The typical Fantasy scoring period runs Monday through Sunday, but an exception must be made for the All-Star break, which eats up half of what would be Week 16. Games resume Thursday, so you don't actually have to set your lineup until then. The question is whether your league treats Thursday through Sunday as its own four-day scoring period or combines it with the following week for a supersized 11-day scoring period.
- Week 16: Sleeper pitchers
The CBS default is the former, but I have recommendations for you either way. For the shorter period, note that the number of games a team is scheduled to play matters more than ever for your start/sit decisions. Some teams (Astros, Yankees and Twins) are scheduled for five games while one (Twins) is scheduled for only two.
All hitters depicted here are rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
SD San Diego • #14 • Age: 37
Carpenter was enjoying the best stretch of his career before the break and shouldn't have trouble getting at-bats with the Yankees scheduled for five games in four days. Three of them are against the Orioles pitching staff.
OAK Oakland • #22 • Age: 28
Laureano enters the second half as one of the hottest hitters in baseball, having connected for five home runs in his past 12 games. The Athletics are scheduled for five games in four days and are facing the Tigers and Rangers pitching staffs, giving them the most favorable matchups of any team in the shortened Week 16.
TEX Texas • #3 • Age: 24
Between his improved strikeout rate and elevated exit velocity, the tools seem to be playing up in Taveras' third try at the big-league level. The Rangers are one of just a handful of teams with four games in the four-day scoring period, including three against the Athletics pitching staff.
MIA Miami • #26 • Age: 32
Cooper was slumping just before the break but still makes for a good source of batting average in the long run. The Marlins have the fourth-best hitter matchups this week, facing the Pirates three times in a four-game slate.
Nate Lowe 1B
TEX Texas • #30 • Age: 27
Lowe's production has slipped a bit in July, but he's still batting .292 with an .857 OPS in his past 53 games and has the benefit of an extra game in a week when so many teams are playing only three.
Jorge Soler LF
MIA Miami • #12 • Age: 31
Soler went hitless in his first three games back from a hip injury just before the break, but his raw power still makes him capable of doing considerable damage in a short period of time. He has four games to do it in Week 16 while many teams have only three, and three of those four games will come against Pirates pitchers.
Rowdy Tellez 1B
MIL Milwaukee • #11 • Age: 28
A lot of teams will realign their rotations with the best pitchers at the top to begin the second half, but it's kind of a moot point for the Rockies. The streaky Tellez is a reasonable bet to heat up against what little they have to offer.
LAA L.A. Angels • #12 • Age: 31
Having recently returned from a calf injury, Renfroe seemed to be finding his stroke just before the break, collecting a hit in four straight. He'll get to enjoy the Rockies pitching staff in the shortened Week 16.
PIT Pittsburgh • #22 • Age: 36
McCutchen hit safely in eight of nine just before the break and has quietly been on a tear since early June, batting .314 with an .879 OPS in his past 36 games. His matchups against the Rockies are pretty inviting compared to some of the aces that other teams will be facing to begin the second half.
Yandy Diaz 3B
TB Tampa Bay • #2 • Age: 31
Diaz has turned himself into a suitable leadoff hitter for the Rays with a .488 on-base percentage in his past 20 games and a .407 mark overall. His limited pop makes him a better choice for points leagues, but he could factor in all leagues going against a Royals staff that doesn't have an ace to run out there to begin the second half.
Best hitter matchups for short Week 16
1. Athletics DET2, TEX3
2. Yankees @HOU2, @BAL3
3. Astros NYY2, @SEA3
4. Marlins TEX1, @PIT3
5. Rangers @MIA1, @OAK3
Worst hitter matchups for short Week 16
1. Twins @DET2
2. Red Sox TOR3
3. Rockies @MIL3
4. Angels @ATL3
5. Cubs @PHI3
Sleeper hitters for long Week 16 (July 21-31)
Matchups: @HOU2, @BAL3, @NYM2, KC4
If the matchups have anything to say about it, you're not too late to enjoy Carpenter's historic run. The Yankees are scheduled for 11 games in the 11-day scoring period, including a combined seven against the Orioles and Royals staffs.
Matchups: DET2, TEX3, HOU3, @CHW3
The Athletics' 11-game schedule gives Laureano a game or two advantage over the majority of hitters in the extended scoring period, but mostly, he's worth starting because he's hot, having homered five times in his past 12 games.
Matchups; TB3, LAA3, @NYY4
Pasquantino looks like he'll miss Shane McClanahan in the Rays series and Shohei Ohtani in the Angels series, which makes his matchups decent enough. He was getting more comfortable just before the break, and the Statcast data still paints a favorable picture.
Matchups: COL4, MIN2, @BOS3
Though the Brewers are scheduled for only nine games in the 11-day scoring period, just one is against a lefty, which should keep Tellez's bat in the lineup. And who's the best of the pitchers he'll be facing? Maybe German Marquez. It's a favorable slate to be sure.
Matchups: STL3, MIA4, BAL3
The Reds have the fifth-best hitter matchups during the supersized Week 16, and of their hitters with any availability in Fantasy, Votto remains one of the better bets to take advantage. Though he hasn't set the world on fire, he has hit a respectable .259 with an .833 OPS since returning from COVID-19 in late May.
Best hitter matchups for long Week 16
1. Dodgers SF4, WAS3, @COL4
2. Rays @KC3, @BAL4, CLE3
3. Astros NYY2, @SEA3, @OAK3, SEA4
4. Yankees @HOU2, @BAL3, @NYM2, KC4
5. Reds STL3, MIA4, BAL3
Worst hitter matchups for long Week 16
1. Twins @DET2, @MIL2, @SD3
2. Mets SD3, NYY2, @MIA3
3. Rockies @MIL4, CHW2, LAD4
4. Cubs @PHI3, PIT2, @SF4
5. Nationals @ARI3, @LAD3, STL3