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Kris Bryant is here, and he's probably not going anywhere anytime soon.
That can only be good news in Fantasy, but it may present his owners with a dilemma. After all, they couldn't be sure he'd arrive this early, so they had to have a contingency plan at third base. And that contingency plan may be fairly high-end himself.
Now, maybe you could just play one of the two third basemen in your utility spot and never pay them another thought, but it's possible you already have David Ortiz or a second stud first baseman there. In Head-to-Head leagues especially, it can happen.
So let's nip that guessing game in the bud. The third basemen you should absolutely start over Bryant this week are Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado. That's it. Maybe in a different week, I would say Adrian Beltre as well, but not with the Rangers scheduled to play only five games.
In other words, if Bryant's arrival has become a stressor for you because of whatever dilemma it presents, relax. This is what you wanted, so sit back and reap the benefits.
Best Hitting Matchups for Week 3:
1. Padres: @COL4, LAD3
2. Braves: @NYM3, @PHI3
3. Royals: MIN3, @CHW4
4. Cubs: @PIT4, @CIN3
5. Orioles: @BOS1, @TOR3, BOS3
In a week when seemingly every team has favorable matchups, the Rockies don't make the list, but this is their first full week at Coors Field, where the laws of physics do not apply. That's good news for all their hitters, but especially Charlie Blackmon, who hit .241 with a .617 OPS on the road last year and is off to a slow start, mostly on the road, this year. The team topping the list, the Padres, will spend four of their games at Coors Field and have four against left-handed pitchers, so don't sleep on lefty masher Derek Norris in one-catcher leagues.
Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 3:
1. Marlins: @PHI3, WAS3
2. Cardinals: @WAS3, @MIL3
3. Yankees: @DET4, NYM3
4. Astros: @SEA3, @OAK3
5. Rangers: @ARI2, @LAA3
Finding five teams with distinctly poor matchups this week was more of a challenge than usual, so take this list with a grain of salt. The Marlins and Cardinals simply have the misfortune of playing the Nationals, and again, the Rangers are one of two teams playing just five games (with the other being the Diamondbacks).
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, April 16.
Justin Morneau, 1B, Rockies: Yup, a full week at Coors
Field should be the cure for the few Rockies hitters off to slow starts,
and none is off to a slower start than Morneau, who entered Friday
batting .222 (8 for 36). Also helping his case are the seven
right-handers on tap. Last year, Morneau hit .341 with a .927 OPS
against righties compared to .254 and .665 against lefties. And as you
might expect, he hit .327 with an .878 OPS at home.
Start instead of: Mark Trumbo, Adam LaRoche
Jed Lowrie, SS, Astros: You may have noticed the Astros
among the five teams with the worst hitting matchups for this
week, but like I said, few teams' matchups are all that bad. The best
pitchers the Astros have on their six-game slate are Hisashi Iwakuma, Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz -- so no true aces -- and they face three lefties in
all. Lowrie is batting .308 (8 for 26) with three homers in his last
seven games, with all three of those homers coming against lefties.
Start instead of: Elvis Andrus, Jhonny Peralta
Steven Souza, OF, Rays: The longest home run of the 2015
season so far belongs to Souza, whose 463-foot blast Tuesday hit the
third deck in straightaway center field. He homered again the next day
to give him two home runs, as well as a .385 (5 for 13) batting average
and two stolen bases, in his last three games. If this is the start of a
hot streak, it's one you absolutely want a part of considering he hit
.350 with a 1.022 OPS at Triple-A Syracuse last year -- and not in an
especially hitter-friendly environment. Both of his home runs were off
lefties, and he faces three more this week.
Start instead of: Marcell Ozuna, Gregory Polanco
Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays: Pompey is another prospect
off to a slow start but showing signs of snapping out of it with two
home runs in his last five games. His batting average still leaves much
to be desired, but for the amount of contact he's made, he deserves
better. Facing nothing but right-handers this week should help the young
switch-hitter -- he's 1 for 19 in his career against lefties so far --
especially since, after Chris Archer
and Chris Tillman, none of those
righties are Fantasy-relevant themselves.
Start instead of: Khris Davis, Leonys Martin
Curtis Granderson, OF, Mets: Granderson has been pretty
useless so far, but he has shown some encouraging signs, such as an
MLB-leading walk total and an un-Granderson-like strikeout rate. It's an
indication to me that he hitting coach Kevin Long, who retooled
Granderson's swing back in his Yankees days, are on the right track.
Granderson goes back to Yankee Stadium, where he had so much success,
for three games this week. Plus, he just has favorable matchups against
pitchers like Trevor Cahill, Eric Stults, CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi.
Start instead of: Denard Span, Shin-Soo Choo
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins: Maybe you drafted Ozuna to be a
fixture in your lineup, but with a .194 (6 for 31) batting average, he
hasn't met his end of the bargain so far. Yes, it's early, but let's not
forget he reached base at only a .317 clip last year, striking out 164
times, so he's not a safe bet to bounce back quickly. His matchups
against Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg
and Gio Gonzalez this week certainly
Sit instead of: Charlie Blackmon, Curtis Granderson
Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers: You may have heard the Rangers
play only five games this week. That's just the latest reason to be down
on Andrus. In the past, his production depended largely on his
supporting cast, but he's no longer batting leadoff in a lineup that's
no longer so productive from top to bottom. Unless you can't afford to
pass up his steals in a Rotisserie league, you can do better than his
.167 (7 for 42) batting average so far.
Sit instead of: Marcus Semien, Jose Iglesias
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Indians: Moss homered four times this
spring, giving the impression that his offseason hip surgery is behind
him. But that doesn't make him any less streaky as a low-contact hitter.
Clearly, he's on the wrong side of streaky now, batting .100 (2 for 20)
in seven games, and the three lefties on tap for this week won't help
him reverse the trend. In fact, he may not even play against them,
leaving him to do all of his damage against Jeff Samardzija, Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon.
Sit instead of: Kendrys Morales, Travis Snider
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals: By all early accounts,
Moustakas looks like a different hitter this season, making contact at
an exceptionally high rate and hitting the ball to all fields. But one
shortcoming he may not be able to overcome is his struggles vs.
left-handers. He has a sub-.200 batting average against them each of the
last two years. He's 5 for 16 against them so far this year, but with
four on tap for the Royals this week, I'm not ready to give him the
benefit of the doubt.
Sit instead of: Pedro Alvarez, Marcus Semien
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees: Rodriguez may be the hardest
player to give the benefit of the doubt, if for no other reason than
he's 39 and hardly played the last two years. But his strong start,
complete with two home runs, probably has some Fantasy owners tempted to
play him. The 12 strikeouts in 28 at-bats are concerning, though,
especially for a four-game stretch this week against David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey.
Sit instead of: Brett Lawrie, Nick Castellanos