The Fantasy Baseball Forecaster is updated as of Monday, July 24, at 7:40 a.m. ET.
Welcome to the new and improved version of the Fantasy Baseball Forecaster! This year, we've reorganized the story into four parts; it's the same great intel, but you get right where you need to go as quickly as possible.
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On tap: Week 16 kicks off early with a 13-game slate beginning at 2:20 p.m. ET on Monday, thanks to an early afternoon battle for Chicago supremacy between the White Sox and Cubs. Tuesday's lineups also lock early thanks to Game 2 of this series, also held at Wrigley Field, before the two teams move their four-game set to Guaranteed Rate Field, where the ESPN cameras will be on hand at 8 p.m. ET for Wednesday Night Baseball.
Wednesday will also have an early lineup lock with a 12:10 p.m. ET start for the Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays, one of five day games on the slate. Thursday is incredibly light, with three afternoon games, beginning with the Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m., with only five game being played under the lights. All of Friday night's slate is set for the evening, and the week will close out with the San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at 8 p.m. ET.
All teams are playing either six or seven games this week, with the biggest scheduling quirk being the single game on Monday featuring the Reds at the Indians, a makeup of a rainout that was originally scheduled for May 25. Cincinnati will go on to play a pair of games at Yankee Stadium, so they'll have three DH games with which to juggle their lineup and allow Jose Peraza to get some added at-bats.
Two other NL teams will be playing a trio of contests in AL parks this week. The Marlins visit the Rangers to start the week, while the Mets close out Week 16 in Seattle. Ichiro Suzuki will likely get a few starts in the outfield, with Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna both getting at least one DH day. For New York, Curtis Granderson will presumably play in all three weekend contests in some capacity, with Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes getting a defensive breather.
On the flip side of the interleague equation, Houston will go to Philadelphia for three games to start the week and Minnesota also travels to the Dodgers for a Monday-Wednesday series. Carlos Beltran and Robbie Grossman are the likely "losers" as a result of these two trips. Also, as stated earlier, the Cubs and White Sox will each play two games at the other team's stadium in a Windy City four-game showdown.
Toronto plays seven games at home in Week 16, as do the San Diego Padres. That's reason enough to steer clear of these two lineups, which rank 27th and 28th, respectively in runs scored at home this season (Blue Jays - 180, Padres - 176). Both are also in the bottom six in terms of home batting average, with the Padres dead last. Jose Bautista, amid trade rumors, is a major culprit of futility for the Jays, hitting just .190 at the Rogers Centre.
Scooter Gennett is batting .308 on the road this season, while Scott Schebler has 15 of his 22 home runs away from the Great American Ballpark. With the Reds playing on the road seven times, these two players bear closer consideration for Week 16. For the Mets, who also have a full slate of road games this week, Neil Walker (and his .337 road average) is expected to be back in action - perhaps as early as Monday - after a lengthy stay on the disabled list due to a partial hamstring tear.
Boston is slated to face three left-handed pitchers this week, which would be a reason to avoid Andrew Benintendi and his .163 split against southpaw starters. It also means Mitch Moreland is likely to sit out those games, making him a much less valuable fantasy option for Week 16.
Arizona boasts three of the top 10 hitters in the league (minimum 250 PA) when facing right-handed pitching: David Peralta (.329), Paul Goldschmidt (.322) and Jake Lamb (.314). With six right-handed arms currently slated to take the mound against the Diamondbacks, stack away!
Oakland's rotation is to be avoided this week. We don't yet know where Sonny Gray might end up, so at least from a matchup standpoint, it's a risk to start him. Meanwhile, the A's had a trio of pitchers rehabbing at Triple-A (Jharel Cotton, Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman) all potentially ready to get the call for Week 16. It's just not worth even streaming any A's until August comes and there's a clearer picture of what this rotation will look like going forward.
Catcher Carson Kelly has been recalled from Triple-A by the Cardinals. Yadier Molina is not going anywhere just yet, but the highly-touted prospect has already hit a career-high 10 home runs at Triple-A Memphis, with an .834 OPS. With Kelly up, Molina is more likely to get a game off every now and then, and not have to catch 16 straight contests as he did prior to (mercifully) getting a day game after a night game off on Thursday. In the end, that extra rest likely increases Molina's fantasy value.