Week 10 Fantasy Hitting Planner
Is Michael Morse a trustworthy option off the waiver wire? What should owners do with Dan Uggla? Scott White touches on that and shares his recommendations for the week ahead in his Hitting Planner.
The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we'll give you the latest on injuries, lineup changes, streaks and matchups, highlighting the players at each position who might surprise or disappoint as a result. NOTE: The Planner will be updated with the latest information every Sunday prior to lineup deadlines.
Any players not listed here fall into the "status quo" category, meaning you should take your usual approach with them.
All statistics are updated through Saturday, June 4..
We might still be a couple weeks from seeing Joe Mauer back in the majors, but at least the catcher widely considered the best in Fantasy is back to, you know, catching. He took his usual spot behind the plate for three innings of an extended spring training game Thursday and will begin an official rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on Sunday. The Twins transferred him from the 15- to the 60-day DL recently, making him ineligible to return before June 12, but it's not unreasonable to think he'll be ready to contribute at some point in Fantasy Week 11 (June 13-19). Meanwhile, Rene Rivera and Drew Butera continue to split starts in his absence, not that either matters to Fantasy owners.
Must-Start Options: Victor Martinez , Brian McCann , Carlos Santana , Russell Martin , Miguel Montero
A.J. Pierzynski : .333 (17 for 51), 1 HR, .861 OPS in 13 games
Victor Martinez : .417 (10 for 24), 1 HR, 3 2Bs, 1.128 OPS in six games
Mike Napoli : .435 (10 for 23), 4 HRs, 1.568 OPS in six games
John Buck : .164 (12 for 73), 2 HRs, .534 OPS in 21 games
Russell Martin : .042 (1 for 24), 3 SBs in seven games
Kurt Suzuki : .143 (3 for 21), .325 OPS in seven games
Jonathan Lucroy : .091 (2 for 22), 1 HR, 0 BBs, 9 Ks in six games
Worth a second look
Mike Napoli (68 percent started): Playing time has been an issue for Napoli all season, but his sudden and inevitable explosion has apparently convinced the Rangers he deserves a little more. He has started six of the last eight games, spelling Mitch Moreland against lefties and starting behind the plate against righties. With three lefties on the schedule during a seven-game week, he's a good bet to make at least five starts, which is more than enough for him to make an impact during this hot streak, especially with great matchups against the Tigers and Twins.
Chris Snyder (9 percent): With all of his back issues and competition for playing time over the last few years, Snyder has kind of gotten swept under the rug in Fantasy. He has been a productive option in the past, and with a .348 (8 for 23) batting average and two homers over his last nine games, he's looking like he could be again. With Ryan Doumit out of the picture with a fractured ankle, Snyder should get the at-bats to factor even in mixed leagues.
Approach with caution
John Buck (39 percent started): Buck continues to disappoint, occupying this spot in the Hitting Planner for the third straight week, and yet Fantasy owners continue to start him. Even if you're not ready to call him a one-year wonder, you have to acknowledge he's unlikely to reverse the trend with tough matchups this week against pitchers like Zack Greinke , Tommy Hanson , Jair Jurrjens , Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson .
A.J. Pierzynski (30 percent): Pierzynski may seem like a sleeper candidate given his recent hot streak, but keep in mind the White Sox have some of the toughest matchups in baseball this week, facing the top end of the Mariners and Athletics rotations. Plus, three of those pitchers are left-handed, and Pierzynski is batting only .200 with a .499 OPS against lefties this season. Better leave him for someone else.
Nick Hundley , who is working his way back from a strained oblique, homered to begin his minor-league rehab assignment Saturday, but he isn't expected to rejoin the Padres until Wednesday. He was struggling before the injury, so you wouldn't want to activate him for at most a five-game week.
Paul Konerko had surgery Friday to remove a fragment from his left wrist, but he was actually back in the lineup Sunday. Clearly, the procedure wasn't anything major, but even so, you have to wonder if a two-day absence might be rushing it. He loses must-start status this week because of the obvious risk, but since neither he nor the White Sox have expressed any concerns about his ability to bounce back from the surgery, you can still feel pretty comfortable starting him if you don't have a clear replacement on your bench. Ike Davis , who was expected to miss only the minimum 15 days when he sprained his ankle May 10, not only isn't ready to return, but he's back in a walking boot and expected to miss at least three more weeks. Talk about a disappointment for Fantasy owners. The sophomore slugger had emerged as a must-start option before getting hurt, so he's well worth stashing in all leagues. If you've had a hard time surviving without him to this point, though, now might be the time to make a move.
Must-Start Options: Albert Pujols , Miguel Cabrera , Joey Votto , Adrian Gonzalez , Mark Teixeira , Prince Fielder , Kevin Youkilis , Ryan Howard
Freddie Freeman : .386 (22 for 57), 1 HR, 8 2Bs, 2 SBs, .996 OPS in 14 games
Eric Hosmer : .381 (16 for 42), 2 HRs, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 1.000 OPS in nine games
Albert Pujols : .435 (10 for 23), 4 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.579 OPS, 4 BBs, 0 Ks in six games
Mark Trumbo : .435 (10 for 23), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 1.219 OPS in six games
Paul Konerko : .556 (10 for 18), 2 HRs, 1.664 OPS in five games
Adam Dunn : .109 (7 for 64), 1 HR, 14 BBs, 30 Ks in 19 games
Ryan Howard : .179 (5 for 28), 1 HR, 1 BB, 8 Ks in seven games
Worth a second look
Aubrey Huff (52 percent started): Huff showed signs of getting his wayward season back on track with his three-homer game Thursday (and four homers in two games if you include Wednesday). He's 0 for 7 in two games since then, but he should be able to regain momentum with the Giants' favorable matchups this week. They're hosting the Nationals and Reds, which means he'll get to face pitchers like John Lannan , Yunesky Maya , Travis Wood , Mike Leake and Edinson Volquez . If you've been stashing him in the hopes he'd eventually get hot, now might be a good time to activate him.
Adam Lind (39 percent): His absence lasted longer than anyone could have predicted, but Lind finally was able to return from his lower back strain Saturday. He was the hottest player in baseball before the injury, batting .465 (20 for 43) with six homers in 11 games, so you can trust his two-homer game Sunday is a sign of more to come. You'll want to start him right away, even at a deep position like first base.
Approach with caution
Adam Dunn (60 percent started): No matter how much he's slumping, Dunn is a dangerous player to sit in Fantasy because of his ability to rack up a bunch of homers in a short period of time. But this slump is approaching epic length even by his standards. Maybe with easier matchups, you could continue to cross your fingers with him, but not against the best the Mariners and Athletics have to offer.
Brett Wallace (33 percent): Yeah, Wallace seems to be righting the ship with a .348 (16 for 46) batting average and one homer over his last 14 games, but even at his best, he's a 15-point-per-week guy. And with six games against the Cardinals and Braves this week, he'll likely be less than his best. You can do better in mixed leagues.
In addition to the pinched nerve in his shoulder and neck and the continued concerns over the concussion he suffered last season, Justin Morneau is now dealing with a sore left wrist, sitting out both Saturday and Sunday with the injury. He'll likely be ready to go for the start of the Twins' seven-game week, but as banged up as he is, you can't trust him to suddenly snap out of his season-long funk, even if he did hit two homers Tuesday. He remains just a borderline starter in mixed leagues ... Derrek Lee was able to return from a strained oblique this weekend even though his rehab assignment was delayed a day because of a personal matter. He might be a little rusty coming off the DL and will miss some time later this week to attend his grandfather's funeral, so you probably shouldn't activate him outside of AL-only leagues ... Brandon Belt , who was originally diagnosed with a left wrist contusion when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday, ended up having a hairline fracture and had to go on the 15-day DL. The injury might set back his development a little, but for this year, it's not such a big deal. The Giants weren't playing him regularly anyway ... Juan Miranda , who had recently begun playing against both lefties and righties, was out of the lineup Friday and Saturday with a neck issue. His percentages look pretty good this year, which is why he's now a full-time player, but he has yet to be tested in such a role. Clearly, with his health now in question, you shouldn't bother with him in mixed leagues.
The Tigers declared Ryan Raburn their everyday second baseman when they traded Scott Sizemore to Oakland last week, but the 30-year-old utility player has started only four of eight games there since then, with Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth spelling him a couple times each. Raburn did make a couple starts in the outfield in between, but clearly his playing time remains too much of a mystery for mixed-league use. Jeff Keppinger , who was expected to serve as a utility player this season before undergoing foot surgery in the offseason, is apparently the starting second baseman now that he's healthy. The release of Bill Hall on Friday confirms it. Keppinger is a good contact hitter, but because he offers little in the way of power or speed, he doesn't deserve much attention in mixed leagues.
Must-Start Options: Robinson Cano , Dustin Pedroia , Ian Kinsler , Ben Zobrist , Rickie Weeks , Brandon Phillips , Martin Prado , Michael Young
Daniel Murphy : .455 (25 for 55), 1 HR, 1 SB, 1.046 OPS, 2 Ks in 15 games
Kelly Johnson : .333 (14 for 42), 5 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.297 OPS, 8 BBs, 13 Ks in 11 games
Danny Espinosa : .296 (8 for 27), 4 HRs, 1 SB, 1.147 OPS in nine games
Dan Uggla : .088 (5 for 57), one extra-base hit, .264 OPS in 17 games
Maicer Izturis : .158 (9 for 57), 2 SBs, 7 BBs, 7 Ks in 16 games
Brandon Phillips : .182 (10 for 55), one extra-base hit, 2 SBs, .474 OPS in 13 games
Ian Kinsler : 0 for 15, 1 SB in four games
Worth a second look
Michael Cuddyer (54 percent started): Finally, we get a chance to take advantage of Cuddyer's added eligibility at second base. The 32-year-old slugger has picked it up at the plate, batting .333 (8 for 24) with two homers over his last six games, and he has been crushing lefties all season, batting .367 with a 1.109 OPS against them compared to .233 and .606 against righties. The Twins face three left-handers in Derek Holland , C.J. Wilson and Matt Harrison this week, giving Cuddyer a chance to turn it up at the plate. If you have any plans to start him this season, now would be a good time.
Daniel Murphy (18 percent): For all the attention Justin Turner has gotten, Murphy hasn't exactly faded into obscurity for the Mets while splitting his time between first, second and third base. He has multiple hits in each of his last six starts and has a good chance of playing every game this week with only one left-hander on the schedule. If you need a sneaky sleeper, he fits the bill.
Approach with caution
Dan Uggla (65 percent started): All right. I give in. After listing him as a "must-start option" virtually all year, I'm ready to admit Uggla has been too cold for too long to remain active in Fantasy if you have a suitable alternative on the bench or waiver wire. I'm not suggesting anyone cut him or anything. Assuming he stays healthy, he will get too hot to handle at some point. But until he shows signs of doing that, he deserves to sit in Fantasy.
Gordon Beckham (48 percent): Now would be a frustrating time to own Beckham in Fantasy. Just when he's showing signs of resurrecting his season, batting .333 (14 for 42) with two homers over his last 13 games, the Mariners and Athletics are due to arrive, bringing with them a quintet of aces in Michael Pineda , Felix Hernandez , Trevor Cahill , Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez . You should probably let Beckham linger on your bench another week.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Fort Myers on Monday. His return isn't exactly imminent, but it's worth noting just in case you had forgotten about him. He's still very much a mystery coming over from Japan, having played only six games this season before fracturing his leg, but if nothing else, he should steal enough bases to matter in AL-only leagues.
Evan Longoria left Saturday's game and was out of the lineup Sunday because of tightness in his left side -- an especially worrisome diagnosis considering the number of players who have gone on the DL with oblique strains this year, including Longoria at the start of the season -- but the injury was reportedly nothing more than a scare. Longoria should return to the lineup Monday, and considering he's finally back to hitting well after a shaky return from the DL, you'll want to keep him active. Chone Figgins ' season-long slump has gotten to be more debilitating than even the light-hitting Mariners are willing to tolerate. Luis Rodriguez has started over Figgins in three of the team's last nine games. Rodriguez isn't a big enough offensive contributor for the change to become permanent, but with what looks like the beginnings of a timeshare in Seattle, Fantasy owners are running out of reasons to stand behind Figgins. Rookie Josh Harrison has taken over as the Pirates third baseman with Pedro Alvarez sidelined by a quadriceps injury. He showed the ability to hit for average and steal a few bases in the minors, but he doesn't have enough power potential for mixed-league use.
Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista , Kevin Youkilis , Alex Rodriguez , Adrian Beltre , Martin Prado , Michael Young
Chase Headley : .333 (17 for 51), 5 2Bs, 2 SBs, .824 OPS during 14-game hit streak
Ty Wigginton : .300 (12 for 40), 3 HRs, .974 OPS in 11 games
Evan Longoria : .333 (9 for 27), 2 HRs, 1.047 OPS in eight games
Chris Johnson : .333 (8 for 24), 1 HR, 1.093 OPS in six games
Chone Figgins : .107 (8 for 75), one extra-base hit, 0 SBs, 2 BBs, 16 Ks in 18 games
Casey McGehee : .140 (6 for 43), no extra-base hits, .327 OPS in 12 games
Scott Rolen : .162 (6 for 37), no extra-base hits in nine games
Mark Reynolds : .120 (3 for 25), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 7 BBs, 6 Ks in eight games
Worth a second look
Casey McGehee (69 percent started): McGehee's starting percentage has dropped from 93 to 69 since the beginning of the season, and while that's not especially surprising considering his disappointing numbers to date, I can't help but wonder who all these people are starting instead. It's not like the waiver wire has had much to offer all year. McGehee had a 55-game stretch last year in which he hit .232 with five home runs, so his current slump isn't unprecedented. You're better off sticking with him than gambling on a Scott Rolen or Wilson Betemit .
Ty Wigginton (23 percent): Now that Wigginton has the starting third base job all to himself, he's beginning to show why his move to Colorado only added to his sleeper appeal. And with three left-handers on the schedule this week, you have to think his hot hitting will continue. He has done most of his damage against lefties this season, hitting three homers in only 27 at-bats. He's looking like a serviceable option at a shallow position.
Approach with caution
Chipper Jones (57 percent started): Jones was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee on May 15. Since then, he's batting .211 (12 for 57) in 15 games. Coincidence? Well, maybe. But with him beginning to feel pain in the knee again, he might eventually give in to surgery, especially if the lack of production continues. It could happen any day, really. If it does, his season wouldn't be over, but his week would, making him a perpetual risk in Fantasy.
Pablo Sandoval (5 percent): If you've been getting by with whatever scrub you could scrounge off the waiver wire at third base, no doubt you're anxious to get the Round Mound of Pound back in your lineup. And after beginning a minor-league rehab assignment Saturday, he has a reasonable chance of making a Fantasy impact this week. But you'd be taking too much of a risk by starting him. The Giants will likely want him to play as many as five rehab games as he works his way back from a broken wrist, especially after he said he felt "lost" in Saturday's game. Outside of NL-only leagues, half a week of production wouldn't be good enough to justify having Sandoval in your lineup.
Ryan Zimmerman played in two extended spring training games last week and was set to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Sunday. He'll probably need at least a week to regain his form after having abdominal surgery in early May, so you can keep him reserved in Fantasy for now ... Pedro Alvarez , who is working his way back from tightness in his right quadriceps, began playing in extended spring training games Tuesday. He'll likely need a minor-league rehab assignment before returning, though, so you shouldn't be in a rush to activate him in Fantasy. Frankly, you wouldn't want him active considering the way he performed before the injury.
Jimmy Rollins fouled a ball off his knee Saturday and was out of the lineup Sunday. The injury is considered a bruise, but Rollins was noticeably limping around the clubhouse before Sunday's game. The possibility of him missing two or three games to begin the week is pretty high, which is especially bad news considering Rafael Furcal had to go back on the DL with a strained oblique Saturday, leaving Rollins owners with one less alternative off the waiver wire. The number of viable shortstops is limited, and most are already owned in standard Fantasy leagues. You should obviously avoid Rollins this week if you can, but this is one of those rare cases where half a week from him might be better than a full week from someone off the waiver wire.
Must-Start Options: Troy Tulowitzki , Jose Reyes , Asdrubal Cabrera , Alexei Ramirez , Elvis Andrus
Jhonny Peralta : .403 (31 for 77), 7 HRs, 19 RBI, 1.225 OPS, 10 BBs, 12 Ks in 23 games
Jose Reyes : .429 (21 for 49), 4 3Bs, 4 2Bs, 3 SBs, 2 Ks in 11 games
Elvis Andrus : .423 (11 for 26), 4 SBs, .983 OPS, 1 K in seven games
Alexei Ramirez : .469 (15 for 32), 3 2Bs, 7 RBI, 1.077 OPS in seven games
Alcides Escobar : .098 (4 for 41), no extra-base hits, .234 OPS in 12 games
Ian Desmond : .152 (5 for 33), one extra-base hit, 2 SBs, .425 OPS in 10 games
Starlin Castro : .133 (4 for 30), 1 SB, 0 BBs in seven games
Worth a second look
Erick Aybar (68 percent started): Aybar hasn't gotten his due in Fantasy, especially with so many owners desperate for a reliable shortstop. He had a brief cold spell in the middle of May but has come out of it to hit .293 (17 for 58) with four steals over his last 15 games. For a perennial .300-hitting, 30-steal man in the minors, a breakout season is highly possible. You'll want to ride him out for that reason alone.
Alexi Casilla (5 percent): With the Trevor Plouffe experiment seemingly over in Minnesota, Casilla has started 11 straight games for the Twins, many of them at shortstop. Clearly, he has taken advantage of the situation, batting .415 (17 for 41) with four stolen bases and a 1.051 OPS in 11 games. He won't provide much power, but he hit .297 over his minor-league career and could be turning the corner at age 26. If you're desperate for shortstop help, he's worth a look even in mixed leagues, having put together back-to-back 20-point weeks in standard Head-to-Head scoring.
Approach with caution
Darwin Barney (54 percent started): Barney, who retains eligibility at shortstop from last year, recently saw his batting average dip below .300 after hovering in the .320 range all season. Over his last 16 games, he's batting only .191 (13 for 68). Because he offers little in the way of power or speed, he needs to be hot to make an impact in Fantasy. Clearly, he's not.
Ian Desmond (48 percent): Desmond's perceived upside is keeping him highly owned in Fantasy even though his numbers are nothing short of horrible, apart from his 17 steals. With a .152 (5 for 33) batting average over his last 10 games, the free-swinging shortstop is more likely to hurt you than help you this week. Make sure you honestly can't do better off the waiver wire before throwing him back in your lineup.
|1.||Michael Morse , OF, Nationals||39|
|2.||Corey Patterson , OF, Blue Jays||21|
|3.||Eric Young , 2B, Rockies||20|
|4.||Brett Lawrie , 2B, Blue Jays||18|
|5.||Allen Craig , OF, Cardinals||16|
|6.||Kelly Johnson , 2B, D-Backs||14|
|7.||Jonathan Lucroy , C, Brewers||14|
|8.||Raul Ibanez , OF, Phillies||13|
|9.||Justin Turner , 2B, Mets||12|
|10.||Erick Aybar , SS, Angels||9|
Hanley Ramirez has been sidelined for a week now with back pain that he initially described as the worst he's had in his life. The Marlins won't make a final decision about whether or not to put him on the DL until Monday, but considering he couldn't even get through a pool rehab session Friday, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion. Emilio Bonifacio will continue to start in his absence, and his speed gives him some appeal in deeper Rotisserie leagues ... With so many shortstops landing on the DL recently, Juan Uribe might be able to provide some relief to Fantasy owners. He's due back Monday from a hip injury even after taking a pitch off the right hand Saturday, and he might start at shortstop with Rafael Furcal sidelined by an oblique injury. Uribe has intriguing power for such a weak position, but he's inconsistent and has yet to get going at the plate this season. Start him only if you have a clear hole at the position.
Shane Victorino and Howie Kendrick , who were both sidelined by hamstring injuries, both returned over the weekend. Both had achieved must-start status in Fantasy before their injuries, so you'd need an awfully good reason not to put them back in your lineup. John Mayberry and Russell Branyan were the odd men out for the Phillies and Angels. Lance Berkman , who sprained his right wrist May 18, is apparently still feeling discomfort in the wrist, getting a cortisone shot in it Sunday. Berkman is likely to return to the lineup Tuesday, but if the shot doesn't have the desired effect, he could end up needing a couple more days off. He's still worth starting in Fantasy, of course, but you wouldn't be crazy to think about sitting him if you have an especially deep bench. Nyjer Morgan , whose broken finger still hasn't completely healed, has been playing consistently against right-handers since returning from the DL. He appears to be in a lefty-righty platoon with Carlos Gomez , which will at least give him some appeal in deeper Rotisserie leagues. He's a useful source of stolen bases and might even help in batting average as well. Jay Gibbons appears to be the Dodgers' preferred option in left field now, leaving rookie Jerry Sands to start against just the lefties. The move hurts Sands' value more than it helps Gibbons'. Both are looking like low-end NL-only options now.
Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista , Ryan Braun , Matt Kemp , Carlos Gonzalez , Carl Crawford , Josh Hamilton , Shin-Soo Choo , Andrew McCutchen , Justin Upton , Ichiro Suzuki , Jacoby Ellsbury , Curtis Granderson , Jay Bruce , Drew Stubbs , Andre Ethier , Jayson Werth , Nelson Cruz , Hunter Pence , Matt Joyce , Giancarlo Stanton
Jon Jay : .370 (34 for 92), 2 HRs, 5 SBs, .889 OPS, 3 BBs, 20 Ks in 24 games
Rajai Davis : .367 (33 for 90), 1 HR, 11 SBs, .951 OPS in 23 games
Jay Bruce : .403 (27 for 67), 9 HRs, 22 RBI, 1.325 OPS in 16 games
Hunter Pence : .391 (27 for 69), 3 HR, 1 SB, 1.011 OPS during 16-game hit streak
Michael Morse : .385 (20 for 52), 5 HRs, 15 RBI, 1.168 OPS in 13 games
Endy Chavez : .541 (20 for 37), 2 HRs, 3 SBs, 1.440 OPS, 3 BBs, 2 Ks in 11 games
Michael Bourn : .357 (10 for 28), 5 SBs in six games
Cody Ross : .458 (11 for 24), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 1.375 OPS in six games
Bobby Abreu : .579 (11 for 19), 5 2Bs, 1 SB, 1.461 OPS in five games
Peter Bourjos : .155 (13 for 84), 1 HR, 4 SBs, 6 BBs, 24 Ks in 24 games
Ichiro Suzuki : .167 (14 for 84), two extra-base hits, 3 SBs in 21 games
Colby Rasmus : .169 (10 for 59), 2 HRs, 2 SBs, 12 BBs, 12 Ks in 18 games
Melvin Upton : .103 (4 for 39), 5 SBs, 11 BBs, 17 Ks in 14 games
Alex Rios : .150 (6 for 40), .371 OPS, 1 BB, 1 K in 10 games
Nick Markakis : .138 (4 for 29), .305 OPS, 3 Ks in seven games
Matt Joyce : .133 (2 for 15), 1 HR, 1 SB in four games
Jason Bay : 0 for 14, 5 Ks, in four games
Torii Hunter : 0 for 13 in four games
Worth a second look
Michael Morse (58 percent started): Another week of big numbers for Morse, and yet the 29-year-old remains inactive in about half of all Fantasy leagues. He showed this spring and late last season just how useful he can be when he gets on a roll. Rarely will you find such predictable production, so you should try your hardest to get him active while he's still providing it.
Rajai Davis (51 percent): Davis' poor walk rate might keep some Head-to-Head owners away, but even in formats where his steals aren't so valuable, he has a good chance of delivering big numbers this week. Not only is he arguably one of the hottest players in baseball right now, but he gets the benefit of facing the Royals rotation for four games. Sounds like a guaranteed 20-25 points, right?
Domonic Brown (35 percent): Brown's performance over the last week put to rest any concerns about his major-league readiness, so the Phillies are moving forward with their top prospect in their lineup even with Shane Victorino back from the DL. Brown might still sit for Ben Francisco against lefties, but with only two on the schedule this week, he should continue to put up big numbers, especially against righties like Rubby De La Rosa and Randy Wells .
Josh Willingham (32 percent): Yes, Willingham is another one of those streaky players, and if his numbers over his last eight games -- .344 (11 for 32) batting average, three homers -- are any indication, he could be in line for a Kelly Johnson -like surge. He has been dealing with a sore Achilles' tendon recently, but it doesn't look like anything that will keep him out of the lineup beyond Sunday. He's kind of a deeper sleeper, but this week is a decent time to roll the dice on him, especially with four left-handers on the schedule. Willingham's OPS is .918 against lefties compared to .712 against righties.
Jon Jay (13 percent): Definitely a deeper sleeper here, but you can't argue with Jay's numbers while filling in for Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday during what amounts to almost a full month. He hit for both average and power and still has yet to let up. With Holliday finally going on the DL with the same quadriceps injury that has nagged him for weeks, Jay figures to remain in the lineup. Hard to imagine you doing much better than him in the short term.
Approach with caution
Chris Young (92 percent started): With a .236 batting average and .750 OPS on the year, Young isn't nearly the automatic start his starting percentage would have you believe, particularly in a week the Diamondbacks play all six of their games away from Chase Field. Young hasn't been able to get anything going on the road this season, batting .192 with a .564 OPS. Conversely, he's batting .280 with a .924 OPS at home. Why not weigh your alternatives with him?
Carlos Beltran (85 percent): Beltran, for whatever reason, likes hitting at Citi Field, batting .327 with a .985 OPS there compared to .225 and .759 on the road (and that's including his three-homer game at Colorado on May 12). He has shown signs of coming around recently, even homering Thursday, but with six games on the road -- not to mention some tough matchups against Shaun Marcum , Yovani Gallardo , James McDonald and Kevin Correia -- he might end up disappointing this week.
Carlos H. Lee (71 percent): Amazing how much credit Lee continues to get from Fantasy owners even though he hasn't had a 20-point scoring period all season (unless you count the extra-long Fantasy Week 1, which spanned 11 days). He has hit a little better recently, but with pitchers like Jaime Garcia , Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson on schedule during a six-game week, he might quickly lose his momentum.
Jeff Francoeur (73 percent): Francoeur is batting just .238 (20 for 84) over his last 21 games, and if his splits have anything to say about it, he isn't on the verge of righting the ship. He's batting .251 with a .720 OPS against righties and has six on the schedule this week. Francoeur has a long track of mediocrity, so he probably doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt in mixed leagues.
Alex Rios (45 percent): If Rios hasn't hit a lick all season, what makes you think he's going to turn it around against Michael Pineda , Felix Hernandez , Trevor Cahill , Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez ? He might not even get a chance with manager Ozzie Guillen saying he needs a couple days off to clear his head. I'm not saying Rios is a lost cause or anything, but if this is the week he breaks out, it'll be the biggest upset of the season so far.
Vernon Wells was set to begin rehabbing his groin injury at Class A Inland Empire on Sunday and could follow Howie Kendrick off the DL as early as Tuesday. He would play five games at most this week, though, and wasn't hitting particularly well before the injury, so you might want to give him a week to prove both healthy and effective ... The Tigers are planning to activate Magglio Ordonez from the DL on Monday, but considering all the issues he's had with his surgically repaired ankle this season, you can't be too sure they'll put him back in the lineup on an everyday basis. The 37-year-old is probably more of an AL-only option at this stage of his career. His return could force Andy Dirks back to the minors, but Dirks didn't generate enough interest for mixed-league use himself ... Denard Span , who hurt his neck in a collision at home plate Friday, was out of the lineup both Saturday and Sunday. He has been swinging a hot bat recently, but since he's just a borderline Fantasy option even when healthy, you wouldn't want to roll the dice on him now ... Jordan Schafer , who is already filling in for the injured Nate McLouth (oblique), suffered a sinus fracture Friday and looked like he'd have to go on the DL, but now the Braves think he can play through the injury. Still, you shouldn't be so quick to use him in Fantasy unless you need speed in an NL-only league. The former top prospect hasn't hit paticularly well in his return trip to the majors and hasn't hit better than .269 in the minors since 2007 ... Jason Kubel , who sprained his left foot Monday and spent most of the week in a protective boot, had to go on the disabled list Thursday. The Twins called up prospect Ben Revere to take his place. Revere could be a viable source of batting average and steals if he plays every day. For now, though, you can leave him for AL-only leagues ... Alfonso Soriano went on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left quadriceps. Blake DeWitt and Tyler Colvin figure to play more in his absence, but unless a clear victor emerges between the two, neither will matter outside of deeper NL-only leagues.
|vs. Scherzer||vs. Porcello||vs. Coke||vs. Blackburn||vs. Duensing||vs. Baker||vs. Swarzak|
|With Scherzer struggling, Tigers weak after Verlander. More home games would be nice, but Twins matchups nicer.|
|vs. Lannan||vs. Zimmermann||vs. Maya||vs. Cueto||vs. Wood||vs. Leake||vs. Volquez|
|Zimmermann and Cueto are pitching well. The other five are too ugly too often for Giants not to take advantage.|
|vs. Paulino||vs. Mazzaro||vs. Duffy||vs. Hochevar||vs. Buchholz||vs. Lackey||vs. Lester|
|Blue Jays the team that draws Royals four times this week. Hittable Lackey makes Boston series manageable.|
|vs. Lilly||vs. De La Rosa||vs. Kuroda||vs. Wells||vs. Zambrano||vs. Garza||vs. Davis|
|Lilly, Zambrano and Garza a pretty good threesome, but De La Rosa and Davis have potential to get rocked.|
|vs. Mortensen||vs. Jimenez||vs. Cook||vs. Hernandez||vs. Marquis||vs. Lannan||vs. Zimmermann|
|Padres have great matchups aside from Jimenez and Zimmermann, but full week at home bumps them down a bit.|
|vs. Pineda||vs. Hernandez||vs. Vargas||vs. Cahill||vs. Anderson||vs. Gonzalez||vs. Moscoso|
|Mariners and Athletics are two of the toughest staffs in baseball. Even Vargas and Moscoso have had their moments.|
|vs. Greinke||vs. Hanson||vs. Lowe||vs. Jurrjens||vs. Saunders||vs. Kennedy||vs. Hudson|
|Brewers and Braves matchups obviously tough, but Kennedy and Hudson have been just as impressive so far.|
|--||vs. Lester||vs. Wakefield||vs. Beckett||vs. Carmona||vs. Talbot||vs. Tomlin|
|Six-game week a big reason for this ranking. Only so much damage Yankees can do against Wakefield and Talbot.|
|--||vs. Westbrook||vs. Garcia||vs. Lynn||vs. Hudson||vs. Minor||vs. Hanson|
|Only six games, but Astros get weak part of Cards, Braves staffs. Of course, they get some of the strong part too.|
|vs. Lewis||vs. Harrison||vs. Ogando||vs. Fister||vs. Bedard||vs. Pineda||vs. Hernandez|
|Bedard, Pineda, Hernandez are as fearsome as any trio. Three games in Texas might not help vs. Lewis, Ogando.|
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