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The outfield position has thinned out a good bit over the last week, with Jacoby Ellsbury, Corey Dickerson and Wil Myers all going on the DL.

It's not the Red Sox's fault, though. They actually did something to combat it Friday, calling up Rusney Castillo to man right field on a semi-regular basis.

By now, you probably know he's a pretty big deal, potentially giving the Red Sox something like what the White Sox got from Jose Abreu last season. OK, so that's an unfair standard to set for anyone, but he's at an age (27) where he's expected to produce right away. The question is whether or not you can start him right away in Fantasy.

Fortunately, he has the weekend to audition for a lineup spot. Having stashed him all this time, I think in most cases I'd be willing to roll the dice, but then again, upside is only theoretical. Some people need to see results first, and for those people, his promotion comes at the perfect time.

Regardless of whether he lives up to the hype in his first weekend back in the big leagues, though, he'll have an easy go of it in Fantasy Week 8 (May 25-31). The Red Sox have the second-best matchups of any team, going against pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey, Phil Hughes, Nick Martinez, Yovani Gallardo, Phil Klein and Wandy Rodriguez.

That's even more reason to believe.

Best Hitting Matchups for Week 8:
1. White Sox: @TOR3, @BAL2, @HOU3
2. Red Sox: @MIN3, @TEX4
3. Indians: TEX3, @SEA4
4. Orioles: HOU3, CHW2, TB3
5. Mets: PHI3, MIA3

An eight-game slate pushes the White Sox ahead of the Red Sox, but the Orioles also play eight games. Their schedule isn't as favorable because they have to face Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Chris Sale in three of them, but their fringy mixed-leaguers are easier to fit into a Fantasy lineup. I mean, who's betting on Adam LaRoche right now?

Worst Hitting Matchups for Week 8:
1. Mariners: @TB3, CLE4
2. Cubs: WAS3, KC3
3. Braves: @LAD3, @SF4
4. Angels: SD3, DET4
5. Diamondbacks: @STL3, @MIL3

That's right: No team plays just five games this week, making this list all about the opposing pitchers. Unfortunately, given the injury-depleted state of pitching across the league right now, I have to use the term "worst" pretty loosely. The toughest pitcher the Diamondbacks face in their six games this week is Lance Lynn -- nobody's idea of a true ace -- so keep that in mind.

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 leagues, with the assumption being that those owned in more are automatic starts.

All stats are updated through Thursday, May 21.

Five up

Josh Harrison, 3B/OF, Pirates: So you gave up on Harrison, did you? Looks like he's not a one-year wonder after all. He's one of the hottest players in baseball right now, batting .514 (18 for 35) with two home runs, four doubles and a stolen base over his last eight games, and considering his BABIP is still only .277, more regression (the good kind) is coming. His strikeout and line-drive rates are actually improved from a year ago, so I'm betting he's back to must-start status sooner than not. No sense sitting him now.
Start instead of: Mark Trumbo, Maikel Franco

Denard Span, OF, Nationals: Fantasy owners' continued disinterest in Span is on the verge of embarrassing now. He was only the 14th-ranked outfielder in Head-to-Head leagues last year and the 21st-ranked outfielder in Rotisserie. Why do I use last year's ranking instead of this year's? Well, he spent the first two weeks this year recovering from core muscle surgery, which I suspect is why he's still an afterthought now. All he has done since returning, though, is hit .333 with an .885 OPS, and he's currently riding a nine-game hitting streak in which hee has hit .410 (16 for 39). He'll be the player all the other Nationals are driving in when they beat up on the back end of the Cubs and Reds rotations this week.
Start instead of: Jay Bruce, Dexter Fowler

Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants: Belt is hitless in two games since homering in three straight at Cincinnati last weekend, but one of those games was against Clayton Kershaw. You wanted him facing lefties, right? Whether you did or didn't is irrelevant with seven righties on tap for the Giants this week. Belt knows what to do against them, batting .347 with a .994 OPS for the year, and he's a good bet, given his home-away splits, to take advantage of hitter-friendly Miller Park to open the week.
Start instead of: Kendrys Morales, Brandon Moss

Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies: Looks like a healthy dose of Coors Field was all Utley needed to get right. He actually started to have better luck a couple games before the Phillies' road trip -- giving him a .450 (9 for 20) batting average, four doubles and a triple in his last six games -- and I use the term "luck" deliberately. For all his struggles to begin the season, his strikeout rate has remained as low as ever. His BABIP, meanwhile, is a ghastly .173 -- obviously too low to believe. He has had more extreme platoon splits over the last few years, so a full six games against right-handed pitchers, including three more against the Rockies pitching staff, should be enough to keep him going.
Start instead of: Addison Russell, Brandon Phillips

Steve Pearce, 1B/2B/OF, Orioles: Pearce did hit a grand slam Thursday, but to say he's hot would be disingenuous. Still, his .294 (5 for 17) batting average and two home runs over his last five games is the best we've seen from him since he homered in back-to-back games to start the year. Knowing how streaky he can be (just check out the month-by-month breakdown of his 2014), now is a decent time to gamble on him, especially since, with eight games, he could continue to flounder and still turn in usable production.
Start instead of: Moss, Russell, Phillips

Five down

Kendrys Morales, 1B, Royals: Morales has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Royals' suddenly explosive lineup, driving in all those high on-base guys to emerge as a must-start Fantasy option. But unless manager Ned Yost is planning on playing either him or Eric Hosmer in the outfield, Morales figures to be the odd man out during the Royals' three-game series at the Cubs to end the week. Maybe Yost uses that series as an opportunity to give Hosmer a day off and Morales still ends up starting four games, but at a deep position, those playing-time limitations will be tough to overcome.
Sit instead of: Lucas Duda, Adam Lind

Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs: If you own Castro, I'm guessing you've been pretty underwhelmed with him so far. His batting average isn't as low as it was two years ago, but he hasn't brought much to the table otherwise. That's certainly true for May, during which he has hit .215 (17 for 79) in 20 games. Don't expect a turnaround this week either. The Cubs face nothing but right-handers, against whom Castro is batting .246 compared to .417 against lefties, and four of them -- Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer, Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura -- aren't what you'd call favorable matchups.
Sit instead of: Jimmy Rollins, Alexei Ramirez

Jake Marisnick, OF, Astros: At this point, you probably don't need much of a reason to sit Marisnick. With a .170 (9 for 53) batting average over his last 16 games, he's making that case all on his own. But since he's still started in nearly half of all Fantasy leagues, I'm thinking this stat will be the clincher for some owners: For all his successes earlier this season, he's batting just .200 with a .614 OPS against lefties, and the Astros have four of them on tap this week. That split was reversed last season, so maybe it doesn't make any sense, but again, you'll take whatever excuse you can get to sit him.
Sit instead of: Rusney Castillo, Curtis Granderson

Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers: Andrus' drastic lefty-righty splits, on the other hand, are a two-year trend. He's batting just .173 against righties this season (in a whopping 110 at-bats!) after batting .247 with just a .607 OPS against them last season. The Rangers' matchups this week aren't so terrible, but given that they're facing six righties, you shouldn't expect Andrus to get on base too much. Steals are all he brings to the table anyway, and he has just five of those so far. He's one of the most over-started players at 64 percent.
Sit instead of: Yunel Escobar, Jung Ho Kang

Yasmany Tomas, 3B/OF, Diamondbacks: You're not going to like hearing it since he's one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, batting .500 (13 for 26) over his last six games, but I'm still not convinced Tomas is a game-changer in mixed leagues. His .349 batting average would suggest otherwise, but his .442 slugging percentage is awfully low by comparison. Power is supposed to be his standout tool, and we just haven't seen it yet. I'm not saying you can't start Tomas -- as I said earlier, the Diamondbacks' matchups aren't so bad -- but in standard mixed leagues, you probably have a better third baseman than him.
Sit instead of: Jimmy Paredes, Alex Rodriguez