Fantasy Forecaster: April 18-24

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, April 18, at 9:32 a.m. ET.

On tap: Patriots' Day in Boston kicks off Week 3 with an early start; the Boston Red Sox home game on that holiday is annually scheduled for 11 a.m. ET. Morning baseball! It does, of course, require fantasy owners to set lineups earlier than usual.

The pendulums should swing in Week 3, as the Baltimore Orioles, winners of eight of their first 11 games, are put to the test with six games against 2015 playoff teams (and 2016 playoff favorites), the Toronto Blue Jays (three at home) and Kansas City Royals (three on the road). Entering play on April 17, the Orioles' pitching staff ranked 13th in ERA (3.84), but keep in mind that much of it was thanks to the bullpen, as their starters combined for a 5.14 mark. The Blue Jays and Royals, meanwhile, haven't quite hit on all cylinders, but Week 3 looks like a good time for each to start.

Conversely, the New York Mets, who dropped five of their first eight, play six games during which they could fatten up, making three-game stops visiting both the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. In the Mets' case, their winning prospects could hinge upon the health of their pitching staff; Jacob deGrom (lat, personal) is unavailable for the week-opening series at Philadelphia but might be able to make an appearance during the weekend in Atlanta. Hot-starting Noah Syndergaard is lined up for two starts, which is an advantage at least. It's not to say that the team, struggling most on offense, will suddenly come out hitting, but a good start to the week on the pitching side might do the Mets some good.

During Week 3, there is an outside chance that we'll see the healthy returns of Kevin Gausman (DL, shoulder) and Michael Brantley (DL, shoulder), the latter currently on a rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Akron. Francisco Liriano (hamstring) will also return to the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation just in time for a two-start week.

Quickly jump to any section, if you want specific intel

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

As noted, Patriots' Day is Monday, April 18, with an 11 a.m. ET start for the Red Sox game, hosting the Blue Jays. Fantasy owners need set their lineups earlier than usual, though for those who can change players' status for teams with later games, be aware that this is Monday's only day game.

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 18: 11:05 a.m. ET (Blue Jays at Red Sox)
Tuesday, April 19: 1:10 p.m. ET (Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins)
Wednesday, April 20: 12:35 p.m. ET (Colorado Rockies at Cincinnati Reds)
Thursday, April 21: 12:10 p.m. ET (Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves)
Friday, April 22: 7:05 p.m. ET (Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees and Twins at Washington Nationals)
Saturday, April 23: 1:05 p.m. ET (Rays at Yankees and Twins at Nationals)
Sunday, April 24: 1:05 p.m. ET (Rays at Yankees)

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:

  • Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins (2 games, April 18-19)

  • Twins at Brewers (2 games, April 20-21)

  • Twins at Washington Nationals (3 games, April 22-24)

Brewers' probable DH(s): Ryan Braun. He's the team's worst defender, but the Brewers have historically rotated a few different veterans through the role when it was available, so Chris Carter and Jonathan Lucroy could also be in play. Ideally, Braun would DH both games in Minnesota so that Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis have an additional spot in which to play, making at least Nieuwenhuis a viable NL-only Week 3 play.

Twins' traditional DH: Byung Ho Park. He has a team-high six starts at DH, and three at first base, and as he's right-handed, off to a so-so start and will be facing a Brewers rotation that is entirely right-handed, Park is likely to serve as a pinch-hitter for the two games at Milwaukee's Miller Park. Joe Mauer, who has eight starts at first base and three at DH, will probably start at first base in both games.

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 18-24 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) made a rehabilitation start for Class A Frederick on April 15, but following the team's April 17 rainout, it appeared that Gausman was more likely than not to make another minor league rehab start before being activated. Gausman would be ready to pitch as soon as April 20; fill-in Vance Worley would pitch either April 22 or 23 if Gausman is held back for another turn.

  • Atlanta Braves: After Matt Wisler was needed to pitch in relief on April 17, he will be pushed back to April 21. Julio Teheran is now the team's two-start pitcher.

  • New York Mets: Jacob deGrom (lat, personal) might be ready to rejoin the rotation for a shorter outing during the weekend, but he will be replaced for another turn on April 19 by Logan Verrett. deGrom's impending return is more of a threat to the three starters scheduled to work in Atlanta from April 22-24, though it's no guarantee that he'll pitch at all this week.

  • Cincinnati Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (DL, oblique) might begin a rehabilitation assignment but appears not to be an option to pitch for the Reds during Week 3. Dan Straily will join the rotation on April 18, replacing Tim Melville; Straily is lined up for two starts.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Archie Bradley will make a spot start on April 18, after Rubby De La Rosa was needed in relief on April 16. The Diamondbacks haven't yet commented on the rest of their Week 3 rotation; Shelby Miller (hand) is also questionable for his April 21 start. De La Rosa could be slotted back in at any time, and Bradley could make another start on either April 23 or 24, though he is hardly guaranteed a two-start week.

  • Colorado Rockies: Barring a setback, Jon Gray (DL, abdominal) was set to rejoin the Rockies' rotation on April 22. In the event Gray cannot return then, the team can either use Christian Bergman again -- he's scheduled to start on April 16 -- or use the April 21 off day to skip the fifth starter's turn.

Tristan's Week 3 pitcher rankings

  • 1. Noah Syndergaard (NYM) -- Mon-@PHI (Eickhoff), Sun-@ATL (Teheran)

  • 2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Thu-@ATL (Wisler)

  • 3. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) -- Tue-SEA (Miley), Sun-@DET (Greene)

  • 4. Max Scherzer (WSH) -- Thu-@MIA (Koehler)

  • 5. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-LAA (Richards)

  • 6. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Mon-WSH (Roark), Sat-@SF (Peavy)

  • 7. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-@MIA (Conley), Sun-MIN (Santana)

  • 8. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Fri-@LAA (Tropeano)

  • 9. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Thu-@CIN (Finnegan)

  • 10. David Price (BOS) -- Thu-TB (Odorizzi)

  • 11. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Fri-@ATL (Norris)

  • 12. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Sat-@DET (Sanchez)

  • 13. Drew Smyly (TB) -- Tue-@BOS (Kelly), Sun-@NYY (Pineda)

  • 14. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Wed-ARI (Greinke)

  • 15. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Wed-SEA (Walker)

  • 16. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Sat-TB (Moore)

  • 17. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Tue-@SD (Rea), Sun-@ARI (Ray): Liriano couldn't ask for a cushier matchup for his return start following a hamstring injury. The Padres look awful as an offense, so Liriano is not a pitcher to fear after his one-start absence.

  • 18. Jon Lester (CHC) -- Fri-@CIN (Moscot)

  • 19. Vince Velasquez (PHI) -- Tue-NYM (Verrett): He threw a masterpiece against the Mets on April 9 (Win, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K), and now gets a rematch against them 10 days later. This is not a bad thing; I've done multiple research projects indicating that hitters do not benefit from rematches in short time frames. In fact, pitchers often benefit most. so Velasquez's ridiculous hot spell makes him a must.

  • 20. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Tue-@BAL (Wright), Sun-OAK (Surkamp)

  • 21. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Sat-@TOR (Happ)

  • 22. Michael Pineda (NYY) -- Tue-OAK (Surkamp), Sun-TB (Smyly)

  • 23. Johnny Cueto (SF) -- Thu-ARI (Miller)

  • 24. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Sat-@LAA (Santiago)

  • 25. Cole Hamels (TEX) -- Wed-HOU (Fister)

  • 26. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Thu-@SD (Shields)

  • 27. Zack Greinke (ARI) -- Wed-@SF (Bumgarner)

  • 28. Chris Archer (TB) -- Wed-@BOS (Porcello)

  • 29. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Wed-@CWS (Sale)

  • 30. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Thu-@TEX (Griffin)

  • 31. Jordan Zimmermann (DET) -- Wed-@KC (Kennedy)

  • 32. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Sat-CLE (Kluber)

  • 33. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Fri-@SD (Cashner): I can't imagine that Wainwright's owners are panicky just yet, but this is an especially good bounce-back matchup opportunity, considering the Padres have struggled mightily to date, especially against curveballs (.188 wOBA and a major league-leading 22 K's).

  • 34. Aaron Nola (PHI) -- Fri-@MIL (Davies): Don't forget this "Phillies kid," as despite his numbers paling in comparison to Eickhoff's and Velasquez's, Nola has good stuff and, more importantly, outstanding control. The Brewers, meanwhile, haven't been one of the better offenses to date, making this a plus matchup.

  • 35. Aaron Sanchez (TOR) -- Fri-OAK (Bassitt): The Athletics have the majors' third-worst team wOBA against right-handers (.255), which is a real matchups plus for Sanchez, who has made great strides thus far with his changeup but still has minor questions about his ability to get left-handed hitters out.

  • 36. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Fri-MIN (Gibson)

  • 37. Drew Pomeranz (SD) -- Wed-PIT (Locke)

  • 38. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Fri-BOS (Wright)

  • 39. Ervin Santana (MIN) -- Tue-MIL (Peralta), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg): He's off to a solid start and the first matchup of these two drives.

  • 40. Raisel Iglesias (CIN) -- Wed-COL (Bettis): Iglesias has lost his two-start week after Dan Straily was added to the Reds' rotation, and now Iglesias' only start will be against a Rockies team that has hit right-handers well thus far.

  • 41. Carlos Rodon (CWS) -- Mon-LAA (Santiago), Sat-TEX (Lewis)

  • 42. Taijuan Walker (SEA) -- Wed-@CLE (Salazar)

  • 43. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Fri-TEX (Perez)

  • 44. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Fri-PIT (Niese)

  • 45. Kenta Maeda (LAD) -- Sat-@COL (Chatwood): It's his first big test, but Maeda's outstanding control between spring training and his first two regular-season starts makes him worth a whirl in almost every format. The one worry: He's a bit breaking-ball reliant, and Coors Field might diminish the effectiveness of his curveball and slider. Draw the line at the quality-start minimum.

  • 46. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) -- Mon-NYM (Syndergaard), Sun-@MIL (Peralta): These two opponents have struck out, on average, more often than once per four trips to the plate.

  • 47. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Thu-@BOS (Price)

  • 48. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Mon-MIL (Anderson), Sat-@WSH (Roark)

  • 49. Carlos Martinez (STL) -- Wed-CHC (Hendricks)

  • 50. Nathan Karns (SEA) -- Thu-@CLE (Anderson)

  • 51. Jeff Samardzija (SF) -- Fri-MIA (Cosart)

  • 52. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Wed-TOR (Dickey)

  • 53. Steven Wright (BOS) -- Fri-@HOU (McHugh)

  • 54. Brandon Finnegan (CIN) -- Thu-CHC (Arrieta)

  • 55. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-CHC (Hammel)

  • 56. Joe Ross (WSH) -- Wed-@MIA (Chen)

  • 57. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-DET (Greene), Sun-BAL (Wright)

  • 58. John Lackey (CHC) -- Mon-@STL (Leake), Sat-@CIN (Straily)

  • 59. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Fri-CLE (Tomlin)

  • 60. Marco Estrada (TOR) -- Thu-@BAL (Tillman)

  • 61. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Sat-@SD (Erlin)

  • 62. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Mon-@MIA (Fernandez), Sat-MIN (Hughes)

  • 63. Adam Conley (MIA) -- Tue-WSH (Strasburg), Sun-@SF (Cain)

  • 64. James Shields (SD) -- Thu-PIT (Cole)

  • 65. Logan Verrett (NYM) -- Tue-@PHI (Velasquez)

  • 66. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Tue-@CWS (Latos), Sun-SEA (Miley)

  • 67. Scott Kazmir (LAD) -- Fri-@COL (Gray)

  • 68. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Mon-TOR (Happ), Sat-@HOU (Fiers)

  • 69. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Tue-HOU (Feldman), Sun-@CWS (Latos)

  • 70. Rich Hill (OAK) -- Thu-@NYY (Severino): Your guess is as good as mine. His control (or lack of it) so far this calendar year plus the ballpark makes this look like a flat-out "no"... but unpredictable starters like this have a way of dropping gems at the least likely times.

  • 71. Mike Fiers (HOU) -- Sat-BOS (Buchholz)

  • 72. Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) -- Wed-WSH (Ross)

  • 73. Luis Severino (NYY) -- Thu-OAK (Hill)

  • 74. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) -- Wed-@STL (Martinez)

  • 75. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Tue-LAD (Wood), Sun-NYM (Syndergaard): He's getting crushed by left-handed hitters, affording a .478 wOBA to them in his first three starts, and the Dodgers will surely load their lineup accordingly. Still, the Mets matchup in his second start does increase Teheran's appeal.

  • 76. Rick Porcello (BOS) -- Wed-TB (Archer)

  • 77. Nick Tropeano (LAA) -- Fri-SEA (Hernandez)

  • 78. Mat Latos (CWS) -- Tue-LAA (Shoemaker), Sun-TEX (Holland)

  • 79. Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Fri-@DET (Verlander)

  • 80. Shelby Miller (ARI) -- Thu-@SF (Cueto)

  • 81. Hector Santiago (LAA) -- Mon-@CWS (Rodon), Sat-SEA (Iwakuma)

  • 82. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Tue-@STL (Garcia), Sun-@CIN (Simon)

  • 83. Ian Kennedy (KC) -- Wed-DET (Zimmermann)

  • 84. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Fri-TB (Ramirez)

  • 85. Ross Stripling (LAD) -- Wed-@ATL (Perez)

  • 86. A.J. Griffin (TEX) -- Thu-HOU (Keuchel)

  • 87. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Thu-@CWS (Danks)

  • 88. Kris Medlen (KC) -- Sat-BAL (TBD)

  • 89. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Thu-TOR (Estrada)

  • 90. Alex Wood (LAD) -- Tue-@ATL (Teheran), Sun-@COL (Lyles)

  • 91. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Wed-@PHI (Hellickson)

  • 92. Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Fri-@WSH (Gonzalez)

  • 93. Jonathon Niese (PIT) -- Fri-@ARI (Corbin)

  • 94. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Wed-@BAL (Jimenez)

  • 95. Erasmo Ramirez (TB) -- Fri-@NYY (Sabathia)

  • 96. Matt Moore (TB) -- Sat-@NYY (Tanaka)

  • 97. Chris Bassitt (OAK) -- Fri-@TOR (Sanchez)

  • 98. Jimmy Nelson (MIL) -- Wed-MIN (Milone)

  • 99. Doug Fister (HOU) -- Wed-@TEX (Hamels)

  • 100. Cody Anderson (CLE) -- Thu-SEA (Karns)

  • 101. Zach Davies (MIL) -- Fri-PHI (Nola)

  • 102. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Fri-STL (Wainwright)

  • 103. Steven Matz (NYM) -- Sat-@ATL (Chacin)

  • 104. Bud Norris (ATL) -- Fri-NYM (Harvey)

  • 105. Tommy Milone (MIN) -- Wed-@MIL (Nelson)

  • 106. Jeremy Hellickson (PHI) -- Wed-NYM (Colon)

  • 107. Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Thu-@MIL (Jungmann)

  • 108. Juan Nicasio (PIT) -- Sat-@ARI (De La Rosa)

  • 109. Edinson Volquez (KC) -- Thu-DET (Pelfrey)

  • 110. Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) -- Wed-OAK (Graveman)

  • 111. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Sat-@CWS (Rodon)

  • 112. Robbie Erlin (SD) -- Sat-STL (Wacha)

  • 113. Yovani Gallardo (BAL) -- Fri-@KC (Young)

  • 114. Charlie Morton (PHI) -- Sat-@MIL (Anderson)

  • 115. Wade Miley (SEA) -- Tue-@CLE (Carrasco), Sun-@LAA (Shoemaker): If you're digging this deep, Miley is at least worth an AL-only look, being that the Indians have had a lot of exposure to left-handed pitching thus far and simply haven't touched them, batting .220/.255/.348 with a 27.5 percent strikeout rate in a league-high 153 trips to the plate.

  • 116. J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Mon-@BOS (Buchholz), Sat-OAK (Gray)

  • 117. Chris Young (KC) -- Fri-BAL (Gallardo)

  • 118. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Wed-@SD (Pomeranz)

  • 119. Kendall Graveman (OAK) -- Wed-@NYY (Eovaldi)

  • 120. Taylor Jungmann (MIL) -- Thu-MIN (Nolasco)

  • 121. Jake Peavy (SF) -- Mon-ARI (Bradley), Sat-MIA (Fernandez)

  • 122. Dan Straily (CIN) -- Mon-COL (Lyles), Sat-CHC (Lackey)

  • 123. Jhoulys Chacin (ATL) -- Sat-NYM (Matz): I can't do it, not without more evidence. For one thing, the Mets' lineup -- partially due to Michael Conforto's presence on these days -- has more thump when it's facing a righty.

  • 124. Jon Gray (COL) -- Fri-LAD (Kazmir)

  • 125. Matt Cain (SF) -- Tue-ARI (Ray), Sun-MIA (Conley)

  • 126. Robbie Ray (ARI) -- Tue-@SF (Cain), Sun-PIT (Liriano)

  • 127. Martin Perez (TEX) -- Fri-@CWS (Quintana)

  • 128. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Thu-WSH (Scherzer)

  • 129. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Tue-@CIN (Simon): Don't be fooled by the road matchup or the Reds' left-handed leaning in terms of name-brand members of their lineup. Thus far, the Reds rank among the most productive offenses against left-handed pitching, and more importantly, their contact rate against them is among the best in the game. It's a trap!

  • 130. John Danks (CWS) -- Thu-LAA (Weaver)

  • 131. Jon Moscot (CIN) -- Fri-CHC (Lester)

  • 132. Shane Greene (DET) -- Tue-@KC (Ventura), Sun-CLE (Carrasco)

  • 133. Scott Feldman (HOU) -- Tue-@TEX (Holland), Sun-BOS (Kelly)

  • 134. Chase Anderson (MIL) -- Mon-@MIN (Hughes), Sat-PHI (Morton)

  • 135. Rubby De La Rosa (ARI) -- Sat-PIT (Nicasio)

  • 136. Archie Bradley (ARI) -- Mon-@SF (Peavy)

  • 137. Jarred Cosart (MIA) -- Fri-@SF (Samardzija)

  • 138. Mike Leake (STL) -- Mon-CHC (Lackey), Sun-@SD (Rea)

  • 139. Colin Rea (SD) -- Tue-PIT (Liriano), Sun-STL (Leake)

  • 140. Matt Wisler (ATL) -- Thu-LAD (Kershaw)

  • 141. Joe Kelly (BOS) -- Tue-TB (Smyly), Sun-@HOU (Feldman)

  • 142. Chad Bettis (COL) -- Wed-@CIN (Iglesias)

  • 143. Williams Perez (ATL) -- Wed-LAD (Stripling)

  • 144. Mike Pelfrey (DET) -- Thu-@KC (Volquez)

  • 145. Mike Wright (BAL) -- Tue-TOR (Stroman), Sun-@KC (Ventura)

  • 146. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-CHC (Hammel)

  • 147. Eric Surkamp (OAK) -- Tue-@NYY (Pineda), Sun-@TOR (Stroman)

  • 148. Tyler Chatwood (COL) -- Sat-LAD (Maeda)

  • 149. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Tue-@MIN (Santana), Sun-PHI (Eickhoff)

  • 150. Jordan Lyles (COL) -- Mon-@CIN (Straily), Sun-LAD (Wood)

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 18-24 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:

  • Total games: Boston Red Sox 7, Toronto Blue Jays 7, Chicago White Sox 7, Minnesota Twins 7, Los Angeles Angels 7, Miami Marlins 7, Washington Nationals 7, Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 7, Milwaukee Brewers 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, San Francisco Giants 7.

  • Home games: White Sox 7, Reds 7, Giants 7, New York Yankees 6, Kansas City Royals 6, Atlanta Braves 6, San Diego Padres 6, Brewers 5, Red Sox 4, Marlins 4.

  • Versus RH: Marlins 7, Baltimore Orioles 6, Blue Jays 6, Detroit Tigers 6, Twins 6, New York Mets 6, Philadelphia Phillies 6, Brewers 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6.

  • Versus LH: Yankees 4, Angels 4, White Sox 3, Texas Rangers 3, Braves 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 3, Diamondbacks 3.

It's a great week to be a Dodgers hitter, as their Week 3 opponents, the Braves and Colorado Rockies, ranked 29th and 30th in the league in team ERA entering play on April 17. In addition, the six starting pitchers they were scheduled to face had combined to go 3-for-10 in quality starts with a 6.42 ERA and 1.48 WHIP (through April 15) but more importantly, all six are right-handed, which is key when evaluating a Dodgers team that, to this point, has done a fair share of exploiting nightly lefty/righty matchups. Oh, and three of the Dodgers' six games will be played at Coors Field to boot.

Left-handed hitter Joc Pederson, despite his bottom-half-of-the-order position thus far, couldn't stand out much more from a weekly matchups standpoint. He has started all seven Dodgers games against a right-handed starter thus far and batted .320/.393/.560 against righties overall, and let's not forget his stretch at Coors Field from June 1-3, 2015, during which he homered in four consecutive games. Daily leaguers might have difficulty extracting maximum value from Pederson in a low lineup spot, but he's well worth the weekly ride. Both types of owners, meanwhile, might extract great value from Chase Utley, the team's leadoff man and second baseman against righties for all seven games this far; Utley is a .357/.438/.536 hitter against righties in 2016. Yasmani Grandal, who hit 15 home runs against right-handed pitchers in each of the past two seasons, also stands out. Conversely, don't expect as much from righty platoon mates A.J. Ellis, Enrique Hernandez (one start out of seven versus a righty) and Trayce Thompson (one start versus a righty).

The Royals haven't gotten off to a great start offensively -- it'd probably be termed more "league-average" -- but a week against six right-handed starters (both of the Orioles' most likely fifth-starter options are righty), not to mention a group of opposing starters in which Jordan Zimmermann (April 20) is the only major threat, could wake them up. Remember, this offense was 10th in wOBA against righties last season (.324), including the majors' lowest strikeout rate (16.3 percent), and many of the Royals' "safest" (read: highest floors, even if lower ceilings) hitters bat from the left-handed side: Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Kendrys Morales. It's a particularly advantageous week of matchups for Moustakas, typically the team's No. 2 hitter, but pay heed to No. 5 hitter Morales' team-best .383 wOBA against righties since the beginning of last season.

Among platoon-opportunity (role or the split stats themselves) hitters to exploit this week: Angels third baseman and leadoff man Yunel Escobar, a .338/.404/.449 hitter against lefties since the beginning of last year; Mets left fielder Michael Conforto, a typical No. 6 hitter against righties who has .267/.348/.511 career rates against them; Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett, a typical No. 2 hitter against righties who has .283/.317/.415 rates against them since the start of last season; and Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders, a typical No. 6 hitter against righties.