All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 31.
|Player Name||% change|
|1.||Junior Lake, OF, Cubs||19|
|2.||Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox||11|
|3.||Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves||10|
|4.||Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres||10|
|5.||Nate Schierholtz, OF, Cubs||10|
|6.||Juan Lagares, OF, Mets||10|
|7.||Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees||9|
|8.||Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros||9|
|9.||Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets||8|
|10.||Nick Franklin, 2B, Mariners||7|
Worth a second look: Alex Avila, Tigers
Avila might not be a terrible fill-in option at catcher either. He's not nearly as promising as Ramos, but he was a big deal in Fantasy before his knees wore out late in 2011. And since coming back from a DL stint (and time to rest his knees) a month ago, he's been decent, batting .269 (18 for 67) with three homers and an .818 OPS. Normally, I wouldn't think much of it, but with the Tigers one of just a handful of teams playing seven games week -- and with some decent matchups against the Indians and Yankees -- he's a sneaky play at a position of need.
Approach with caution: Evan Gattis, Braves
Though mostly in the outfield, Gattis has gotten a chance to play every day for the Braves since the All-Star break, which is huge for any catcher-eligible player, particularly one with his power potential. But with B.J. Upton due back over the weekend, Gattis figures to go back to spot duty, starting just three games a week while also serving as the go-to pinch-hitter. He's still useful in that role, but not so much this week, with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann on tap.
No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy
Advisable starts: Matt Wieters, A.J. Pierzynski, Russell Martin, Jason Castro
Shaky starts: Wilson Ramos, Wilin Rosario, Salvador Perez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Alex Avila, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Doumit, Evan Gattis, John Buck, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Carlos Ruiz, Nick Hundley, Josh Phegley, Devin Mesoraco, Derek Norris, Yan Gomes, Chris Stewart, Welington Castillo, Geovany Soto
Don't bother: Dioner Navarro, Hank Conger, Chris Iannetta, Tony Cruz, Erik Kratz, Rob Brantly, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Yadier Molina (knee), Miguel Montero (back), Mike Zunino (hand), John Jaso (head), Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero
First baseThe 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.
The Twins have nothing to lose in 2013, so instead of toying around with Chris Colabello, giving him only sporadic looks in between trips back to Triple-A, they've decided to see what the minor-league masher can do. Considering he's already 29, his Triple-A numbers might just be the result of him beating up on less experienced competition, but for AL-only owners, he's worth the time of day.
Worth a second look: Adam Dunn, White Sox
With a .260 batting average, 19 home runs and .914 OPS since May 14, Dunn is clearly back on everyone's radar in Fantasy but doesn't seem like the most advisable start right now with just one home run in his last 17 games. He has shown signs of coming around lately, though, hitting safely in seven of his last eight games. He also plays seven games at home this week (where his OPS is 100 points higher than on the road), including four against the ghastly Twins rotation. Seems like a good time to get him active again.
Approach with caution: Nick Swisher, Indians
With his shoulder issue now behind him, the ever-streaky Swisher is due for a dramatic turnaround and has seemingly already begun one, batting .293 (29 for 99) with four homers and an .851 OPS in his last 26 games. But given the pitchers he'll be facing this week, activating him requires a huge leap of faith. He'll get a break with Jerome Williams at the end of the week, but he'll have to conquer Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson first.
No-brainers: Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz*, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Buster Posey, Freddie Freeman, Michael Cuddyer, Eric Hosmer
Advisable starts: Mark Trumbo, Carlos Santana, Billy Butler, Anthony Rizzo, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Kendrys Morales
Shaky starts: Daniel Murphy, Adam LaRoche, Brandon Belt, Nick Swisher, Yonder Alonso, Michael Morse, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak, Mitch Moreland, Justin Morneau, Logan Morrison, James Loney, Michael Young, Chris Johnson, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Paul Konerko, Darin Ruf, Mark Reynolds, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Juan Francisco, Chris Colabello, Brett Wallace, Brandon Moss, Lyle Overbay, Ike Davis, Yuniesky Betancourt, Daniel Nava, Matt Adams, Todd Helton
Don't bother: Gaby Sanchez, Yan Gomes, John Mayberry, Travis Hafner*, Josh Satin, Matt Tuiasosopo, Mike Carp, Joey Terdoslavich, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Albert Pujols (foot), Lance Berkman (back), Ryan Howard (knee), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lucas Duda (side), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton
|2.||Red Sox||@HOU3, @KC4|
|3.||White Sox||NYY3, MIN4|
Worth a second look: Nick Franklin, Mariners
Though Franklin has battled inconsistency over the course of his rookie season, he seems to be in top form now, hitting four home runs over his last 10 games. This week, he's back home, where he has hit 50 points higher than on the road, and facing the vulnerable Blue Jays and Brewers pitching staffs. Considering he qualifies at the two thinnest positions in Fantasy, you don't have much excuse to sit him.
Approach with caution: Howie Kendrick, Angels
After getting off to the best start of his career, Kendrick was due for a course correction, and it has come in the form of a .233 (10 for 43) batting average (with zero extra-base hits) in his last 11 games. His season percentages are still among the best of his career, so he may still have more correcting to do. With matchups against Yu Darvish, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber and Justin Masterson, he's a candidate to sit this week if you have viable alternatives
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Daniel Murphy, Nick Franklin, Neil Walker, Marco Scutaro, Brad Miller, Dan Uggla, Martin Prado, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Howie Kendrick, Brett Lawrie, Aaron Hill, Anthony Rendon, Rickie Weeks, Jedd Gyorko, Brian Dozier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Gordon Beckham, Brian Roberts, Darwin Barney, Omar Infante (shin), Mark Ellis, DJ LeMahieu, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jurickson Profar, Dustin Ackley, Kelly Johnson, Donovan Solano, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Emilio Bonifacio, Alexi Amarista, Ryan Raburn
Don't bother: Chris Nelson, Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Logan Forsythe, Chris Getz (knee), Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich
Third baseThough the Phillies' promotion of Cody Asche Tuesday is noteworthy in Fantasy, what the Red Sox ultimately decide to do at third base is of greater interest to mixed-league owners. Benchwarmer type Brock Holt gets the nod for now, but when the Red Sox decide they want more offense at the position, they'll turn to either Will Middlebrooks or Xander Bogaerts. Middlebrooks has some power potential but has struggled in his previous opportunities this year. Bogaerts is about as high-end as prospects get and figures to be a game-changer for years to come. To me, he's the more exciting stash.
Worth a second look: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Moustakas earns this designation for a second straight week. He's been a .300 hitter for about six weeks now, and with four homers in his last 65 at-bats, his power seems to have returned as well. At long last, the Royals seem to have righted the wrongs done by former hitting coach Jack Maloof. With three games against the Twins pitching staff in a seven-game week, Moustakas deserves your trust.
Approach with caution: Chase Headley, Padres
Like Moustakas, Headley's batting average has been trending up the last few weeks, but unlike Moustakas, he's still lacking the home runs Fantasy owners expect from him. In a five-game week, a high batting average likely won't cut it in mixed leagues, and considering some of his matchups in those games -- specifically, Bronson Arroyo, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake -- he's no certainty for a high batting average anyway.
No-brainers: Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Carpenter, Kyle Seager, Evan Longoria
Advisable starts: Miguel Cabrera (abdominal), Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Moustakas, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: Brett Lawrie, Chase Headley, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, David Freese, Michael Young, Chris Johnson, Jedd Gyorko, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cody Asche, Trevor Plouffe, Lonnie Chisenhall, Mark Reynolds, Juan Francisco, Brett Wallace, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jurickson Profar, Luis Valbuena, Matt Dominguez, Alberto Callaspo, Kelly Johnson, Eric Chavez, Conor Gillaspie, Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Mike Aviles, Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, Jordan Pacheco, Aramis Ramirez (knee), Kevin Youkilis (back), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos
Worth a second look: Marco Scutaro, Giants
The failures of the Giants offense as a whole have severely limited Scutaro's productivity in Fantasy, making him only the 14th-best shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues despite a .315 batting average. He's clearly at his best right now, though, batting .455 (10 for 22) over his last six games, and with the Giants scheduled to face the bottom-feeder Brewers rotation in four of their seven games this week, he should get a little help from his teammates for once.
Approach with caution: Junior Lake, Cubs
Lake is clearly the hot hand at shortstop right now, so you could certainly make a case to start him this week, especially if you normally rely on Everth Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta at the position. But like Zoilo Almonte's first couple weeks in the big leagues, what Lake is doing right now just doesn't jibe with his minor-league track record or pedigree. I worry it might come to an end this week, given the Cubs' matchups. They're facing Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Lance Lynn, Adam Wainwright and Joe Kelly.
No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus
Advisable starts: Nick Franklin, Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro, J.J. Hardy, Marco Scutaro, Brad Miller, Andrelton Simmons, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Alexei Ramirez, Junior Lake, Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Erick Aybar, Brian Dozier, Derek Jeter
Strictly AL/NL-only: Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, Zack Cozart, Jonathan Villar, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Jurickson Profar, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Eduardo Nunez, Pete Kozma, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Xander Bogaerts, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich, Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton
OutfieldCarlos Gonzalez left Wednesday's game with a sprained right middle finger -- an injury that has had him in and out of the lineup for about a week now -- but is defiant in his refusal to go on the DL, saying a couple weeks off won't make a difference. The trainer seems to support his decision, which means you shouldn't be too concerned about him going on the DL. You shouldn't even be concerned about his performance with the injury considering he went 5 for 5 Monday. But you should be concerned with just how often the injury will keep him out of the lineup. If he sits even one of the Rockies' three games over the weekend, he's less than a must-start this week.
Worth a second look: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Raul Ibanez, Mariners
With a .266 batting average, six homers and six steals on the year, Jackson's performance has been lackluster, to put it mildly, yet in Head-to-Head leagues, the production is still there. For the year, he's averaging more Fantasy points per game than Justin Upton, among others. All his peripheral numbers make him a steady start from week to week, and he should deliver more than his usual allotment this week with matchups against Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. Ibanez has gone ice cold since the All-Star break, which was bound to happen given how hot he was before it. But this week, the Mariners have six home games against six mostly vulnerable righties, including R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Todd Redmond, Tyler Thornburg and Wily Peralta. Two-thirds of his home runs have come against righties, which isn't a surprise, but two-thirds have come at home, which kind of is. Clearly, the matchups favor a turnaround for Ibanez this week. Knowing how much damage he can do in a short period of time, he's worth a roll of the dice.
Approach with caution: Michael Bourn, Indians and Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Bourn's dramatic decline in steals this year -- he's on pace for only 20 -- is one of the more under-discussed topics in Fantasy. He has actually been fairly productive since the All-Star break, but more because of home runs and RBI than contributions he might actually be able to sustain. As a base-stealer during that stretch, he's 0 for 2. I'm guessing the RBI opportunities dry up in a week he's facing the best the Tigers and Angels have to offer. Granderson is supposed to come off the DL Friday after missing virtually all of this season with a fractured right forearm, followed by a fractured left pinkie, but unless he puts on a show over the weekend, you should resist rushing him back into your lineup. He opens Week 19 (Aug. 5-11) against three left-handers -- Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago -- after hitting only .218 against lefties last season, and the righties he's facing -- Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander -- are no slouch either. Not a good way to shake off the rust.
No-brainers: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Davis, Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Alex Rios, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Michael Cuddyer, Hunter Pence, Starling Marte, Wil Myers
Advisable starts: Carlos Gonzalez (finger), Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo, Shin-Soo Choo (ankle), Bryce Harper (hip), Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Alejandro De Aza, Norichika Aoki, Nick Markakis, Raul Ibanez, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: Domonic Brown (concussion), Nelson Cruz, Shane Victorino, Colby Rasmus, Nick Swisher, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Curtis Granderson (hand), Michael Brantley, Coco Crisp, Michael Bourn, Nate McLouth, Adam Eaton, Michael Morse, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Evan Gattis, Eric Young, Carlos Quentin (knee), Denard Span, Melky Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, Logan Morrison, Christian Yelich, Leonys Martin, B.J. Upton (adductor), Gerardo Parra, Josh Reddick (headache), Ryan Doumit, Nate Schierholtz, Junior Lake
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, David DeJesus, Darin Ruf, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Drew Stubbs, Jon Jay, Luke Scott, David Murphy, Brandon Moss, J.B. Shuck, Jake Marisnick, Kelly Johnson, Will Venable, Henry Urrutia, Daniel Nava, Lorenzo Cain, Seth Smith, Cody Ross, Caleb Gindl, Matt Joyce, David Lough, John Mayberry, Delmon Young, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Jose Tabata, Alexi Amarista, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell, Jonny Gomes, Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Ryan Raburn, Chris Young
Don't bother: Vernon Wells, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Barnes, Kole Calhoun, Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp (ankle), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), Lucas Duda (side), Josh Willingham (knee), Zoilo Almonte (ankle), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), J.D. Martinez (wrist), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oscar Taveras, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Aaron Hicks, 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 . You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .