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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
Brewers SP Matt Garza allows four runs in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:40 pm ET) Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza didn't have his best stuff during Thursday's start against the Phillies.

Garza allowed four runs on 10 hits in six innings of work while picking up a no-decision. It was his fourth start of the season where he allowed at least 10 hits, the previous three resulted in losses.

Garza (4-10) has a 5.55 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 33 walks in 99 innings this season.


Dodgers RP Brandon League designated for assignment
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:40 pm ET) Dodgers right-handed reliever Brandon League has been designated for assignment, the team announced. 

League did not pitch this season, as he had been nursing a right shoulder impingement since spring training. He did make 10 minor-league rehab appearances, posting a 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. 

The Dodgers are responsible for the $7.5 million on League's current contract, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Rangers DH Prince Fielder records two hits, walk in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:22 pm ET) Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder continued his recent surge at the plate during Thursday's 2-0 win over the Orioles.

Fielder went 2 for 3 with a walk in the game. Over his last 11 games, Fielder is hitting an impressive .415 with 17 hits, four doubles and two RBI.


Rangers 2B Rougned Odor gets two hits, RBI in win over Orioles
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:20 pm ET) Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor went 2 for 5 with a double and a RBI in Thursday's win over the Orioles.

Odor provided his team with an insurance run when he singled home a run in the top of the ninth inning and put them up 2-0.

Over his last six games, Odor is hitting .458 with 11 hits, three doubles and three RBI.


Orioles SP Kevin Gausman strikes out seven in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:16 pm ET) Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was impressive during his start against the Rangers on Thursday.

Gausman, who was called up from Triple-A prior to the start, tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowed just four hits and no runs while picking up a no-decision in a game that was tied well into the ninth inning. He struck out a season-high seven batters.


Rangers RP Shawn Tolleson notches 12th save of season
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:11 pm ET) Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson recorded his 12th save of the season on Thursday against the Orioles.

Tolleson closed out the ninth inning of a 2-0 win with just 12 pitches. He didn't allow any hits and struck out one batters.

Tolleson (2-1) has a 2.60 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings of relief this season.


Rangers SP Yovani Gallardo tosses solid six innings in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:09 pm ET) Rangers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo allowed just two hits over six innings of work on Thursday against the Orioles.

Gallardo didn't allow any runs during hits outing, though he struggled with his command as he allowed three walks to just three strikeouts. With the game tied when he was pulled, Gallardo received a no-decision despite the solid performance.

Gallardo (7-6) has a 2.56 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 102 innings this season.


Braves' Cameron Maybin knocks in game-winning run on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:54 pm ET) Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin played hero on Thursday against the Nationals. Maybin came up to the plate with the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out and the possible winning run on second base.

Maybin promptly chopped a Max Scherzer pitch over the third base bag, allowing Eury Perez to motor in from second to win the game, 2-1. It was Maybin's only hit of the game, but it was the only one that mattered. 


Nationals SP Max Scherzer gives up walk-off hit in 2-1 loss
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(9:51 pm ET) Nationals ace Max Scherzer was brilliant in his start against the Braves on Thursday, but he was saddled with his sixth loss of the season. Scherzer pitched into the ninth inning, but with the score tied 1-1, he allowed an infield hit and a sacrifice bunt, followed by a game-winning RBI single by Cameron Maybin.

Overall, Scherzer (9-6) pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter. It was a tough ending of what was otherwise a domiant performance by Scherzer. 


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(9:46 pm ET) The Dodgers acquired outfielder Jordan Paroubeck and relief pitcher Caleb Dirks, both minor league players, in a trade with the Braves on Thursday, the team announced via Twitter.

Dirks was assigned to Class A Rancho Cucamonga, while Paroubeck will go to the Rookie League Arizona Dodgers as he continues to rehab a quad injury.


 
 
 
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