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The first full week after the All-Star break brings with it a lot of bad pitchers. After all, most teams got their best ones out of the way right after the break, during the shortened Fantasy Week 15 (July 17-19).
The result is more good matchups than bad, especially during a week when nearly half the league plays seven games. That includes the Cubs and Reds, who have a doubleheader Wednesday.
That doubleheader actually has a big impact on the matchup rankings. It vaults both teams ahead of the Rockies, who return home for all six of their games.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 16:
1. Reds: CHC4, @COL3
2. Cubs: @CIN4, PHI3
3. Rockies: TEX3, CIN3
4. Rays: @PHI3, BAL3
5. Diamondbacks: MIA3, MIL4
• It's all Reds on deck with the matchups they have this week. Jay Bruce should be an easy call at this point, and you'll want to take advantage of Marlon Byrd's power potential at Coors Field as well. The sneaky play, though, is Eugenio Suarez, a shortstop-eligible player who showed good pop throughout his minor-league career and already has four home runs in 90 at-bats.
• The Diamondbacks aren't especially high on this list, but they play seven games at home and seven against right-handed pitchers, with Jose Fernandez being the only good one. That plays perfectly into David Peralta's splits, and it should mean plenty of playing time for Welington Castillo as well. The sparsely-owned catcher has five home runs in 84 at-bats since coming over from Seattle.
• Jorge Soler has been something close to useless since returning from a sprained ankle in early July, but he's still the Cubs' highest-upside hitter after Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. As a high-variance play, he deserves the benefit of the doubt when he has matchups as favorable as this week's, at least in Rotisserie leagues where you can absorb a bad week a little easier.
• The Mariners didn't make the cut here, but they had several players swinging the bat well before the All-Star break, including Kyle Seager and Mark Trumbo. Trumbo is especially interesting giving his streaky tendencies, massive power potential and matchups against some of the most homer-prone pitchers in the Tigers and Blue Jays rotations.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 16:
1. White Sox: STL2, @CLE4
2. Nationals: NYM3, @PIT4
3. Blue Jays: @OAK3, @SEA3
4. Mets: @WAS3, LAD4
5. Cardinals: @CHW2, KC1, ATL3
• Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera have had their moments in recent weeks, but neither has provided enough power or speed to make do with a low batting average in a given week. Against some of the best bat-missers the Cardinals and Indians have to offer, they're better off on your bench.
• Most notable about the Mets' schedule this week is that it's lefty-heavy, which is bad news for Daniel Murphy and horrible news for Curtis Granderson. The latter is batting .119 with a .348 OPS against lefties yet amazingly keeps playing against them.
• Matt Holliday is in line to return from the DL Friday after missing five weeks with a quad injury, but he was showing signs of decline before the injury, hitting just three home runs in 178 at-bats. His plate discipline still makes him plenty startable, especially in points leagues, but if he doesn't light it up over the weekend, these matchups are an excuse to keep him reserved.
• Though the Rangers don't appear on either of these lists, their matchups are on the more favorable end of spectrum given their three games at Coors Field. But those actually limit Mitch Moreland's appeal. The Rockies are in the NL, after all, which means no DH, and he's the more likely odd man out than Prince Fielder. Then when they return to the AL, they face two lefties in three games, which doesn't play into his splits so well.