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Week 25 Fantasy Hitting Planner

by | Fantasy Writer
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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, Sept. 17.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: COL3, LAD3
Heating Up: Stephen Drew continues to trend the right direction after struggling earlier this season, batting .414 (12 for 29) over his last seven games. He should be starting for somebody in your league.
Cooling Off: Mark Reynolds is struggling even by his standards, batting .057 (2 for 35) over his last 11 games. Unless power is your only objective, he's not beyond sitting in Fantasy. Chris B. Young offers more than just power, making him harder to sit even though he's batting .114 (4 for 35) over his last 10 games. Adam LaRoche got off to a hot start in the second half but has since gone back to playing like his first-half self, batting .128 (5 for 39) over his last 10 games. Hard to call him a sleeper when he does that.
Injury Concerns: Justin Upton has started only two games since Aug. 30 because of a shoulder problem that won't go away. The Diamondbacks have nothing to play for, so they have no reason to rush their franchise player back. Now might not be the time to use him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face three left-handers this week. Rusty Ryal will likely start those games, replacing either Brandon Allen or Gerardo Parra.
Lineup Changes: None.

Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @PHI3, @WAS3
Heating Up: Nate McLouth, who has been one of the biggest busts in Fantasy this season, even spending some time in the minors after two near 20-20 seasons, has looked more like himself lately, batting .346 (9 for 26) with two homers and one stolen base over his last nine games. He has some sleeper appeal in deeper Rotisserie leagues.
Cooling Off: Melky Cabrera is batting just .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games and is at risk of losing at-bats with McLouth's resurgence. He was just an NL-only option anyway.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face two left-handers this week, which means Matt Diaz figures to get two starts, filling in for either McLouth or Cabrera.
Lineup Changes: McLouth's hot hitting has allowed him to overtake Rick Ankiel in the Braves' outfield rotation. Ankiel has hit only .207 (19 for 92) since coming over from the Royals and has no Fantasy appeal as a reserve.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: @BOS3, @TOR3
Heating Up: Adam Jones has multiple hits in four of his last seven games, batting .423 (11 for 26) with a home run and a stolen base during that stretch. He's streaky, but now would be the time to use him if you own him. Nick Markakis' 11-game hitting streak is starting to look a little more impressive after he homered Tuesday. He's batting .370 (17 for 46) with two homers during the streak and is still too valuable to sit in most Fantasy formats.
Cooling Off: Luke Scott has yet to homer in September and is batting only .167 (5 for 30) over his last nine games. He's the kind of player you only start when hot.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: BAL3, @NYY3
Heating Up: Ryan Kalish has been making the most of everyday at-bats, batting .300 (9 for 30) with two homers, three steals and a whopping 12 RBI over his last eight games. You have to expect some inconsistency from the power-speed threat, but he has some sleeper appeal even in mixed leagues. Adrian Beltre is batting .444 (16 for 36) with three homers over his last 10 games, but he's a must-start regardless.
Cooling Off: Daniel Nava is showing why he didn't reach the majors until age 27, batting .125 (4 for 32) over his last 12 games. Leave him for deeper AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: J.D. Drew hasn't played all week because of an ankle injury, but he should return over the weekend. He's streaky, though, and not exactly a stud when hot, so you might just want to avoid him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face two left-handers this week, but their lineup has gotten too crowded for lefty-righty platoons. Chances are Daniel Nava and Lars Anderson will sit out against the lefties, but they'll probably sit out against some righties as well.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: SF3, STL3
Heating Up: Xavier Nady, who has been playing more or less every day since the Cubs dealt Derrek Lee to the Braves, is beginning to benefit from the consistent playing time, batting .421 (8 for 19) with a homer over his last five games. He'll have to get hotter than that to matter in mixed leagues, though.
Cooling Off: Alfonso Soriano is batting .136 (3 for 22) over his last seven games. He's just a modest power hitter at this stage of his career and is really only worth using when hot. Blake DeWitt, who has been hitting leadoff much of the time, is batting only .123 (8 for 65) over his last 18 games. Clearly, he's still just an NL-only option.
Injury Concerns: Starlin Castro hasn't been in the starting lineup since Sunday because of a hip bruise, but the injury isn't considered serious. As long as he returns over the weekend, you'll want to roll with the .312 hitter in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face two lefties this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @OAK3, @LAA3
Heating Up: Paul Konerko is batting .414 (12 for 29) with four homers during an eight-game hitting streak and has a good chance of setting career highs in every single category (except for stolen bases, of course). Not bad for a 34-year-old. He's an obvious must-start. Alexei Ramirez might not be a must-start if he didn't play shortstop, but he's earning his keep right now, batting .381 (8 for 21) with a homer and three stolen bases over his last five games.
Cooling Off: Carlos Quentin is batting .115 (3 for 26) over his last seven games. By now, you can pretty much put to rest those thoughts of him regaining his 2008 form -- at least for this year. Manny Ramirez has struggled since coming over from the Dodgers, batting .200 (5 for 25) over his last nine games. He has yet to record an extra-base hit in 14 games with Chicago.
Injury Concerns: Gordon Beckham, who has been dealing with pain in his right hand since getting plunked there Aug. 30, was out of the lineup Thursday and might need a few more days off. His season has been a disappointment anyway, so you should probably just avoid him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Scott's Sleepers for Week 25
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues
Player Start %
1. Chris Johnson, 3B, Astros 36
2. Logan Morrison, OF, Marlins 36
3. Ryan Raburn, OF, Tigers 43
4. Chone Figgins, 2B, Mariners 67
5. Michael Stanton, OF, Marlins 55
6. Wilson Betemit, 3B, Royals 13
7. Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals 54
8. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B, Marlins 17
9. Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds 41
10. David Murphy, OF, Rangers 26

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: @MIL3, @SD3
Heating Up: Drew Stubbs has run hot and cold this season, but he seems to be on the right track now, batting .389 (14 for 36) with three homers and a stolen base over his last 10 games. If he's able to hit two more homers the rest of the way, he'll be the most underappreciated 20-20 man in recent memory. Orlando Cabrera is batting .368 (14 for 38) over his last nine games, but his lack of power or speed makes him just a low-end Fantasy option.
Cooling Off: Brandon Phillips has yet to record a multi-hit game in September, batting .127 (7 for 55) for the month. His totals are a little down this year, but he's still within shouting distance of his fourth straight 20-20 season. Keep him active.
Injury Concerns: Scott Rolen hasn't played since Tuesday because of a sore neck and back, but that's probably the result of age more than anything else. He hasn't hit for much power since the break, so unless he lights it up over the weekend, you should probably shy away from him in mixed leagues. Jim Edmonds (oblique) and Chris Heisey (biceps) have both been sidelined, but since they're part-time players, they don't matter outside of NL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face four left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @MIN3, KC4
Heating Up: Michael Brantley has hit safely in 16 straight games, batting .293 (22 for 75) with four stolen bases during that stretch. He's not so hot that you need to rush out and grab him in mixed leagues, but he could be a cheap source of stolen bases down the stretch.
Cooling Off: Asdrubal Cabrera already hasn't been the player he was last year and is batting just .107 (3 for 28) over his last seven games. If he's not hitting for average, he's not worth owning in Fantasy. Shin-Soo Choo is batting .162 (6 for 37) over his last 10 games, but his across-the-board production makes him a must-start in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Jason Donald has a bruised right index finger and won't play until Thursday at the earliest. He's a light hitter, so you have no reason to bother with him outside of AL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: @ARI3, SF3
Heating Up: Troy Tulowitzki's power surge has gone from impressive to ridiculous. He has 11 homers over his last 13 games, batting .365 (19 for 52) during that stretch. Any lingering questions about his power after he broke through with 32 homers last year have been answered. He's arguably the best shortstop in Fantasy. Carlos Gonzalez is making a push to become the best outfielder in Fantasy, batting .563 (9 for 16) over his last four games. He's batting .477 (41 for 86) with seven homers and four steals over his last 23 games and is an obvious must-start. Eric Young is beginning to pick up steam as the Rockies' leadoff man, batting .375 (15 for 40) with three stolen bases over his last 10 games. If you need steals, look no further.
Cooling Off: Miguel Olivo has been regressing to the mean since the All-Star break and is 0 for 12 over his last four games. In standard leagues, you can probably do better.
Injury Concerns: Ian Stewart, who has been out since Aug. 25 with a strained right oblique, could potentially return Sept. 24, but since he'd only play a game or two, you can keep him reserved. Chris Iannetta is dealing with a calf injury and might not return until Tuesday, but he's still splitting time with Olivo and has minimal mixed-league appeal.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face two left-handers this week, which means Ryan Spilborghs will get two starts to Seth Smith's four. Both have potential, but as platoon players, neither matters outside of NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: KC3, MIN3
Heating Up: Ryan Raburn continues to establish himself as a worthwhile mixed-league option. He has multiple hits in seven of his last 12 games, batting .432 (19 for 44) with three homers during that stretch, and has 11 homers over his last 37 games. When you consider he qualifies at second base, he deserves to be starting in far more leagues than he is.
Cooling Off: Brennan Boesch, whose batting average has dipped from .342 to .260 since the All-Star break, is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. Avoid him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face three left-handers this week. Casper Wells will likely replace either Johnny Damon or Boesch for those games.
Lineup Changes: None.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: STL1, NYM2, @MIL4
Heating Up: Emilio Bonifacio has been one of the most surprising players in baseball over the last couple weeks, hitting safely in 10 of 11 games for a .417 (20 for 48) batting average. He has only three walks during that stretch, though, suggesting he hasn't really changed that much as a player. Still, if you need steals, he's hot enough to deserve a flier. Michael Stanton is a little too streaky to trust in shallower formats, but if you need power, he's worth using now, batting .351 (13 for 37) with five homers over his last nine games. Logan Morrison has only one homer in September, but he's batting .352 (19 for 54) with a crazy .478 on-base percentage. If you're in a league that rewards walks, he's pretty much impossible to sit right now.
Cooling Off: Brad Davis, who is replacing the injured Brett Hayes, who was replacing the suspended Ronny Paulino, who was replacing the injured John Baker, isn't making much of a case for a roster spot next year, batting .125 (2 for 16) over his last four games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Houston Astros
Schedule: @WAS4, @PIT3
Heating Up: Chris Johnson, who has run hot and cold so far in his major-league career, seems to be heating up again, batting .300 (9 for 30) with three homers over his last eight games. With good matchups this week, he's worth a flier in all Fantasy leagues. Jeff Keppinger has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, batting .362 (17 for 47) during that stretch. His lack of pop makes him just a borderline option in mixed leagues, though. Angel Sanchez is batting .371 (13 for 35) during a nine-game hitting streak, which should at least earn him some looks in NL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Nobody is significantly underachieving right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face three left-handed pitchers this week, which is bad news for rookie Brett Wallace. He typically sits against left-handers, with Jason Michaels coming in to play left field and Carlos Lee moving over to first base.
Lineup Changes: None.

Top 10 Hitters Added
* as of Friday, Sept. 17
Player % Change
1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B, Marlins 17
2. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 9
3. Ike Davis, 1B, Mets 8
4. Michael Bourn, OF, Astros 6
5. Logan Morrison, OF, Marlins 6
6. David Murphy, OF, Rangers 6
7. Jim Thome, DH, Twins 6
8. Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds 5
9. Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals 4
10. Michael Stanton, OF, Marlins 4

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @DET3, @CLE4
Heating Up: After an early-September slump made him look like an overachiever in August, Wilson Betemit is on fire again, batting .524 (11 for 21) with two homers over his last five games. The former Braves prospect is looking like a late bloomer and is worth using even in mixed leagues if you need help at the weak third base position. Billy Butler, who has disappointed with his lack of pop this year, is trying to end the season on a high note, batting .429 (6 for 14) with two homers over his last four games. Keep him active.
Cooling Off: Yuniesky Betancourt, who has almost doubled his career high in homers thanks to an August power surge, is looking more like himself in September, batting .167 (7 for 42) over his last 11 games. The time to use him in mixed leagues has probably expired.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which doesn't mean much since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: TEX3, CHW3
Heating Up: Hideki Matsui is trying to show he still has something left at age 36, batting .405 (15 for 37) with two homers in September and .402 (33 for 82) with six homers over his last 26 games. He would be a good sleeper this week if the Angels weren't facing three left-handers. He's batting just .223 against them.
Cooling Off: Howard Kendrick is batting just .169 (10 for 59) over his last 17 games and doesn't look any closer to becoming the batting-title contender he was in the minors. Avoid him in mixed leagues. Same goes for Alberto Callaspo, who's batting .098 (4 for 41) over his last nine games.
Injury Concerns: Erick Aybar missed Thursday's game with a strained left leg. It's just a day-to-day thing, but considering he's batting .136 (6 for 44) in September, it's just another reason to avoid him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: With the arrival of prospect Hank Conger to a catcher rotation that already includes Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson, Mike Napoli might have to get his at-bats exclusively at first base. He has been getting more playing time than Juan Rivera there recently, but he's still not an everyday player, making him just a borderline starter in standard Head-to-Head leagues.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: SD3, @ARI3
Heating Up: Andre Ethier is batting .313 (5 for 16) with two homers over his last five games. He has mostly struggled since returning from a fractured pinkie in late May, but he seems to be getting on track now.
Cooling Off: Hard to find a player who isn't in this lineup, but the starting middle infield of Rafael Furcal and Ryan Theriot has been especially bad lately, with Furcal batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last six games and Theriot batting .036 (1 for 28) over his last eight. Furcal is the one that matters in mixed leagues, and you probably have no choice but to stick with him at the weak shortstop position.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face two left-handers this week, which means Jay Gibbons will sit twice for Reed Johnson.
Lineup Changes: The Gibbons-Johnson platoon came into existence because Scott Podsednik is out for the season with plantar fasciitis and will likely need surgery in the offseason. The slap-hitting base stealer was consistent enough for Head-to-Head use, but you can obviously cut him now. Gibbons has hit well enough to deserve a look in NL-only leagues, but the former Oriole has a track record of mediocrity.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: CIN3, FLA4
Heating Up: Ryan Braun is doing his best to make sure he's again a first-round pick next year, capping a disappointing 2010 with a 17-for-42 (.405) performance over his last 10 games. He has three homers during that stretch.
Cooling Off: Rickie Weeks did just homer Wednesday, but he's batting .146 (7 for 48) in September and .107 (3 for 28) over his last seven games. Still, 30-homer second basemen are hard to come by. Alcides Escobar is batting .095 (2 for 21) over his last six games, but what else is new?
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Carlos Gomez seems to have replaced struggling rookie Lorenzo Cain in center field. Both have speed, but neither has demonstrated enough hitting ability to have any mixed-league appeal.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: CLE3, @DET3
Heating Up: Jim Thome is batting .478 (11 for 23) with six homers during an eight-game hitting streak and should continue to provide cheap power numbers down the stretch. Joe Mauer is batting .478 (11 for 23) with a homer over his last five games, but those kinds of performances aren't so out of the ordinary for him.
Cooling Off: Orlando Hudson is batting .167 (5 for 30) over his last seven games. His lack of power and speed makes him just a borderline option even when hot, so you should obviously avoid him now.
Injury Concerns: Jason Kubel left Wednesday's game with a sore left wrist and hasn't played since. It's likely just a day-to-day thing, but if his status remains in doubt through the weekend, you wouldn't want to take any chances with him. His decline in batting average this year makes him just a borderline option when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which hardly means anything since they don't have any lefty-right platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: @FLA2, @PHI3
Heating Up: Angel Pagan seems to be heating up again after some recent struggles, batting .571 (8 for 14) with a stolen base over his last three games. But with the Mets playing only five games this week, he isn't the best sleeper.
Cooling Off: David Wright's up-and-down performance since the All-Star break continues. He's batting .156 (5 for 32) over his last 10 games but remains too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-hander this week. Nick Evans is now part of the left field rotation and will likely start that game over Chris W. Carter and Lucas Duda.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: TB4, BOS3
Heating Up: Alex Rodriguez is batting .333 (12 for 36) with two homers in nine game since returning from a calf injury, doing his best to redeem a mostly disappointing season. He may be on the decline at age 35, but he's still one of the better players at his position. Robinson Cano is batting .407 (11 for 27) over his last six games, but he has been doing that kind of stuff all year.
Cooling Off: Mark Teixeira hasn't put up his usual big numbers in the second half. He has yet to homer in September and is batting only .171 (7 for 41) over his last 11 games. Even though he has been a disappointment overall, he's still too good of a power hitter for you to even consider sitting him in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Nick Swisher is still dealing with a knee injury that dates back to Aug. 24. He has been out of the starting lineup for about a week but has received a cortisone shot and will hopefully return this weekend. If he plays this weekend, you'll want to get him active. He has been a plus contributor in four of five categories during this career season. Brett Gardner, who hasn't played since leaving Saturday's game with a sore right wrist. He has been cleared to pinch hit and should appear sometime this weekend. If he doesn't get back in the starting lineup, though, you should avoid him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two left-handers this week. Curtis Granderson and Lance Berkman could sit out those games for Marcus Thames and Austin Kearns, but those platoons aren't necessarily set in stone.
Lineup Changes: None.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: CHW3, TEX4
Heating Up: Mark Ellis looks like a different player in September. He entered the month batting .250 but is now up to .276 after going 22 for 50 (.440) in 14 games. He has yet to homer during that stretch, so his Fantasy appeal remains limited to deeper leagues.
Cooling Off: Kurt Suzuki has just one hit in his last 14 at-bats. If you feel like we've been down this road before, it's because we have. His .242 batting average isn't exactly inspiring. Still, he's productive enough in the heart of the Athletics lineup to remain active in Fantasy. Daric Barton is batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last eight games. No matter how much he walks, he has to hit better than that to matter in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has missed more than a week with lower back pain, has yet to hit or throw the ball. Clearly, he's someone you should avoid this week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Athletics signed Akinori Iwamura on Monday and have been playing him at third base with Kouzmanoff sidelined. He was a disaster in Pittsburgh and has never offered much in the way of power or speed, so you can ignore him in Fantasy.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cardinals @FLA1, @PIT3, @CHC3
2. Astros @WAS4, @PIT3
3. Royals @DET3, @CLE4
4. Brewers CIN3, FLA4
5. Rays @NYY4, SEA3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: ATL3, NYM3
Heating Up: Shane Victorino has multiple hits in seven of nine games during his hitting streak, batting .419 (18 for 43) with a homer and five steals during that stretch. Batting average had been his only down category this season, so now that he's providing it, he's a clear stud. Raul Ibanez is trying to make his final numbers look slightly less miserable than they should, batting .412 (14 for 34) with two homers over his last nine games. He has some sleeper appeal this week. Chase Utley seems to be back performing at an elite level, batting .333 (8 for 24) with three homers over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Jayson Werth is batting .176 (6 for 34) over his last eight games and isn't going to come close to the 36 homers he hit last year. Still, he's too productive to sit in most Fantasy formats.
Injury Concerns: Jimmy Rollins, who has been out since Sept. 8 with a strained hamstring, fielded ground balls and took batting practice before Wednesday's game, suggesting he should be back soon. He's just hoping to return before the end of the season, though. If he doesn't play over the weekend, he's no sure bet to play this week, so you might want to steer clear of him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: STL3, HOU3
Heating Up: Andrew McCutchen is batting .323 (10 for 31) with a homer and two stolen bases over his last eight games. His combination of power and speed makes him a must-start in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Neil Walker hasn't fared well since the end of his 18-game hitting streak, going 0 for 14 in eight games. He has proven to be a good enough hitter at the second base position to remain active in Fantasy. Chris Snyder is getting most of the starts behind the plate even with Ryan Doumit around, but he's batting .111 (3 for 27) in September. He's just a No. 2 Fantasy option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: @LAD3, CIN3
Heating Up: Miguel Tejada is batting .438 (7 for 16) over his last four games and retains some mixed-league appeal because of his eligibility at shortstop. Give him a look if you need some help at the position.
Cooling Off: Chase Headley, who tends to alternate between indispensible and useless, is back to offering nothing in Fantasy, batting .175 (7 for 40) over his last 11 games. Avoid him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face two left-handers this week, which means Will Venable will likely sit twice for either Chris Denorfia or Scott Hairston. You can leave all three for NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: Aaron Cunningham has overtaken Denorfia as the starting left fielder, primarily because of his ability to hit leadoff. He has yet to offer much power or speed this season, so he's just an NL-only option.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cubs SF3, STL3
2. Diamondbacks COL3, LAD3
3. Braves @PHI3, @WAS3
4. Orioles @BOS3, @TOR3
5. Mets @FLA2, @PHI3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @CHC3, @COL3
Heating Up: Aubrey Huff has righted the ship after a bumpy end to August and is again looking to make 2010 one of the best seasons of his career. He's batting .385 (15 for 39) with three homers over his last 10 games and remains a must-start in Fantasy. Buster Posey is experiencing a late-season power surge, homering four times in his last 11 games, but his batting average makes him an elite option regardless.
Cooling Off: Pablo Sandoval is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and has begun sitting against left-handed pitchers. You shouldn't feel obligated to stick with him in Fantasy. For 2010, he's officially a bust.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face one left-hander this week, which means Sandoval will likely sit once for Edgar Renteria, with Juan Uribe moving over to third base.
Lineup Changes: Torres had his appendix removed Sunday and will likely miss the rest of the season. The Giants haven't settled on any one player to replace him, trying Aaron Rowand, Cody Ross and Eugenio Velez, but Rowand seems to be the favorite because of his ability to play center field. He didn't hit well enough to matter in Fantasy when he was starting earlier this season, so why should that change now?

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: @TOR3, @TB3
Heating Up: Chone Figgins is trying to end his disappointing season on a high note, batting .485 (16 for 33) with four stolen bases over his last eight games. When he gets hot, he's still a good enough contact hitter to make an impact in all leagues. Since he qualifies at second or third base, he should be starting for someone in your league right now.
Cooling Off: Franklin Gutierrez, who has disappointed in every category but stolen bases this season, isn't doing much better now, batting .138 (4 for 29) over his last eight games. You can leave him for deeper Rotisserie leagues. Casey Kotchman is batting .143 (5 for 35) over his last nine games, but if you're looking to him right now, you're in dire straits.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: @FLA1, @PIT3, @CHC3
Heating Up: Matt Holliday is batting .433 (13 for 30) over his last eight games and .392 (20 for 51) with three homers in September, but he's the kind of player you start regardless of performance.
Cooling Off: Albert Pujols, who is battling tendinitis in his left elbow -- not the one that has given him trouble in the past -- got a cortisone shot in the elbow Monday and missed only one game. The elbow might be affecting him at the plate -- he's batting .174 (4 for 23) over his last six games -- but no way you'd bench the best player in Fantasy at this critical point in the season.
Injury Concerns: Other than Pujols, none.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face two lefties this week. Skip Schumaker will likely sit out those games in favor of Felipe Lopez.
Lineup Changes: None.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: @NYY4, SEA3
Heating Up: Dan Johnson is showing he might not be a Quadruple-A player after all, batting .545 (6 for 11) with three homers over his last five games. The three lefties on the schedule this week kind of ruin his sleeper appeal, though.
Cooling Off: Carlos Pena, who has hovered around the .200 mark all season, is batting .098 (4 for 41) over his last 13 games. Still, if you're short on power numbers, you probably can't do much better than him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face three left-handers this week, but their outfield rotation is too busy to fit within the confines of a lefty-righty platoon.
Lineup Changes: None.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: @LAA3, @OAK4
Heating Up: David Murphy has been on fire since taking over for the injured Josh Hamilton, batting .382 (21 for 55) with three homers and three steals during a 13-game hitting streak. Batting third in that lineup, he's a sleeper even in mixed leagues. Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz, who are both normally must-starts, have raised the bar lately, with Guerrero batting .429 (18 for 42) with two homers during a 10-game hitting streak and Cruz batting .412 (14 for 34) with three homers during an eight-game streak.
Cooling Off: Mitch Moreland hasn't had a multi-hit game since Aug. 21, batting .203 (12 for 59) in 18 games since then. Since he's just a platoon player anyway, you can leave him for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: Hamilton hasn't played since Sept. 4 because of a rib injury. He has made little progress over the course of the week and is unlikely to play this weekend. Considering how much time he's already missed, you need to see him return to action before you roll the dice on him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face three left-handers this week, which means Moreland and Julio Borbon will likely sit three times for Jorge Cantu and Jeff Francoeur.
Lineup Changes: None.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: SEA3, BAL3
Heating Up: Yunel Escobar hasn't given the Fantasy-playing world much to get excited about this season, but he is batting .357 (10 for 28) over his last six games. If you need help at the shortstop position, you could do a lot worse.
Cooling Off: Aaron Hill hasn't given us much to get excited about all year, and the story isn't changing now. He's batting .121 (4 for 33) over his last nine games. Still, he offers more power potential than most second basemen.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: HOU4, ATL3
Heating Up: Ryan Zimmerman has gone hitless twice in 12 September games, batting .340 (16 for 47) during that stretch. Of course, he doesn't have an extra-base hit since Sept. 1, when he doubled. He's a must-start regardless.
Cooling Off: Danny Espinosa, who got off to such a hot start coming up from the minors, batting .563 (9 for 16) with three homers over his first five games, is batting .074 (2 for 27) in eight games since. His combination of power and speed makes him a decent sleeper, but you have to expect some streakiness given his inexperience. Ian Desmond, who put himself on the map in Fantasy by batting .386 (51 for 132) from July 27 to Sept. 5, is batting .129 (4 for 31) in nine games since. Still, he deserves a longer leash at the weak shortstop position.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Nyjer Morgan will begin serving his eight-game suspension Sunday, meaning he won't be eligible to return until Sept. 25. No sense using him when he doesn't stand to play more than two games. Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell will likely see playing time in his absence, but both are just NL-only options. Catcher prospect Wilson Ramos, acquired in the Matt Capps trade, has been getting more playing time recently and will likely split starts with Ivan Rodriguez the rest of the way. Neither player has much mixed-league appeal in that situation.

You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball hitting questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Hitting Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

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