It’s virtually impossible to see some things coming, but by pre-planning for each and every week of the Fantasy Baseball season, you can often get a jump on the trends that are brewing around the league. Let’s take a look at how Week 20 of the MLB campaign is shaping up. 

TEAM # GAMES HOME AWAY OPPONENTS
Braves 7 3 4 at COL (4), vs.CIN (3)
Marlins 6 3 3 vs.SF (3), at NYM (3)
Mets 7 5 2 at NYY (2), vs.NYY (2), vs.MIA (3)
Phillies 7 0 7 at SD (3). at SF (4)
Nationals 6 2 4 vs.LAA (2), at SD (4)
Cubs 7 7 0 vs.CIN (4), vs.TOR (3)
Reds 7 0 7 at CHC (4), at ATL (3)
Brewers 5 2 3 vs.PIT (2), at COL (3)
Pirates 6 4 2 at MIL (2), vs.STL (4)
Cardinals 6 0 6 at BOS (2), at PIT (4)
Diamondbacks 7 2 5 vs.HOU (2), at HOU (2), at MIN (3)
Rockies 7 7 0 vs.ATL (4), vs.MIL (3)
Dodgers 5 2 3 vs.CWS (2), at DET (3)
Padres 7 7 0 vs.PHI (3), vs.WSH (4)
Giants 7 4 3 at MIA (3), vs.PHI (4)
Orioles 6 3 3 at SEA (3), vs.LAA (3)
Red Sox 6 6 0 vs.CLE (1), vs.STL (2), vs.NYY (3)
Yankees 7 2 5 vs.NYM (2), at NYM (2), at BOS (3)
Rays 7 3 4 at TOR (4), vs.SEA (3)
Blue Jays 7 4 3 vs.TB (4), at CHC (3)
White Sox 6 0 6 at LAD (2), at TEX (4)
Indians 7 0 7 at BOS (1), at MIN (3), at KC (3)
Tigers 6 3 3 at TEX (3), vs.LAD (3)
Royals 6 3 3 at OAK (3), vs.CLE (3)
Twins 6 6 0 vs.CLE (3), vs.ARI (3)
Astros 7 5 2 at ARI (2), vs.ARI (2), vs.OAK (3)
Angels 5 0 5 at WSH (2), at BAL (3)
A's 6 3 3 vs.KC (3), at HOU (3)
Mariners 6 3 3 vs.BAL (3), at TB (3)
Rangers 7 7 0 vs.DET (3), vs.CWS (4)

Leading Off

Right off the bat, there are three teams with short, five-game slates this week, as both clubs from Los Angeles along with the Brew Crew from Milwaukee will all receive two of the next seven days off. Exactly half of the league’s 30 teams have a seven-game load on the docket.

Of those 15 teams, the N.L. Wild Card-leading Rockies will hit the field at home in the thin-aired environment of Coors Field. According to ESPN’s Park Factors, Coors Field is well on its way to a sixth straight season of being the league’s top run-producing park. The Rockies, as is usually the case, have taken full advantage of the elements in Denver so far this season, putting up an impressive .864 team OPS while scoring nearly 6.2 runs per game. It is probably best to avoid any pitcher from the Braves or Brewers scheduled to battle the Rockies this week. Jimmy Nelson might be the exception on Friday evening, but the even he, at best, is risky coming off his worst outing of the season.

News From the Mound

Stephen Strasburg (elbow), who has been on the DL since exiting a start in Arizona back on July 23 after just two innings, tossed 57 pitches in a simulated game this past Wednesday and expects to deliver as many as 75 during a rehab assignment for High-A Potomac on Monday night. If all continues to go well, the three-time All-Star could be set to return to a big-league mound in San Diego on Saturday.

Alex Cobb is having a solid bounce-back campaign for the Rays, but he currently sits on the DL dealing with turf toe. The issue is reportedly minor and not expected to hold him out more than one start. Cobb last appeared for the Rays back on August 5 and will likely return to the Rays rotation next weekend.

After surrendering seven runs (six earned) across six innings at Yankee Stadium back on July 31, Tigers righty Michael Fulmer was placed on the DL due to elbow inflammation. The 2016 A.L. Rookie of the Year emerged from a bullpen session this past Friday feeling confident that he will return to the Detroit rotation Monday night in Texas.

***None of the SP from the “News” (above) will be in this week’s rankings (below).

AWAY TEAM HOME TEAM GAMES DH? Player(s) Impacted
Astros Diamondbacks 2 No Jake Marisnick, Derek Fisher
Diamondbacks Astros 2 Yes Brandon Drury
Diamondbacks Twins 3 Yes Brandon Drury
Blue Jays Cubs 3 No Kendrys Morales
White Sox Dodgers 2 No Nick Delmonico
Dodgers Tigers 3 Yes Chase Utley, Enrique Hernandez
Angels Nationals 2 No C.J. Cron
Mets Yankees 2 Yes Brandon Nimmo
Yankees Mets 2 No Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury
Cardinals Red Sox 2 Yes Jose Martinez

Top 50 SP Rankings

RANK PITCHER MATCHUP 1 MATCHUP 2
1 Chris Sale vs. Yankees  
2 Max Scherzer @Padres  
3 Corey Kluber @Royals  
4 Gio Gonzalez vs. Angels @Padres
5 Madison Bumgarner @Marlins vs. Phillies
6 Danny Salazar @Twins @Royals
7 Jacob deGrom @Yankees vs. Marlins
8 Yu Darvish vs. White Sox  
9 Aaron Nola @Giants  
10 Zack Greinke vs. Astros @Twins
11 Jake Arrieta vs. Blue Jays  
12 Alex Wood vs. White Sox  
13 Justin Verlander @Rangers  
14 Trevor Bauer @Red Sox @Royals
15 Rich Hill @Tigers  
16 Chris Archer @Blue Jays  
17 Sonny Gray vs. Mets @Red Sox
18 Jon Lester vs. Reds  
19 Cole Hamels vs. Tigers  
20 Zack Godley @Twins  
21 Jose Quintana vs. Reds vs. Blue Jays
22 Carlos Carrasco @Twins  
23 Hyun-Jin Ryu @Tigers  
24 Drew Pomeranz vs. Yankees  
25 Lance Lynn @Red Sox  
26 Luis Severino @Mets  
27 Brad Peacock @Diamondbacks vs. A's
28 Dinelson Lamet vs. Phillies vs. Nationals
29 Gerrit Cole @Brewers  
30 Carlos Martinez @Pirates  
31 Kenta Maeda @Tigers  
32 Marco Estrada vs. Rays @Cubs
33 Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Cardinals  
34 Marcus Stroman vs. Rays  
35 Jameson Taillon vs. Cardinals  
36 Kevin Gausman @Mariners vs. Angels
37 Charlie Morton vs. Diamondbacks  
38 Carlos Rodon @Dodgers  
39 Jacob Faria @Blue Jays  
40 Kyle Hendricks vs. Reds vs. Blue Jays
41 Jimmy Nelson @Rockies  
42 Jake Junis @A's vs. Indians
43 Jerad Eickhoff @Padres @Giants
44 Michael Wacha @Pirates  
45 Danny Duffy @A's  
46 J.A. Happ @Cubs  
47 Tanner Roark vs. Angels  
48 Parker Bridwell @Orioles  
49 Ervin Santana vs. Diamondbacks  
50 German Marquez vs. Brewers  

Cole Hamels has been nothing short of an “Ace” form since the calendar flipped to August. The veteran southpaw worked seven scoreless frames against the Astros this past Friday and has now gone 16.0 innings without allowing an earned run (one unearned) so far this month. Hamels did take a sharp smack to the knee on a grounder off the bat of Jose Altuve during the fourth inning of Friday’s outing and has reportedly been dealing with some soreness ever since. Monitor his status leading up to Wednesday’s scheduled matchup versus the Tigers, but roll with him if all looks good. On top of his recent performance, Hamels is 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA across seven home starts this season.

Similarly to Hamels, but obviously scarier, Lance Lynn took a 105 mph line drive off the right side of his head during the third inning of his start this past Thursday. Amazingly, Lynn reportedly demanded that Manager Mike Matheny allow him to remain in the game, after which the 6’5, 280 pound right-hander proceeded to finish off his seventh consecutive quality start. Over those past seven outings, Lynn has gone 4-0 while cruising to the tune of a 1.45 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 43.1 innings.

Marco Estrada is a two-start pitcher for the week that has suddenly surged back up the rankings. After struggling mightily (9.52 ERA) during a nine-start stretch from June 1 to July 21, he has rebounded to turn in a terrific 2.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 22-to-10 K/BB ratio across 26.0 innings over his last four appearances. Estrada has certainly earned his way back into fantasy relevance. 

RANK PITCHER MATCHUP 1 MATCHUP 2
51 Edwin Jackson @Padres  
52 Rick Porcello vs. Cardinals  
53 Jake Odorizzi @Blue Jays vs. Mariners
54 Luis Castillo @Cubs @Braves
55 Jeff Samardzija vs. Phillies  
56 Jon Gray vs. Braves  
57 Dylan Bundy vs. Angels  
58 Patrick Corbin @Astros  
59 Ty Blach @Marlins vs. Phillies
60 John Lackey vs. Reds  
61 Ubaldo Jimenez @Mariners  
62 Dan Straily vs. Giants  
63 Taijuan Walker @Astros  
64 Jason Hammel @A's  
65 Jhoulys Chacin vs. Nationals  
66 Collin McHugh @Diamondbacks vs. A's
67 Doug Fister vs. Indians vs. Yankees
68 Mike Leake @Red Sox @Pirates
69 Jaime Garcia @Mets  
70 Brandon Woodruff vs. Pirates  
71 Jeremy Hellickson vs. Angels  
72 Jose Urena vs. Giants  
73 Trevor Williams vs. Cardinals  
74 Adam Wainwright @Pirates  
75 Dallas Keuchel vs. A's  

Nate Miller is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and has been an analyst in the industry since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad, where he is always up for fielding any Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football or DFS questions.