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On tap: The penultimate week of the fantasy baseball season begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday, with that day’s schedule highlighted by a preview of the currently projected American League wild-card game, Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees. Ervin Santana, the likely starter of that postseason game, takes on Jaime Garcia, a member of the Twins for six days in July. Fantasy baseball owners not only have extra time to set weekly lineups on Monday, but also daily lineups for most of the week, as there are only 23 total day games in Week 24: four on Wednesday, two on Thursday, three on Saturday and the usual 14 on Sunday. That’s particularly advantageous during a stage of the schedule when rotations are constantly changing.

Speaking of rapid rotation changes, playoff-clinching scenarios will increasingly influence those decisions in this and the final week (Week 25). In ranked order of the likelihood of Week 24 clinching scenarios — either playoff berths or specific seeding — here are the teams in position to celebrate:

  • Cleveland Indians: Magic number of 3 to clinch the American League Central title and 9 to clinch home-field advantage during the division series.

  • Houston Astros: Magic number of 3 to clinch a playoff spot and/or AL West title and 12 to clinch home-field advantage during the division series.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: Magic number of 7 to clinch the National League West title and home-field advantage during the division series and 12 to clinch the league’s No. 1 seed.

  • Washington Nationals: Magic number of 7 to clinch home-field advantage during the division series.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Magic number of 9 to clinch an NL wild-card spot and 11 for home-field advantage in that game.

  • New York Yankees: Magic number of 11 to clinch an AL wild-card spot.

  • All other playoff scenarios require a magic number of at least 13. The Dodgers, Indians and Nationals, incidentally, have already clinched playoff spots, and the Nationals have clinched the NL East title.

ESPN is currently scheduled to broadcast five games during Week 24, all of which have playoff implications on either side: Indians at Los Angeles Angels at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday; Twins at Yankees at 1 p.m. ET and Indians at Angels at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday; Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday; and Angels at Astros at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Nine

  • Welcome to the championship matchups in ESPN standard head-to-head leagues! These are two-week matchups (Weeks 24-25) that begin with the games of Monday, Sept. 18, and conclude with the games of Sunday, Oct. 1.

  • With so many rotations in flux, it’s dangerous to lean as heavily upon two-start pitchers in weekly leagues in Week 24 as, say, you might have in Week 4. Of the pitchers currently projected to make two starts, I only fully trust seven to make both of those appearances (and without pitch-count restriction) and be fantasy-relevant: Chase Anderson, Jose Berrios, Patrick Corbin, German Marquez, Ervin Santana, Blake Snell and Marcus Stroman. I’d like to include Gio Gonzalez, Jon Lester and Kenta Maeda, but each plays for a team that utilizes a six-man rotation (and Maeda’s Dodgers have repeatedly skipped starters); Dylan Bundy and Lucas Giolito, but each has an innings cap concern and could have his second start shortened, pushed back or skipped altogether; and Mike Clevinger, whose Indians are at greater risk of shuffling their order by the Sept. 23-24 weekend to get their playoff rotation in order.

  • For what seems like the umpteenth time during the second half, the Twins’ hitting schedule stands out. As written many times in this space in recent weeks, matchups with the Detroit Tigers are the best an opposing hitter could ask for, as the team has by far the majors’ highest ERA (6.69) and WHIP (1.74) during the past month, along with a young, inexperienced rotation. The Twins get four week-ending home games against the Tigers after beginning their week with three at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium in New York. Whether Jordan Zimmermann is able to rejoin the Tigers’ rotation has some bearing on the righty/lefty advantages for the Twins, as they’ll face either two or three left-handed starters in their seven games. Still, the same beneath-the-radar names that have been bandied about since the All-Star break remain strong starts: Byron Buxton, a .316/.361/.612 second-half hitter available in roughly 30 percent of ESPN leagues; Eduardo Escobar, a .230/.302/.454 hitter during that same time span available in roughly 75 percent; Jorge Polanco, a .313/.380/.560 hitter available in roughly 50 percent; and Eddie Rosario, a .303/.339/.572 hitter available in roughly 40 percent. Incidentally, Polanco has been getting regular play as the team’s No. 3 hitter, while Escobar (versus lefties) and Rosario (versus righties) have been rotating in the cleanup spot, depending on the opposing starter’s handedness.

  • The San Francisco Giants have the misfortune of the week’s only five-game schedule in a week where seven other teams play a full seven games, four of which are NL squads. Strangely, it’s a short week of entirely intraleague contests, even though most five-game schedules typically include at least one series of interleague play. The Giants play all five games at home at AT&T Park, an extreme pitcher’s park. While they’ve had a handful of games with offensive outbursts since the All-Star break, the fact remains that they have a major league-leading 35 games (out of 58) during which they’ve been held to three runs or fewer. Avoid Giants hitters wherever possible.

  • With the possible exceptions of Eduardo Nunez and Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox hitters should probably make sizable contributions to your championship-seeking fantasy squads during Week 24. They’re not close enough yet to clinching their playoff spot to start thinking about resting regulars, and they’ll make three-game stops in both Baltimore’s Camden Yards and Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. Those are both hitter-friendly venues, and the staffs of the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds rank 27th (4.85) and 29th (5.24) in ERA this season, respectively. Nunez’s sprained right knee threatens to cost him the early portion of the week, while Ramirez might sit anywhere from one to all of the three games at Cincinnati, where the Red Sox won’t have the designated hitter available. Rafael Devers, a .296/.352/.500 hitter in his young career who is available in roughly 45 percent of ESPN leagues, should be activated in all formats.

  • The Oakland Athletics are the other team that benefits from games against the Tigers, with three of them at Detroit’s Comerica Park, while their other three are back home against the middling Texas Rangers staff. Matt Olson is on an incredible tear, batting .322/.412/.847 with 10 home runs in his past 16 games, and he is available in just shy of 50 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s also a .229/.341/.486 hitter against left-handers this season, easing any worry about the team facing three lefty starters. The three lefties, though, do make this a good week to activate Matt Chapman, a .246/.324/.431 hitter against lefties this season (available in roughly 95 percent of leagues) and Chad Pinder, a .244/.326/.415 hitter against lefties (available in 99 percent).

  • Expect a big week from Kansas City Royals one-two hitters Whit Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain, as the team will face a pair of left-handed pitchers in their three week-opening games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, followed by a trio of relatively inexperienced Chicago White Sox right-handers during their weekend series at Guaranteed Rate Field. Most important, these are great matchups from a base-stealing angle, and Merrifield ranks third in baseball in steals (15) and Cain 14th (9) since the All-Star break.

  • The St. Louis Cardinals‘ offense has been largely inconsistent this season, but this is a schedule that should help them consistently light up the scoreboard. They’ll play a pair of three-game series, one at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park and one at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, against Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates staffs that seem to be piecing things together as they close out their seasons. Jose Martinez, who appears to have taken over as the everyday first baseman and cleanup batter, is a .435/.490/.717 hitter in the month of September and is available in more than one-third of leagues. Harrison Bader has also been getting regular playing time in center field and is a .267/.292/.489 hitter for the month.

  • Though the Dodgers have struggled in recent weeks, this week represents a favorable schedule for two of their right-handed hitters in particular: Yasiel Puig, a .302/.362/.535 hitter, and Justin Turner, a .318/.412/.591 hitter, both in 13 total games in the month. Don’t overreact to the team’s recent funk, as both players should play big parts in winning fantasy teams their 2017 titles.