Hit Parade for Week 18

All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 24.


Most Added Hitters (as of 7/26)
Player Name % change
1. Junior Lake, OF, Cubs 29
2. Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins 28
3. Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets 20
4. Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres 11
5. Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners 10
6. Kelly Johnson, OF, Rays 9
7. Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros 9
8. Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers 7
9. Luke Scott, DH, Rays 6
10. Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins 6
Miguel Montero has been out since Monday with inflammation in his back, and though he isn't expected to go on the DL, he might not be quite 100 percent heading into Fantasy Week 18 (July 29-Aug. 4). Considering he's been a colossal disappointment this season, batting just .226, this injury gives you all the incentive you need to sit him even with him showing small signs of improvement recently. The Diamondbacks don't have the greatest matchups this week anyway, facing David Price, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester in a six-game span.
Worth a second look: Evan Gattis, Braves
Sure enough, Gattis has gotten to play virtually every day in the outfield with B.J. Upton sidelined by a strained adductor, and with Upton showing no clear signs of returning, Gattis has a good chance of playing all seven of the Braves' games this week. That's reason enough to start a player with his power potential at the weak catcher position. The four lefties -- against whom he's batting .314 with a .987 OPS -- and favorable matchups against the Rockies and Phillies rotations are just icing on the cake.
Approach with caution: Wilson Ramos, Nationals
Ramos has been a nice find off the waiver recently, batting .327 (16 for 49) with three homers in 14 games since returning from the DL to become the Nationals' primary catcher July 4. But the Nationals are one of four teams playing only five games this week, and three of them are against Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Kyle Lohse. He's not an automatic sit because of it, but you'll want to prioritize other catchers over him.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy
Advisable starts: Evan Gattis, Salvador Perez, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Castro, Wilin Rosario
Shaky starts: J.P. Arencibia, Mike Zunino, Ryan Doumit, Wilson Ramos, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Miguel Montero (back), John Buck, Nick Hundley, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: John Jaso (head), Carlos Ruiz, Josh Phegley, Devin Mesoraco, Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Chris Stewart, Yan Gomes, Derek Norris
Don't bother: Hank Conger, Chris Iannetta, Welington Castillo, Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Erik Kratz, Jose Lobaton, Rob Brantly, Geovany Soto, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero

First base

The few players who qualify only at DH now appear alongside the first basemen so that their owners might have some context for how to approach them this week. If you see an asterisk (*) next to a player's name, it means he's DH-only and not a legitimate first baseman.

After looking like he was finally ready to make good on his potential when he first came off the DL in early June, Logan Morrison has fallen into a rut, batting .147 (5 for 34) with just one extra-base hit in his last nine games. And perhaps in part because of that, the Marlins have resorted to platooning him, sitting him in five of their last six vs. lefties. It won't make much of a difference this week, with six righties on the schedule, but it certainly limits his value going forward.
Worth a second look: Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Lind hasn't been especially productive lately. He went on a doubles binge just before the All-Star break but is 3 for 20 (.150) in six games since. A week on the road -- where he has a .921 OPS -- should help him get back on track, especially since six of the seven pitchers on tap are right-handed. He's batting .302 with a .903 OPS against righties this season.
Approach with caution: Daniel Nava, Red Sox
Though he's a switch-hitter, Nava has taken to sitting against lefties recently, which isn't too surprising considering he's batting .224 with a .606 OPS against them this year. The problem is the Red Sox have three on tap in their six games this week -- including Patrick Corbin -- and of the three righties they face, two are All-Stars in Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez. You shouldn't expect much production from Nava even in the games he does play.

No-brainers: Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Prince Fielder, Buster Posey, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz*, Freddie Freeman, Michael Cuddyer
Advisable starts: Mark Trumbo, Anthony Rizzo, Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana, Billy Butler, Mike Napoli, Adam Dunn, Kendrys Morales, Victor Martinez, Justin Smoak, Adam Lind, Daniel Murphy
Shaky starts: Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher, Brandon Belt, Justin Morneau, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Mitch Moreland, Todd Frazier, Michael Morse (quadriceps), James Loney, Daniel Nava, Michael Young
Strictly AL/NL-only: Paul Konerko, Chris Johnson, Garrett Jones, Matt Adams, Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, Lyle Overbay, Ike Davis, Darin Ruf, Chris Carter, Brett Wallace, Juan Francisco, John Mayberry, Todd Helton
Don't bother: Travis Hafner*, Josh Satin, Gaby Sanchez, Matt Tuiasosopo, Yan Gomes, Mike Carp, Joey Terdoslavich, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Lance Berkman (back), Ryan Howard (knee), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lucas Duda (side), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton

Second base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Mets @MIA4, KC3
2. Braves COL4, @PHI3
3. Orioles HOU3, SEA3
4. Pirates STL5, COL3
5. Royals @MIN3, @NYM3
After sitting out 2 1/2 weeks with a strained oblique, the Pirates' Neil Walker returned to the lineup Tuesday. He hasn't contributed much yet, and considering he's normally just an iffy mixed-league option anyway, you don't have much incentive to force him into your lineup. But the Pirates are one of three teams playing eight games this week, and considering seven are against right-handers, he's not such a bad option.
Worth a second look: Dan Uggla, Braves
Walker isn't quite the play Uggla is right now, though. With two homers since the All-Star break, the Braves second baseman now has seven in his last 20 games, making him plenty productive at a weak position even with a .203 batting average during that stretch. Of course, the power surge has to end eventually, but I'm betting it won't this week against pitchers like Juan Nicasio, Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan.
Approach with caution: Kelly Johnson, Rays
With a .375 (12 for 32) batting average and four home runs in his last nine games, Johnson does seem to be heating up again, continuing an up-and-down tendency that contributed to him hitting .299 with 10 homers in his first 44 games and .132 (12 for 91) with one homer in his next 27. But he's not back to starting against lefties, and unfortunately, that's what the Rays are facing in three of their five games this week. Continue to avoid him.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Chase Utley, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Dan Uggla, Jose Altuve, Martin Prado, Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Brad Miller
Shaky starts: Brett Lawrie, Nick Franklin, Neil Walker, Aaron Hill, Jed Lowrie, Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon, Rickie Weeks, Marco Scutaro, Brian Roberts, Gordon Beckham (thumb)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brian Dozier, Darwin Barney, Kelly Johnson, Omar Infante (shin), Mark Ellis, DJ LeMahieu, Jurickson Profar, Dustin Ackley, Emilio Bonifacio, Alexi Amarista, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Donovan Solano
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Logan Forsythe, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Chris Getz, Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich

Third base

Even though Miguel Cabrera has already missed three straight games with a sore hip flexor, the Tigers say they'll continue to play it safe with him. They haven't ruled out a Friday return, but if the weekend comes and goes without him getting an at-bat, you'll have a difficult decision to make with the best hitter in Fantasy, especially given the Tigers' tough matchups in the upcoming five-game week. Most likely, unless you just happen to have an advisable start wasting away on your bench, you'll stick with him.
Worth a second look: Mike Moustakas, Royals
While Eric Hosmer has been the bigger beneficiary of the Royals' change in hitting coach, Moustakas has shown improvement since late May as well, batting .313 (30 for 96) with three homers, eight doubles and an .843 OPS over his last 27 games. It's not enough to make him a trustworthy option in mixed leagues, but in a week the Royals are facing pitchers like Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond, Carlos Torres and Jeremy Hefner, he'll probably do some damage.
Approach with caution: Mark Reynolds, Indians
After a tremendous start to the season, Reynolds is batting just .175 (37 for 212) with four homers since May 10, but that's not the worst thing going for him this week. With the DH spot unavailable for the Indians' three games in Miami, Reynolds figures to be the odd man out. That might be reason enough for even AL-only owners to stay away.

No-brainers: Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager, Evan Longoria
Advisable starts: Miguel Cabrera (hip), Ryan Zimmerman, Manny Machado, Pedro Alvarez, Martin Prado, Chase Headley, Pablo Sandoval
Shaky starts: Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon, David Freese, Todd Frazier, Michael Young, Nolan Arenado
Strictly AL/NL-only: Trevor Plouffe, Chris Johnson, Lonnie Chisenhall, Mark Reynolds, Kelly Johnson, Juan Francisco, Jurickson Profar, Luis Valbuena, Alberto Callaspo, Jose Iglesias, Adeiny Hechavarria, Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez, Alexi Amarista, Maicer Izturis, Conor Gillaspie
Don't bother: Eric Chavez, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, Jordan Pacheco, Aramis Ramirez (knee), Kevin Youkilis (back), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos


Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers WAS2, CHW3
2. White Sox @CLE4, @DET3
3. Red Sox SEA3, ARI3
4. Diamondbacks @TB2, @TEX1, @BOS3
5. Rockies @ATL4, @PIT3
Junior Lake isn't playing shortstop for the Cubs, but he's eligible there in Fantasy. And with a .519 (14 for 27) batting average and two home runs in six games, he's off to a great start in the big leagues. He doesn't have the pedigree to maintain anywhere close to that pace and, in the end, will probably settle into being an NL-only option. But at a weak position, no one would blame you for riding the hot hand, especially with eight games on tap for the Cubs this week.
Worth a second look: Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Good week to be a Braves fan, huh? It just so happens that some of their fringier players are hot heading into a week of favorable matchups, and Simmons is no exception. The recent power surge is a little unexpected, but you'll take what you can get at shortstop. Against Juan Nicasio, Tyler Chatwood, Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan this week, he's likely to sprinkle in some singles and doubles.
Approach with caution: Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
For now, Peralta is still batting over .300, but his track record suggests a downfall is coming as long as he keeps striking out at his current rate. Even if he manages to continue the hot hitting against Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Hector Santiago and Jake Peavy this week -- which seems unlikely -- the five-game schedule figures to mute his production.

No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Starlin Castro, J.J. Hardy, Everth Cabrera, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Brad Miller, Andrelton Simmons
Shaky starts: Junior Lake, Nick Franklin, Jed Lowrie, Alexei Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Jhonny Peralta, Marco Scutaro, Erick Aybar, Derek Jeter (quadriceps)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Zack Cozart (hip), Didi Gregorius, Brian Dozier, Yunel Escobar, Jurickson Profar, Brandon Crawford, Stephen Drew, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eduardo Nunez, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich, Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton


Matt Holliday, who has been out since before the All-Star break with a strained hamstring, completed a series of running drills Tuesday and says he has no restrictions, which makes him a near lock to return when first eligible Saturday. Fortunately, he'll have a chance to prove his health before you have to activate him, but right now, he looks like an advisable start. Curtis Granderson's situation is a little more up in the air. He was set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday, but considering he's been out since May 24 with a broken pinkie, it figures to be a lengthy one. Maybe he'll return before the end of Fantasy Week 18 (July 29-Aug. 4), but you clearly shouldn't bank on it.
Worth a second look: Christian Yelich, Marlins and Nate Schierholtz, Cubs
Yelich is the latest of the minor leagues' best to arrive in the big leagues, and though no one can say for sure if his talents will translate right away, his 3-for-4 performance Wednesday was obviously a good sign. Though billed as a future batting title contender, he hit only .275 between three stops in the minors this year, but most of his issues were against left-handed pitchers. Unless he bombs over the weekend, he's worthy of getting the benefit of the doubt in a week the Marlins are facing six righties. Schierholtz still isn't an everyday player, which makes him an iffy start in standard mixed leagues, but by homering both Tuesday and Wednesday, he showed he's over the 7-for-50 (.140) slump that ended his first half. Plus, with the Cubs playing eight games this week, he figures to come close to a full workload even with three lefties on tap.
Approach with caution: Torii Hunter, Tigers and Leonys Martin, Rangers
Even though he offers minimal power and no speed at this stage of his career, Hunter has remained a productive Fantasy option in part because he's been able to put together streaks like this latest 18-game stretch in which he has hit .372 (29 for 78) with five homers and a 1.048 OPS. Can't expect him to keep that up much longer, can you? His matchups in a short five-game week against Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Hector Santiago and Jake Peavy should be enough to cool him off. Though Martin hasn't exactly gone back to platooning since Craig Gentry returned from the DL July 19, he has sat in favor of Gentry a couple times. The timeshare isn't as predictable as it was before, which makes Martin a risky option in mixed leagues even with the Rangers facing mostly righties this week. Considering Martin is 2 for 21 (.095) over his last seven games, you'd probably want to avoid him regardless.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury, Allen Craig, Adam Jones, Matt Carpenter, Jay Bruce, Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Nelson Cruz, Yasiel Puig, Bryce Harper, Desmond Jennings, Michael Cuddyer, Starling Marte, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence
Advisable starts: Mark Trumbo, Nick Markakis, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, Alex Rios, Matt Holliday (hamstring), Josh Hamilton (ankle), Jason Heyward, Wil Myers, Jayson Werth, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Austin Jackson, Alejandro De Aza, Martin Prado, Brett Gardner, Norichika Aoki, Christian Yelich, Coco Crisp
Shaky starts: Raul Ibanez, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Nate McLouth, Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley, Evan Gattis, Torii Hunter, Carlos Quentin, Michael Bourn, Logan Morrison, Adam Eaton, Ichiro Suzuki, Andre Ethier, Michael Morse (quadriceps), Carl Crawford, Nate Schierholtz, Junior Lake, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Domonic Brown (concussion), Gerardo Parra, Daniel Nava, Leonys Martin, Josh Reddick, Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, Luke Scott
Strictly AL/NL-only: Eric Young (knee), Garrett Jones, Dayan Viciedo, Henry Urrutia, Jose Tabata (forearm), Michael Saunders, David DeJesus, David Murphy, Jake Marisnick, Darin Ruf, Brandon Moss, Aaron Hicks, Curtis Granderson (hand), Drew Stubbs, Chris Carter, Lorenzo Cain, Jon Jay, Will Venable, Seth Smith, John Mayberry, Cody Ross, Delmon Young, Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Rajai Davis, J.B. Shuck, Gregor Blanco, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Logan Schafer, Alexi Amarista, J.D. Martinez (back), David Lough, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell (concussion), Vernon Wells, Jonny Gomes, Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Chris Young, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Barnes (calf)
Don't bother: Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp (ankle), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), B.J. Upton (adductor), Lucas Duda (side), Josh Willingham (knee), Zoilo Almonte (ankle), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oswaldo Arcia, Oscar Taveras, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Avisail Garcia, Anthony Gose

The Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Looking at matchups for the week ahead and considering other factors such as streaks, injuries and lineup changes, we sort all Fantasy-relevant hitters at each position into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."

These designations rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole. Injuries are shown in parentheses.

Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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