Week 3 Fantasy Hitting Planner

The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and lineup changes.

All statistics are up to date as of Friday, April 16.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: STL3, PHI3
Heating Up: Stephen Drew is looking more and more like the guy who hit .291 with 21 homers in 2008 than the one who slumped to .261 and 12 homers last year, batting .444 (8 for 18) with a homer over his last four games. He should be starting in all leagues. Chris Young is worth starting in mixed leagues again himself, batting .462 (6 for 13) over his last three games. The career .237 hitter is looking like he's finally ready to live up to his top-prospect billing.
Cooling Off: Mark Reynolds has three homers already, but he hasn't made contact often, batting .152 (5 for 33). His power potential makes him tough to sit, unfortunately.
Injury Concerns: Kelly Johnson missed Thursday's game with back stiffness, but the team doesn't consider the injury serious. He should return to the lineup over the weekend and remains a decent sleeper in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face one left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Miguel Montero had to go on the DL with a torn meniscus in his knee, making Chris Snyder the team's starting catcher. He has enough power potential to make an impact in mixed leagues with everyday at-bats, so take a flier on him if he remains unowned.

Atlanta Braves
Schedule: PHI3, @NYM3
Heating Up: After an up-and-down first week, rookie Jason Heyward seems to have hit his stride, batting .438 (7 for 16) with two home runs over his last five games. He faces a tough test this week against three lefties, but he's still worth a shot in mixed leagues. Martin Prado has yet to go hitless this year, batting .459 (17 for 37). He doesn't have huge upside, but he's consistent enough to use in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Chipper Jones has returned from an oblique injury, but he's batting just .150 (3 for 20). Hard to sit a guy with his track record, but at age 37, he might be fading fast. Nate McLouth (3 for 20), Matt Diaz (3 for 22) and Melky Cabrera (3 for 34) are all off to slow starts, giving the Braves quite a dilemma in their outfield.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face three left-handed pitchers this week, but recent changes to their outfield have muddled the platoon picture. Diaz figures to start against all three lefties, and McLouth figures to start against all three righties. Cabrera will surely play some, but will he spell Diaz against righties, McLouth against lefties or both? Hard to say just yet. McLouth is the only one of the three worth owning in mixed leagues, but you should avoid starting him until this situation sorts itself out.
Lineup Changes: Cabrera's struggles have forced the Braves to experiment with Diaz as their leadoff hitter each of the last two games. He has gone 0 for 9 in the role, however, suggesting they'll turn back to McLouth before too long.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: @SEA3, @BOS3
Heating Up: Felix Pie is back from his shoulder injury and swinging a hot bat, batting .500 (6 for 12) with one home run over his last four games. His combination of power and speed makes him an intriguing sleeper, but he's stuck in a platoon role right now.
Cooling Off: Nick Markakis still has yet to make much of a contribution, batting .200 (4 for 20) over his last six games. Because of his track record, you can't afford to bench him. Garrett Atkins is batting .063 (1 for 16) over his last four games and is looking like just an AL-only option coming off his down year in Colorado.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face two lefties this week. Nolan Reimold will likely replace either Pie or Luke Scott for those games, though he figures to play some against right-handers as well.
Lineup Changes: Ty Wigginton has become the starting second baseman with Brian Roberts on the DL with a strained abdominal muscle. As an everyday player, Wigginton could surprise with his power numbers, so don't let him go unowned in AL-only leagues.

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: TB1, TEX3, BAL3
Heating Up: Former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia appears destined to have his best season yet. He's batting .550 (11 for 20) with three home runs over his last five games and has four home runs overall. His career high is 17.
Cooling Off: J.D. Drew is hitless in his last nine at-bats, but his streakiness and propensity for injury make him just a low-end option anyway. David Ortiz is batting .154 (4 for 26) so far with 12 strikeouts in his last five games. If you start him, you're asking for it. Kevin Youkilis is batting .154 (2 for 13) over his last four games, but you wouldn't sit him.
Injury Concerns: Jacoby Ellsbury , who missed his third straight game Thursday with bruised ribs, says he feels a sharp pain breathing and might remain sidelined through the weekend. If he doesn't return by Sunday and the Red Sox give no indication when he will return, you shouldn't risk starting him in mixed leagues. He's a candidate to go on the DL at this point. Jeremy Hermida will continue to start in his place and is a decent AL-only stopgap. Mike Cameron missed Thursday's game with what is now being diagnosed as a kidney stone, opening up a spot for Bill Hall . If he's at any risk of missing time this week, you shouldn't take a chance on him. He doesn't offer high-end numbers even when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face three left-handed pitchers this week, which means the misery will only continue for Ortiz. In fact, the Red Sox might opt to sit him for Mike Lowell in a couple of those games.
Lineup Changes: Marco Scutaro has hit leadoff with Ellsbury out of the lineup. If Ellsbury remains out, Scutaro could score plenty of runs this upcoming week with his high on-base percentage.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: @NYM4, @MIL3
Heating Up: Derrek Lee is having none of the struggles he did when he battled a foot injury this spring, batting .450 (9 for 20) with two home runs over his last six games. Start him in all leagues. Ryan Theriot is hot enough to use in mixed leagues if you need a fill-in shortstop. He's batting .385 (10 for 26) with four stolen bases over his last six games.
Cooling Off: Alfonso Soriano , whose numbers have regressed each of the last three years, is batting .200 (4 for 20) over his last seven games and has even begun to lose playing time to rookie Tyler Colvin . He's not beyond sitting in mixed leagues. Aramis Ramirez is batting .074 (2 for 27) over his last seven games, but you likely won't find an adequate replacement at third base. He's due to snap out of it any day now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face five left-handers this week, which means NL-only owners will want to bench Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot . Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker figure to get most of their playing time. You might think Soriano would benefit from the matchups, but he hit only .184 against lefties last year.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: TB3, SEA3
Heating Up: Andruw Jones has gotten more playing time recently and has made the most of it, batting .438 (7 for 16) with three home runs over his last five games. He looks reborn after losing 25 pounds in the offseason and could be a real find if he hits his way into everyday at-bats. Alex Rios is slowly but surely finding his form after his disappointing 2009, batting .353 (6 for 17) with one homer and two steals over his last four games. The potential 20-20 man is looking like a must-start again.
Cooling Off: Paul Konerko has uncharacteristically struggled against lefties of late, going 0 for 12 over his last three games. Alexei Ramirez is batting .152 (5 for 33) overall and isn't at all beyond sitting in mixed leagues considering how up-and-down he was last year.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face two left-handed pitchers this week. Mark Kotsay had been getting the at-bats against right-handers, forcing Jones to the bench, but Jones' recent hot streak might change the White Sox's thinking. Jones won't have any mixed-league appeal until he becomes an everyday player.
Lineup Changes: None.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. Alex Gonzalez , SS, Blue Jays 43
2. Jose Guillen , OF, Royals 36
3. Chris Snyder , C, Diamondbacks 35
4. Chris Young , OF, Diamondbacks 30
5. Rod Barajas , C, Mets 29
6. Juan Uribe , 2B, Giants 26
7. Kelly Johnson , 2B, Diamondbacks 24
8. Jeff Francoeur , OF, Mets 21
9. Scott Podsednik , OF, Royals 21
10. Daric Barton , 1B, Athletics 21

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: LAD3, SD3
Heating Up: The Reds have given Jonny Gomes a long look as an everyday player, and he's made the most of it so far, batting .455 (5 for 11) with one home run over his last three games. He'll have his slumps, but his power potential makes him a must-start in NL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Joey Votto hasn't been a disaster so far, but he hasn't lived up to his career .310 batting average coming into the season, batting .192 (5 for 26) with 10 strikeouts over his last seven games. Still, he's a must-start. Scott Rolen , who homered twice Monday, has gone from hot to cold in a heartbeat, going 0 for 10 over his last three games. His lack of power at this stage of his career makes him just a low-end mixed-league option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face one left-hander this week, perhaps limiting Drew Stubbs opportunities. The Reds have begun sitting him in favor of Chris Dickerson against righties. Stubbs' upside should win out eventually, but you'll want to bench him in mixed leagues for now.
Lineup Changes: Other than the increased reliance on Dickerson as their leadoff hitter, none.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @MIN3, @OAK3
Heating Up: After getting off to a 2-for-18 (.111) start, Shin-Soo Choo has hit his stride over his last four games, batting .615 (8 for 13) with three home runs. The 27-year-old has room to improve on last year's .300-20-86-87-21 line and is a must-start in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Asdrubal Cabrera hasn't taken to the leadoff spot so far, going 1 for 14 over his last three games. He has one stolen base on the year. Jhonny Peralta , who is already coming off a down year, is falling further and further out of mixed-league relevance, going 1 for 17 over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: Russell Branyan , currently on a rehab assignment as he deals with a herniated disc in his back, went from Triple-A Columbus to Double-A Akron on Friday, bringing him closer to Cleveland. If the team activates him over the weekend, you'll obviously want him active in AL-only leagues. You can afford to wait in mixed leagues, though, since his shaky batting average makes him less than a must-start.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face three left-handed pitchers this week, which actually doesn't bode well for Branyan's return. It also means Austin Kearns might sneak in a few spot starts.
Lineup Changes: When Branyan returns, one of Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta will go either to the bench or to the minors. Brantley is the more likely candidate since he's younger and hitting only .192 (5 for 26).

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: @WAS4, FLA3
Heating Up: Miguel Olivo has earned more playing time with his performance at the plate so far, batting .421 (8 for 19) with two home runs. He has enough power potential to make an impact in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Most of the Rockies have gone cold during their first homestand of the season (surprisingly enough), but Dexter Fowler hasn't shown any signs of life all season. He's batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last five games and .188 (6 for 32) overall. Avoid him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Gonzalez missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury Thursday, and the Rockies are considering putting him on the DL. Unless he makes a miraculous return over the weekend, you shouldn't start him in Fantasy. Brad Hawpe remained out of the lineup for a second straight game Thursday with a quadriceps injury, though he did pinch hit. He'll likely return over the weekend, so continue to use him as you normally would. Todd Helton missed Thursday's game with an illness, but that shouldn't sideline him for more than a day or two.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face three left-handers this week, which means Ryan Spilborghs will likely start three times for Seth Smith . Without Gonzalez's injury, neither would be playing. The Rockies might also spell Hawpe and Helton against a lefty or two.
Lineup Changes: Smith has been batting leadoff for the Rockies since Gonzalez went down, and he has enough on-base ability and power potential to start in NL-only leagues. Don't sleep on him now. Olivo has been getting the majority of the starts behind the plate even though Chris Iannetta has more upside. Until that changes, Olivo is the better choice in mixed leagues.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: @LAA4, @TEX3
Heating Up: Brandon Inge has a nine-game hitting streak to begin the season during which he's batting .353 (12 for 34) with six doubles. Two sore knees contributed to his .186 batting average in the second half last year, but he has a career .237 batting average. Since he no longer qualifies at catcher, he's just an AL-only option.
Cooling Off: Johnny Damon has gotten his post-Yankees career off to a slow start, batting .194 (6 for 31). With his track record, you can trust he'll snap out of it sooner or later, so keep him active. Gerald Laird isn't doing a good job holding off prospect Alex Avila , batting .120 (3 for 25). Leave him for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face two left-handed pitchers this week. Ryan Raburn figures to start those games, most likely replacing Carlos Guillen .
Lineup Changes: None.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: @HOU3, @COL3
Heating Up: Jorge Cantu has done nothing but set records so far this season, becoming the first player to begin the season with at least one RBI in his first 10 games and the first to have a hit and an RBI in 10 straight games at any point during the season. The wrist injury that limited him last year doesn't seem to be a problem anymore, so you want him active. Cameron Maybin is finally looking like he can play at the major-league level, batting .353 (12 for 34) with one home run and two stolen bases over his last eight games. He's worth a flier in all leagues. Cody Ross , always streaky, is looking like a viable mixed-league option right now, batting .389 (7 for 18) with a homer over his last four games.
Cooling Off: Gaby Sanchez has cooled off a little after his hot start to his rookie season, batting .222 (4 for 18) over his last five games. It's nothing that would make him unusable in NL-only leagues, though.
Injury Concerns: Chris Coghlan missed his second straight game Thursday with soreness in his side, but he thinks he can return Friday. As long as he returns over the weekend, he's safe to use in Fantasy, but he's a candidate to sit just because he's batting only .132 (5 for 38).
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handers this week, meaning Ronny Paulino will start twice for John Baker .
Lineup Changes: None.

Houston Astros
Schedule: FLA3, PIT3
Heating Up: Michael Bourn is getting on base fine, batting .524 (11 for 21) over his last seven games, but he has only one stolen base after leading the NL with 61 last year. Still, no sense benching him when he's hot.
Cooling Off: Who isn't? Carlos Lee is 3 for 35 (.086), Hunter Pence is 4 for 33 (.121), Kazuo Matsui is 2 for 21 (.095), and J.R. Towles is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Lee will get hot the moment you bench him, and Pence has too much upside for you to cut him. Not much you can do with them. Stay far, far away from Matsui and Towles right now.
Injury Concerns: Lance Berkman , who continues to work his way back from arthroscopic knee surgery, will begin a Double-A rehab assignment Saturday and perhaps return Tuesday against the Marlins, meaning he'd play a full six-game week. In some leagues, you'll have no choice but to activate him, but if you have viable alternatives, play it safe and keep him reserved for one more week. He might suffer a setback, and even if he doesn't, he'll probably need some time to shake off the rust.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face two lefties this week, which means rookie Chris Johnson probably won't make more than two starts. Then again, if Berkman returns as expected, Johnson's platoon with Geoff Blum will end, relegating both to the bench.
Lineup Changes: None.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 3
Player Start %
1. Nyjer Morgan , OF, Nationals 50
2. Jeff Francoeur , OF, Mets 60
3. Alfonso Soriano , OF, Cubs 58
4. Michael Bourn , OF, Astros 55
5. J.J. Hardy , SS, Twins 58
6. Chris Young , OF, Diamondbacks 59
7. Colby Rasmus , OF, Cardinals 64
8. Cody Ross , OF, Marlins 21
9. Ryan Theriot , SS, Cubs 39
10. Chris Snyder , C, Diamondbacks 31
* Sleepers are players started in less than 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @TOR3, MIN3
Heating Up: Jose Guillen , who hit only nine homers during an injury-plagued 2009, has five in his last four games, batting .529 (9 for 17) during that stretch. He's a streaky slugger who'll do half his damage in one-fourth of the season, so if you plan to use him, now's the time. Scott Podsednik entered play Thursday leading the AL with a .457 batting average. He's batting .588 (10 for 17) with four stolen bases over his last four games and is clearly undervalued in Rotisserie leagues right now. Jason Kendall has a nine-game hit streak to begin the season, batting .382 (13 for 34), but considering he's batting .247 with seven home runs since 2006, you can leave him for AL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Chris Getz has only two hits in his last six games, batting .105 (2 for 19) during that stretch. He didn't show much offensive potential as a rookie last season, so you can ignore him unless you're desperate for steals.
Injury Concerns: Alex Gordon , on the DL with a broken right thumb to begin the season, has been rehabbing for about a week and is close to returning to the majors. Considering he has done nothing but disappoint in his career, you don't have much incentive to activate him in mixed leagues. Josh Fields (strained right hip) is also making progress in his rehab, but the team has yet to set a timetable for his return. Not like he'll have a starting job waiting for him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face one left-hander this week. Getz might sit out that game, but his lack of pop makes him just an AL-only option to begin with.
Lineup Changes: Guillen's hot streak has convinced the Royals to make him their cleanup hitter, moving Billy Butler up to the third spot and Alberto Callaspo down to the sixth spot. The shuffle gives Callaspo less lineup protection, but he figures to move out of the lineup completely when Gordon comes off the DL. No sense starting him this week.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: DET4, NYY3
Heating Up: After a slow start, Bobby Abreu is doing exactly what he's done for the last 12 years, batting .304 (7 for 23) with two home runs over his last five games. Start him in all leagues. Erick Aybar , who wasn't much of an on-base specialist last year, has suddenly become one since moving into the leadoff spot. He's batting .364 (8 for 22) over his last five games and has a .390 on-base percentage on the season. If only he'd start stealing some bases.
Cooling Off: Brandon Wood still isn't making the most of his first opportunity to play every day at the big-league level, batting .100 (3 for 30). Despite his power potential, he's not worth owning in mixed leagues. Mike Napoli continues to lose ground on Jeff Mathis , dropping further and further out of the picture in mixed leagues. He's batting .167 (2 for 12).
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face two left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: @CIN3, @WAS3
Heating Up: Matt Kemp is showing why so many people liked him as a first-round pick in Fantasy coming into the season, batting .375 (9 for 24) with four home runs over his last five games. The potential 30-30 man is obviously a must-start. So is Andre Ethier , who's batting .412 (7 for 17) with a homer in three games since returning from an ankle injury. James Loney is batting .450 (9 for 20) over his last four games, but as usual, he has yet to show much power.
Cooling Off: Blake DeWitt isn't doing much to hold off Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll at second base, batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last seven games. He still has sleeper appeal in NL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any clear lefty-righty platoons. They might consider that game a convenient time to give DeWitt a day off, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: @PIT3, CHC3
Heating Up: After a quiet first week, Ryan Braun is validating his first-round status in Fantasy, batting .421 (8 for 19) with three home runs over his last four games. Start him, obviously. Rickie Weeks has hit safely in each of his first nine games, batting .333 (11 for 33) with a .488 on-base percentage. He's looking like a must-start himself.
Cooling Off: Prince Fielder is batting .294 (10 for 34) so far, but he has yet to homer and has struck out 12 times. Then again, he hit only three homers in all of April last year and went on to hit 46. Since going 4 for 5 in the season opener, Carlos Gomez is batting .150 (3 for 20) and seems to be falling out of favor with manager Ken Macha.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face two left-handed pitchers this week, so you can expect both Gomez and Corey Hart to start those games, bumping Jim Edmonds to the bench. The two will likely alternate against righties.
Lineup Changes: The Brewers have come to their senses on Gomez, realizing his low on-base percentage makes him a poor choice to bat high in the order. He now bats seventh, with the platoon of Edmonds and Hart batting second. He remains a cheap source of steals -- nothing more.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: CLE3, @KC3
Heating Up: Michael Cuddyer has homered in two straight games and is batting .412 (7 for 17) over his last four. So far, his resurgent 2009 season looks 100 percent legitimate, which makes him a must-start in Fantasy. Jason Kubel has gotten to face more right-handers lately and has improved as a result, batting .467 (7 for 15) with two home runs over his last five games.
Cooling Off: J.J. Hardy , who looked like a sure bet for a bounce-back season when he homered in two of his first three games, is batting only .158 (3 for 19) over his last five. He tends to be streaky, though, so with good matchups coming up this week, you might want to stick with him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face one left-hander this week, which means Kubel stands to keep hacking. He had a 1.013 OPS against righties last year.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: CHC4, ATL3
Heating Up: Perennial disappointment Jeff Francoeur is looking like a completely different player this year, batting .438 (14 for 32) with three home runs over his season-opening nine-game hitting streak. His most impressive statistic, however, is his six walks. He had only 23 all of last year. Time to think about starting him in all leagues. David Wright got hot right when the team began its first road trip, which may or may not say something about the effect Citi Field has on him. He has two homers in his last three games.
Cooling Off: Rod Barajas is batting only .154 (2 for 13) over his last four games and .241 (7 for 29) overall. If you rushed out to claim the career .238 hitter after his two-homer game April 9, you might want to rethink that strategy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets don't face any left-handers this week, so Fernando Tatis might not make a single start. Mike Jacobs , his platoon partner, is worth a look in NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: Angel Pagan has started each of the team's last three games, seemingly replacing Gary Matthews as the everyday center fielder, at least until Carlos Beltran (knee) comes off the DL. Pagan has more upside offensively, offering speed and extra-base pop, so take a chance on him in NL-only leagues.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: @OAK3, @LAA3
Heating Up: Robinson Cano , historically a second-half hitter, is crushing the ball right out of the gate this season. He hit two home runs Thursday, giving him four overall, and has yet to go hitless in a game, batting .395 (15 for 38). Derek Jeter also has yet to go hitless in a game, batting .333 (14 for 42) with two home runs and two stolen bases. Both are obvious must-starts in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Mark Teixeira , a notoriously slow starter, is at it again, batting .091 (3 for 33). But if you have him, he was probably your first-round pick, so you wouldn't want to bench him and risk missing out on some of that production you paid so much to get.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face three left-handers this week. Brett Gardner will likely sit out those games, either for Marcus Thames or Randy Winn . Nick Johnson might get a day or two off as well.
Lineup Changes: None.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: NYY3, CLE3
Heating Up: Ryan Sweeney has hit safely in each of the team's first 10 games, batting .293 (12 for 41), but his lack of power or speed makes him just a low-end Fantasy option. Eric Chavez still isn't doing much at the plate, but he is showing some signs of life, batting .278 (5 for 18) with three doubles over his last five games. The injury-prone veteran would need a major resurgence to matter in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Rajai Davis is batting .120 (3 for 25) over his last six games and doesn't walk enough for you to justify starting him when he's cold. Kurt Suzuki is batting .115 (3 for 26) over his last seven games, but you wouldn't find an adequate replacement at the weak catcher position.
Injury Concerns: Mark Ellis missed his third straight game Thursday with a hamstring injury, though he did take batting and infield practice. He'll likely return over the weekend, but his lack of upside makes him just a last resort in mixed leagues. For now, Adam Rosales continues to start in his place.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face one left-hander this week. You can expect Eric Chavez and Travis Buck to sit out that game in favor of Jake Fox and Gabe Gross .
Lineup Changes: None.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rockies @WAS4, FLA3
2. Twins CLE3, @KC3
3. Marlins @HOU3, @COL3
4. Braves PHI3, @NYM3
5. Cubs @NYM4, @MIL3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: @ATL3, @ARI3
Heating Up: Chase Utley has suddenly found his power stroke, hitting four homers in his last three games. He's obviously a must-start. Placido Polanco is batting .462 (6 for 13) over his last three games and continues to rank among the league leaders with a .475 batting average on the season. He can't continue at this pace forever, but you want him starting now.
Cooling Off: Raul Ibanez is about the only Phillie not off to a good start offensively, batting just .206 (7 for 34). Considering he finished so poorly last season and is 37 years old, he's a candidate to bench in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Jimmy Rollins went on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained right calf and will miss up to a month. Juan Castro will start in his place, but the 37-year-old slap hitter has virtually no offensive potential. Leave him for the deepest of NL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, not that they have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: With the injury to Rollins, Shane Victorino , who was batting seventh, is now batting leadoff. Considering he's batting .500 (5 for 10) with two home runs since moving to the top of the order, chances are he has a big week coming.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: MIL3, @HOU3
Heating Up: Ronny Cedeno is off to a good start for a career .242 hitter, batting .323 (10 for 31) with two stolen bases. He has 11 strikeouts compared to zero walks, though, and likely doesn't have enough offensive potential for mixed-leagues.
Cooling Off: Ryan Doumit is batting .067 (1 for 15) over his last four games, but at the weak catcher position, you can't afford to bench someone with his potential. Jeff Clement has yet to get going in his first season as an everyday player, batting .136 (3 for 22), but again, his catcher eligibility earns him a longer leash.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face one left-hander this week. Clement might sit out that game in favor of Bobby Crosby or Delwyn Young , but the Pirates haven't established a clear platoon there.
Lineup Changes: Lastings Milledge has moved to the No. 3 spot, dropping Garrett Jones and Doumit to fourth and fifth. Milledge stands to get a few more at-bats now, but he still hasn't demonstrated enough pop to matter in mixed leagues.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: SF3, @CIN3
Heating Up: Chase Headley went hitless for the first time this season Thursday. He's batting .378 (14 for 37) overall, making him mixed-league viable for the first time in his career, but he still has yet to homer. Will Venable has homered twice in his last three games and is one of the more underappreciated power-speed guys in Fantasy. He deserves a flier in all leagues.
Cooling Off: Tony Gwynn is still getting to play more often than not, but he's batting only .125 (3 for 24). His lack of power or speed makes him strictly an NL-only option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face one left-hander this week, giving them few opportunities to use lefty killer Scott Hairston , who normally platoons with Gwynn.
Lineup Changes: None.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cardinals @ARI3, @SF3
2. Diamondbacks STL3, PHI3
3. Orioles @SEA3, @BOS3
4. Mets CHC4, ATL3
5. Nationals COL4, LAD3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @SD3, STL3
Heating Up: Aaron Rowand has caught fire as the team's leadoff hitter, batting .412 (14 for 34) over his last eight games. Aubrey Huff hit his first home run as a Giant on Wednesday and is batting .385 (5 for 13) with six runs scored over his last four games. He'll have to get hotter for longer than that to deserve a starting spot in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Edgar Renteria , who looked like the second coming of Rogers Hornsby when he hit .688 (11 for 16) over his first four games, is batting .111 (2 for 18) in four games since. That's more like it. The 33-year-old is batting .265 with a .679 OPS since 2007 and isn't much of a mixed-league option. Mark DeRosa has only one extra-base hit since opening day and is batting .143 (3 for 21) over his last six games. Since he no longer qualifies as a middle infielder, he's only worth using when hot.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face two left-handed pitchers this week, which means Andres Torres will start twice for John Bowker . Both have some pop, but they are just NL-only options.
Lineup Changes: None.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: BAL3, @CHW3
Heating Up: Chone Figgins still hasn't stolen a base since the season opener, but he's batting .400 (6 for 15) over his last four games. As long as he's getting on base, the steals will come. The ever-streaky Jose Lopez seems to be breaking out of his early-seasons slump, going 5 for 8 over his last two games. If you drafted him as your starter, don't bench him now.
Cooling Off: Ichiro Suzuki had two hits Wednesday, but he has only three multi-hit games all year, batting .176 (3 for 17) over his last four. Still, he's as safe a bet as you'll find in batting average, so he figures to come around soon. Keep him active.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face one left-handed pitcher this week. Ken Griffey and Casey Kotchman figure to sit out that game, with some combination of Mike Sweeney , Eric Byrnes and Matt Tuiasosopo filling in for them. None of these players matter in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: In response to Milton Bradley claim he felt pressured to carry the team offensively, manager Don Wakamatsu dropped him to sixth in the lineup, making Jose Lopez the team's new cleanup hitter. Bradley has so far responded well to the change, driving in five runs in his last two games, so even though he loses some at-bats with the move, his production might improve. Keep an eye on him.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: @ARI3, @SF3
Heating Up: Albert Pujols is batting .500 (8 for 16) with three home runs over his last four games, but that hardly counts as a hot streak for him.
Cooling Off: Colby Rasmus , who got off to a hot start, has had trouble maintaining the momentum in the second week, going 0 for 12 over his last four games. Same goes for Yadier Molina , who's 0 for 9 over his last three. Both have enough upside for you to continue to start them in mixed leagues. Brendan Ryan is batting .083 (2 for 24) and might be on the verge of losing his starting job to Felipe Lopez .
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face one left-handed pitcher this week. Lopez might start that game in place of Skip Schumaker , but the team hasn't established a clear platoon there.
Lineup Changes: Ryan Ludwick is now batting second, which means he has the best lineup protection in baseball with Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday batting behind him. He had a four-hit game Monday and might have a hot streak coming. If you're looking for a sleeper, consider activating the streaky slugger.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: @BOS1, @CHW3, TOR3
Heating Up: Carlos Pena has three home runs in his last five games and is batting .556 (5 for 9) over his last two. Enjoy it while it lasts for the career .248 hitter. With four hits and two home runs in his last two games, Melvin Upton might be on the verge of taking off and is worth reactivating if you opted to sit him during his cold start. Carl Crawford is batting .571 (8 for 14) over his last four games and remains a must-start.
Cooling Off: Sean Rodriguez hasn't made much of a case for more playing time, batting .190 (4 for 21) with no extra-base hits. Dioner Navarro is batting only .174 (4 for 23) over his last seven games.
Injury Concerns: Matt Joyce continues to rehab a strained right elbow at Triple-A Durham but doesn't expect to throw until the end of the month. Don't expect to see him in the Rays lineup before then.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face four left-handed pitchers this week, so expect to see more of Gabe Kapler than usual. Manager Joe Maddon likes to force him into the lineup against lefties, usually at the expense of a middle infielder (with Ben Zobrist moving in from the outfield). You'd have to play in an especially deep AL-only league to consider using him as a stopgap, though.
Lineup Changes: Kelly Shoppach went on the DL with a sprained right knee Tuesday, paving the way for Navarro to play every day. Still, he hasn't done anything to prove his 2009 struggles were a fluke, so you can leave him for AL-only leagues.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: @BOS3, DET3
Heating Up: Josh Hamilton has made progress after a slow start, batting .364 (8 for 22) over his last six games. Start him in all leagues. Nelson Cruz is obviously a must-start with six home runs in his first nine games.
Cooling Off: Julio Borbon had only three hits on the season before going 2 for 4 on Wednesday. It's a good start but no reason for you to trust him outside of Rotisserie leagues, where his steals potential is so critical. Michael Young , a .300 hitter six of the last seven years, is batting .194 (7 for 36) so far. But with that kind of track record, how can he not turn it around?
Injury Concerns: If you're waiting for Ian Kinsler to return, don't hold your breath. He said Thursday his sprained ankle has shown no improvement and he doesn't know when he'll be back. Taylor Teagarden , who's already filling in for an injured Jarrod Saltalamacchia (back), missed his second game Thursday with food poisoning, but he should return within the next day or two.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face one lefty this week. Chris Davis and Borbon will likely sit out that game in favor of Ryan Garko and David Murphy .
Lineup Changes: Joaquin Arias has emerged as the starter over Andres Blanco with Ian Kinsler on the DL, batting .524 (11 for 21) over his last five games. He has been a .300 hitter in the minors and has enough speed to deserve a look in AL-only leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: KC3, @TB3
Heating Up: Alex Gonzalez , never known for his bat, has had perhaps the most surprising start of anyone this season, batting .349 (14 for 43) with four home runs. He'll cool off eventually, but he's worth using at a weak position while the hot hitting lasts. Edwin Encarnacion had finally begun to show signs of life, batting .300 (6 for 20) with three doubles and one homer over his last five games, but then the injury bug hit.
Cooling Off: Lyle Overbay is batting .077 (3 for 39) so far, destroying what little appeal he had in mixed leagues and perhaps hastening the arrival of top prospect Brett Wallace . Travis Snider , a prospect in his own right, is batting .059 (1 for 17) over his last five games, perhaps giving Wallace another avenue to get to the big leagues.
Injury Concerns: Encarnacion missed Thursday's game with a sore right arm and will apparently sit out a few more games. Considering he's hitting only .219 (7 for 32), you wouldn't be starting him in mixed leagues anyway. Aaron Hill , on the DL with a strained hamstring, wouldn't return until April 23 at the earliest, so he won't get enough playing time to make an impact in mixed leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face one left-hander this week, so you can expect Randy Ruiz to replace Snider for that game.
Lineup Changes: Mike McCoy and John McDonald have split time at second base with Hill sidelined, but neither has enough offensive potential for mixed leagues.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: COL4, LAD3
Heating Up: Josh Willingham has hit .300 (6 for 20) with two home runs over his last six games, but he might be due for a slump once the team starts facing more right-handed pitchers.
Cooling Off: Ian Desmond hasn't lived up to his sleeper appeal, batting .154 (2 for 13) over his last four games. He's not worth starting in mixed leagues just yet. Neither is Adam Kennedy , who has looked nothing like he did during his breakout 2009, batting just .160 (4 for 25). Adam Dunn is batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last six games, but he showed signs of breaking out with his first homer Friday. His power potential makes him a must-start.
Injury Concerns: Ryan Zimmerman was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game Thursday with a hamstring injury, but he hit a pinch-hit home run, signaling his return likely isn't too far away. Provided it happens sometime this weekend, you'll obviously want to get him active in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face two left-handers this week, so Nyjer Morgan is likely to step up his performance after facing so many lefties the first two weeks. Willie Harris will likely sit for Justin Maxwell or Willy Taveras against the lefties, but none of those three matter outside of NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes:With Kennedy needed at third base with Zimmerman sidelined, the Nationals have turned to Cristian Guzman at second base, but he hasn't hit well enough to unseat Kennedy for the starting job when Zimmerman returns. Leave him for deeper NL-only leagues.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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