All stats are updated through Wednesday, Aug. 7.
|1.||Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves||23|
|2.||Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox||21|
|3.||Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals||17|
|4.||Alex Avila, C, Tigers||16|
|5.||Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners||15|
|6.||Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels||15|
|7.||Junior Lake, OF, Cubs||14|
|8.||Robbie Grossman, OF, Astros||14|
|9.||Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees||12|
|10.||Ryan Raburn, OF, Indians||12|
Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Astros
Even in 10-team leagues with only one catcher spot, I can't imagine Castro going unused this week. He's been in a rut since mid-June or so but has shown signs of coming around lately, hitting safely in eight straight games. His seven games against right-handers this week -- including low-end types Sonny Gray, Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards and Tommy Hanson -- should work to his advantage. He's batting .288 with an .835 OPS against righties compared to .190 and .627 against lefties this season.
Approach with caution: Alex Avila, Tigers
With eight games on tap, the Tigers have one of the more favorable hitting schedules of any team this week, but as far as Avila is concerned, they might as well be playing only three games. That's because the other five are against left-handed pitchers, against whom he's batting .107 this season. With so many injuries at catcher right now, no doubt you'd like to ride the hot hand at the position, but Avila is probably a lost cause this week.
No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Wieters
Advisable starts: Wilin Rosario, A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Castro, Russell Martin, Wilson Ramos
Shaky starts: Evan Gattis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Yan Gomes, Alex Avila, J.P. Arencibia (knee), Ryan Doumit (concussion), Carlos Ruiz, Nick Hundley, Devin Mesoraco, John Buck, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Welington Castillo, Derek Norris, Geovany Soto, Tony Cruz, Josh Phegley, Chris Stewart
Don't bother: Chris Iannetta, Wil Nieves, Dioner Navarro (ankle), Hank Conger, Erik Kratz, Rob Brantly, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Yadier Molina (knee), Salvador Perez (concussion), Miguel Montero (back), Mike Zunino (hand), John Jaso (concussion), Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud
|4.||Athletics||@TOR1, HOU3, CLE3|
Ike Davis looks like he's an everyday player again, having started 10 of the last 11 games for the Mets. And believe it or not, he deserves it. His lack of homers since returning from the minors doesn't reflect how much better he's been, batting .284 (21 for 74) with an insane 22 walks to 19 strikeouts in 27 games. The Mets optioned Lucas Duda to Triple-A Las Vegas after he completed his rehab assignment for an intercostal strain, which shows just how much job security Davis has. Suddenly, the thought of starting him at a corner infield or utility spot isn't so far-fetched.
Worth a second look: Adam Dunn, White Sox
Dunn has been heating up with a .348 (16 for 46) batting average and two home runs in his last 14 games and has been at his best against right-handed pitchers this year, compiling an .837 OPS compared to .676 against lefties. The White Sox face six righties in their seven games this week and have mostly favorable matchups, though they have to get through the back end of the Tigers rotation before the hit parade (it's like when they say the name of the movie in the movie) begins in Minnesota.
Approach with caution: Justin Morneau, Twins
Speaking of Minnesota, Morneau has been the toast of the town (or state, whatever) so far in August, batting .333 (10 for 30) with three homers. Doesn't change the fact that he's a first baseman batting .267 with a .737 OPS on the year. In most leagues, those numbers won't cut it. Of course, you could argue he's the hot hand at the position, but his matchups this week figure to change that. The Twins are facing four left-handers -- some especially tough ones in Scott Kazmir, Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago -- and Morneau is batting just .238 with a .607 OPS against lefties this year.
No-brainers: Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Allen Craig, Eric Hosmer, Freddie Freeman, David Ortiz*, Matt Carpenter, Mark Trumbo, Buster Posey, Michael Cuddyer, Adrian Gonzalez
Advisable starts: Victor Martinez, Billy Butler, Anthony Rizzo, Adam Dunn, Kendrys Morales, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Jonathan Lucroy
Shaky starts: Daniel Murphy, Nick Swisher, Justin Smoak, Brandon Belt, Logan Morrison, Adam LaRoche, Yonder Alonso, Justin Morneau, Mitch Moreland, James Loney, Adam Lind, Michael Morse, Darin Ruf, Brandon Moss, Ike Davis, Michael Young (hamstring), Chris Johnson, Paul Konerko
Strictly AL/NL-only: Brett Wallace, Todd Frazier, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Yan Gomes, Juan Francisco, Matt Adams, Todd Helton, Chris Colabello, Lyle Overbay, Yuniesky Betancourt, Daniel Nava
Don't bother: Mark Reynolds, Gaby Sanchez, John Mayberry, Travis Hafner*, 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), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton
Second baseThe on-again, off-again second base platoon in Milwaukee is off again, but not in the way the Brewers had hoped. They had actually determined to go with Rickie Weeks full time, optioning Scooter Gennett back to the minors Wednesday, but then a strained hamstring forced Weeks to the DL, bringing back Gennett to play full time. Gennett has produced some underwhelming numbers over his career, but for some reason, the scouts like him. Personally, I'd have to play in a pretty deep NL-only league to give him a look.
Worth a second look: Neil Walker, Pirates
One of the many things I don't understand in Fantasy Baseball is why Walker's ownership percentage has been so slow to recover even though he's been as productive as anyone could have hoped in his two-plus weeks back from the DL, ranking fifth among all second baseman in Head-to-Head leagues during that stretch. Whatever, I'm taking advantage -- especially this week, with five righties on tap, including some cream puff matchups against Jake Westbrook, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado. For the season, Walker's OPS is about twice as high against righties as lefties.
Approach with caution: Nick Franklin, Mariners
For a player eligible to play two of the weakest positions in Fantasy, Franklin shows so much promise at times that your best approach with him might be to just leave him in your lineup, taking the good with the bad, not wanting to miss out on the former because of the latter. But I see so many good alternatives at second base right now that I'll probably sit him when he's in a 1-for-28 slump and set to face Chris Archer, David Price, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish this week.
No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Martin Prado, Daniel Murphy, Brett Lawrie, Neil Walker, Brian Dozier, Brad Miller, Aaron Hill, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Dan Uggla, Nick Franklin, Marco Scutaro, Howie Kendrick (knee), Gordon Beckham, Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon
Strictly AL/NL-only: Jurickson Profar, Ryan Raburn, Darwin Barney, Brian Roberts, Mark Ellis, DJ LeMahieu, Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Logan Forsythe, Grant Green, Scooter Gennett, Omar Infante (shin), Yuniesky Betancourt, Kelly Johnson, Dustin Ackley, Donovan Solano, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Emilio Bonifacio, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Rickie Weeks (hamstring), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Chris Getz (knee), Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich
Third baseWith David Wright likely out at least a month because of a strained hamstring, Wilmer Flores takes over at third base for the Mets. He's a curious prospect, one who didn't begin to show his offensive potential until last season, his fifth in the minors, and one who has yet to find a position he can play up to major-league standards. But while he's playing third base, he should matter in Fantasy, perhaps performing like a poor man's Martin Prado with a high contact rate and plenty of doubles.
Worth a second look: Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
After missing a month and a half with a sprained ankle, Lawrie has returned from the DL a changed hitter, batting .295 (23 for 78) with four homers and only 11 strikeouts in 22 games. Word is he's learned to hit the ball the other way again after becoming too pull-conscious, perhaps because of all the home runs he hit to begin his career. He's on a team playing seven games this week and doesn't have the most imposing matchups, so I'm anxious to give him a try in Fantasy, be it at third base or second.
Approach with caution: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Like Lawrie, Rendon had instant success in the majors, but he's fallen on hard times lately, batting .159 (10 for 63) in his last 17 games. Look, rookies slump. It's normal. In the grand scheme of his career, this cold stretch probably means nothing. But if you need to win now, Rendon is impeding that goal. In mixed leagues, I wouldn't hesitate to swap him out in a week he's set to face Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.
No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Matt Carpenter, Evan Longoria, Kyle Seager
Advisable starts: Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez, Martin Prado, Mike Moustakas, Brett Lawrie, Pablo Sandoval
Shaky starts: Hanley Ramirez (shoulder), Chase Headley, David Freese, Wilmer Flores, Jedd Gyorko, Michael Young (hamstring), Chris Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado
Strictly AL/NL-only: Aramis Ramirez (knee), Brett Wallace, Todd Frazier, Cody Asche, Trevor Plouffe, Eric Chavez, Jurickson Profar, Conor Gillaspie, Matt Dominguez, DJ LeMahieu, Juan Francisco, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jose Iglesias (toe), Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Donnie Murphy, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alberto Callaspo (forearm), Kelly Johnson, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Mark Reynolds, Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, David Wright (hamstring), Kevin Youkilis (back), Wilson Betemit (knee), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos
Worth a second look: Brian Dozier
Not only does Dozier have four doubles, two triples and a homer already in August, but he has 18 doubles, two triples and seven homers in his last 43 games, making him the second-ranked shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues during that stretch. Granted, that's a little misleading since the stretch began with four homers in five games, but the point is Dozier is an overlooked option at an exceptionally thin position. The Twins are on the road this week and facing four lefties. He's batting .271 at home compared to .216 on the road and .311 against lefties compared to .223 against righties. Good time to use him, no?
Approach with caution: Junior Lake, Cubs
I don't mean to harp on Lake, listing him here for the second straight week, but I get the feeling his spectacular start has given his Fantasy owners unrealistic expectations. He's 14 for 57 (.246) over his last 14 games, with 16 strikeouts compared to only two walks. If not for his two-homer game Aug. 1, I'm guessing his owners wouldn't need me to talk them into benching him. Maybe his matchups against Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller can do it for me.
No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus
Advisable starts: J.J. Hardy, Brian Dozier, Brad Miller, Andrelton Simmons, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Hanley Ramirez (shoulder), Erick Aybar, Starlin Castro, Nick Franklin, Alexei Ramirez, Junior Lake, Jimmy Rollins, Stephen Drew, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Yunel Escobar, Zack Cozart, Jonathan Villar (thumb), Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Jurickson Profar, Dee Gordon, Jose Iglesias (toe), Eduardo Nunez, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Pedro Florimon, Derek Jeter (calf), Xander Bogaerts, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich, Billy Hamilton
OutfieldOswaldo Arcia is back playing every day for the Twins, continuing his up-and-down rookie season, but with Josh Willingham wrapping up his rehabilitation from knee surgery and looking to return as early as Friday, you shouldn't put too much stock in Arcia in mixed leagues. Not that I'm especially high on Willingham the rest of the way. If I was looking for cheap power off the waiver wire, I'd be more likely to invest in Ryan Ludwick, who is also gearing up to return from surgery, his for a dislocated shoulder. Of course, neither is an advisable start this week, given the length of their absences. Ideally, you'll want to give both a chance to prove their health before activating them.
Worth a second look: Leonys Martin, Rangers and Will Venable, Padres
Though Martin's six steals over his last two games might have something to do with the Rangers facing the Angels' beleaguered catcher duo of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger, the fact of the matter is he's been hitting well, too, batting .298 (17 for 57) with a homer and four doubles in his last 14 games, all of them starts. He's an important part of the Rangers lineup with Alex Rios now out of the picture, so you should no longer have to worry about a shortage of at-bats. Plus, he's playing five games at home, where he's batting .329, and five vs. righties, against whom he's batting .293. Venable is more of a deeper-league recommendation, but I do love the Padres' matchups this week against the Rockies and Mets. Venable is sure to start against the five righties on tap and he's upped his production with Carlos Quentin banged up, batting .386 (22 for 57) with three homers and four steals in his last 18 games.
Approach with caution: Carl Crawford, Dodgers and Michael Saunders, Mariners
The Dodgers must not entirely trust the health of Crawford's hamstring. They're sitting him about every fourth or fifth game. He's hitting well enough, but it isn't translating to much Fantasy production with all the lost at-bats, not to mention the missing steals. I wouldn't expect him to keeping hitting well with pitchers like Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels on tap this week. With six homers and 23 RBI in his last 27 games, Saunders has been a nice find off the waiver wire, but the cold streaks tend to outshine the hot streaks with him. I imagine another one is just around the corner with Chris Archer, David Price, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish on tap this week. Notice the three left-handers? Saunders is batting .202 with a .641 OPS against lefties this season.
No-brainers: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen (shoulder), Jay Bruce, Giancarlo Stanton, Allen Craig, Bryce Harper, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Wil Myers (asthma), Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Carpenter, Mark Trumbo, Michael Cuddyer, Starling Marte, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Alex Gordon, Carlos Gomez, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Jayson Werth, Austin Jackson, Martin Prado, Shane Victorino, Alejandro De Aza, Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Leonys Martin
Shaky starts: Michael Bourn, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, Eric Young, Colby Rasmus, B.J. Upton, Norichika Aoki, Marlon Byrd, Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley, Coco Crisp, Logan Morrison, Alfonso Soriano, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Christian Yelich, Raul Ibanez, Darin Ruf, Kole Calhoun, Robbie Grossman, Brandon Moss, Adam Eaton, Andre Ethier, Evan Gattis, Carl Crawford, Junior Lake, Will Venable, Josh Willingham (knee), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Denard Span, Nate Schierholtz, Jon Jay, Gerardo Parra, Josh Reddick
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, David DeJesus, Ichiro Suzuki, Oswaldo Arcia, Ryan Doumit (concussion), Cody Ross, Carlos Quentin (knee), Chris Carter, Luke Scott, David Murphy, J.B. Shuck, Ryan Raburn, Lorenzo Cain, Rajai Davis, Garrett Jones, Seth Smith, Drew Stubbs, Jake Marisnick, Kelly Johnson, Henry Urrutia, Caleb Gindl, Daniel Nava, Matt Joyce, David Lough, John Mayberry, Delmon Young, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Gregor Blanco, Jose Tabata, Alexi Amarista, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell, Jonny Gomes, Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Chris Young
Don't bother: Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Vernon Wells, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Barnes, Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Carlos Gonzalez (finger), Matt Kemp (ankle), Desmond Jennings (finger), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), Melky Cabrera (knee), Zoilo Almonte (ankle), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), J.D. Martinez (wrist), Cameron Maybin (knee), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), 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 .