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Start and sit hitters for Week 3

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Though normally in Fantasy Baseball, you'd start your best players every week regardless of matchups, in those weeks when you do need a fill-in, whether because of injuries or the total collapse of a trusted starter, Scott White is here to help.

At each position, he'll list the players who are "too obvious" for the upcoming week, meaning the ones you wouldn't consider sitting for anyone off the list, and then suggest a start and a sit based on a variety of short-term factors.

All stats are updated through Thursday, April 10.

Dustin Pedroia's status is up in the air because of a wrist injury. He's getting the wrist examined, so he could potentially avoid a DL stint, but unless we pass on a favorable report early Monday, you probably shouldn't chance it in mixed leagues.

Thanks in part to an illness interfering with his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury, Shane Victorino won't return from the DL when first eligible Tuesday, but will instead begin a rehab assignment. Victorino's return could impact Jackie Bradley's or Daniel Nava's playing time -- the Red Sox haven't decided which yet -- but they'll have another week to duke it out.

With five consecutive starts (including one at third base), Mark Reynolds appears to have emerged as an everyday player in Milwaukee, ending his platoon with Lyle Overbay. That's good news for the Rotisserie owner looking for power off the waiver wire, but we all know Reynolds' limitations by now. He's basically Chris Carter, but with eligibility at third base.

And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...

Catcher

Too obvious: Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy, Wilin Rosario, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann, Salvador Perez

Scott's sleepers for Week 3
Player Own/Start %
1. Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA 96/69
2. Norichika Aoki, OF, KC 74/47
3. Jedd Gyorko, 2B, SD 94/61
4. Justin Smoak, 1B, SEA 75/50
5. Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL 71/51
6. Leonys Martin, OF, TEX 78/52
7. Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC 66/26
8. Ben Revere, OF, PHI 56/41
9. Marlon Byrd, OF, PHI 54/31
10. Dustin Ackley, 2B/OF, SEA 76/52

Start: Dioner Navarro, Blue Jays
After a slow start that had everyone questioning if his breakthrough for the Cubs last year would translate to a full-time role, the portly backstop is 5 for 15 with four doubles over his last four games and has favorable matchups this week against the Twins and Indians. He should tee off on pitchers like Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson, making him a nice consolation for those who missed out on Devin Mesoraco in two-catcher leagues.
Instead of: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Tyler Flowers

Sit: Russell Martin, Pirates
Martin is even hotter than Navarro, having just homered twice in the same game Wednesday, but he's a notoriously inconsistent player who tends to do most of his damage in short, unpredictable spurts. Starting him because he's the hot hand is typically ill-advised, especially when the matchups aren't in his favor. In his seven games against the Reds and Brewers this week, the only weak link is Mike Leake.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Devin Mesoraco, Navarro

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Freddie Freeman, Albert Pujols, Jose Abreu, Mark Trumbo, Eric Hosmer, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Carlos Santana, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Adams, Allen Craig, Anthony Rizzo

Start: Justin Smoak, Mariners
Remember how I advised you to sit Smoak last week? It wasn't because I can't fathom the possibility of him finally breaking out this season, but because the Mariners had some of the worst matchups of any team. Well, this week, they have the best, which should help us determine if he has staying power. The "too obvious" list is so deep at first base that you may not be able to fit him into your lineup, but he's worth a shot if you have some flexibility.
Instead of: Brandon Moss, Nick Swisher, Adam LaRoche

Sit: Casey McGehee, Marlins
McGehee has already cooled off from his torrid start, going 1 for 16 over his last four games, but he's still getting too much love from those who overemphasized the first week of games. If you didn't start him from the get-go, you probably missed out on the best he has to offer. His matchups against the Cardinals and Pirates this week should help reduce the career .257 hitter to NL-only status.
Instead of: Corey Hart, Adam Lind, Smoak

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley, Aaron Hill, Jose Altuve, Brandon Phillips

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Mariners @TEX4, @MIA3
2. Royals @HOU3, MIN3
3. Rangers SEA4, CHW3
4. Padres COL4, SF3
5. Braves @PHI4, @NYM3

Start: Jedd Gyorko, Padres
Gyorko is off to a dreadful start, which is true to form for a free-swinging, all-or-nothing type. OK, so it's unfair to label him such so early his career, but after the ups and downs of his rookie season, you had to expect some inconsistency. The good news is that after two weeks of nothing, he's a good bet to go off against pitchers like Franklin Morales, Juan Nicasio, Jorge De La Rosa, Brett Anderson and Tim Lincecum.
Instead of: Brian Dozier, Kolten Wong

Sit: Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs
While Bonifacio has no doubt proven his worth as the Cubs' leadoff hitter, he doesn't deserve your undying loyalty at what is actually one of the deeper positions in Fantasy, offering more than one quality option to go around in a 12-team league. If he's your primary source of steals in a Rotisserie league, that's one thing, but with only five games on tap for the Cubs this week -- including four against Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Tony Cingrani and Homer Bailey -- you shouldn't expect Bonifacio to perform like a top-12 second baseman.
Instead of: Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Gyorko

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Carlos Santana, Martin Prado, Pedro Alvarez

Start: Kyle Seager, Mariners
Seager was "too obvious" at this position each of the first two weeks, but his 3-for-23 (.130) start has Fantasy owners sitting him in droves. He's proven his worth with back-to-back productive seasons, though, and is a good bet to come around against pitchers like Robbie Ross, Colby Lewis, Tanner Scheppers, Henderson Alvarez and Brad Hand this week. His four games at Texas to begin the week could be especially productive. He has hit .374 with six home runs and a 1.102 OPS in 99 career at-bats there.
Instead of: Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts

Sit: Chase Headley, Padres
Even though the Padres have one of the five best hitting schedules this week, I can't bring myself to endorse Headley, not with the kind of start he's had. Coming off a horrible spring that only added to the skepticism after a disappointing 2013, he's 4 for 32 with no extra-base hits through eight games. He's never performed his best at home anyway, and that's where the Padres play all seven of their games this week.
Instead of: Ramirez, Mike Moustakas, Chris Johnson

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus, Everth Cabrera, Brad Miller

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cubs @NYY2, CIN3
2. Nationals @MIA3, STL4
3. Cardinals @MIL3, @WAS4
4. Twins TOR3, @KC3
5. Orioles TB3, @BOS3

Start: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
At 75 percent, Lowrie is started in too many leagues to qualify for the sleepers table above, but at the weakest position in Fantasy, he probably needs to be universally started this week. His three games against the Astros alone should be enough to get his batting average up to snuff. Though he hasn't made headlines with his performance so far, he's proven his worth with his patient approach, which has him on pace for 202 walks and 141 runs. You read that right.
Instead of: Xander Bogaerts, Starlin Castro, Andrelton Simmons

Sit: Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
With two hits in 29 at-bats so far, Peralta hasn't given his owners much incentive to start him just yet, but he's probably better than what they'll find on waivers at the weakest position in Fantasy. Those with options, though, shouldn't hold out hope for a turnaround this week, not with Matt Garza, Marco Estrada, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez on tap.
Instead of: Dee Gordon, Jimmy Rollins

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Bryce Harper, Jose Bautista, Shin-Soo Choo, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Mark Trumbo, Jayson Werth, Wil Myers, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Heyward, Allen Craig, Domonic Brown, Starling Marte, Ben Zobrist, Martin Prado, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp, Desmond Jennings, Nelson Cruz

Start: Norichika Aoki, Royals
While the lineup around him can't seem to get it together, Aoki has turned the corner after an 0-for-9 start, going 10 for 20 with two doubles, two triples and a stolen base in his last five games. Though you could make a case for any of his teammates, Mike Moustakas included, against the bottom-feeder Astros and Twins rotations this week, Aoki should genuinely inspire confidence. Which of Lucas Harrell, Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Phil Hughes is going to trip him up?
Instead of: Angel Pagan, Charlie Blackmon, Carl Crawford

Sit: Kole Calhoun, Angels
The Angels' matchups aren't among the five worst this week, but they do face three legitimately tough pitchers in Dan Straily, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez. That wouldn't keep you from starting Calhoun if he was playing his best, but he still has yet to put together a multi-hit game and was recently bumped from the leadoff spot. He's not exactly a disaster waiting to happen this week, but at a deep position like the outfield, you'll find no shortage of sleepers.
Instead of: Leonys Martin, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere

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

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Player News
Royals acquire infielder Ryan Jackson from Dodgers
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) The Royals have acquired infielder Ryan Jackson from the Dodgers for cash considerations. Jackson was out for most of last season with a wrist injury. 

Jackson hit .278 with 34 RBI at Triple-A Memphis, playing 122 games at shortstop and third base in 2013.


Report: Talks break down between Yanks, Phils about Rollins deal
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(2:18 pm ET) The Yankees and Phillies reportedly discussed a deal for 35-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins before talks broke down, according to ESPN reporter Jayson Stark.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Rollins is "one of the best shortstops in baseball still" but wouldn't confirm Yankees interest in the veteran. Amaro also said Rollins is "somebody we want on our club and would be very hard to replace."

Rollins is due $11 million this season and his contract is up at the end of 2015. Rollins hit .243 with 55 RBI and stole 28 bases in 2014. 


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2:08 pm ET) Padres right-handed pitcher Blaine Boyer cleared waivers Wednesday and will enter free agency, according to U-T San Diego. Boyer was designated for assignment last week.

Boyer appeared in 32 games last season for the Padres and posted a 3.57 ERA. 


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2:04 pm ET) The Rays have designated 29-year-old Sean Rodriguez for assignment. 

Rodriguez hit .211 with 12 home runs last season. 


Jose Molina, Cole Figueroa clear waivers, released by Rays
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:55 pm ET) Catcher Jose Molina and infielder Cole Figueroa cleared waivers and were released by the Rays Wednesday. 

Both Molina and Figueroa were designated for assignment Thursday. Molina, 39, hit .178 over 225 at-bats last year, while Figueroa hit .233 in 43 at-bats. 


Rays sign right-hander Ernesto Frieri to major-league contract
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:33 pm ET) The Rays have announced signing of right-hand pitcher Ernesto Frieri to a one-year contract. Frieri will make a base salary of $800,000, going up to $3.15 million with incentives, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Frieri, who had a career-high 37 saves in 2013, had 11 last season with a 7.34 ERA.


Yankees' Sabathia confident he can return to being 200-inning pitcher
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia continues to deliver positive updates coming off July knee surgery.

"The knee, I have no complaints," Sabathia told YES Network. "I’m able to do all of my workouts. … I’m changing a few things. Not as much pounding and running. I’m in the pool a lot, on different machines to get cardio, (on the) bike. Just adding a few different things to get some cardio in."

Despite coming off surgery and being limited to eight starts (46 innings) in 2014, Sabathia feels he can get back to being a 30-start, 200-inning pitcher in 2015.

"Yeah, for sure," he said. "I feel like I can. If you asked me that a couple of months ago, I would have said, ‘I don’t know,’ but the way I’m feeling now and being able to work out, definitely."


Report: Indians expressing interest in Kendrys Morales
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:05 pm ET) The Indians have expressed inerest in DH/first baseman Kendrys Morales

Morales, who split time between the Twins and Mariners last season, hit .218 with 42 RBI.


Brewers' Ryan Braun 'cautiously optimistic' coming off thumb surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:54 am ET) Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is optimistic coming off October thumb surgery. Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure in Los Angeles on Oct. 2, in which a needle was inserted at the base of his right thumb to essentially freeze a nerve.

"It definitely worked," Braun said Wednesday, per MLB.com. "It makes a huge difference."

Braun swung a bat 10 days after the procedure and was happy the pain in his thumb was gone.

"Right now, I don’t feel any [discomfort], and I haven’t been able to say that for two years," he said. "I think I’ve told you guys, it [bothered him] shaking hands, writing -- you know, just everyday activities. Now I don’t feel it at all, so I’m excited."

While Braun is definitely optimistic, he is also a bit cautious because he isn't in the grind of playing baseball every day. He has received full clearance, however, for all offseason activities.

"I’m encouraged by how it feels, but at the same time, I think I have to be cautiously optimistic [until] I get into spring training and see how it responds," Braun said. "But it hasn’t felt this good in a really long time."


Red Sox GM: Cespedes 'in our plans for next year'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said in a radio interview Wednesday that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is in the team's plans for next year. 

“We acquired him at the deadline in the [Jon] Lester trade because we felt that was the best deal at the time, we still feel that way. He’s in our plans for next year and his versatility and skill in the outfield and gives us the flexibility, could play any of the three positions," Cherington said. "We’ll just see what the rest of the offseason brings. We have a long way to go, and as we get to January, closer to spring training, we’ll know more about who’s here and how it all adds up.”

Cespedes hit .260 with 100 RBI last season between Oakland and Boston. 


 
 
 
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