This is more like it.
The first week back from the All-Star break had us in dire straits, scouring the waiver wire for anything that might pass as a sleeper hitter. Sure, plenty of hitters ended up outperforming expectations, as happens everything week, but they weren't so easy to identify ahead of time.
This week, the distinction between the best matchups and the worst matchups couldn't be clearer -- and the hitters who benefit any more plentiful.
Basically, there are more advisable sleepers for mixed leagues than I could fit into a top-10 list, so you'll want to take note of which teams have the best matchups this week.
Really, I could have included half the Cubs lineup. My apologies for leaving out Jason Heyward (who's mostly a singles hitter even at his best) and Addison Russell (who has been frustratingly inconsistent this year).
Here's who I like most among those owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues:
Tommy Pham St. Louis LF
|I don't even care that the Cardinals don't have the greatest matchups this week. Tommy Pham has performed like an elite outfielder from the moment he stepped into the starting lineup, offering plus power, speed and on-base ability, and he's batting .393 (22 for 56) with four homers and four steals in his last 15 games. He should be a fixture, not a sleeper.|
Shin-Soo Choo Texas RF
|Shin-Soo Choo has held his own this year with numbers that would look even better if his BABIP jibed with his line-drive rate, but the Rangers ' six home games this week should help close that gap, especially against pitchers like Jose Urena , Chris Tillman and, with the way they've pitched lately, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman . Choo's batting average is about 40 points higher at home than on the road.|
Yonder Alonso Oakland 1B
|Yonder Alonso 's ownership percentage has dipped below 80, making him eligible for this list again, and his tendency to sit against tougher left-handers has a little something to do with it. But the Athletics face only two in their seven games this week, and right-handers like Marco Estrada , Kyle Gibson and Bartolo Colon are ones Alonso can absolutely throttle. You don't want his .929 OPS on your bench.|
Ian Happ Chi. Cubs CF
|Ian Happ is still looking like a high-priority play for Joe Maddon, who can always slot him in center field even when the infield is full, so he's one of the most likely Cubs to take advantage of their stellar matchups against Miguel Gonzalez , James Shields , Mike Pelfrey , Brent Suter , Junior Guerra and Zach Davies . The Cubs will have use of the DH spot for two of their seven games, which also helps.|
Trey Mancini Baltimore 1B
|How many weeks in a row is it for Trey Mancini here? The guy continues to rake, and Chris Davis ' return hasn't cut into his playing time as much as some feared. He has simply taken over as the Orioles ' regular left fielder. He can't sustain these numbers forever, but with Blake Snell , Andrew Cashner , Tyson Ross and Martin Perez on the list, what's one more week?|
Eugenio Suarez Cincinnati 3B
|Well, look who decided to show up. We hadn't heard much from Eugenio Suarez since his sizzling April, but he homered twice Thursday to give him three in his last four games. He has continued to walk at a high rate and done his best work against lefties, batting .292 with a .944 OPS, so the three in on tap this week should work in his favor. So should the four games against the Marlins ' bottom-feeder staff.|
David Peralta Arizona RF
|Turns out David Peralta isn't a hitter who only thrives at Chase Field. He's now batting .331 with an .849 OPS on the road. No, the bigger determinant for starting him is how many righties the Diamondbacks are facing, and they have six on the schedule this week. Peralta isn't the power threat we once thought he'd be, but when he plays, he hits, batting .394 (13 for 33) over his last nine games. He should play plenty this week.|
Chris Taylor L.A. Dodgers LF
|With Chris Taylor surging again , batting .560 (14 for 25) with a homer, two triples and three doubles over his last six games, I may have to admit I unfairly dismissed him. He overhauled his swing this offseason to incorporate his lower body more, which explains the increase in hard contact, and I wouldn't expect Bartolo Colon, Matt Moore , Ty Blach or Matt Cain to slow him down.|
Javier Baez Chi. Cubs 2B
|Javier Baez 's playing time isn't quite as steady as Ian Happ's, but he has become the preferred choice to Ben Zobrist and an even clearer choice with his recent work, going 10 for 16 with two homers and two doubles over his last four games. The floor is pretty low for him from week to week, given his poor plate discipline, but with the kind of run he's on and the matchups the Cubs have, he should come closer to his ceiling this week.|
Jose Reyes N.Y. Mets SS
|The Mets ' matchups didn't crack the five best for this week, but seven games against the Padres and Mariners pitching staffs normally would. Jose Reyes ' exceptional contact rate -- top 20 among qualifiers, according to FanGraphs -- suggests we may have written him off too soon, especially now that he's batting .382 (21 for 55) with three homers over his last 15 games.|
Best hitter matchups for Week 17
1. Cubs CHW2, @CHW2, @MIL3
2. Athletics @TOR4, MIN3
3. Indians CIN1, LAA3, @CHW3
4. Blue Jays OAK4, LAA3
5. Rays BAL3, @NYY4
Worst hitter matchups for Week 17
1. Royals @DET3, @BOS3
2. Brewers @WAS3, CHC3
3. White Sox @CHC2, CHC2, CLE3
4. Angels @CLE3, @TOR3
5. Rockies @STL3, @WAS3