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Fantasy Forecaster: Week 7

Fantasy Forecaster updated Sunday, May 11, at 9:49 a.m. ET.

On tap: Consider it a test. The Miami Marlins, 17-5 in home games and owners of an 84-point wOBA home/road split (.351 home, .267 road) and greater-than-a-run-and-a-half ERA split (2.61 home, 4.29 road), hit the road for seven West Coast games, concluding what is an 11-road-games-in-11-days trip (it began with the four-game series in San Diego May 8-11). On paper, the Marlins' bats seem the riskier fantasy bets out west, but could their pitching be up to the task?

I'm all about measuring sticks to a season; what better time to reassess your fantasy team's standing? The first -- the one-quarter point of the 2014 regular season -- arrives midway during Week 7. Barring postponements between now and then, one-quarter of the season will be in the books upon the conclusion of eight of Thursday's nine scheduled games. Consider it a good time to begin checking those league standings and making necessary adjustments to your team.

The "Subway Series" between the New York Mets and New York Yankees resumes this week, with a pair of two-game, home-and-home series Monday-Thursday. Masahiro Tanaka will make his Subway Series debut Wednesday -- it being his third interleague start in his first eight appearances in the U.S. -- in a series led by the Yankees 54-40 all-time (plus a 4-1 win in the 2000 World Series).

Week 7 could mark the return of a prominent name in fantasy baseball: The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun is eligible for activation Tuesday. In addition, Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman enjoys his first full week since activation, while Chase Headley could also be ready to rejoin the San Diego Padres sometime during the week.

Quick click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 7 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Fantasy's Week 7 kicks off with the aforementioned Subway Series -- not to mention Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles, which has the same 7:05 p.m. ET start time -- as owners get additional time to set their weekly lineups yet again.

There are nothing but night games on both Monday and Tuesday; Tuesday's action begins again at 7:05 p.m. ET, and again with Mets-Yankees (among three games with that start time). There are day games the remainder of the week, however: Wednesday's first game is Tigers-Orioles at 12:35 p.m. ET; Thursday's is San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds at 12:35 p.m. ET; Friday's is Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs at 2:20 p.m. ET; Saturday's is Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals at 2:15 p.m. ET; and Sunday's is a pair of 1:05 p.m. ET games (Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates at Yankees).

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:
• New York Mets at New York Yankees (2 games, Monday-Tuesday)
Colorado Rockies at Kansas City Royals (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia Phillies (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• New York Yankees at New York Mets (2 games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

The Angels and Yankees are the two teams to lose their designated hitters, though both teams only have to deal with it for two games out of seven. It's a bigger deal for the Yankees, who have the right-handed Alfonso Soriano as their primary DH (22 starts in 33 games) and will be facing two right-handed Mets starters. That the Yankees don't face a lefty all week makes Soriano a shakier play in 10-team mixed leagues.

The Pirates and Rockies are the two National League teams that should gain a noticeable advantage as a result of the DH in American League parks. The Rockies have been exploiting matchups with their five-man outfield, but with the extra lineup spot, a hot-starting hitter such as Corey Dickerson will gain additional at-bats. The Pirates started both members of their first-base platoon (Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez) in their May 1 doubleheader at Baltimore. Ike Davis, the lefty, is the one whose value could vault into 12-team mixed relevance; the Pirates face five right-handers in the week, after all.

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. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.

Pitching scuttlebutt

• There remains no timetable on Chris Sale's (elbow) return to the Chicago White Sox's rotation, so Hector Noesi appears likely to make another spot start May 11, and therefore again Saturday.
Anibal Sanchez (blister) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Tuesday and is on track to rejoin the Detroit Tigers' rotation on Sunday. Robbie Ray would make another start if Sanchez isn't deemed ready by then.
Scott Feldman (biceps) rejoined the Houston Astros' rotation May 9, replacing Brett Oberholtzer, who was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Bruce Chen (back) could be ready to rejoin the Kansas City Royals' rotation by Saturday, so the team will push their fifth-starter spot back to that day. Danny Duffy is tentatively scheduled to pitch then, unless Chen indeed heals in time.
• The Los Angeles Angels demoted Hector Santiago to the bullpen, leaving them without a starter for Tuesday (and therefore Sunday). Matt Shoemaker is the most likely candidate, though Jose Alvarez or Wade LeBlanc could also get the assignment.
Chase Anderson was expected to make a spot start for the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 11, though with a day off Thursday, it's unclear whether he'd be needed during fantasy's Week 7. The above assumes he's skipped this time through the rotation.
Ervin Santana (thumb) rejoined the Atlanta Braves' rotation May 10, putting their starting five in question entering Week 7. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has said that he'll use a five-man rotation that includes Gavin Floyd, but he also said that Alex Wood, skipped during the May 9-11 weekend series, would make a start on Saturday. That gives the Braves six starters for this week, and no two-start pitcher, though at any point Gonzalez could decide to bump someone.
• The Cincinnati Reds will need a fifth starter no later than Saturday's game, and Tony Cingrani (shoulder) is expected to pitch either then or on Friday.
• The Colorado Rockies, who have both Monday and Thursday off, have the luxury of skipping Franklin Morales in their rotation this week if they wish.
Dan Haren reported back stiffness during his May 7 start, though the Los Angeles Dodgers have given no indication that his Monday start is in jeopardy.
• The Philadelphia Phillies have skipped Roberto Hernandez in their rotation recently when off days allowed, and this week they have both Monday and Thursday off.
Wandy Rodriguez (knee) will rejoin the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation on Thursday.
Joe Kelly (hamstring) has been slow to heal, leaving Tyler Lyons the most-likely candidate to make Monday's and Saturday's starts for the St. Louis Cardinals. It's possible, however, that Jaime Garcia (shoulder) will be ready to pitch by Saturday; he's scheduled for a rehab start either May 11 or 12.
Matt Cain (finger) rejoined the San Francisco Giants' rotation May 10, setting him up for a Week 7 start Thursday.

Tristan's Week 7 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Wed-@LAD (Maholm)
2. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Fri-@BOS (Lester)
3. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Wed-@HOU (Feldman)
4. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Sat-@ARI (Collmenter)
5. Cliff Lee (PHI) -- Tue-LAA (Shoemaker), Sun-CIN (Leake)
6. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Mon-TB (Ramos), Sun-@MIN (Nolasco)
7. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Tue-@ARI (Arroyo)
8. David Price (TB) -- Tue-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-@LAA (Shoemaker)
9. Adam Wainwright (StL) -- Tue-CHC (Arrieta), Sun-ATL (Harang)
10. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Wed-CHC (Hammel)
11. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Wed-@NYM (Mejia)
12. James Shields (KC) -- Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-BAL (Jimenez)
13. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Wed-SD (Kennedy)
14. Marco Estrada (MIL) -- Tue-PIT (Cole), Sun-@CHC (Arrieta)
15. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Wed-ATL (Teheran)
16. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Fri-@ARI (Miley)
17. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Mon-@ARI (Collmenter), Sun-NYM (Wheeler)
18. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Wed-@SF (Bumgarner)
19. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Mon-@TOR (Buehrle), Sat-TB (Ramos)
20. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-@MIL (Estrada), Sun-@NYY (Nuno)
21. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Fri-@CLE (McAllister)
22. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Sat-NYM (Colon)
23. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-@BAL (Chen)
24. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Mon-CWS (Danks), Sun-@CLE (Salazar)
25. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Tue-@NYY (Nuno), Sun-@WSH (Zimmermann)
26. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Tue-CLE (Salazar), Sun-@TEX (Lewis)
27. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Sat-@CLE (Tomlin)
28. Matt Cain (SF) -- Thu-MIA (Eovaldi)
29. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Mon-NYM (Colon), Sat-PIT (Morton)
30. Danny Salazar (CLE) -- Tue-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-OAK (Chavez)
31. Dan Haren (LAD) -- Mon-MIA (Koehler), Sun-@ARI (Arroyo)
32. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Wed-LAA (Richards)
33. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Thu-@NYM (Gee)
34. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Sat-CIN (Cingrani)
35. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Mon-ATL (Floyd), Sat-MIA (Koehler)
36. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Thu-@STL (Lynn)
37. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Tue-@CIN (Leake), Sun-@COL (Nicasio)
38. Drew Smyly (DET) -- Tue-@BAL (Jimenez)
39. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Thu-SD (Ross)
40. Ervin Santana (ATL) -- Fri-@STL (Miller)
41. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Tue-TB (Price)
42. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Sun-@BOS (Doubront)
43. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Thu-BAL (Gonzalez)
44. John Lackey (BOS) -- Sat-DET (Porcello)
45. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Thu-@TOR (Happ)
46. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-TB (Archer)
47. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Wed-@ARI (McCarthy)
48. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Thu-PIT (Rodriguez)
49. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Fri-@PHI (Kendrick)
50. Mike Leake (CIN) -- Tue-SD (Cashner), Sun-@PHI (Lee)
51. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Thu-CHC (Samardzija)
52. Travis Wood (CHC) -- Mon-@STL (Lyons), Sat-MIL (Garza)
53. Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Mon-@HOU (Peacock), Sun-TOR (Dickey)
54. Tyler Lyons (STL) -- Mon-CHC (Wood), Sat-ATL (Wood)
55. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Fri-@WSH (Roark)
56. Jake Peavy (BOS) -- Wed-@MIN (Correia)
57. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-DET (Smyly), Sun-@KC (Shields)
58. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Fri-ATL (Santana)
59. David Phelps (NYY) -- Fri-PIT (Volquez)
60. Cesar Ramos (TB) -- Mon-@SEA (Hernandez), Sat-@LAA (Wilson)
61. Vidal Nuno (NYY) -- Tue-NYM (Wheeler), Sun-PIT (Cole)
62. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Wed-@TOR (McGowan)
63. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Tue-@SF (Vogelsong)
64. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Mon-@NYY (Kuroda), Sat-@WSH (Gonzalez)
65. Chris Archer (TB) -- Fri-@LAA (Weaver)
66. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Fri-@TEX (Perez)
67. Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Tue-BOS (Doubront), Sun-SEA (Hernandez)
68. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-@MIL (Peralta)
69. Dillon Gee (NYM) -- Thu-NYY (Sabathia)
70. Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Wed-PIT (Liriano)
71. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Fri-@HOU (McHugh)
72. Felix Doubront (BOS) -- Tue-@MIN (Nolasco), Sun-DET (Sanchez)
73. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Fri-DET (Scherzer)
74. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Fri-MIA (Alvarez)
75. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Thu-@MIN (Hughes)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Tue-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-MIL (Estrada)
Bronson Arroyo (ARI) -- Tue-WSH (Strasburg), Sun-LAD (Haren)
Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Mon-LAA (Wilson), Sat-@TEX (Ross)
John Danks (CWS) -- Mon-@OAK (Chavez), Sun-@HOU (Peacock)
Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Mon-@LAD (Haren), Sat-@SF (Lincecum)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Tue-ATL (Minor), Sun-MIA (Turner)

No thank yous, among two-start pitchers:
Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Mon-WSH (Zimmermann), Sat-LAD (Kershaw)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Mon-DET (Porcello), Sat-@KC (Duffy)
Brad Peacock (HOU) -- Mon-TEX (Lewis), Sun-CWS (Danks)
Rick Porcello (DET) -- Mon-@BAL (Norris), Sat-@BOS (Lackey)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Tue-@PHI (Lee), Sun-TB (Price)
Jacob Turner (MIA) -- Tue-@LAD (Beckett), Sun-@SF (Vogelsong)

Pitching advantages

• No one has a meatier schedule on the pitching side than the St. Louis Cardinals, who play a full seven games at home, four versus the Chicago Cubs and three versus the Atlanta Braves. The Braves and Cubs have the highest and second-highest strikeout rates thus far (24.1 percent for each, Braves leading by percentage points), both teams ranking among the bottom 10 in baseball in terms of runs per game and weighted on-base average, as well. That's particularly important to two-start pitcher Adam Wainwright, as his second turn (Sunday versus the Braves) helps alleviate any concern about the Cubs' recent handling of the right-hander: He has a 5.16 ERA and has fallen short of quality-start qualification in seven of his 10 games against the Cubs since his 2012 return from Tommy John surgery. In Wainwright's defense with that Cubs matchup, he has a 5:1 K-to-walk ratio and 22.2 percent K rate against them in that time.

• A trio of enigmatic starting pitchers stacks up as favorable two-start options: The Cleveland Indians' Danny Salazar (@TOR, OAK), Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey (CLE, @TEX) and the San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum (ATL, MIA). Salazar's velocity has wavered all season -- he averaged as low as 92.5 mph with his fastball in an outing (April 17) and as high as 94.0 mph in another (May 7) -- but he has whiffed 27.6 percent of the hitters he has faced his past three outings, during which time his ERA was 3.44, earning at least another week's trust. Dickey, meanwhile, has shown greater command of his hard knuckler in his past four outings, during which time he has thrown 40 percent of his knucklers 78 mph or faster; opponents have batted .210 against all his knuckleballs during that time. And Lincecum is facing a pair of strikeout-prone teams: the Braves (24.1 percent, highest in the majors) and Marlins (23.5, fourth-highest).

• Give the pitching advantage to the New York Yankees during their Subway Series; the opposing New York Mets are one of the 10 worst offenses in the game to date. That the Yankees will then face a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has averaged just 3.4 runs per game during the weekend makes their matchups all the sweeter. Vidal Nuno, who is coming off his best start of 2014, giving him a 2.89 ERA in seven career big-league starts, is a viable option in AL-only and mixed leagues of 12 teams or greater, as he's on track for two starts. Meanwhile, struggling CC Sabathia faces a team he has historically dominated: He has a 2.14 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in five career starts versus the Mets.

• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks (pitchers must be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time Friday):

1. Mike Leake (SD, Tuesday): He has a respectable 3.87 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 17 starts at Great American Ball Park since the beginning of last season, and the San Diego Padres have by far the majors' worst runs-per-game average on the road (2.4).
2. Ricky Nolasco (SEA, Sunday): It's a home game and he has back-to-back quality starts; the Seattle Mariners also have a 22.3 percent K rate in their past six series.
3. Tanner Roark (NYM, Friday): He's a perfect 2-for-2 in quality starts against the New York Mets, and he has a sparkling 0.26 ERA in his career at home.
4. Tyler Lyons (CHC, Monday): This will be his first career start versus the Chicago Cubs, but it's at home, and he's a slider-reliant pitcher facing a team that has a mere .195 batting average against the pitch since the beginning of 2013.
5. Jordan Lyles (SD, Saturday): He has four consecutive quality starts -- two of them at Coors Field -- and, again, the Padres have struggled mightily on the road.
6. Tyler Skaggs (TB, Thursday): On a weak day for streaming, lean on a young pitcher's home start against a team that has a road wOBA (.296) 43 points lower than at home (.339); those being the statistics of the Tampa Bay Rays.
7. Paul Maholm (MIA, Wednesday): Would you believe that the hot-starting-at-home Miami Marlins have scored more than three runs in a game on the road only three times in 13 contests? Their road runs-per-game average: 2.7.

Best days to stream (accounting both quality and quantity of candidates): Sunday, Friday, Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Monday, Thursday.

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 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:
Home games: St. Louis Cardinals 7, San Francisco Giants 7, Houston Astros 6, Kansas City Royals 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 6.
Versus RH: New York Yankees 7, Boston Red Sox 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Miami Marlins 6, San Diego Padres 6, San Francisco Giants 6. Eight teams face five right-handers.
Versus LH: Los Angeles Angels 5, Detroit Tigers 3, Houston Astros 3, Toronto Blue Jays 3, Colorado Rockies 3, Milwaukee Brewers 3, New York Mets 3. Eleven teams face two left-handers.

• A five-lefty week represents an advantage for Los Angeles Angels hitters, as the team sports .263/.331/.448 triple-slash rates that result in the majors' sixth-best wOBA (.336). The team has faced 11 lefty starters thus far, and Chris Iannetta, a .258/.376/.465 hitter against left-handers since the beginning of 2013, has started every one of those games. Collin Cowgill, a .273/.333/.402 career hitter against lefties, has started each of the past eight. And C.J. Cron, a .328/.392/.526 hitter against lefties for Double-A Arkansas last season, has also started each of the team's two games against a lefty. All three players remain available in more than 95 percent of ESPN leagues. That said, don't expect Cron to get all five starts against southpaws; he'll probably sit as Albert Pujols handles first base against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee on Tuesday.

• The Toronto Blue Jays, whose bats appeared to awaken during their four-game, home-and-home series versus the Philadelphia Phillies May 5-8, look to extend their hitting prowess into Week 7. Though they'll be challenged facing matchups against C.J. Wilson (Monday) and during their three-game series versus the Cleveland Indians, remember that the latter takes place in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre. From there it's off to Texas' Globe Life Park, where two Blue Jays in particular have outstanding track records: Dioner Navarro has a .302 batting average and .512 slugging percentage in 13 games there, while Colby Rasmus has two doubles, five home runs and a .862 slugging percentage in seven games there.

• It's time for the St. Louis Cardinals to get things going on offense. Their seven-game, all-at-home schedule suits them well -- not so for power, in their spacious ballpark, but for the other four primary Rotisserie categories -- as they'll face a pair of Chicago Cubs pitchers they've handled throughout the years in Travis Wood and Jason Hammel, then battle an Atlanta Braves rotation that's in a state of flux. Matt Adams (.320/.333/.540 in 12 games), Jhonny Peralta (.256/.356/.487 in 11) and Allen Craig (.273/.347/.500 in 11) have been fine at Busch Stadium thus far, and all should remain in your lineups.