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Start and sit hitters for Week 5

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 24.

Adrian Beltre (quadriceps), Will Middlebrooks (calf) and Adam Eaton (hamstring) were all expected to return Friday. Beltre's and Middlebrooks' injuries had them on the DL while Eaton's was day-to-day. Provided Beltre goes all weekend without a hiccup, you'll obviously want to get him active, and Eaton had earned "too obvious" status before his injury as well. Middlebrooks needs to earn your trust before you activate him, though.

Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game with a strained hamstring and remained out of the lineup Friday. The Athletics are keeping his timetable vague, saying only that he'll miss a few games, which is the same way the White Sox approached Eaton's hamstring injury. Eaton ended up missing five games, so assuming he doesn't return over the weekend, Cespedes may be looking at only three or four games this week. Since the matchups are unfavorable anyway, you should probably play it safe in mixed leagues.

After missing the first 3 1/2 weeks with an oblique injury, Gordon Beckham returned to the lineup Thursday with assurance from manager Robin Ventura that he'll retain the starting second base job. That's bad news for Marcus Semien owners, who were hoping to see just how productive their early season waiver gem could be once he actually starting hitting for average. Semien should still get some time at third base with Conor Gillaspie battling a hand injury, but prepare for life without him in mixed leagues.

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 5
Player Own/Start %
1. Billy Hamilton, OF, CIN 89/68
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL 89/73
3. Josmil Pinto, C, MIN 28/18
4. Khris Davis, OF, MIL 75/43
5. Eric Young, OF, NYM 61/50
6. Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA 85/52
7. Yan Gomes, C, CLE 78/56
8. Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, CLE 66/34
9. Carl Crawford, OF, LAD 58/27
10. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN 79/63

Start: Josmil Pinto, Twins
For as productive as he's been since claiming everyday at-bats with Oswaldo Arcia (wrist) and Josh Willingham (wrist) on the DL, Pinto sure hasn't gotten a lot of love in Fantasy. Yeah, he's hitting only .222, but it's not like the four home runs home runs are all he has to show for himself. He's on pace for 123 walks. Too good to be true? Of course, but his minor-league stats made him out to be a patient hitter, and he's been an OPS monster since arriving in the big leagues late last year. Favorable matchups at not, he's your best bet outside of the "too obvious" picks at the position.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jason Castro, Miguel Montero

Sit: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marlins
Saltalamacchia is the choice here for the second straight week because of difficult matchups for the Marlins. So far, Fantasy Week 4 (April 21-27) has gone as it should for him. He's 0 for 10 in his last for games. This week, he's not only facing the Braves and Dodgers starting rotations, which have been terrific to begin the year, but he's going against three lefties. A switch-hitter, Saltalamacchia hit .218 with a .628 OPS against lefties last year compared to .294 with an .873 OPS against righties.
Instead of: Pinto, Russell Martin, Travis d'Arnaud

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Edwin Encarnacion, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Abreu, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Brandon Belt, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli

Start: Justin Morneau, Rockies
Morneau was the "sit" at this position last week because of all the lefties on tap for the Rockies. So far, he's already gone 5 for 14 with a home run and two doubles for the week, making him 13 for 33 (.394) with four homers and 14 RBI over his last eight games. So much for all that. The Rockies are one of just four teams playing seven games this week -- including four at Coors Field, where everybody mashes -- and though two are against lefties, that's a moot point with Michael Cuddyer on the DL. Morneau will play, and judging by the matchups, he'll play well.
Instead of: Allen Craig, Chris Colabello, Adam LaRoche

Sit: Brandon Moss, Athletics
We know the drill with Moss by now. He almost always sits against lefties, and the three on tap this week -- Martin Perez, Robbie Ross and Jon Lester -- don't look to be exceptions. But just think of all the damage he'll do in those three games against Yu Darvish, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey! Yeah ... not really.
Instead of: Morneau, Colabello, Nick Swisher

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley, Brian Dozier, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon, Martin Prado, Aaron Hill

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rockies @ARI3, NYM4
2. Mets @PHI2, @COL4
3. Dodgers @MIN3, @MIA3
4. Yankees SEA3, TB3
5. Reds CHC3, MIL4

Start: Dee Gordon, Dodgers
Gordon's point production has been down the last couple weeks, which has caused his start percentage to drop below 75. But recently, he's had to miss time because of a head injury (read: not a concussion) and manager Don Mattingly's stubborn refusal to play him against lefties. His head is fine now, though, and lo, no lefties on the schedule this week. Against Mike Pelfrey, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Kevin Slowey to begin the week, Gordon should be able to make up for lost time.
Instead of: Daniel Murphy, Jed Lowrie, Jedd Gyorko

Sit: Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs
Bonifacio is coming off a week where he had good matchups and couldn't take advantage, so how would you expect this week against Alfredo Simon, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey, Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha to go? His batting average has fallen about 150 points since April 9 (granted, it was up at .500 then, but still, a lot more bad than good recently), so he clearly isn't a hot-hand play anymore. If you need steals, you might have to stick with him, but you should look into alternatives otherwise.
Instead of: Gordon, Murphy, Neil Walker

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, Anthony Rendon, Pedro Alvarez, Martin Prado, Carlos Santana

Start: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
With four home runs already, Arenado is showing signs of breaking out in his sophomore season, and his matchups this week should only help the cause. OK, so four games against the Mets starting rotation isn't exactly a cakewalk, but considering that series is at Coors Field, I'll give the Rockies lineup the edge. Meanwhile, Arenado's other three games are against the Diamondbacks' browbeaten trio of Wade Miley, Mike Bollsinger and Josh Collmenter. And just for good measure, he's riding a 14-game hitting streak during which he has hit .345 (20 for 58) with two home runs.
Instead of: Trevor Plouffe, Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas

Sit: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Third base is a position of need and all, but right now, Sandoval is more of a problem than a solution. Most likely, he'll recover from this ghastly start at some point in the near future. Even in his "bad" years, he's not this bad. But he won't get a break this week with Tyson Ross, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Alex Wood on the schedule.
Instead of: Arenado, Kyle Seager, Todd Frazier

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cubs @CIN3, STL3
2. Athletics @TEX3, @BOS3
3. Giants SD3, @ATL3
4. Marlins ATL3, LAD3
5. Cardinals MIL3, @CHC3

Start: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Important caveat: Not every "start" is meant for every league in every format across the board. The "instead of" picks should give you an idea just how deep I'm thinking. If they're all on the waiver wire in your league, Escobar should probably be too. But if they're not, he's certainly the hot hand of the group, batting .400 (16 for 40) with five doubles, a homer and two steals in his last 12 games. The home-away and lefty-righty splits, based on what he's done so far, work in his favor as well. The samples are absurdly small, but ... look, do you need a shortstop or not?
Instead of: Jhonny Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera, Derek Jeter

Sit:Starlin Castro, Cubs
Again, just because Escobar is a "start" and Castro a "sit" doesn't mean you should start Escobar over Castro. Look to the "instead of" picks for context. In leagues shallow enough that you can justify sitting Castro, this week would be a good time. He hasn't done much of anything since his two-homer game April 8, batting .255 with a .584 OPS in 14 games, and the Cubs have the toughest matchups of any team this week, going against Alfredo Simon, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey, Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Everth Cabrera, Brad Miller

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Jay Bruce, Bryce Harper, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Charlie Blackmon, Wil Myers, Starling Marte, Domonic Brown, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Coco Crisp

Start: Billy Hamilton, Reds
In a week when six teams play only five games, the four that play seven are going to have that much more of an opportunity to contribute in Fantasy. And that's an especially big deal for speedsters, who steadily accumulate their points via small accomplishments over the course of the week. Granted, Hamilton has broken the mold so far, with most of his scoring limited to those two or three games when he was able to reach base and run wild, but even if his .355 (11 for 31) batting average over his last nine games isn't a sign of steadier times to come, he has more chances for a monster game than most players do this week.
Instead of: Shane Victorino, Michael Morse, Emilio Bonifacio

Sit: Christian Yelich, Marlins
You probably don't want to sit Christian Yelich with him riding a 17-game hitting streak in which he's hit .366 (26 for 71) with four doubles, a triple and four steals, but his splits from last year suggest you should this week. Not only are the Marlins at home, where he hit .256 with a .672 OPS compared to .319 and .862 on the road, but they're facing three left-handers, against whom he hit .165 with a .476 OPS compared to .362 and .941 against righties. Some of the pitchers on tap include Alex Wood, Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke.
Instead of: Hamilton, Michael Brantley, Khris Davis

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
Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw scratched from Wednesday start
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:31 pm ET) Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has officially been scratched from his start on Wednesday against the A's. Kershaw is dealing with a hip issue which is causing him to miss his start.

At this point, it does not seem like there is too much concern over the injury, and Kershaw is currently scheduled to make his next start on Friday against the Angels, according to The Orange County Register

Mike Bolsinger will pick up the start on Wednesday. 


Dodgers' Justin Turner (leg) remains unavailable on Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:27 pm ET) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner remains out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's clash with the A's. Turner was admitted to the emergency room on Tuesday with a skin infection on his leg. 

The Dodgers have not provided a current status update on Turner's condition, but it seems unlikely he would be available for Wednesday's game.

Alex Guerrero, who has been bothered by a stiff back, will make his first start at the hot corner since May 24. He'll bat eighth in the order. 


Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez goes deep once again in loss Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:15 pm ET) There seems to be no stopping Carlos Gonzalez right now. The Rockies' right fielder homered for the eighth time in his last seven games in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Cubs. Gonzalez, who went 1 for 3 on Wednesday, also has 11 longballs in his past 17 games.

Gonzalez now has 21 big flies on the year, with about half of them coming this month. 


Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo delivers two-run homer in win Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:11 pm ET) Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo came through in the clutch with a big two-run home run in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Rockies. Rizzo's blast gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the third inning, and they were able to hang on for the victory.

The homer, Rizzo's 17th of the year, was his only hit of the afternoon. The young star has been struggling at the plate over the last few weeks, as he's hitting just .132 with two RBI over his past 10 games. His season average has dropped from .294 to .279 over that stretch.


Cubs' Dexter Fowler helps beat former team in win Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:06 pm ET) Center fielder Dexter Fowler got the party started for the Cubs on Wednesday, as he led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to put his team up 1-0 early. The Cubs would go on to beat the Rockies 3-2.

The home run, Fowler's 10th of the year, was his only hit of the afternoon. He did walk twice and score twice however. He was also caught stealing for the sixth time in 22 attempts.

Fowler has been heating up at the plate, batting .361 with two home runs over his past 10 games.


Rockies SP Eddie Butler hurt by longball in loss on Wedesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:58 pm ET) Rockies rookie starter Eddie Butler pitched fairly well against the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon, but he was simply outpitched by the crafty veteran Jon Lester. Butler allowed three runs on five hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out four, needing 82 pitches (45 strikes) to get through the fifth in the 3-2 loss.

Butler (3-7, 4.82 ERA) was bitten by the longball on Wednesday. He gave up a lead-off home run to Dexter Fowler in the first inning, and then allowed a two-run shot to Anthony Rizzo in the third to account for all the scoring the Cubs would have on the afternoon.

The youngster has made two starts since coming back from the minor leagues. He has given up six earned runs over 11 innings in those outings. He has yet to more than six innings any start of his young career.


Rangers SP Derek Holland set for Thursday start at Triple-A
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:55 pm ET) The Rangers have announced that starting pitcher Derek Holland will be dispatched to Triple-A Round Rock for an outing Thursday.

The announcement confirms an earlier report.

Holland, who has been out since April with a shoulder injury, is scheduled to make three minor league starts before returning to the Texas rotation.


Yankees CF Slade Heathcott's to rehab in Triple-A
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:55 pm ET) Yankees center fielder Slade Heathcott will have his rehab assignment moved up to Triple-A, according to The Journal News.

Heathcott is currently on the 60-day disabled list with an injured quad.


MRI reveals bone spurs in elbow of Braves SP Manny Banuelos
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:52 pm ET) A MRI revealed that Braves starting pitcher Manny Banuelos has a bone spur on the posterior portion of his left elbow, according to MLB.com.

Though the bone spur isn't exactly good news, there is still hope that Banuelos could pitch for Atlanta this season.


Cubs RP Hector Rondon gets first save in over a month Wednesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:49 pm ET) Cubs reliever Hector Rondon recorded his 13th save of the year in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Rockies. Rondon struck out two and walked a batter in a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the victory.

The save was Rondon's first since June 20, as the Cubs have been mixing and matching at the back end of the bullpen for the last month or so. Still, Rondon has been scored upon just once in his last 19 outings, and his ERA is down to 1.80 for the season.


 
 
 
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