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Fantasy Forecaster: April 11-17

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, April 11, at 10:53 a.m. ET.

On tap: Week 2 of the baseball season is another one with a hefty number of day games -- 39 of the 95 total scheduled -- due in large part to the schedule including seven teams' home openers. Six of them occur on Monday, April 11 -- the Boston Red Sox (with David Price starting), Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs (with Jon Lester starting) and St. Louis Cardinals -- with the Los Angeles Dodgers the final team to have theirs, on Tuesday, April 12.

Still, despite the home openers in which three (Twins, Cubs and Cardinals) result in a subsequent Tuesday day off, this is a relatively packed week on the schedule, at least compared to Week 1, with 10 of the 30 teams playing all seven days and no team scheduled for fewer than six. That's a good thing considering the heightened prospect of weather-related postponements, especially in the northeast; Boston (6 home games), New York (3 Yankees and 3 Mets home games), Philadelphia (7 home games), Washington (4 home games), Chicago (6 home games) and St. Louis (6 home games) appear particularly at risk for them. And considering the tendency for teams to reschedule such contests for warmer, midsummer rematches as doubleheaders, brace for potentially abbreviated schedules involving those cities.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers tangle once again this week, this time at Dodger Stadium from April 15-17, and the pitching matchups for that series are outstanding: Madison Bumgarner versus Clayton Kershaw on April 15, Johnny Cueto versus Scott Kazmir on April 16, and Jeff Samardzija versus Kenta Maeda on April 17. Speaking of captivating pitching matchups, Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins battle Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 12.

Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel


ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Four of those six home openers on Monday result contribute to five day games, with the first being the Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers interleague contest, beginning at 1:10 p.m. ET. Fantasy owners in leagues with weekly transactions need to get in their lineups earlier than usual, and those in leagues with daily transactions should take note that there is a greater volume of Monday day action than usual.

Remember that game times have tremendous influence upon daily planning, so be aware of every day's first scheduled pitch. This week, they are:

Monday, April 11: 1:10 p.m. ET (Pirates at Tigers)
Tuesday, April 12: 1:10 p.m. ET (Pirates at Tigers)
Wednesday, April 13: 1:10 p.m. ET (Miami Marlins at New York Mets)
Thursday, April 14: 12:35 p.m. ET (Tigers at Pirates)
Friday, April 15: 2:20 p.m. ET (Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs)
Saturday, April 16: 1:05 p.m. ET (Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees)
Sunday, April 17: 1:05 p.m. ET (Mariners at Yankees)


Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers (2 games, April 11-12)

  • Tigers at Pirates (2 games, April 13-14)

  • New York Mets at Cleveland Indians (3 games, April 15-17)

What a nice, easy week for interleague planning. Only seven games, and two of three visiting teams already played games in a ballpark in the other league during Week 1 -- the Tigers visited Miami's Marlins Park and the Mets visited Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium -- so we already have a read on their DH/no-DH strategies.

Pirates' traditional DH: Matt Joyce or Michael Morse. Based on righty/lefty matchups -- the Tigers have an entirely right-handed rotation -- Joyce is the most logical choice, but the Pirates could choose these games to get both members of their first-base platoon, Morse and John Jaso, into the lineup.

Tigers' traditional DH: Victor Martinez, whom the Tigers have already announced will not play a field position during their series in Pittsburgh. Of course, he did hit home runs in both of his pinch-hitting appearances on April 5-6 in Miami, so maybe the five games as a DH -- the series at Comerica Park on April 11-12 and at Houston's Minute Maid Park on April 15-17 -- plus two potential pinch-hit plate appearances will be enough to get him on the radar in all but the shallowest leagues.

Mets' probable DH(s): Michael Conforto, as he was their DH for both games in Kansas City April 3 and 5, both of them against right-handed starters, and the Indians' rotation is entirely right-handed. It's good news if you're a Conforto owner, as he appears to be in a straight platoon with Juan Lagares, with Yoenis Cespedes shifting between left and center field to accommodate. The probable three starts at DH will help alleviate the probable loss of PAs during the April 13 game at Miami's Marlins Park, against lefty Adam Conley.


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, April 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.


Pitching scuttlebutt

  • Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman (DL, shoulder) is on a minor league rehabilitation assignment with scheduled April 9 and 14 starts, those expected to be three and five innings in length, putting him on track for an April 19 return (Tuesday of Week 3). It's unlikely he'd return to the Orioles after only one rehab start.

  • Boston Red Sox: The team could use the April 14 off day to skip Steven Wright in the rotation, but considering they didn't push him out of the April 8-10 series in Toronto, they might stick to their regular order.

  • Tampa Bay Rays: Drew Smyly, whose scheduled April 9 start was postponed due to rain, has been pushed back to April 13.

  • Chicago White Sox: Despite an April 10 postponement and April 12 off day, the team apparently plans to stay mostly in rotation, with John Danks the only one likely pushed back (to April 17). It is possible that Danks will pitch in his regular turn on April 15, however, with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana moving back a day each.

  • Los Angeles Angels: Nick Tropeano is expected to step into Andrew Heaney's (DL, forearm) rotation spot beginning on April 11, though the team could slot Tropeano in sooner while pushing everyone else back by a day.

  • Oakland Athletics: Eric Surkamp stepped into Felix Doubront's (DL, elbow) rotation spot on April 9, lining him up for an April 13 start during Week 2. It is possible, however, that Jesse Hahn could be considered for April 13.

  • Miami Marlins: Following an April 9 postponement, the Marlins pushed Wei-Yin Chen (elbow) back to April 15, with Adam Conley pushed up to April 13.

  • New York Mets: Jacob deGrom (lat) will be skipped in the rotation on April 13, with Logan Verrett filling in.

  • Cincinnati Reds: The team will need fill-in starters on April 15 and 17, with Jon Moscot (DL, intercostal) likely to take the latter turn. Moscot made his first rehabilitation start for Class A Daytona on April 7, lining him up for a second one on April 12 before his potential activation on April 17. Tim Melville could pitch April 15 if Anthony DeSclafani (DL, oblique) is unable to go.

  • Milwaukee Brewers: With Matt Garza (DL, lat) sidelined, the Brewers can push back their fifth-starter spot as far as April 17. Zach Davies is the leading candidate to assume Garza's spot, but he could be inserted sooner than that date.

  • Colorado Rockies: The team will need a fifth starter for the first time on April 16, at which time Christian Bergman is expected to pitch. Jon Gray (DL, abdominal) has an outside chance at getting the assignment, however.

  • San Diego Padres: Robbie Erlin is expected to take Tyson Ross' (DL, shoulder) spot in the rotation beginning on April 12.


Tristan's Week 2 pitcher rankings

  • 1. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Mon-ATL (Norris), Sat-@PHI (Nola)

  • 2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Fri-SF (Bumgarner)

  • 3. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Fri-@TB (Odorizzi)

  • 4. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Tue-@TB (Moore), Sun-NYM (Matz)

  • 5. David Price (BOS) -- Mon-BAL (Gallardo), Sun-TOR (Sanchez)

  • 6. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Tue-MIA (Fernandez): His 2016 debut was electric, and easily supports a top-10 ranking even in one-start weeks until further notice.

  • 7. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Tue-@NYM (Syndergaard)

  • 8. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Sat-@CLE (Tomlin)

  • 9. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Wed-ATL (Wisler)

  • 10. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Wed-@TB (Smyly)

  • 11. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Sat-COL (TBD)

  • 12. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-@LAD (Kershaw)

  • 13. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Tue-@TOR (Sanchez), Sun-SEA (Iwakuma)

  • 14. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Mon-LAA (Tropeano), Sun-KC (Medlen)

  • 15. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Mon-TEX (Lewis), Sun-@NYY (Tanaka)

  • 16. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sat-@NYY (Sabathia): This is a particularly scary matchup for King Felix, whose fastball/changeup velocity differential was alarmingly slim during his season debut, but it's also difficult to completely ignore his 5-1 record, 1.38 ERA and 26.8 percent strikeout rate in his eight career starts at Yankee Stadium.

  • 17. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Mon-CIN (Finnegan), Sun-COL (Chatwood)

  • 18. Chris Archer (TB) -- Thu-CLE (Salazar)

  • 19. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Thu-@TB (Archer)

  • 20. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Tue-PIT (Nicasio), Sun-@HOU (Fiers)

  • 21. Zack Greinke (ARI) -- Fri-@SD (Shields): He didn't look great during his season debut, but the Padres looked considerably worse as an offense, and there could be a comedown in order for them after their recent trip to Coors.

  • 22. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Mon-PIT (Niese), Sat-@HOU (McHugh)

  • 23. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Thu-@CHC (Hammel)

  • 24. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Mon-@MIN (Gibson), Sat-@TB (Ramirez)

  • 25. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-DET (Greene)

  • 26. Drew Pomeranz (SD) -- Thu-@PHI (Velasquez): He's going from a Coors assignment -- which was a "no" -- to a matchup against the Phillies -- which is a pretty clear "yes."

  • 27. Johnny Cueto (SF) -- Sat-@LAD (Kazmir)

  • 28. Juan Nicasio (PIT) -- Tue-@DET (Sanchez), Sun-MIL (TBD): After Nicasio's outstanding spring and Week 1 start, he's well worth the risk against the Tigers, considering he has a career wOBA 31 points lower against righties than lefties and the Tigers are a righty-heavy lineup.

  • 29. Aaron Sanchez (TOR) -- Tue-NYY (Tanaka), Sun-@BOS (Price): These aren't the best matchups for Sanchez, who still lacks a truly "elite" pitch to use against lefties, but his 2016 debut was an encouraging one and at least the second start is at Fenway Park, which doesn't play especially well for lefty power.

  • 30. Drew Smyly (TB) -- Wed-CLE (Carrasco)

  • 31. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Fri-@MIN (Nolasco)

  • 32. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Thu-DET (Zimmermann)

  • 33. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Tue-ATL (Chacin), Sun-@PHI (Morton)

  • 34. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Thu-BAL (Wright)

  • 35. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Fri-CWS (Sale)

  • 36. Kenta Maeda (LAD) -- Tue-ARI (Corbin), Sun-SF (Samardzija)

  • 37. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Fri-DET (Pelfrey)

  • 38. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Thu-NYY (Eovaldi)

  • 39. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Mon-SD (Cashner), Sat-WSH (Scherzer)

  • 40. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Fri-CIN (TBD)

  • 41. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Sat-CIN (Finnegan)

  • 42. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Tue-@LAD (Maeda), Sun-@SD (Erlin)

  • 43. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Mon-KC (Young), Sat-DET (Verlander)

  • 44. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Mon-MIL (Jungmann), Sun-CIN (Moscot)

  • 45. Steven Matz (NYM) -- Mon-MIA (Cosart), Sun-@CLE (Kluber)

  • 46. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-@BOS (Buchholz), Sun-@TEX (Holland): The ranking has much more to do with volume -- the two starts -- as the matchups themselves, as he might be the most risk/reward of any of the two-start pitchers in the bunch, but his Week 1 outing at least gave slight reason to trust him in larger (or volume-dominated) formats.

  • 47. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Tue-KC (Medlen), Sun-DET (Sanchez)

  • 48. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Tue-@SEA (Miley), Sun-BAL (Jimenez)

  • 49. Chris Young (KC) -- Mon-@HOU (McHugh), Sat-@OAK (Bassitt)

  • 50. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Wed-@TOR (Happ)

  • 51. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Thu-MIL (Peralta)

  • 52. Vince Velasquez (PHI) -- Thu-SD (Pomeranz)

  • 53. Jordan Zimmermann (DET) -- Thu-@PIT (Cole)

  • 54. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Mon-@PHI (Nola), Sat-ARI (Miller)

  • 55. Brandon Finnegan (CIN) -- Mon-@CHC (Lester), Sat-@STL (Wainwright): The Cardinals matchup is the one that drives this ranking, as they're a bit too strikeout-heavy thus far.

  • 56. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Wed-@HOU (Feldman)

  • 57. Luis Severino (NYY) -- Fri-SEA (Karns)

  • 58. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Tue-@OAK (Graveman)

  • 59. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Tue-BAL (Jimenez)

  • 60. James Shields (SD) -- Fri-ARI (Greinke)

  • 61. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Wed-@MIN (Hughes)

  • 62. Scott Kazmir (LAD) -- Sat-SF (Cueto)

  • 63. Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Sat-NYM (Harvey)

  • 64. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Fri-@PHI (Hellickson)

  • 65. Jonathon Niese (PIT) -- Mon-@DET (Verlander), Sat-MIL (Jungmann)

  • 66. Jeff Samardzija (SF) -- Tue-@COL (Chatwood), Sun-@LAD (Maeda): Coors is a flat-out "no," and he's lucky to crack the top 75 supported almost entirely by the fact that his second start is in a pitching-friendly ballpark (though the matchup doesn't grade especially well).

  • 67. Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) -- Fri-ATL (Perez)

  • 68. Nathan Karns (SEA) -- Fri-@NYY (Severino)

  • 69. John Lackey (CHC) -- Wed-CIN (Simon): Rebound opportunity!

  • 70. Matt Moore (TB) -- Tue-CLE (Kluber), Sun-CWS (Danks)

  • 71. Nick Tropeano (LAA) -- Mon-@OAK (Gray), Sun-@MIN (Gibson)

  • 72. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Sat-@BOS (Wright)

  • 73. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Thu-@WSH (Roark)

  • 74. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Wed-@OAK (Surkamp)

  • 75. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Wed-SD (Rea): He's one of the more attractive streaming candidates of the week, facing the slow-starting Padres.

  • 76. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Mon-@STL (Wacha), Sat-@PIT (Niese)

  • 77. Kris Medlen (KC) -- Tue-@HOU (Fiers), Sun-@OAK (Gray)

  • 78. Logan Verrett (NYM) -- Wed-MIA (Conley)

  • 79. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Wed-TEX (Griffin)

  • 80. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Sat-LAA (Weaver)

  • 81. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Fri-COL (Bettis)

  • 82. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Wed-@BOS (Kelly)

  • 83. A.J. Griffin (TEX) -- Wed-@SEA (Walker)

  • 84. Steven Wright (BOS) -- Sat-TOR (Estrada)

  • 85. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Sat-SEA (Hernandez)

  • 86. Bud Norris (ATL) -- Mon-@WSH (Scherzer), Sat-@MIA (Koehler)

  • 87. Ian Kennedy (KC) -- Thu-@HOU (Fister)

  • 88. Adam Conley (MIA) -- Wed-@NYM (Verrett)

  • 89. Shelby Miller (ARI) -- Sat-@SD (Cashner)

  • 90. Mike Leake (STL) -- Wed-MIL (Anderson)

  • 91. Mat Latos (CWS) -- Thu-@MIN (Milone)

  • 92. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Thu-ATL (Teheran)

  • 93. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Thu-CIN (Iglesias)

  • 94. Alex Wood (LAD) -- Wed-ARI (De La Rosa)

  • 95. Vance Worley (BAL) -- Fri-@TEX (Perez)

  • 96. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Fri-@OAK (Hill)

  • 97. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Fri-TOR (Dickey)

  • 98. Colin Rea (SD) -- Wed-@PHI (Eickhoff)

  • 99. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Thu-@LAD (Stripling)

  • 100. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Wed-CWS (Rodon)

  • 101. Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Sat-CWS (Quintana)

  • 102. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Fri-@BOS (Porcello)

  • 103. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Mon-CWS (Quintana), Sun-LAA (Tropeano)

  • 104. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Mon-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sat-BAL (Gallardo)

  • 105. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Wed-@COL (Lyles)

  • 106. Charlie Morton (PHI) -- Tue-SD (Erlin), Sun-WSH (Gonzalez)

  • 107. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Wed-@WSH (Strasburg)

  • 108. Rich Hill (OAK) -- Fri-KC (Volquez)

  • 109. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Sat-@MIN (Santana)

  • 110. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Tue-LAA (Santiago)

  • 111. J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Wed-NYY (Pineda)

  • 112. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Fri-@CLE (Anderson)

  • 113. Mike Wright (BAL) -- Thu-@TEX (Hamels)

  • 114. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Sat-KC (Young)

  • 115. Yovani Gallardo (BAL) -- Mon-@BOS (Price), Sat-@TEX (Lewis)

  • 116. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Fri-@PIT (Locke)

  • 117. Doug Fister (HOU) -- Thu-KC (Kennedy)

  • 118. Wade Miley (SEA) -- Tue-TEX (Holland)

  • 119. Ross Stripling (LAD) -- Thu-ARI (Ray)

  • 120. Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Thu-CWS (Latos)

  • 121. Jarred Cosart (MIA) -- Mon-@NYM (Matz), Sun-ATL (Chacin)

  • 122. Robbie Erlin (SD) -- Tue-@PHI (Morton), Sun-ARI (Corbin)

  • 123. Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Fri-NYM (Colon)

  • 124. Jhoulys Chacin (ATL) -- Tue-@WSH (Gonzalez), Sun-@MIA (Cosart)

  • 125. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Wed-@CHC (Lackey)

  • 126. Matt Cain (SF) -- Thu-@COL (De La Rosa)

  • 127. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Wed-KC (Ventura)

  • 128. Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Fri-LAA (Richards)

  • 129. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Fri-BAL (Worley)

  • 130. Shane Greene (DET) -- Wed-@PIT (Liriano)

  • 131. John Danks (CWS) -- Sun-@TB (Moore)

  • 132. Chase Anderson (MIL) -- Wed-@STL (Leake)

  • 133. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Wed-@LAD (Wood)

  • 134. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Thu-@TOR (Stroman)

  • 135. Jeremy Hellickson (PHI) -- Fri-WSH (Ross)

  • 136. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Fri-MIL (Nelson)

  • 137. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Wed-BAL (Tillman)

  • 138. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Sat-ATL (Norris)

  • 139. Jon Moscot (CIN) -- Sun-@STL (Wacha)

  • 140. Eric Surkamp (OAK) -- Wed-LAA (Shoemaker)

  • 141. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Thu-SF (Cain)

  • 142. Tyler Chatwood (COL) -- Tue-SF (Samardzija), Sun-@CHC (Lester)

  • 143. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Thu-@STL (Garcia)

  • 144. Chad Bettis (COL) -- Fri-@CHC (Hendricks)

  • 145. Mike Pelfrey (DET) -- Fri-@HOU (Keuchel)

  • 146. Williams Perez (ATL) -- Fri-@MIA (Chen)

  • 147. Jordan Lyles (COL) -- Wed-SF (Peavy)


  • 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, April 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.


    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:

    • Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers (2 games, April 11-12)

    • Tigers at Pirates (2 games, April 13-14)

    • New York Mets at Cleveland Indians (3 games, April 15-17)

    • Total games: Baltimore Orioles 7, Detroit Tigers 7, Kansas City Royals 7, Houston Astros 7, Texas Rangers 7, Atlanta Braves 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Washington Nationals 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 7, San Diego Padres 7.

    • Home games: Astros 7, Phillies 7, Boston Red Sox 6, Tampa Bay Rays 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Oakland Athletics 6, Chicago Cubs 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6.

    • Versus RH: Astros 7, Nationals 7, Red Sox 6, Royals 6, Rangers 6, Pirates 6, Padres 6.

    • Versus LH: Orioles 4, Rays 3, Cleveland Indians 3, Tigers 3, Phillies 3, Milwaukee Brewers 3, Dodgers 3, San Francisco Giants 3.

    Washington Nationals, Washington Nationals, Washington Nationals. One of the recurring hitting themes of 2015 will surely be exploiting the weekly schedule entirely populated by games against the Atlanta Braves' and Philadelphia Phillies' pitching staffs. Here's why: Their 10 current rotation members' career FIPs are 3.25 (Jerad Eickhoff's eight-start sample entering play on April 8), 3.46 (Vince Velasquez's seven-start, 12-relief-appearance sample), 3.94, 3.95, 4.05, 4.13, 4.20, 4.36, 4.87 and 4.93. For some perspective on that stat, the league's FIP in 2015 was 3.96.

    That's why the Nationals, playing a full seven-game slate, all against the Braves (4 at home, April 11-14) and Phillies (3 at Philadelphia, April 15-17), have by far the week's most favorable team schedule, and by an extent that it's well worth risking the heightened weather risk at both venues in which they'll play. By the way, besides just the hitting potential, remember that Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (typically regarded the backup) rank among the weakest in the game at reining in the running game, and they'll probably catch the majority of those seven games. It's why even lesser-known Nationals like Michael Taylor and Danny Espinosa are well worth your starting consideration, while the more obvious names are musts.

    Conversely, the Rays have a brutal hitting schedule, with five of their six scheduled opponents being Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, not to mention the fact that the Indians have a good bullpen, while the White Sox's bullpen is headed by David Robertson. The Rays also frequently mix and match for righty/lefty matchups, especially at first base (Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce), shortstop (Brad Miller and Tim Beckham) and designated hitter (Corey Dickerson and Brandon Guyer), which makes this an especially unattractive schedule because of the three righties followed by three lefties. It requires more daily than weekly maintenance, and it's lacking in upside, which is why Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, two of their best everyday players, are their only truly trustworthy options.

    The sneaky-good hitting schedule of the week, though, might be that of the Houston Astros, who play all seven days in a weather-controlled environment against a group of good, but not-necessarily-elite starters (Justin Verlander being the most debatable). More importantly, it's a week of entirely right-handed starting opponents, which suits fantasy owners seeking values because of the Astros' lesser-known lefty bats, like Colby Rasmus, Preston Tucker and Luis Valbuena. Meanwhile, Tyler White, who was 4-for-7 with one double and one home run against right-handed pitching during the team's season-opening series in New York, after he had batted .316 (12-for-38) against righties during spring training, presents an interesting streak-chasing opportunity.