Fantasy baseball forecaster for Week 1: March 28 – April 7

The 2019 Major League Baseball season begins on Thursday, March 28, with all 30 teams scheduled to play, and a tripleheader of games on ESPN: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees at 1 p.m. ET; Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers at 4 p.m. ET; and Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners at 7 p.m. ET. It is the earliest domestic start to a season in major league history, and it follows the same arrangement as in 2018, with all 30 teams playing on traditional Opening Day. The Thursday start creates a lengthier “Week 1” of the fantasy baseball season: 11 days, beginning with those March 28 games and extending through the games on Sunday, April 7. Leagues with weekly lineup deadlines will lock lineups for the entirety of Week 1 at the start of each scheduled game and will not allow changes to take effect again until Monday, April 8. Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners players will remain locked in these leagues after they appeared in March 20-21 games in Japan. ESPN leagues with daily lineup deadlines, however, will still lock players at the start times of each of their respective games each day. If you play in a head-to-head league, your first matchup of the season will be 13 days in length, covering the 11-day span from March 28 to April 7 as well as the two Japan games already in the books.

The extended scoring period creates a wider divide in games played among teams, as three play on all 11 days: The Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics (who already have two games in the books this scoring period) and Toronto Blue Jays, with the Athletics and Blue Jays scheduled for eight and seven of those at home. That grants these squads a significant, volume-driven advantage over the five teams scheduled to play only eight times: The Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington nike nfl jersey Nine other teams, meanwhile, play only nine times during the opening scoring period. The Blue Jays especially benefit, thanks to seven of their 11 games being played at home at Rogers Center against a pair of weak pitching staffs in the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles — though the team does finish with four on the road against the rotation-rich Cleveland Indians. This would be a good week to use Danny Jansen, a borderline top-10 catcher who definitely belongs in that class as far as Week 1 starters due to the volume advantage, and in deep-mixed (think 14-plus-team)/AL-only leagues Teoscar Hernandez, who should get the majority of the starts in left field at the season’s onset.1

Among those teams with eight-game weeks, the Washington Nationals are the one that face the toughest set of opening-scoring-period hitting matchups. This team will tangle with Jacob deGrom once and Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler twice apiece. That’s not to say that your star-caliber Nationals — Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles, Juan Soto and Trea Turner especially — warrant a seat on your bench, but it’s worth seeking stronger alternatives to players like Brian Dozier, Yan Gomes and Ryan Zimmerman, especially since the team will face seven right-handed starters. Dozier, Gomes and Zimmerman all had isolated power greater than .180 but also wOBA beneath .320 against right-handers last season, making them all-or-nothing plays in the opening scoring nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The 11-day week grants the rare circumstance of a team giving a starting pitcher as many as three starts during the scoring period, by starting him on Thursday, March 28, then on four days’ rest on Tuesday, April 2, and again on four days’ rest on Sunday, April 7. For the few pitchers who get this benefit, they enjoy a huge, volume-driven advantage in fantasy baseball leagues with weekly lineup locks. Twenty-four teams are scheduled to play on all three of those dates and therefore have the opportunity to do that with their Opening Day starters, though only four such pitchers are currently projected to do so: Andrew Cashner, Mike Fiers, Brad Keller and Marcus Stroman. Depending upon teams’ decisions skipping fifth starters, the Colorado Rockies’ Kyle Freeland, San Diego Padres’ Eric Lauer and Tampa Bay Rays’ Blake Snell could also pick up third starts. Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale also has a chance to make three starts due to the team’s 11-game week, though manager Alex Cora has indicated that the team will use a sixth starter/opener at some point during the opening scoring period. Stroman — again picking from the Blue Jays — is the most interesting of the three-start candidates from a matchups perspective, as the opposing Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles have bottom-third-in-baseball offenses, and the Cleveland Indians aren’t guaranteed to have both Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez in the lineup.