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If you look at every team's schedule for Fantasy Week 11 (June 15-21), you'll notice a common thread.
Not only do they all play seven games, but the first two are against a team in the opposing league and the next two are against that same team in the opposing ballpark.
It's an interleague-heavy schedule, in other words, but one that impacts all AL teams equally. Each will be without its DH for two games, which isn't enough to make any DH unstartable in Fantasy, especially since some of them figure to play the field for at least one of those games in the NL. Still, it's something to keep in mind if you're already on the fence about a David Ortiz or Kendrys Morales.
Once those four-game home-and-away series conclude, one team will still have to play three games in the opposing league to accommodate the 15-15 split between the leagues, and that team is the Cubs. It's possible, then, that one of their bench players makes five starts this week, but knowing the way manager Joe Maddon operates, they'll probably mix and match, eliminating any potential advantage for Fantasy owners.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 11:
1. Orioles: PHI2, @PHI2, @TOR3
2. Brewers: KC2, @KC2, @COL3
3. Yankees: @MIA2, MIA2, DET3
4. Padres: OAK, @OAK2, @ARI3
5. Dodgers: @TEX2, TEX2, SF3
Having the Dodgers on this list probably seems like a victory for Fantasy owners since they have so many high-variance hitters owned in the 50- to 60-percent range. But with Justin Turner nursing a knee injury and Andre Ethier in and out of the lineup for matchups and other reasons, who can you trust? Certainly not Alex Guerrero.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 11:
1. Rangers: LAD2, @LAD2, @CHW3
2. Twins: @STL2, STL2, CHC3
3. Rays: WAS2, @WAS2, @CLE3
4. Pirates: CHW2, @CHW2, @WAS3
5. Diamondbacks: @LAA2, LAA2, SD3
The Diamondbacks might be a bit of a stretch, but the top four are as clear as it gets with every team playing an even number of games this week. I would have guessed a team facing both the Nationals and Indians starting rotations would rank No. 1, but the Nationals' isn't everything it can be with Tanner Roark and Joe Ross filling in. Not like the Rays have any desirable hitters anyway.
And with that, I give you my player recommendations for this week. Remember: For five up, I'm limiting my choices to those owned in less than 90 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, with the assumption being that those owned in more are automatic starts.
All stats are updated through Thursday, June 11.
Joe Panik, 2B, Giants: Fantasy owners have been slow to the
draw on this one given that Panik is still only 84 percent owned (and,
thus, eligible for this list) even though he has been the fifth-best
second baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues to date. Considering his
high contact rate and newfound pop, the numbers appear to be mostly
sustainable. He's certainly at his best right now, batting .397 (25 for
63) with four home runs during a 15-game hitting streak. Don't let the
three lefties on tap for the Giants scare you away from the left-handed
hitter either. He has actually hit them better than righties, batting
.354 with a .908 OPS.
Start instead of: Neil Walker, Logan Forsythe
Denard Span, OF, Nationals: Span recently missed a game
because of back spasms -- and it's true he has had some starts and stops
since returning from core muscle surgery in mid-April -- but you can't
really think anything is bothering him that much. He has back-to-back
three-hit games since returning to the lineup Wednesday. In terms of
Head-to-Head points per game, he has actually outperformed Adam Jones for the year, and he has been at his best against
right-handed pitching, batting .358 with a .952 OPS. The Nationals face
six righties in their seven games this week.
Start instead of: Gregory Polanco, Mark Trumbo
Curtis Granderson, OF Mets: Granderson isn't a trendy play
these days, but with an improved walk rate, he has been more productive
than you might think, having outscored J.D. Martinez and Alex Gordon to
date. The Mets face six right-handers this week and play five games on
the road -- two scenarios that favor him. Best of all, most every
pitcher on tap for the Mets -- Mark Buehrle,
Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, R.A. Dickey, Mike Foltynewicz, Williams Perez
and Julio Teheran -- has had a hard
time keeping the ball in the yard. Granderson's .375 (9 for 24) batting
average and two home runs in his last seven games may be a sign of more
Start instead of: Torii Hunter, Shin-Soo Choo
Cameron Maybin, OF, Braves: Whether or not you fully buy
into Maybin's breakthrough is irrelevant if you're just looking for a
one-week fill-in. You can't deny he's the hot hand right now, batting
.457 (16 for 35) with three stolen bases in his last eight games, and he
faces some hittable pitchers in Rick Porcello,
Wade Miley, Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz. With Eric Young out of the picture, he has emerged as the clear go-to guy
in center field, so unlike a lot of the outfielders still available in
40 percent or so of leagues, he doesn't have any playing-time concerns.
Start instead of: Avisail Garcia, Andre Ethier
Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres: Alonso wouldn't be a start for
everybody -- not that any of these hitters are -- but he is widely
available, owned in just 29 percent of leagues, and has swung a hot bat
since returning from a shoulder injury, batting .364 (12 for 33) in nine
games. And really, he has been doing that all season, boasting a .342
batting average that isn't as inflated as it appears given his low
strikeout rate. He doesn't offer the power you'd expect from a first
baseman, but at least he'll get to beat up on pitchers like Kendall Graveman, Rubby De La Rosa, Robbie Ray and Jeremy Hellickson.
Start instead of: Adam Lind, Mitch Moreland
Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates: Polanco's ownership has
hardly budged despite some discouraging developments for the 23-year-old
sophomore. He only recently got back to playing every day thanks to a
modest 10-game hitting streak that began in late May, but he's just 1
for 12 in his last four games. And he could be in for a challenge this
week with pitchers like Carlos Rodon, Jose Quintana, Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez on tap. Overall, he'll face four lefties, against whom
he's batting .179 with a .385 OPS.
Sit instead of: Nori Aoki, Dexter Fowler
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Rangers: Not the first time you've seen
Choo here, huh? It's true he's no stranger to five down, but not
because he's bad, just predictable. For as much as he has surprised this
year, he still hasn't figured out how to hit lefties, batting just .188
with one of his eight home runs and a .567 OPS against them. He never
could hit them, compiling a .673 OPS against them in his career compared
to .903 against righties. The Rangers face five lefties this week and
have the toughest matchups to boot, going against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon and Jose Quintana.
Sit instead of: Billy Burns, Brandon Moss
Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers: Gallo is right there with Choo
this week, and though he doesn't have the same miserable track record
against left-handed pitching, you can safely assume a young left-handed
hitter in his third week on the job will have some trouble against the
two named Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. The matchups are dreadful overall, as I've already
pointed out, but just knowing Gallo probably isn't here to stay might
lead you to believe you should try to get what you can out of him. Since
homering in his first two games, though, he hasn't had an extra-base hit
in his last six, striking out 11 times in 24 at-bats.
Sit instead of: Mike Moustakas, Maikel Franco
Yasmany Tomas, 3B/OF, Diamondbacks: Between the Angels and
Padres starting rotations, the Diamondbacks should have their work cut
out for them this week, but is that really enough reason to sit a .331
hitter? It is when that .331 hitter has a .097 ISO, as Tomas does -- and
that's even after hitting his second home run Wednesday. He's a singles
hitter who plays station to station, and it makes for some poor
production in Fantasy. Look at the week-by-week breakdown in
Head-to-Head points leagues. Only one 15-point week in the last six.
Sit instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Jimmy Paredes
Torii Hunter, OF, Twins: The Twins have tough matchups,
yes, but they're so good against left-handed pitchers that you may not
care to sit any of them with four lefties on tap. Hunter's splits are
more or less even, though, and after a red-hot May, he has come down to
earth with a .216 (8 for 37) batting average so far in June. I wouldn't
expect him to bounce back against pitchers like Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta.
Sit instead of: Cameron Maybin, Nick Markakis