The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we'll give you the latest on injuries, lineup changes, streaks and matchups, highlighting the players at each position who might surprise or disappoint as a result. NOTE: The Planner will be updated with the latest information every Sunday prior to lineup deadlines.
Any players not listed here fall into the "status quo" category, meaning you should take your usual approach with them.
All statistics are updated through Saturday, June 25.
The Twins are looking into using Joe Mauer at first base in between catching duties, which would only improve his Fantasy appeal if it gives him more at-bats than the average catcher. Of course, as banged up as he's been all season, the Twins would probably settle for as many as the average catcher. He hasn't hit well since his return from bilateral leg weakness, recording only one extra-base hit, but considering his upside at the historically weak position, you'll probably want to start him anyway. The Yankees will play three games without the DH this week, which means Jorge Posada will once again find the at-bats hard to come by. But considering he's starting in only 31 percent of leagues, Fantasy owners have pretty much gotten the message there.
Brian McCann: .354 (29 for 82), 9 HRs, 18 RBI, 1 SB, 1.210 OPS, 14 BBs, 11 Ks in 23 games
Victor Martinez: .451 (23 for 51), 1 HR, 13 RBI, 1.060 OPS in 14 games
A.J. Pierzynski: .420 (21 for 50), 1 HR, 1.063 OPS, 3 BBs, 1 K in 13 games
Kurt Suzuki: .105 (4 for 38), 1 HR, .401 OPS in 10 games
John Buck: .121 (4 for 33), 1 HR, 1 BB, 8 Ks in 10 games
Joe Mauer: .138 (4 for 29), one extra-base hit in eight games
Matt Wieters: .167 (5 for 30), 1 HR, .585 OPS in eight games
Worth a second look
J.P. Arencibia (56 percent started): Arencibia is batting .114 (4 for 35) over his last 11 games -- a slump you can contribute mostly two his struggles against right-handed pitchers. He's batting .198 with a .613 OPS against them compared to .320 with a 1.042 OPS against lefties. But of the five righties the Blue Jays face this week, four -- Max Scherzer, Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens and Kyle Kendrick -- are either slumping or plenty hittable to begin with. Add the fact Arencibia is on one of the six teams playing seven games this week, and he should be starting in more Fantasy leagues than not.
Geovany Soto (49 percent): Fantasy owners have been slow to come around on Soto since the former NL Rookie of the Year returned from a groin injury, but he hasn't been a complete non-factor at the plate. He has three homers and four doubles during the 21-game stretch. The Cubs play eight games this week, so even if his batting average doesn't improve, he should be able to outscore most catchers through the simple accumulation of at-bats. And you never know; maybe this is the week he chooses to bounce back.
Approach with caution
Matt Wieters (85 percent started): Wieters is by no means a must-sit this week, but you have to admit his recent slump is all the more discouraging with pitchers like Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson and Brandon Beachy on the schedule. Notice how they're all right-handers? Considering four of Wieters' seven homers have come against lefties for a .903 OPS against them compared to .665 against righties, you shouldn't expect a sudden rebound for the 25-year-old.
Ramon Hernandez (23 percent): Judging by his .313 batting average and .888 OPS, Hernandez should be an attractive Fantasy option, but his playing time only continues to shrink as the season goes on. He has started just three of the team's last nine games, with Ryan Hanigan handling the bulk of the catching duties. Even if Hernandez and Hanigan go back to splitting 50-50 this week, you can't like Hernandez's chances of succeeding against the Rays and Indians pitching staffs. Treat him as an NL-only option.
Mike Napoli began swinging a bat this weekend -- the first step in his return from a strained oblique -- but he'll likely be on rehab assignment in Fantasy Week 13 (June 27-July 3). Keep him reserved.
With Albert Pujols expected to miss six weeks or so with a broken forearm, Lance Berkman figures to get most of the playing time at first base, moving in from right field. Berkman has suggested he'll stay healthier in the outfield, though, so the Cardinals will likely give Mark Hamilton some starts at first base as well. Jon Jay and Andrew Brown figure to split time in right field with Berkman at first, but because they'll lose at-bats to each other as well as to Hamilton, they're strictly NL-only options. The Athletics finally had enough of Daric Barton, optioning him to the minor leagues Tuesday. Conor Jackson, Mark Ellis and the newly arrived Chris Carter figure to split time at first base, creating one of the least useful timeshares in all of Fantasy. The Red Sox play all six of their games in NL parks this week, which is bad news for David Ortiz owners. The Red Sox have talked about slotting the DH at first base for a game or two just to keep him from wasting away on the bench, but because such a move would require Adrian Gonzalez to move to the outfield or sit altogether, it won't happen often enough for Ortiz to make a significant Fantasy impact.
Paul Konerko: .412 (35 for 85), 11 HRs, 22 RBI, 1.367 OPS, 12 BBs, 13 Ks in 23 games
Adrian Gonzalez: .452 (28 for 62), 4 HRs, 18 RBI, 1.298 OPS in 15 games
James Loney: .458 (22 for 48), 1 HR, 1.063 OPS in 12 games
Miguel Cabrera: .464 (13 for 28), 2 HRs, 1.321 OPS, 7 BBs, 4 Ks in nine games
Brett Wallace: .077 (2 for 26), 2 BBs, 8 Ks in seven games
Adam Lind: .130 (3 for 23), no extra-base hits, .290 OPS in six games
Eric Hosmer: .091 (2 for 22), one extra-base hit, .312 OPS in six games
Adam Dunn: .091 (2 for 22), 1 BB, 12 Ks in six games
Worth a second look
Carlos Pena (60 percent started): Pena may not be impressing with his batting average right now, but he's proving once again his homers come in bunches, hitting five in his last nine games. Maybe if he was playing only six games this week, you could overlook the streak and go with someone else at your corner infield or utility slot, but with eight games on tap for the Cubs, you have to like his chances of making a worthwhile Fantasy impact.
James Loney (29 percent): First base is deep enough that you probably shouldn't resort to a non-power hitter like Loney, but if you're desperate for a sleeper or injury replacement, the 27-year-old seems to be back to his high-contact ways. He says he struggled early this year because he was making a conscious effort to hit for more power. Since reverting to his old stroke, he's once again usable in Fantasy. If nothing else, you have to like the five righties on the schedule for the Dodgers this week. Swinging for the fences or not, Loney has hit well against them, batting .309 this year.
Approach with caution
Billy Butler (81 percent started): Royals manager Ned Yost ended the suspense before it even started, saying Eric Hosmer would remain his starting first baseman in NL parks, with DH Billy Butler going to the bench. And though Butler actually did pilfer a start during the Royals' recent three-game series at St. Louis, you still shouldn't expect him to get more than one or two at the Padres and Rockies this week. That's reason enough for his starting percentage to fall from 81 to somewhere closer to zero.
Adam Dunn (49 percent): Interleague play is a bad time for the many first base eligible players who typically start at DH. Even if you expect manager Ozzie Guillen to get creative with Dunn again, giving him a start or two in left field during the team's six games at the Rockies and Cubs, he'll still get at most half a week of at-bats. And considering he's back to struggling at the plate, what good will that do in Fantasy?
With Dustin Ackley and Jemile Weeks now in the majors, Fantasy owners shouldn't expect to see many more reinforcements at second base, but at least Darwin Barney is on the verge of returning from his sprained knee. He began a rehab assignment over the weekend and could return midway through Fantasy Week 13 (June 27-July 3). Because he's just a middle-of-the-road Fantasy option when healthy, though, you wouldn't want to activate him for just half the week. With Freddy Sanchez sidelined by a dislocated shoulder, Emmanuel Burriss and Bill Hall have been splitting time at second base for the Giants. Burriss offers some measure of speed, and Hall offers some measure of power, but neither offers enough in a split role to matter outside of deeper NL-only leagues.
Dustin Pedroia: .413 (26 for 63), 9 2Bs, 2 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.219 OPS, 18 BBs, 5 Ks in 17 games
Michael Young: .404 (19 for 47), 3 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.109 OPS during 11-game hit streak
Danny Espinosa: .375 (18 for 48), 3 HRs, 10 RBI, 3 SBs, 1.013 OPS, 0 BBs, 12 Ks in 11 games
Chris Getz: .382 (13 for 34), no extra-base hits, 4 SBs in nine games
Kelly Johnson: .113 (6 for 53), two extra-base hits, .341 OPS, 5 BBs, 21 Ks in 14 games
Ryan Raburn: .167 (2 for 18), 1 HR, 3 BBs, 13 Ks in 13 games
Neil Walker: .185 (5 for 27), one extra-base hit, 1 SB, .480 OPS in seven games
Worth a second look
Jemile Weeks (41 percent started): Since coming up to the majors, Weeks has done everything right, showing off his extra-base power, base-stealing ability and selective approach while maintaining a batting average over .300. The Athletics are buying into him, choosing to demote mainstay Daric Barton over him when Mark Ellis returned from the DL. Weeks' minor-league track record in no way contradicts the numbers he's putting up now, so Fantasy owners have every reason to buy into him as well.
Alexi Casilla (29 percent): Casilla seemed destined to slow down with the Twins going on the road this past week, but instead, he only got hotter, connecting for his first two home runs. The career .297 hitter in the minors has been hot enough long enough that you at least have to acknowledge the possibility of him having a breakout season. With 15-plus Head-to-Head points in each of the last five weeks, he's giving you every reason to stick with him now.
Approach with caution
Danny Espinosa (77 percent started): Espinosa is as impressive as he is inconsistent, alternating between 30- and 10-point weeks over the last six weeks. The possibility of you missing out on one of his big weeks is perhaps reason enough never to sit him, but now would be a reasonable time to do so if you can talk yourself into it. He has done most of his damage against lefties, batting .325 with a .962 OPS against them. With no lefties on the schedule this week, we're more likely to get the bad version of Espinosa than the good.
Dan Uggla (76 percent): Just when Uggla finally, finally seems to be putting it all together, batting .259 (7 for 27) with two homers and a .556 slugging percentage over his last seven games, the Braves are slated to face some of the toughest pitchers in the unfamliar AL, going against Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez, Jeremy Guthrie and Zach Britton during a six-game week. If you've held on to Uggla this long, you don't want to miss risking out on his long overdue hot streak, but the odds are against him beginning that streak this week.
|1.||Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics||29|
|2.||Ty Wigginton, 1B, Rockies||18|
|3.||Alcides Escobar, SS, Royals||18|
|4.||Roger Bernadina, OF, Nationals||18|
|5.||Seth Smith, OF, Rockies||13|
|6.||J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles||11|
|7.||Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals||9|
|8.||A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox||9|
|9.||James Loney, 1B, Dodgers||8|
|10.||Alexi Casilla, 2B, Twins||8|
The Blue Jays are discussing moving Jose Bautista to third base temporarily to help spark some life in their offense. For Fantasy purposes, he's already eligible at the position this season, but if he's able to get 20 games there over the next three months, he'll retain that eligibility heading into next season. It's something to monitor in keeper leagues. One side effect of Dustin Ackley's arrival from the minors was the loss of regular playing time for Adam Kennedy. Now that the scrappy journeyman is on the bench, the Mariners have even less incentive to stick with Chone Figgins, whose season has gone from miserable to abysmal, and already we're beginning to see them divide starts between the two. Both are strictly AL-only options right now, but frankly, you should be rooting for Kennedy to win the job outright. At this point, he's the one more likely to have any relevance in mixed leagues.
Mark Reynolds: .375 (18 for 48), 4 HRs, 2 SBs, 1.231 OPS, 15 BBs, 18 Ks in 16 games
Chase Headley: .474 (18 for 38), 4 2Bs, 1 SB, 1.103 OPS, 3 BBs, 12 Ks in nine games
Kevin Youkilis: .429 (12 for 28), 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1.158 OPS in eight games
Alex Rodriguez: .545 (12 for 22), 4 2Bs, 8 RBI, 1.304 OPS in six games
Chone Figgins: .143 (17 for 119), 4 2Bs, 1 SB, .365 OPS, 7 BBs, 22 Ks in 33 games
Placido Polanco: .145 (8 for 55), 1 HR, .456 OPS in 16 games
Ryan Zimmerman: .115 (3 for 26), .332 OPS, 2 BBs, 8 Ks in six games
Ryan Roberts: .105 (2 for 19), .296 OPS in five games
Worth a second look
Ty Wigginton (54 percent started): Wigginton has the trifecta working for him this week. He's swinging a hot bat, batting .308 (16 for 52) with five homers over his last 14 games. He has favorable splits with an .851 OPS at home, where the Rockies play six of their games this week. He also has especially good matchups against hittable pitchers like Mark Buehrle, Kyle Davies, Luke Hochevar and Jeff Francis. You should be able to find a starting spot for him in one of the many positions at which he's eligible.
David Freese (4 percent): OK, you'd have to be pretty desperate to start Freese coming off an eight-week absence for a broken hand, but third base is a position of desperation for many Fantasy owners. The point is he's back -- or he will be Tuesday, anyway -- and considering he scored 15 or more Head-to-Head points in three of the four weeks he was healthy, his return is worth noting in Fantasy. At the very least, you'll want to keep an eye on him in his first week back in action.
Approach with caution
Placido Polanco (68 percent started): Polanco was so consistent at the beginning of the season that you probably thought he'd be a staple of your lineup forever. But his latest slump is showing exactly why he'll never be a must-start Fantasy option. He doesn't have much power or speed, so unless he's hitting well over .300, he doesn't have much to offer mixed-league owners. At a weak position like third base, you may not have a good enough alternative to sit him, but it's at least something to consider.
Mike Moustakas (36 percent): Moustakas homered soon after arriving from the minors and has maintained a high walk rate throughout his big-league stay. But so far in two weeks, he hasn't offered enough production to deserve a starting spot in standard Fantasy leagues. His future is bright, but his present is still uncertain enough for you to leave him on your bench.
Brandon Inge returned from a three-week battle with mono on Thursday and immediately resumed starting duties at third base. He'll hit the occasional homer but generally isn't a good enough hitter for mixed-league use. Don Kelly figures to lose at-bats with his return ... Casey Blake finally returned to the lineup Sunday after missing 11 of 13 games with a pinched nerve in his neck. He still offers some power, but at age 37, he'll remain prone to injuries and is unlikely to play every day, splitting time with both Juan Uribe and Aaron Miles. You can leave Blake for NL-only leagues.
Derek Jeter may not be the high-end Fantasy option he used to be, but he's still a viable starter when healthy. Unfortunately, he doesn't look like he'll be healthy in time for you to activate him this week. He has yet to begin a running program, and the Yankees have more or less ruled out the possibility of him returning when eligible Wednesday. You probably wouldn't have wanted to activate him for half a week anyway, but this latest report makes the decision an easy one.
J.J. Hardy: .386 (34 for 88), 8 HRs, 1.172 OPS, 7 BBs, 16 Ks in 21 games
Starlin Castro: .500 (18 for 36), 1 HR, 3 SBs, 1.217 OPS, 1 K during nine-game hit streak
Hanley Ramirez: .438 (7 for 16), 1 2B, 2 SBs, .971 OPS in four games
Stephen Drew: .184 (9 for 49), three extra-base hits, .456 OPS, 2 BBs, 13 Ks in 12 games
Jimmy Rollins: .175 (7 for 40), 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 SB, .542 OPS in 10 games
Ian Desmond: .087 (2 for 23), 0 BBs, 6 Ks in six games
Dee Gordon: .045 (1 for 22), .178 OPS, 1 BB, 7 Ks in six games
Worth a second look
J.J. Hardy (78 percent started): Why aren't you starting this guy yet? It's to the point that the Orioles' matchups, as unfavorable as they may be this week, don't even matter. Hardy is a two-time 20-homer man with a history of streakiness having a resurgent season at arguably the weakest position in Fantasy. You can't find 11 shortstops better than him, which means he deserves to be starting for someone in standard leagues. What more does he have to do to get your attention?
Marco Scutaro (19 percent): Scutaro has been putting up good numbers with Jed Lowrie sidelined by a shoulder injury -- perhaps not good enough to win back the job for good, but with Lowrie's return still up in the air, it's a moot point for now. As an everyday player last season, Scutaro's numbers weren't great, but he offered enough extra-base pop and on-base ability in a deep lineup to rank sixth among shortstops in Head-to-Head leagues. In other words, you should do just fine with him as your starter until Lowrie returns. He might be one of the most underutilized players in Fantasy right now.
Approach with caution
Alex Gonzalez (29 percent started): Gonzalez offers enough power to make a Fantasy impact from time-to-time, but as a free-swinging player with minimal on-base skills, he has little to offer when not hitting well, as he's showing now with a .103 (3 for 29) batting average over his last eight games. Against pitchers like Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez and Zach Britton this week, you shouldn't expect him to make much of a Fantasy impact.
Dee Gordon (22 percent): Gordon hasn't hit all that poorly since coming up from the minors to start for an injured Rafael Furcal (oblique), but his on-base skills are clearly lacking. Manager Don Mattingly gave him a day off Wednesday, and if his recent slump continues, he might have a few more of those in his future. Because he hasn't made much of a Fantasy impact even as an everyday player, now isn't the time to get him active.
Elvis Andrus sprained his left wrist Friday and is expected to sit until at least Tuesday. Wrist injuries can be tricky, but when Lance Berkman sprained one of his back in early May, he didn't miss more than a couple games either. Because Andrus is normally a must-start option when healthy, you'll probably want to keep him active this week. Then again, if you were an owner lucky enough to pick up a Jhonny Peralta or J.J. Hardy type as a backup, this injury gives you an excuse to make a switch.
Shin-Soo Choo, who was showing signs of coming around after a disappointing start this season, took a pitch off the hand Friday and ended up with a fracture in the thumb area. He's expected to miss 6-8 weeks -- more if surgery is necessary, and the alternatives in Cleveland aren't too promosing. Travis Buck and Austin Kearns could begin their platoon again, but in such a role, neither has been useful enough even for NL-only use. Athletics prospect Chris Carter is back in the majors after Josh Willingham finally had to go on the disabled list Thursday with an Achilles' injury that has bothered him off and on for the last few weeks. Willingham expects to return when eligible July 3, making Carter's stay potentially a short one, but if the young slugger can make an impression this week, the A's might decide to make him part of their short-term plans. Given his power potential, AL-only owners should certainly take a flier on him. The Diamondbacks promoted 29-year-old Wily Mo Pena from the minors to serve as their DH during interleague play, giving the Mark Reynolds of the outfield one last chance to stick in the majors. If he can perform even half as well as he did in the minors, he has a chance. It's not like the Diamondbacks' left field platoon of Gerardo Parra and Willie Bloomquist is an overflowing vat of production. For now, though, the Diamondbacks are indicating Pena is just a short-term option. Chris Heisey homered three times Wednesday, giving him more leverage in the battle for the Reds' left field job. Until Fred Lewis and Jonny Gomes are out of the picture, though, you have to leave Heisey for NL-only leagues. Andy Dirks and Magglio Ordonez are looking like platoon partners in Detroit, which means Dirks retains some value in AL-only leagues and Ordonez loses whatever mixed-league appeal he had left. Considering Ordonez's ongoing battle to stay healthy at age 37, it's not a major loss for Fantasy owners.
Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Matt Holliday, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Lance Berkman, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Shane Victorino, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Quentin, Chris Young, Andre Ethier, Nelson Cruz
Brennan Boesch: .405 (34 for 84), 6 HRs, 1.153 OPS, 8 BBs, 16 Ks in 21 games
Nick Markakis: .391 (27 for 69), 2 HRs, 1 SB, .961 OPS, 4 BBs, 4 Ks during 15-game hit streak
Michael Cuddyer: .468 (22 for 47), 3 HRs, 12 RBI, 4 SBs, 1.374 OPS in 14 games
Justin Upton: .468 (22 for 47), 1 HR, 3 SBs, 1.169 OPS in 12 games
Alex Gordon: .347 (17 for 49), 2 HRs, 10 RBI, .990 OPS, 5 BBs, 6 Ks during 12-game hit streak
B.J. Upton: .303 (10 for 33), 2 HRs, 6 SBs, .910 OPS in nine games
Jason Bay: .378 (14 for 37), 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 SBs, .908 OPS in nine games
Nelson Cruz: .364 (12 for 33), 3 HRs, 1 SB, 1.207 OPS, 1 BB, 10 Ks in eight games
Alex Rios: .429 (12 for 28), 2 HRs, 1 SB, 1.145 OPS, 2 BBs, 2 Ks during seven-game hit streak
Colby Rasmus: .192 (23 for 120), 3 HRs, 2 SBs, .638 OPS, 15 BBs, 28 Ks in 35 games
Rajai Davis: .085 (5 for 59), 0 SBs, .236 OPS, 1 BB, 18 Ks in 19 games
Domonic Brown: .125 (7 for 56), 3 HRs, 1 SB, 9 BBs, 8 Ks in 17 games
Matt Joyce: .130 (7 for 54), two extra-base hits, .385 OPS, 6 BBs, 14 Ks in 16 games
Jeff Francoeur: .130 (6 for 46), 1 HR, 4 SBs, .451 OPS, 12 Ks in 13 games
Corey Patterson: .133 (6 for 45), two extra-base hits, 3 SBs, 0 BBs, 15 Ks in 13 games
Carlos Quentin: .114 (4 for 35), one extra-base hit, 1 SB, .362 OPS in 10 games
Logan Morrison: .121 (4 for 33), no extra-base hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks in nine games
Angel Pagan: .095 (2 for 21), one extra-base hit, 0 SBs, 4 BBs, 3 Ks in six games
Worth a second look
Nick Swisher (71 percent started): Swisher has barely maintained a batting average over the Mendoza line this season, but the perennially streaky player appears to be heating up in June, batting .321 (26 for 81) with six homers and a 1.082 OPS over his last 25 games. He has 21 walks during that stretch compared to only 14 strikeouts, which is what Swisher does when he's at his best. His track record as an extreme hot-and-cold player overshadows the Yankees' sticky matchups this week, making him an attractive Fantasy option.
Alfonso Soriano (64 percent): Soriano has his own history of streakiness -- particularly in the power department -- and he seems to have his power stroke working since returning from a strained quadriceps, homering twice in 10 games. It's a pretty small sample, of course, but with eight games on the schedule this week, he has plenty of time to deliver a couple more. If you need a power boost, he's a player to consider.
Coco Crisp (51 percent): Crisp deserves more credit in Fantasy based on his consistency alone. He has scored 15 or more Head-to-Head points in six of the last seven weeks, giving him enough total points to rank 34th among all outfielders. Recently removed from a 10-game hitting streak, surely he deserves to start in more than half of all Fantasy leagues.
Roger Bernadina (21 percent): Bernadina has been swinging a hot bat since taking over in center field for the injured Rick Ankiel, batting .400 (18 for 45) with three homers and two steals over his last 11 games, and he should be able to keep it going with a four-game series against the Pirates this week. And with no left-handers on schedule, Bernadina's .222 batting average and .560 OPS against them won't even matter. If you're looking for both power and speed, he's at least viable.
Andres Torres (18 percent): Torres has been nothing short of a disappointment in Fantasy, but the splits are at least partially to blame. Left-handers have destroyed him, limiting him to a .091 batting average and .350 OPS, which is why the Giants recently began platooning him with Aaron Rowand. It won't be an issue this week, though. With only one left-hander and a bunch of shaky right-handers like Rodrigo Lopez, Brad Penny and Rick Porcello on the schedule, Torres couldn't ask for a better week to bounce back. Consider him a sleeper for deeper leagues.
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Approach with caution
Michael Bourn (89 percent started): Bourn is nearing must-start status in Fantasy, currently ranking among the top 10 outfielders in Head-to-Head scoring, but his struggles against lefties are still hard to overlook. He has a .231 batting average against them compared to .302 against righties. The Astros face three lefties this week, and to make matters worse, two of the three righties they face are Colby Lewis and Josh Beckett. You shouldn't necessarily feel obligated to sit Bourn, but don't be surprised if he has one of his lower-scoring weeks.
Jason Heyward (78 percent): Heyward has been one of the biggest disappointments in Fantasy this season. Injuries are partially to blame, but he has yet to homer since the latest one and is batting only .232 on the year. He has shown some signs of coming around lately, but the Braves' tough matchups against Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez and Zach Britton are likely to slow him down. If you have a deep outfield, you shouldn't feel obligated to start Heyward.
Colby Rasmus (65 percent): As cold as Rasmus is right now, why would you even consider starting him? He has scored less than 10 Head-to-Head points in two of the last three weeks and three of the last six. He has just three homers over the last two months, his batting average falling more than 100 points during that stretch. Outside of NL-only leagues, you have to have a better option on your bench.
Grady Sizemore (57 percent): Sizemore was an instant hit coming back from knee surgery, but he has fallen on hard times lately, batting .145 (9 for 62) with one homer and 22 strikeouts over his last 17 games. The Indians are facing three especially hot pitchers in Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Johnny Cueto this week, so you shouldn't expect Sizemore to bounce back just yet. He's a better candidate to stash than start.
Domonic Brown (29 percent): Brown's slump may be reason enough for you to stay away from him in Fantasy, but at least he's been playing regularly with the Phillies facing only one left-handed pitcher in their last 12 games. That all changes this week as the Phillies face three lefties in Jon Lester, Ricky Romero and Jo-Jo Reyes. You can expect Ben Francisco to start those games, so even if Brown snaps out of his slump, he won't be playing enough for you to notice.
Jay Bruce woke up Sunday morning with the chills, and the Reds are doing their best to quarantine him from the rest of the team. Chances are he won't miss an extended period of time with his illness, but it doesn't necessarily sound like a one-day thing either. Because Bruce has been slumping in June after his lights-out May, you wouldn't be crazy to use this illness as an ecuse to sit him in shallower leagues ... Jose Tabata fell to the ground in pain after legging out an infield single Sunday and had to leave the field on a motorized cart. He hurt his quadriceps on the play, and though the severity of the injury might not be known until right before the lineup deadline, the scene on the field gave you every reason to believe he would miss an extended period of time. He isn't exactly a high-end option anyway, so you should probably sit him. Xavier Paul, Matt Diaz and Alexander Presley, fresh up from the minor leagues, could split time in Tabata's absence. None of the three is worth adding outside of NL-only leagues ... Torii Hunter crashed into an outfield fence Wednesday and bruised his left rib, which is an injury that often forces players to the DL. Hunter was able to run, swing and play catch Sunday, though, so the Angels think he'll be back sooner than later. He had just begun to show some life at the plate before the injury, but with his exact return still up in the air, you should probably keep him benched in shallower mixed leagues ... Delmon Young jammed his ankle against the wall Saturday, and the injury was bad enough that the Twins went ahead and put him on the DL without even waiting for the results of the MRI. Their outfield is stretched thin to begin with, so no silver lining here for Fantasy owners. Jason Repko, who figures to see an increase in at-bats with the injury, is strictly an AL-only option ... The Red Sox are hoping Carl Crawford, who is working his way back from a strained left hamstring, can come off the DL on Saturday, which is great news for Fantasy Week 14 (June 27-July 3). Doesn't help much for this week, though ... Chris Coghlan, who the Marlins initially intended to send to the minors, instead went to the DL with left knee inflammation. Emilio Bonifacio will most often replace him in center field, though Dewayne Wise has gotten a few starts there as well. Neither player hits like a mixed-league option, though Bonifacio has the speed to become one if new manager Jack McKeon gives him the green light often enough ... Marcus Thames, who was looking like the favorite to start in left field for the Dodgers, strained his left calf Saturday and is likely to go on the DL. The Dodgers could replace them with Tony Gwynn on a full-time basis, or they could end up bringing back Jerry Sands or promoting fellow prospect Trayvon Robinson. NL-only owners might want to take a preemptive flier on Sands or Robinson ... Jason Bourgeois is still banged up, dealing most recenlty with a quadriceps injury. With Hunter Pence healthy again, the Astros don't have a place for Bourgeois to play, but he's productive enough in a bench role for Rotisserie league owners to use him when healthy. Clearly, now would be the time ... Brad Hawpe had to go on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained middle finger, which has given Will Venable a new opportunity for part-time at-bats. He isn't in a strict lefty-righty platoon with Chris Denorfia, though, so he's unlikely to factor outside of NL-only Rotisserie leagues.
|--||vs. Reyes||vs. Morrow||vs. Villanueva||vs. Gorzelanny||vs. Hernandez, Lannan||vs. Marquis|
|Only pitcher here considered more than just a stopgap option is Morrow, and even he has ERA near 5.00.|
|--||vs. Davis, Lopez||vs. Dempster||vs. Zambrano||vs. Penny||vs. Scherzer||vs. Porcello|
|Even if Scherzer pitches well, enough softies here to cancel him out. Doubleheader should be a doozy.|
|vs. Garza||vs. Floyd||vs. Buehrle||vs. Peavy||vs. Davies||vs. Hochevar||vs. Francis|
|Rockies at home for six games and get Royals staff for three. One game in Chicago not enough to hurt mojo.|
|vs. Santana||vs. Pineiro||vs. Haren||--||vs. Morton||vs. McDonald, Lincoln||vs. Correia|
|Tough start with Angels series, especially Haren, but then get four games to tee off on Pirates staff.|
|vs. Chacin||vs. Vogelsong, Zito||vs. Lincecum||vs. Loux||vs. Jackson||vs. Humber||vs. Floyd|
|Cubs play eight games this week. Regardless of the matchups, it's a good time to start their hitters.|
|vs. Bedard||vs. Pineda||vs. Hernandez||--||vs. Guthrie||vs. Arrieta||vs. Britton|
|You wouldn't think M's and O's would be so tough, but Braves face worst possible three from each.|
|--||vs. Lohse||vs. Carpenter||vs. Westbrook||vs. Jurrjens||vs. Hudson||vs. Beachy|
|Carpenter may not be true ace, but he doesn't have to be in this group. Westbrook the only weak link.|
|--||vs. Greinke||vs. Marcum||vs. Wolf||vs. Niese||vs. Gee||vs. Dickey|
|Dual aces at top in Greinke and Marcum, and next four have pitched well lately. Could be a long week.|
|vs. Hellickson||vs. Price||vs. Shields||--||vs. Masterson||vs. Carmona||vs. Talbot|
|Reds will have to save it all for Carmona and Talbot. First four starting pitchers won't give them much.|
|vs. Kennedy||vs. Hudson||vs. Duke||--||vs. Arroyo||vs. Bailey||vs. Cueto|
|Maybe no true aces here, but Kennedy, Hudson and Cueto have looked it recently. Duke only easy matchup.|
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