dodger Stadium. The highlight of the weekend also features the Los Angeles Dodgers as they host their cross-town counterparts, the Los Angeles Angels, in a star-studded, interleague series.

On Tuesday's docket is David Price returning to his old stomping grounds in Tampa Bay, and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Godley taking on the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field. Godley did what so many other rookie hurlers have done this season -- impressed in his debut, regardless of how sketchy his minor league numbers appeared.

Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel


ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Monday's abbreviated slate takes place entirely under the lights, so fantasy owners in weekly leagues have until 7:05 p.m. ET to set their lineups.

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, 7:05 p.m. ET (Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles); Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET (Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles); Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. ET (Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays, two of the six day games); Thursday, 12:10 p.m. ET (San Diego Padres at New York Mets and Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins, the only two day games); Friday, 4:05 p.m. ET (Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies); Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays, one of just three day games); and Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET (Kansas City Royals at Toront Blue Jays, the first of 14 day games).


Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

  • Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks at Seattle Mariners (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)

  • Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Dodgers (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

  • Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

  • San Francisco Giants at Texas Rangers (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

Diamondbacks' probable DH(s): Owners of Ender Inciarte and David Peralta take note, the Diamondbacks play six contests in an AL park, five against right-handed probable starters. Assuming Peralta is cleared after taking a Jose Fernandez pitch off the helmet last Wednesday, both he and Inciarte are virtually assured of being in the lineup against the five righties. It isn't as cut and dried against the southpaw, as Aaron Hill is already platooning with Jake Lamb. Chances are Inciarte and Peralta will both play again unless the club opts to use Welington Castillo as DH with Oscar Hernandez behind the dish.

Braves' probable DH(s): Despite facing three right-handers in their interleague set in Camden Yards, righty-swinging Jonny Gomes is likely to pick up the extra at bats. Gomes has experience at DH, which is more important than forcing a lesser player into the lineup just because of a platoon edge.

Pirates' probable DH(s): It's only a pair of games and the Bucs don't have a lot of spare firepower with Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer on the shelf. The most likely scenario is Aramis Ramirez assuming DH duties while Pedro Florimon mans the hot corner for the two-game set in Target Field.

Phillies' probable DH: With one game against a lefty and the other facing a knuckleballer, Darin Ruf and Jeff Francoeur are virtually assured of playing both games with Ryan Howard at DH for at least one, perhaps both.

Athletics' traditional DH(s): Stephen Vogt will no doubt be given the day off against Clayton Kershaw, the question will be whether the club trusts Billy Butler enough to don a first baseman's mitt for a day. The second Dodgers pitcher is unclear, but if it's a righty Butler will surely sit.

Angels' traditional DH(s):Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron share first base and DH for the Halos. Chances are Pujols will get one of the three games off against the Dodgers, and it would be a shame if it were the one against Kershaw. In all likelihood, Cron will sit for two.


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, July 27-Aug. 2

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.


Pitching scuttlebutt

  • Finally, it looks like the Baltimore Orioles will give Kevin Gausman an extended look.

  • Unless the Boston Red Sox make what would be a surprise trade given their post-break scuffles, Joe Kelly, and not Brian Johnson, remains in the rotation, though Johnson should be back at some point this season .

  • As noted earlier, the Chicago White Sox could move Jeff Samardzija, with Scott Carroll a possible replacement.

  • The Chicago Cubs need a fifth starter who's in line for a two-start week.

  • It looks as though the Chicago Cubs will give one more start to Dallas Beeler before bringing Tsuyoshi Wada back from his extended rehab stint.

  • One down, one to go. Look for the Cincinnati Reds to move Mike Leake now that Johnny Cueto is a Kansas City Royal.

  • The Colorado Rockies need a fifth starter for Tuesday, setting the recipient up for a two-start week. Since both are on the road, he could be useful. The club is talking down the possibility the spot goes to top prospect Jon Gray, though a pair of road contests wouldn't be a bad way to introduce the rookie to the majors.

  • Vincent Velasquez is the odd man out and has been moved to the bullpen after the Houston Astros acquired Scott Kazmir.

  • Zack Greinke leaving the club last week cost Clayton Kershaw a two-start week, which instead goes to Brett Anderson.

  • Cole Hamels is slotted for Thursday, so if the Philadelphia Phillies feel a deal is impending, he may not make the start.

  • Jaime Garcia (groin) returns to the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation, knocking out Tim Cooney until Garcia's next DL stint.


Todd's Week 16 pitcher rankings

These rankings include the entire slate of projected starters; in order to provide a more organized approach to favorable matchups, #DFS tidbits and the "Streamer's Delight" picks. Notes for relevant pitchers are included below.

  1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-OAK (Pomeranz): Weekend shuffling of rotation costs Kershaw a two-start week.

  2. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Thu-@BOS (Wright)

  3. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Sat-WSH (Ross)

  4. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Thu-@MIA (Haren)

  5. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Tue-WSH (Zimmermann), Sun-SD (Shields): So far, so good, but think about the buzz surrounding Matt Harvey early this season and the subsequent speed bumps he's endured.

  6. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Wed-ARI (Corbin)

  7. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Wed-KC (Guthrie)

  8. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-@MIN (Santana)

  9. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Fri-LAA (Heaney)

  10. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Thu-@MIL (Nelson)

  11. Johnny Cueto (KC) -- Fri-@TOR (Hutchison): Facing DH balanced by a huge change in home run park factor for home venues.

  12. David Price (DET) -- Tue-@TB (Odorizzi), Sun-@BAL (Jimenez)

  13. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Fri-WSH (Gonzalez)

  14. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Fri-@OAK (Bassitt)

  15. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-@TEX (Martinez)

  16. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Tue-@LAD (Anderson), Sun-CLE (Bauer)

  17. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Thu-@OAK (Chavez)

  18. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Tue-SD (Shields), Sun-WSH (Zimmermann)

  19. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Sat-@CIN (Iglesias)

  20. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Tue-@TEX (Perez), Sun-@CWS (Samardzija)

  21. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Thu-ATL (Miller)

  22. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Wed-COL (Butler)

  23. Mike Fiers (MIL) -- Wed-@SF (Peavy)

  24. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Wed-@NYM (Colon)

  25. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Sat-ARI (Hellickson)

  26. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Wed-@HOU (McCullers)

  27. Chris Archer (TB) -- Wed-DET (Verlander)

  28. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Thu-COL (Rusin)

  29. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Fri-COL (Kendrick)

  30. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Sat-@NYM (deGrom)

  31. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Tue-ARI (Zack), Sun-@MIN (Pelfrey)

  32. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Mon-CIN (Iglesias), Sat-COL (De La Rosa)

  33. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Fri-CHC (Hammel)

  34. Chris Heston (SF) -- Mon-MIL (Lohse), Sun-@TEX (Perez)

  35. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Tue-@BAL (Jimenez), Sun-@PHI (Morgan)

  36. Andrew Heaney (LAA) -- Fri-@LAD (Greinke)

  37. Jeff Samardzija (CWS) -- Tue-@BOS (Miley), Sun-NYY (Tanaka)

  38. Nathan Karns (TB) -- Mon-DET (Sanchez), Sun-@BOS (Miley)

  39. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Fri-@MIN (Milone)

  40. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Wed-@BOS (Porcello)

  41. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Mon-@TB (Karns), Sat-@BAL (Gausman)

  42. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Thu-CLE (Carrasco)

  43. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Mon-COL (De La Rosa), Sat-@MIL (Garza)

  44. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Tue-@MIA (Fernandez), Sun-@NYM (Syndergaard)

  45. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Tue-KC (Young), Sun-@OAK (Gray)

  46. Brett Anderson (LAD) -- Tue-OAK (Gray), Sun-LAA (Wilson): Ankle injury not serious, Anderson picked up a two-start week after Greinke's absence caused reshuffling of rotation.

  47. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Thu-@HOU (Kazmir)

  48. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Wed-PIT (Liriano)

  49. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-LAA (Wilson), Sun-ARI (Ray)

  50. Mat Latos (MIA) -- Sat-SD (Despaigne)

  51. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Thu-KC (Duffy)

  52. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-ATL (Teheran), Sun-DET (Price)

  53. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Wed-@TEX (Lewis)

  54. A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Fri-@CIN (Lorenzen)

  55. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Fri-@NYM (Harvey)

  56. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Tue-@HOU (McHugh), Sun-@LAD (Anderson)

  57. Mike Bolsinger (LAD) -- Sat-LAA (Weaver)

  58. Lance McCullers (HOU) -- Wed-LAA (Richards)

  59. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Fri-@MIL (Jungmann)

  60. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Fri-ATL (Wisler)

  61. John Lackey (STL) -- Wed-CIN (DeSclafani)

  62. Drew Pomeranz (OAK) -- Wed-@LAD (Kershaw)

  63. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Thu-SD (Cashner)

  64. Yovani Gallardo (TEX) -- Thu-NYY (Sabathia)

  65. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Thu-@NYM (Niese)

  66. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Fri-NYY (Eovaldi)

  67. Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Mon-KC (Volquez), Sat-@OAK (Graveman)

  68. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Tue-DET (Price)

  69. Mike Montgomery (SEA) -- Mon-ARI (Ray), Sat-@MIN (Gibson)

  70. Matt Cain (SF) -- Tue-MIL (Peralta)

  71. Wade Miley (BOS) -- Tue-CWS (Samardzija), Sun-TB (Karns)

  72. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Wed-@SEA (Hernandez)

  73. James Shields (SD) -- Tue-@NYM (Syndergaard), Sun-@MIA (Fernandez)

  74. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-SD (Ross)

  75. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-CIN (Leake), Sun-COL (TBD):Back from the disabled list, Garcia's return pushes Tim Cooney from the rotation.

  76. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Fri-KC (Cueto)

  77. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Sat-@LAD (Bolsinger): Still unofficial, but all signs point towards a Weaver return.

  78. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) -- Fri-TB (Ramirez)

  79. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Thu-CHC (Arrieta)

  80. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Fri-@PHI (Nola)

  81. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Sat-CHC (Hendricks)

  82. Shelby Miller (ATL) -- Thu-@PHI (Hamels)

  83. Mike Leake (CIN) -- Tue-@STL (Garcia), Sun-PIT (Morton)

  84. Alex Wood (ATL) -- Mon-@BAL (Gausman), Sat-@PHI (Buchanan)

  85. Kevin Gausman (BAL) -- Mon-ATL (Wood), Sat-DET (Sanchez)

  86. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-@TB (Archer)

  87. Zack Godley (ARI) -- Tue-@SEA (Iwakuma)

  88. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Mon-@CLE (Anderson), Sat-@TOR (Buehrle)

  89. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Mon-@STL (Lynn), Sat-PIT (Cole)

  90. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Fri-CLE (Salazar)

  91. Manny Banuelos (ATL) -- Wed-@BAL (Tillman)

  92. Dan Haren (MIA) -- Thu-WSH (Scherzer)

  93. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Wed-WSH (Fister)

  94. Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Tue-@MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-@CIN (Leake)

  95. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Mon-@SF (Heston), Sun-CHC (Wada): Back from a rehab stint.

  96. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Wed-@MIA (Koehler)

  97. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Wed-PHI (Williams)

  98. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Fri-@MIA (Phelps)

  99. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Thu-SEA (Happ)

  100. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Sat-CLE (Anderson)

  101. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Thu-@CIN (TBD)

  102. Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Fri-@BOS (Rodriguez)

  103. Chris Rusin (COL) -- Thu-@STL (Martinez)

  104. Danny Duffy (KC) -- Thu-@TOR (Estrada)

  105. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Mon-@CHC (Hendricks), Sat-@STL (Lynn)

  106. Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) -- Fri-DET (Greene)

  107. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Thu-@TEX (Gallardo)

  108. Ivan Nova (NYY) -- Mon-@TEX (Harrison), Sat-@CWS (Danks)

  109. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Wed-ATL (Banuelos)

  110. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Sat-SEA (Montgomery)

  111. Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Fri-SEA (Walker)

  112. Adam Morgan (PHI) -- Tue-@TOR (Doubront), Sun-ATL (Teheran)

  113. J.A. Happ (SEA) -- Thu-@MIN (Hughes)

  114. Odrisamer Despaigne (SD) -- Sat-@MIA (Latos)

  115. Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) -- Wed-@STL (Lackey)

  116. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Sat-KC (Volquez)

  117. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Tue-NYY (Tanaka), Sun-SF (Heston)

  118. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Wed-MIL (Fiers)

  119. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Fri-@CWS (Rodon)

  120. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Wed-CWS (Quintana)

  121. Alfredo Simon (DET) -- Thu-@BAL (Gonzalez)

  122. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Mon-CWS (Danks), Sat-TB (Moore)

  123. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Fri-@HOU (Feldman)

  124. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Wed-NYY (Pineda)

  125. Michael Lorenzen (CIN) -- Fri-PIT (Burnett)

  126. Jeremy Hellickson (ARI) -- Sat-@HOU (Keuchel)

  127. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Mon-@SEA (Montgomery), Sun-@HOU (McHugh)

  128. Dallas Beeler (CHC) -- Tue-COL (TBD): Tsuyoshi Wada slated to return over the weekend, so Beeler just gets one start.

  129. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Thu-DET (Simon)

  130. Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Wed-@CLE (Kluber)

  131. Matt Moore (TB) -- Sat-@BOS (Kelly)

  132. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Sat-@TEX (Harrison)

  133. Felix Doubront (TOR) -- Tue-PHI (Morgan), Sun-KC (Young)

  134. Mike Pelfrey (MIN) -- Tue-PIT (Morton), Sun-SEA (Iwakuma)

  135. Matt Harrison (TEX) -- Mon-NYY (Nova), Sat-SF (Hudson)

  136. Chris Young (KC) -- Tue-@CLE (Bauer), Sun-@TOR (Doubront)

  137. Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC) -- Sun-@MIL (Lohse): Returning to the majors after a long rehab.

  138. Jerome Williams (PHI) -- Wed-@TOR (Dickey)

  139. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Fri-ARI (De La Rosa)

  140. Shane Greene (DET) -- Fri-@BAL (Chen)

  141. John Danks (CWS) -- Mon-@BOS (Kelly), Sat-NYY (Nova)

  142. Kyle Kendrick (COL) -- Fri-@STL (Wacha)

  143. David Buchanan (PHI) -- Sat-ATL (Wood)

  144. Eddie Butler (COL) -- Wed-@CHC (Lester)

  145. Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Fri-SF (Bumgarner)


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 matchup chart, July 27-Aug. 2

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.


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:

The St. Louis Cardinals generally rely on pitching and defense for their success, but with a full seven-game slate, all at home against a bevy of rather weak pitchers, their hitters are in the Week 16 spotlight. The top starter the Redbirds are scheduled to face is Mike Leake, who may not even be donning a Cincinnati Reds uniform by the time the game rolls around. Kolten Wong could be in line for an especially fruitful week on the basepaths, as neither the Cincinnati Reds nor Colorado Rockies are adept at controlling the running game. Anthony DeSclafani is especially vulnerable to base stealers.

The Cleveland Indians may as well give Ryan Raburn the week off, as they're scheduled to face seven right-handers all at home. This could bode very well for the Tribe's lefty contingent, as Progressive Field quietly boosts left-handed power. The All-Star break appears to be the elixir Michael Brantley's balky back needed; he's exhibiting the power that made him one of last season's top fantasy producers.

When you're looking for a strong offensive week it's best to focus on teams playing the bulk of their games at home, but when the away venues are U.S. Cellular Field and Globe Life Park in Arlington, it's not such a bad road trip, even for the New York Yankees, who are used to playing in one of the best hitters' venues in the league. What makes this seven-game excursion appealing is that the quality of the opposing pitchers is pedestrian, with only Jeff Samardzija and perhaps Yovani Gallardo as the only above-average options.

Sitting Adrian Gonzalez may be extreme, but reserving Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson is wise considering the Los Angeles Dodgers play only five games, four of which are against southpaw starters. Pederson may be a budding superstar, but in his rookie campaign the lefty is slashing .221/.383/.694 without the platoon advantage.

  • Total games: 15 teams play the full slate of seven games, including the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals. The Los Angeles Dodgers are scheduled for just five games, everyone else plays six.

  • Home games: Orioles 7, Red Sox 7, Rangers 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, Houston Astros 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Blue Jays 6, Miami Marlins 6, New York Mets 6.

  • Versus right-handers: Indians 7, Tigers 6, Marlins 6, Brewers 6, Pirates 6, Nationals 6.

  • Versus left-handers: Red Sox 4, Yankees 4, Dodgers 4.