Week 6 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, May 7.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: LAD3, @ATL3
Heating Up: Chris Young is still striking out more than you'd like to see, but he has performed consistently well this season, batting .385 (20 for 52) over his last 13 games. He remains a worthy starter in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: No Diamondbacks are performing significantly below expectations right now. Even Justin Upton has shown some improvement lately, batting .255 (14 for 55) with two home runs and two stolen bases over his last 14 games.
Injury Concerns: Conor Jackson (hamstring) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno on Wednesday and could return over the weekend. He wasn't setting the world on fire before the injury, though, so you can take your time getting him back in your lineup.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, not that it matters much. If Jackson returns as expected, the platoon between Gerardo Parra and Cole Gillespie will end.
Lineup Changes: None.

Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @MIL3, ARI3
Heating Up: Jason Heyward is hurting right now, but he has validated his must-start status over his last seven games, batting .556 (10 for 18) with four home runs.
Cooling Off: Chipper Jones has had a couple multi-hit games recently, but he's batting only .147 (5 for 34) over his last 11. Why take a chance on a perpetual injury risk like him if he's not hitting?
Injury Concerns: Heyward was out of the starting lineup Thursday because of a strained groin, but he delivered a two-run single as a pinch hitter. As long as he returns to the lineup this weekend, you want him active. Yunel Escobar (groin) is eligible to come off the DL on May 15, which means even in a best-case scenario, he'd play only two games this upcoming week. Keep him reserved.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face one left-hander this week, which means Matt Diaz will spend most of his time on the bench. Nate McLouth might be a good one-week stopgap if he wasn't hitting so poorly.
Lineup Changes: Omar Infante has taken over at shortstop with Escobar sidelined, batting eighth with McLouth in the leadoff spot. Infante is a good contact hitter, but his lack of pop limits his appeal to NL-only leagues.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: SEA3, CLE3
Heating Up: Putting on an Orioles uniform seems to have rejuvenated Miguel Tejada . He's batting .426 (23 for 54) with two homers over his last 14 games and is clearly worth starting in all leagues where he qualifies at shortstop. Ty Wigginton has four homers in his last six games, showing he might be more than just a stopgap in mixed leagues. Matt Wieters has three homers in his last six games, showing he might be on the verge of emerging as an elite catcher.
Cooling Off: Luke Scott is quickly falling out of favor with this season-opening slump. He's batting .137 (7 for 51) over his last 15 games. Rhyne Hughes , who got off to a hot start when the Orioles first called him up, is showing why he wasn't a highly-regarded prospect, batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last seven games. Leave him for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face two lefties this week, but the rotation between Scott, Nolan Reimold , and Luis Montanez is all over the place right now. Hughes will likely sit for Garrett Atkins against the lefties.
Lineup Changes: Other than the constant shuffling at DH and left field, none. Don't bother with Reimold, Scott or Montanez in mixed leagues.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 6
Player Start %
1. Dexter Fowler , OF, Rockies 24
2. Garrett Jones , OF, Pirates 50
3. Andruw Jones , OF, White Sox 54
4. Brett Gardner , OF, Yankees 56
5. Nyjer Morgan , OF, Nationals 49
6. Juan Pierre , OF, White Sox 38
7. David Freese , 3B, Cardinals 50
8. Cliff Pennington , SS, Athletics 35
9. Austin Jackson , OF, Tigers 63
10. Cody Ross , OF, Marlins 22
* Sleepers are players started in less than 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: TOR3, @DET3
Heating Up: J.D. Drew is on one of his patented hot streaks, batting .352 (19 for 54) with four home runs over his last 14 games. He's a streaky slugger with a propensity for injury, so now might be the only time he makes an impact in mixed leagues. Adrian Beltre is right there with him, batting .431 (22 for 51) with two home runs over his last 13 games. He has a long history of mediocrity, but he's a worthy stopgap right now. Marco Scutaro has fared well in the leadoff spot, batting .333 (15 for 45) over his last 10 games.
Cooling Off: Darnell McDonald hasn't done much since his mid-April heroics, batting .212 (7 for 33) over his last nine games. His limited ceiling makes him just an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: Mike Cameron (abdominal) and Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) could both potentially return before the end of the upcoming week, but since the Red Sox haven't given a clear timetable for either, you should probably keep both reserved. Getting a game or two out of them wouldn't help you much.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face two lefties this week, which means David Ortiz will sit twice for Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermida will sit twice for Bill Hall .
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: FLA3, PIT3
Heating Up: Alfonso Soriano recently made some tweaks to his batting stance that are paying off now. He's batting .435 (10 for 23) with five home runs over his last six games and is too hot right now to sit in any Fantasy leagues. Geovany Soto suddenly looks like a better player than the one who won NL Rookie of the Year in 2008. He's batting .400 (20 for 50) with four home runs over his last 18 games and has 18 walks compared to only seven strikeouts during that span. He's back to being an elite Fantasy option. Ryan Theriot is on a mission to hit over .300 this season and is also likely to become a lot more popular with owners. With Starlin Castro smashing debut after being promoted on Friday, Theriot will move over to second base, likely gaining eligibility there in very short order. He's batting .435 (30 for 69) over his last 15 games and is worth starting despite his lack of pop. Castro will be one of the most added hitters in Fantasy by the time the weekend is over.
Cooling Off: Aramis Ramirez is showing no signs of pulling out of his season-long slump, batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last five games. His potential makes him too valuable to cut, but you'll want to sit him until he comes around.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face two lefties this week, which means Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot will sit twice for Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker .
Lineup Changes: The Cubs have dropped Ramirez to the sixth spot, which is probably just a temporary move designed to take some pressure off him. Marlon Byrd takes over as the cleanup hitter, which makes him all the more relevant in mixed leagues.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @MIN2, @KC3
Heating Up: Alex Rios has put his disappointing 2009 fully behind him, showing he still has five-category potential by batting .395 (15 for 38) with two homers and six stolen bases over his last 10 games. Start him in all leagues. Juan Pierre has come around more recently, batting .421 (8 for 19) with six steals over his last five games. He's too good of a contact hitter to stay down for long, so you might want to take a flier on him now.
Cooling Off: Gordon Beckham , a rookie sensation a year ago, continues to struggle in 2010, batting .145 (8 for 55) over his last 15 games. He still has huge potential, but you kind of have no choice but to sit him for now. Carlos Quentin is beginning to fit into that same category, batting .115 (7 for 61) over his last 18 games.
Injury Concerns: Paul Konerko missed Thursday's game with a sore neck, but manager Ozzie Guillen expects him back in the lineup Friday. Considering he leads the majors with 12 homers, you should keep him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. David Freese , 3B, Cardinals 36
2. Kosuke Fukudome , OF, Cubs 30
3. Brett Gardner , OF, Yankees 23
4. Austin Jackson , OF, Tigers 21
5. Cliff Pennington , SS, Athletics 21
6. Andruw Jones , OF, White Sox 18
7. Rod Barajas , C, Mets 17
8. Chris Snyder , C, Diamondbacks 17
9. Juan Uribe , 2B, Giants 12
10. Austin Kearns , OF, Indians 12

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: @PIT3, STL3
Heating Up: Brandon Phillips has caught fire since moving into the second spot, batting .393 (11 for 28) with two home runs over his last seven games. It was only a matter of time with him, though. The perennial 20-20 man is a must-start.
Cooling Off: Drew Stubbs is back playing every day after splitting time earlier this season, but he hasn't performed any better as a result, batting .115 (3 for 26) over his last six games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face two left-handed pitchers this week, but the platoon situation is unclear with Chris Dickerson (wrist) on the DL. Jonny Gomes will surely start against the left-handers, but Laynce Nix might play some against the righties.
Lineup Changes: Other than Dickerson landing on the DL, none.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @KC3, @BAL3
Heating Up: After slumping all season, Grady Sizemore is showing subtle signs of coming around, batting .296 (8 for 27) over his last six games. His course correction could be sudden and extreme, so if you smell it coming, you shouldn't sit him.
Cooling Off: The ever-streaky Russell Branyan , who recently came off the DL, hasn't started off well, batting .125 (2 for 16) over his last five games. He'll have times when he matters in mixed leagues, but the power-hitting platoon player should remain on waivers for now. Luis Valbuena has just three hits in his last 24 at-bats. His lack of consistency makes him just an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: Asdrubal Cabrera left Tuesday with a strained left quadriceps and didn't play Wednesday. The team expects him to return Friday, but muscle injuries can sometimes linger. He's just a fringe starter even when healthy, so unless he goes crazy over the weekend, you might want to avoid him this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face one left-hander this week. They might chose to give Branyan and Valbuena a rest that day, replacing them with Matt LaPorta and Mark Grudzielanek .
Lineup Changes: Grudzielanek has filled in for Cabrera, bumping Valbuena over to shortstop, but he doesn't have anything to offer offensively even if he does continue to start.

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: PHI3, WAS4
Heating Up: Dexter Fowler seems to have righted himself at the plate, batting .390 (16 for 41) with one homer and four stolen bases over his last 11 games. With the good matchups this week (seven games at home), you have to figure the hot hitting will continue.
Cooling Off: Ian Stewart , who looked like one of the season's biggest breakouts early in April, has fallen on hard times lately, batting .179 (5 for 28) over his last 10 games. Melvin Mora has already begun to cut into his at-bats, so think twice about starting him. Miguel Olivo has the catcher job all to himself now, but he's not making the most of it, batting .056 (1 for 18) over his last five games. Despite his power potential, he's not a reliable starter in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Brad Hawpe , on the DL with a strained quadriceps, has begun a rehab assignment and could return in time for Monday's game. Obviously, you have no choice but to activate him in some leagues, but if you have viable alternatives, perhaps you should give him a week to prove his health. You didn't exactly draft him to be a mainstay in your lineup.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face two lefties this week, which affects when Ryan Spilborghs and Eric Young play, if they play at all. Hawpe would be the most likely candidate to sit, assuming he returns as expected.
Lineup Changes: Young has gotten to start six of the last eight games, batting leadoff for the Rockies, but that was mostly in place of Hawpe. He could still steal at-bats from second baseman Clint Barmes once Hawpe returns, but the Rockies might prefer to let him get everyday at-bats in the minors. If you own him in a deeper Rotisserie league, you should probably avoid him this week.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: NYY4, BOS3
Heating Up: Despite his high strikeout rate, Austin Jackson is only getting more consistent at the plate, batting .462 (24 for 52) over his last 12 games. Time to take a flier on the rookie in all leagues. Brennan Boesch , not considered much of a prospect, has filled in admirably for Carlos Guillen , batting .368 (7 for 19) with two homers over his last five games. His lack of upside makes him just an AL-only option. Alex Avila might get more opportunities to start at catcher if he continues to hit the way he has lately. He's 5 for 9 (.556) with two doubles and two homers over his last four games.
Cooling Off: Magglio Ordonez , who had some abdominal cramping recently, is passing the condition on to his Fantasy owners with his 3-for-20 (.150) performance over his last six games. Still, he has proven too valuable to sit during his rebound season.
Injury Concerns: Johnny Damon left Wednesday's game with a calf spasm, but the injury shouldn't sideline him through the weekend. As long as he returns before the start of the week, you should keep him active. Gerald Laird , who fouled a ball off his left shin Tuesday, got a day off Wednesday and had an extra day of rest Thursday. He should be fine, not that you'd want him and his .141 batting average in Fantasy. Guillen (hamstring) is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, but the Tigers say he isn't close to returning. Keep him reserved.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face three left-handers this week, meaning Ryan Raburn has a chance to make an impact in AL-only leagues. He usually replaces Boesch against lefties.
Lineup Changes: None.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: @CHC3, NYM4
Heating Up: Hanley Ramirez has lived up to his first-round status recently, batting .476 (10 for 21) with four homers over his last five games. Start him. Cody Ross has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .364 (12 for 33) during that stretch.
Cooling Off: Jorge Cantu , who had that record-setting streak at the beginning of the season, is hitless in his last four games, a span of 17 at-bats. If you play in a shallow enough league, he's not beyond benching. Cameron Maybin is no sure bet to stay in the major leagues with the way he has performed lately. He's batting .140 (6 for 43) over his last 11 games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face four left-handed pitchers this week, which means John Baker will sit four times for Ronny Paulino . Bad week to start him. Ross figures to have a good week, though. His OPS is 200 points higher against lefties over the last three seasons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Houston Astros
Schedule: @STL3, @SF3
Heating Up: Carlos Lee isn't setting the world on fire, but he's beginning to pull out of his early-season slump, batting .293 (12 for 41) with a double, a triple and a homer over his last 11 games. He remains too valuable to sit.
Cooling Off: Lance Berkman hasn't been consistent since returning from his knee injury, batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last seven games. If you still have that replacement you used when Berkman was on the DL, you might want to go back to him for now. Pedro Feliz brief hot streak at the end of April is over. He's batting .115 (3 for 26) over his last seven games and doesn't have the power potential to matter in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Astros demoted J.R. Towles to the minors this week, making Humberto Quintero the clear starting catcher. Too bad he has almost zero offensive potential.

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: CLE3, CHW3
Heating Up: Billy Butler is showing why he was a breakout candidate coming into the season, batting .396 (21 for 53) with two homers over his last 13 games. He remains too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: David DeJesus is batting .136 (3 for 22) over his last seven games. Because he lacks power and speed, he's only worth starting when hot.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face two left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Rick Ankiel had to go on the DL with a strained right quadriceps, paving way for Mitch Maier to continue playing every day. Unfortunately, he has minimal upside and doesn't deserve a roster spot outside of AL-only leagues. Mike Aviles is back up from the minors and stealing at-bats around the infield. If the regular at-bats continue, he could eventually matter in mixed leagues, but the Royals will have to find him a more permanent place to play. Yuniesky Betancourt is looking like the early odd man out. Chris Getz is back starting at second base, bumping Alberto Callaspo over to third base and Alex Gordon back to the minors. Callaspo is the biggest beneficiary here as a slightly more powerful version of Martin Prado .

L.A. Angels
Schedule: TB3, OAK3
Heating Up: Mike Napoli , getting to play every day with Jeff Mathis (fractured wrist) on the DL, is finally beginning to make the most of the opportunity. He homered for the first time Thursday and is batting .364 (8 for 22) with three doubles and a triple over his last seven games. Now might be the time to pick him up and take advantage of his power potential.
Cooling Off: Hideki Matsui could probably use a day off after starting every game this season. He's batting .103 (4 for 39) over his last 11, giving you a good reason to bench him. Bobby Abreu deserves a little more patience based on his track record, but he's batting only .143 (3 for 21) over his last six games.
Injury Concerns: Maicer Izturis , who has dealt with shoulder soreness recently, got a start at DH on Wednesday but could still wind up on the DL. He's pretty much just an AL-only option as a part-timer with minimal power and speed, but you certainly wouldn't want to start him now.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face three lefties this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: @ARI3, @SD3
Heating Up: Andre Ethier might be the hottest player in all of baseball, batting .480 (12 for 25) with five home runs over his last six games. He's a must-start regardless. James Loney isn't quite a must-start, but he's hitting well as well, batting .524 (11 for 21) over his last six games.
Cooling Off: Casey Blake is batting .100 (3 for 30) over his last nine games. Even when at his hottest, he's only a fringe starter in mixed leagues. Russell Martin is batting .147 (5 for 34) over his last nine games, but at the weak catcher position, you have no choice but to stick with him.
Injury Concerns: Manny Ramirez , who hasn't played since April 22 because of a calf injury, will return to the lineup Saturday. As long as he proves healthy, you have to activate him, but keep in mind he might rest periodically at his age. Rafael Furcal , on the DL with a strained hamstring, could begin a rehab assignment Tuesday, but he wouldn't play more than a couple games this upcoming week, making him too risky to start.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face one left-hander this week. Ronnie Belliard might replace Blake DeWitt for that game, but neither player matters in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: The Xavier Paul - Reed Johnson platoon will go back to the bench once Ramirez returns, so you can cut both in NL-only leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: ATL3, PHI3
Heating Up: Ryan Braun is looking like he might have his best season yet, continuing his hot hitting by batting .382 (13 for 34) over his last eight games. He's a must-start. Surprisingly, Gregg Zaun is making some kind of impact, batting .522 (12 for 23) with a homer over his last six games. You can still leave him for NL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Jim Edmonds is finally starting to show his 39 years of age, batting .095 (2 for 21) over his last seven games. As a platoon player, he can remain on waivers in mixed leagues. Alcides Escobar is again proving too inconsistent for mixed leagues, batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last seven games.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Gomez injured his shoulder diving back to second base Wednesday and will have an MRI on Friday. The injury could require a DL stint, which would obviously be good news for Corey Hart , who would then get to play every day. Keep an eye on this situation.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week. Edmonds would usually sit out that game, but maybe not if Gomez is injured.
Lineup Changes: None.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: CHW2, @NYY3
Heating Up: Denard Span is only further establishing himself as a must-start, batting .481 (13 for 27) over his last six games. Justin Morneau is clearly already a must-start and is batting .385 (25 for 65) with four homers over his last 18 games.
Cooling Off: Michael Cuddyer isn't exactly too cold to sit, but he's batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: Joe Mauer , who hasn't played since April 30 because of a deep bruise on his left heel, isn't ready to begin running yet. He likely won't return over the weekend, making him a risky start for the upcoming week, but do you really want to waste a roster spot on a backup catcher? J.J. Hardy missed a second straight game Thursday after hurting his wrist on a slide Tuesday. If he doesn't return over the weekend, you wouldn't want to risk starting him. He has a .699 OPS, after all.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face two left-handers this week. Jim Thome might start a couple of the games against the righties, but he and Delmon Young aren't in a platoon.
Lineup Changes: Wilson Ramos has been filling in for Mauer and is a pretty good prospect, as evidenced by his .400 (8 for 20) batting average. He's a decent stopgap option even in mixed leagues. Nick Punto has gone back to playing virtually every day at third base, replacing Luke Hughes .

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: WAS3, @FLA4
Heating Up: David Wright is putting to rest any lingering doubts about his disappointing 2009, batting .400 (14 for 35) with four home runs over his last nine games. Start him. Angel Pagan , now batting leadoff with Jose Reyes batting third, is 11 for 34 (.324) with two doubles, two triples and two stolen bases over his last eight games. He's one of the more underrated players in Fantasy right now, though he doesn't deserve to start in mixed leagues yet. Rod Barajas has four homers in his last five games and is a worthy stopgap in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Jeff Francoeur and Ike Davis have both come back down to earth after hot starts. Francoeur is batting .150 (9 for 60) over his last 18 games. Davis is batting .176 (3 for 17) over his last five, with six strikeouts in his last four. Neither is proven enough that you have to stick with him now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face two left-handers this week. Fernando Tatis might replace Davis for one or both of those games, but he won't get enough at-bats to make an impact in Fantasy.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: @DET4, MIN3
Heating Up: The notoriously streaky Nick Swisher is on his first tear of the season, batting .405 (15 for 37) with three home runs over his last nine games. He'll give you fits when he goes cold, so be sure to take advantage of him now. Brett Gardner is thriving in his first season as a full-time player, batting .444 (12 for 27) over his last eight games. He has more walks than strikeouts and 13 stolen bases, making him an advisable starter even in Head-to-Head leagues. Robinson Cano is batting .400 (18 for 45) with five home runs over his last 11 games, but that's exactly what you drafted him to do.
Cooling Off: Alex Rodriguez has yet to live up to his first-round status and is batting just .143 (5 for 35) over his last nine games. You wouldn't want to miss out on the inevitable course correction by sitting him.
Injury Concerns: Jorge Posada , who sat out Tuesday and Wednesday with a strained calf, has a good chance of returning Friday, but if he doesn't, you'll want to monitor his status closely this weekend. Of course, with replacement catchers few and far between, you should probably just take your chances with him as long as he avoids the DL.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two left-handed pitchers this week, which means Marcus Thames will start twice for Randy Winn . Neither has the upside to matter in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: The Winn-Thames platoon began because Curtis Granderson went on the DL with a groin injury. Thames' power potential would make him the better choice if he was playing every day, but since he isn't, he doesn't help you much.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: @TEX3, @LAA3
Heating Up: Cliff Pennington has emerged as a viable starter even in mixed leagues, batting .333 (12 for 36) with one homer and two stolen bases over his last nine games. His across-the-board production makes him a better scorer in Head-to-Head leagues than you'd think. Kevin Kouzmanoff is batting .370 (17 for 46) over his last 12 games, but he has only one homer and one double during that stretch. Considering his poor plate discipline, he doesn't have much value if he's not hitting for power.
Cooling Off: Eric Chavez still hasn't done anything to convince anyone he has something to offer in Fantasy, batting only .189 (7 for 37) over his last 11 games. Eric Patterson hasn't taken advantage of his opportunity to play regularly, batting .148 (4 for 27) over his last seven games. Leave both for deeper AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: Kurt Suzuki , who the Athletics retroactively placed on the DL with a intercostal strain, is expected to return either Sunday or Tuesday. With so few alternatives available at the catcher position, you should trust in that timeframe and hope for the best.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face three left-handed pitchers, making this week a good week to start Jake Fox in AL-only leagues. He generally replaces Chavez at DH against lefties and also serves as the team's backup catcher.
Lineup Changes: None.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rockies PHI3, WAS4
2. Nationals @NYM3, @COL4
3. Phillies @COL3, @MIL3
4. Braves @MIL3, ARI3
5. Red Sox TOR3, @DET3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: @COL3, @MIL3
Heating Up: Jayson Werth is batting .395 (17 for 43) with four homers over his last 12 games and only continues to grow as a hitter. Start him in all leagues. Shane Victorino has delivered surprising power lately, batting .311 (14 for 45) with three homers over his last 10 games. He never lost must-start status even during his season-opening slump.
Cooling Off: Placido Polanco , who was batting over .400 as recently as April 17, is batting .162 (11 for 68) over his last 17 games. The career .303 hitter has to get going again soon, but he's less than a must-start right now.
Injury Concerns: Jimmy Rollins , on the DL with a strained calf, will begin playing in extended spring training soon, but he's still unlikely to return this week. Keep him stashed. His replacement, Juan Castro , is dealing with a hamstring injury himself, but he'll likely return over the weekend. Not like he has anything to offer Fantasy owners.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face four left-handers this week, which could mean big numbers for lefty-killers Werth and Victorino, not that they need the help right now. The team doesn't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: CIN3, @CHC3
Heating Up: Garrett Jones is getting back on track after slumping most of April, batting .467 (7 for 15) with four doubles over his last four games. If the hits are coming, the homers will soon follow, so now seems like a good time to get him active. Andrew McCutchen is batting .395 (17 for 43) with three homers over his last game, only further instilling his must-start status.
Cooling Off: After a recent 12-for-24 stretch, Ryan Doumit is 1 for 15 over his last four games. You wouldn't sit him at the weak catcher position, though.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face two left-handed pitchers this week, but with Jeff Clement looking like less than an everyday player, they don't have any clear lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Ryan Church has started six straight games, most of them in place of Clement. The switch eliminates what little mixed-league appeal Clement had as a catcher-eligible player and doesn't do a whole lot for Church, who doesn't hit for enough power to make an impact in mixed leagues. He's worth a flier in NL-only formats, however.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: @SF3, LAD3
Heating Up: Yorvit Torrealba has earned more playing time with his hot hitting of late. He's batting .400 (8 for 20) over his last six games, but he still loses too many at-bats to Nick Hundley to matter in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Tony Gwynn is batting .095 (2 for 21) over his last five games, and Will Venable is batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last nine. Both continue to start more often than not, but you shouldn't bother with either in Fantasy right now. Adrian Gonzalez is batting .167 (4 for 24) with zero extra-base hits over his last seven games, but you'd never sit a stud like him.
Injury Concerns: Everth Cabrera , on the DL with a strained right hamstring, is already hitting and fielding and will likely come off the DL before the end of the upcoming week. Considering he's just a low-end option even when he plays a full week, you'll want to avoid him for half a week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face three left-handers this week, which means Scott Hairston has a chance to make a contribution in NL-only leagues. He always starts against lefties and sometimes spells Gwynn against righties as well. Venable has also had to sit against lefties recently, so you should probably avoid him in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: Other than the increase in at-bats for Torrealba, none.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Twins CHW2, @NYY3
2. Astros @STL3, @SF3
3. Padres @SF3, LAD3
4. Tigers NYY4, BOS3
5. Athletics @TEX3, @LAA3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: SD3, HOU3
Heating Up: Aubrey Huff is showing his first signs of potential since before the All-Star break last year, batting .367 (11 for 30) with three homers over his last eight games. That 2008 season still seems like a fluke, though. Nate Schierholtz is showing he might have been the better choice over John Bowker all along, batting .522 (12 for 23) with a homer over his last six games. Don't let him go unowned in NL-only leagues. Aaron Rowand has picked up where he left off before going on the DL with a fractured cheekbone, batting .389 (7 for 18) with two homers over his last four games.
Cooling Off: The regression to the mean has begun for Juan Uribe . He's batting .175 (7 for 40) over his last 12 games and is looking like an NL-only option. Mark DeRosa is batting .132 (5 for 38) over his last 10 games and is far from a must-start in Fantasy. Pablo Sandoval is batting .087 (2 for 23) over his last five games, but you'd never sit him.
Injury Concerns: Edgar Renteria , who missed four games with a groin injury, aggravated the injury in his return to the lineup Thursday and might have to go on the DL. Clearly, you should avoid him. Freddy Sanchez , out all season as he recovers from knee and shoulder surgeries, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday and could return by the end of the week. He's nothing more than a low-end option in Fantasy even when he plays a full week, so you certainly wouldn't want to start him for just a game or two.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face two left-handers this week. Andres Torres might spell Schierholtz in those games.
Lineup Changes: If Renteria goes on the DL, Matt Downs will continue to start at second base with Uribe starting at shortstop, at least until Sanchez returns. Downs has good minor-league numbers and is batting .400 (10 for 25) so far in the majors, but his lack of upside limits his appeal to NL-only leagues.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: @BAL3, @TB3
Heating Up: Not a single Mariner is outperforming expectations right now.
Cooling Off: Casey Kotchman , who turned some heads with his three early homers, hasn't hit much of anything lately. He's batting .088 (3 for 34) over his last nine games. Jose Lopez is batting .167 (11 for 66) over his last 16 games, but streakiness is nothing new with him. Either you play in a league so deep that you have to start him or you don't.
Injury Concerns: Jack Wilson sat out Thursday with a knee injury and is still awaiting an MRI. He has nothing to offer offensively, though, so you shouldn't be waiting on pins and needles for his return. His replacement, Josh Wilson , is similarly inept.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners don't face a single lefty this week, so Ken Griffey should get a full week of at-bats. You can't expect much of a batting average from him, but he's a worthy one-week stopgap in AL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: The Mariners placed Milton Bradley on the restricted list Thursday after an in-game confrontation Tuesday led him to seek help for his emotional issues. The team called up prospect Michael Saunders to take his place. He's immediately worth a flier in AL-only leagues and could conceivably make an impact in mixed leagues if he gets consistent at-bats.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: HOU3, @CIN3
Heating Up: Rookie third baseman David Freese seems to have figured out major-league pitching. He's batting .500 (17 for 34) with three home runs over his last nine games and is suddenly looking like a relevant Fantasy option even in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Ryan Ludwick , who got hot when the Cardinals initially moved him up to the two hole, is back on the wrong side of streaky, batting .095 (2 for 21) over his last seven games. His long-term prognosis is still good batting in front of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday , but you might want to bench him for now. Colby Rasmus has cooled off after a torrid April, batting .182 (4 for 22) over his last seven games. He faces a bunch of righties this week, though, so you might want to keep him active.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face one left-hander this week. Rasmus and Skip Schumaker could potentially sit out that game in favor of Joe Mather and Tyler Greene , but neither platoon is set in stone. Rasmus is the only one of the four with mixed-league appeal, and he'll still play enough for you to start him.
Lineup Changes: None.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: @LAA3, SEA3
Heating Up: Evan Longoria is quickly closing the gap on Alex Rodriguez for the title of best third baseman in Fantasy, batting .414 (24 for 58) with four homers over his last 14 games.
Cooling Off: The infinitely streaky Carlos Pena has just one hit in his last 23 at-bats. Good luck trying to predict whether or not that'll continue. Melvin Upton has been equally cold with just two hits in his last 20 at-bats, but his upside makes him tough to sit.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face three lefties this week, opening the door for Gabe Kapler to play more than usual. He typically replaces Reid Brignac against lefties.
Lineup Changes: None.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: OAK3, @TOR3
Heating Up: Elvis Andrus has found his form as a leadoff hitter, batting .387 (12 for 31) with six stolen bases over his last seven games. Get him active if he's not already. Speaking of finally finding his form, Josh Hamilton is batting .391 (18 for 46) with four home runs over his last 11 games, showing he's back to being the elite player he was in 2008. Start him in all leagues. Vladimir Guerrero has three homers in his last three games and might be on the verge of a hot streak.
Cooling Off: Julio Borbon continues to flounder even hitting lower in the lineup. He's batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last seven games. Don't start him unless you're absolutely desperate for steals.
Injury Concerns: Nelson Cruz , on the DL with a strained hamstring, hopes to begin a rehab assignment Monday and return to the lineup Wednesday. Because the Rangers don't begin the week until Tuesday, he still has the potential to play five games. If you've been hurting in the outfield in his absence, you'll want to go ahead and get him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face three left-handers this week, which gives Ryan Garko an opportunity to steal some at-bats from Julio Borbon .
Lineup Changes: The David Murphy -Garko platoon will end once Cruz returns, not that either player matters outside of AL-only leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: @BOS3, TEX3
Heating Up: Travis Snider is finally showing something resembling potential, batting .440 (11 for 25) with two homers over his last seven games. The 22-year-old has had a hard time adjusting to the major leagues, but as a former top prospect, he bears watching. Fred Lewis is doing his best to be more than just a fill-in starter, batting .440 (11 for 25) with a homer and a steal over his last six games. He lacks the upside to make an impact in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Adam Lind remains too valuable to sit, but he's really fighting it right now, batting .172 (11 for 64) over his last 17 games.
Injury Concerns: Edwin Encarnacion , on the DL with right shoulder soreness, has been hitting in extended spring training but has been unable to take the field. You shouldn't expect him to come back this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays don't face a single left-hander this week.
Lineup Changes: None.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: @NYM3, @COL4
Heating Up: Ivan Rodriguez has managed to maintain a .400 batting average into May, helped in part by his .412 (7 for 17) batting average over his last five games. You can't expect the 38-year-old to keep it going, but he's a worthy stopgap right now. Adam Dunn is finally back to delivering the numbers he has year after year, batting .286 (12 for 42) with four homers over his last 12 games.
Cooling Off: One of the hottest hitters out of the gate, Josh Willingham has experienced a dramatic regression to the mean, batting .184 (9 for 49) over his last 16 games. He has a tendency to run hot and cold, so you'll want to sit him until he gets going again.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face two lefties this week, so you can expect Roger Bernadina to sit twice for Justin Maxwell .
Lineup Changes: Ryan Zimmerman return from a hamstring injury bumped Adam Kennedy over to second base and Cristian Guzman back to the bench. Kennedy has a little more power and speed at this stage of his career, making him the preferred choice in Fantasy, but neither player has much mixed-league appeal.

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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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