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The Rockies are on the road all week for the first time this season, and it's just in time for Charlie Blackmon's return from a bout with turf toe. He'll have this weekend to prove his health to you and, provided he does, is a must-start whether home or away. Not all Rockies have earned that distinction, though, Gerardo Parra being one.
Jung Ho Kang may also be on the verge of returning from a lengthy recovery from knee surgery, but it's likely to happen mid-week, if at all. Trevor Plouffe (intercostal) and Ender Inciarte (hamstring) are better bets to play the whole week, but they're not high-end enough to use fresh off the DL -- not in mixed leagues, anyway.
Kris Bryant is expected to sit out this weekend because of a sprained ankle, but it doesn't seem like a big deal. I'm still planning to start him in Fantasy Week 5 (May 2-8), thinking the Cubs' abundance of depth is simply allowing for an abundance of caution.
Players who could get burned by a lefty-loaded schedule this week include Brandon Moss and Michael Saunders. Meanwhile, Josh Reddick and Chris Coghlan could be in for a productive week facing nothing but righties.
And with that, on to the matchups ...
Best hitter matchups for Week 5
1. Giants @CIN3, COL4
2. Brewers LAA3, @CIN4
3. Reds SF3, MIL4
4. Mets ATL3, @SD4
5. White Sox BOS3, MIN3
- The Rockies hitters may be in for a harder time on the road, but it doesn't redeem their pitching staff. Between them and the Reds, the only quality pitcher who the Giants face this week is Brandon Finnegan, which means it's time to get all their fringies active again. Denard Span, who didn't exactly cool off with their tough matchups this past week, is the most available of the bunch, but you can also find room in your lineup for Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy, who are also hitting well. Angel Pagan makes for a deeper sleeper.
- Looking for cheap power? Chris Carter is a good bet. The Brewers are scheduled to face a bunch of homer-prone pitchers like Jered Weaver, Hector Santiago, Alfredo Simon and Jon Moscot. Domingo Santana might also qualify as a sleeper with these matchups and maybe Jonathan Villar in a deeper Rotisserie league (for the steals). About the only other Brewers I can get behind, though, are Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy, and you're already starting them.
- Time to get Eugenio Suarez in your lineup again. He hasn't been so productive since that killer first week, but you know where the Reds were that week? That's right: at home, where they'll also spend all of this week against mostly yucky pitchers. He has hit all five of his home runs at home this season, batting .348. Jay Bruce has been away on paternity leave, causing his start percentage to plummet, but with nothing but righties on tap, you'll want to get him active. Brandon Phillips seems drastically underowned considering he has basically picked up where he left off last year and would be a nice replacement for Dee Gordon owners. The red-hot Zack Cozart could also replace Gordon in an indirect way, as a middle infielder, but he's more of a stopgap measure.
- It blows my mind that Michael Conforto is benched in one-fourth of all CBSSports.com leagues. He looks like he's on the road to stardom with a .338 batting average and 12 extra-base hits already, so make this week the one when you commit to him. The six righties on tap bode well for Lucas Duda, but he's so streaky that he'll be borderline if he doesn't show signs of life over the weekend. Too high-end for you? Well, you could look to White Sox outfielders Melky Cabrera, Austin Jackson and Avisail Garcia, who have all hit well of late. About the only one I could see myself using in a mixed league, though, is Cabrera.
Worst hitter matchups for Week 5
1. Pirates CHC3, @STL3
2. Dodgers @TB2, @TOR3
3. Cubs @PIT3, WAS4
4. Twins @HOU3, @CHW3
5. Royals WAS3, @CLE3
- Most of their hitters got a chance to heat up with an extended stay at Coors Field, but the Pirates go from having the best matchups to the worst matchups this week, facing some of the best the Cubs and Cardinals have to offer. Josh Harrison is probably the easiest of the bunch to sit since a good week for him is basically a bunch of singles -- not something you'll miss too terribly if he defies the matchups. If you have choices at catcher, Francisco Cervelli is someone to consider sitting, but with Travis d'Arnaud and Miguel Montero recently going on the DL, the pool of usable mixed-league options at that position is shrinking.
- The Dodgers' matchups are interesting for a couple reasons: Not only are they playing just five games, but all five of those games are in AL parks, which means some lucky hitter is getting a bunch more at-bats than he ever would. My guess would be Howie Kendrick, but unfortunately the matchups (not to mention his struggles) preclude you from using him. About the only Dodgers hitters I'd feel comfortable using this week, at least in a standard mixed league, are Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig and maybe Yasmani Grandal.
- So which Cubs would I feel comfortable sitting? Yeah, not too many. Let's just say I wouldn't count on Jorge Soler turning it around this week with Gerrit Cole, Joe Ross, Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark all on the schedule. Addison Russell is pretty easy to sit if you have a viable alternative up the middle -- Aledmys Diaz, perhaps? -- and I could maybe say the same for Ben Zobrist (though not in points leagues because of all the walks). Of course, the Royals lineup has the same issue, with only Alex Gordon, Kendrys Morales and Alcides Escobar on the fringes.
- The Twins are an interesting case because, for as bad as Brian Dozier has been this year, he has historically hit lefties well, and Dallas Keuchel, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana -- all lefties -- are the pitchers who make the Twins' matchups so unfavorable. He has shown some signs of life lately, though, so I wouldn't get cute with him. Byung Ho Park and Joe Mauer have their uses, but this week isn't the time for them. Miguel Sano is probably the only other Twin I'd play.