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Start and sit hitters for Week 6

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, May 1.

In an interleague-heavy week, take note of the AL teams traveling to NL parks, where they no longer have use of the DH. The player most likely to suffer this week is Billy Butler, who could sit out all three of the Royals' games at San Diego unless they decide to play him at first base or Eric Hosmer in right field for the first time this season. Likewise, Adam Dunn could sit out the White Sox's two games at the Cubs, though they have entertained the idea of playing him in the outfield. Dunn is low-end enough that you don't need much of an excuse to sit him. You've probably hoped for an excuse to sit Butler, given his slow start, and now, here it is.

Manny Machado returned to the lineup for the second game of a doubleheader Thursday after a lengthy rehabilitation from knee surgery. He was a must-start in Fantasy for most of last season and will eventually get back there, but you should always be cautious with players returning from injury. Plan on starting Machado Monday, but keep that fill-in handy just in case he doesn't look right this weekend.

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

Catcher

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

Scott's sleepers for Week 6
Player Own/Start %
1. Victor Martinez, 1B, DET 92/71
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA 85/73
3. Miguel Montero, C, ARI 78/66
4. Dayan Viciedo, OF, CHW 66/55
5. Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI 60/50
6. Omar Infante, 2B, KC 45/34
7. Rajai Davis, OF, DET 64/53
8. Erick Aybar, SS, LAA 51/38
9. Matt Joyce, OF, TB 47/36
10. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, DET 67/39

Start: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
After a disappointing 2013, Ruiz has come back with a vengeance so far in 2014 and has been especially hot of late, batting .480 (12 for 25) with a home run and four doubles, not to mention six walks to only two strikeouts, in his last seven games. He has typically performed better against left-handers in his career, hitting .300 with an .836 OPS against them even with disappointing overall numbers last year, and has three on tap this week. The Blue Jays and Mets starting rotations shouldn't present too much of a challenge either.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josmil Pinto

Sit: A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox
Pierzynski isn't off to a bad start for the Red Sox but hasn't gotten the most regular playing time, having started just two-thirds of their games heading into Friday. With the Red Sox scheduled to play only five games this week, he may not get enough at-bats to make a relevant contribution. And considering some of the pitchers on tap -- including Homer Bailey, Yu Darvish and Martin Perez -- he may not do much with the at-bats he gets.
Instead of: Pinto, Dioner Navarro, Mike Zunino

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, Justin Morneau, Allen Craig, Carlos Santana, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli

Start: Victor Martinez, Tigers
That Martinez isn't universally started is one thing. That he's started in so few leagues I can get away with highlighting him here is enough to make me think I'm playing a different game from everyone else. A Fantasy mainstay for much of his career, Martinez rebounded from a slow start to regain must-start status in the second half last year and has seemingly picked up where he left off, producing a near-.300 batting average while performing at a 25-homer, 90-RBI pace. Against the Astros and Twins this week, two rotations that don't have a single pitcher worth rostering in standard mixed leagues, he'll do some damage.
Instead of: Brandon Belt, Chris Colabello, Mark Teixeira

Sit: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
LaRoche's quadriceps injury doesn't seem like anything that would sideline him into the weekend, but the bigger issue for him heading into Fantasy Week 6 (May 5-11) is the schedule. They have the toughest of any team, going against Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez. He's off to a good start, but at a deep position, you're not obligated to stick with him every week.
Instead of: Martinez, Teixeira, Ryan Howard

Second base

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

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Tigers HOU4, MIN3
2. Indians MIN4, @TB3
3. White Sox @CHC2, CHC2, ARI3
4. Mariners @OAK4, KC4
5. Rangers @COL2, COL2, BOS3

Start: Howie Kendrick, Angels
Kendrick, like Victor Martinez, is too high-end to be so overlooked when he's performing so well. Having hit .386 (17 for 44) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and three stolen bases in his last 12 games, he entered Friday's action ranked fourth among second basemen in both Head-to-Head and Rotisserie leagues. Granted, he won't maintain this pace, and second base is a deep position, but if you don't have one of the "too obvious" options, you might as well play the hot hand, especially with him facing David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Dustin McGowan and J.A. Happ this week.
Instead of: Dee Gordon, Emilio Bonifacio, Neil Walker

Sit: Brandon Phillips, Reds
Coming off a year when a disproportionate RBI total helped inflate his value, Phillips has somewhat predictably disappointed Fantasy owners so far and has been especially useless lately, batting .179 (10 for 56) over his last 14 games. Though he may be overrated, he can't possibly be this bad, but with the Reds playing only five games this week, you probably won't regret sitting him even if he has some kind of turnaround.
Instead of: Kendrick, Bonifacio, Omar Infante

Third base

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

Start: Nick Castellanos, Tigers
The Tigers have stellar matchups this week, facing pitchers like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and Samuel Deduno. Castellanos hasn't been especially productive, but given his upside, he's as likely to take advantage as anyone in the lineup. At a position that doesn't seem to offer enough to go around, he's still available in one-third of CBSSports.com leagues.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Brett Lawrie, Will Middlebrooks

Sit: Marcus Semien, White Sox
Despite a high strikeout rate and low batting average, Semien's all-around production has made him a sneaky Fantasy play in the early going, but those days may be nearing an end. He was only able to move to third base when Gordon Beckham returned from an oblique injury because Conor Gillaspie was sidelined by a hand injury, but with Gillaspie expected back Wednesday, Semien could be forced to the bench mid-week. Even with favorable matchups for the White Sox, you should look into alternatives.
Instead of: Trevor Plouffe, Castellanos, Todd Frazier

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez, Jed Lowrie, Starlin Castro

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Nationals LAD3, @OAK3
2. Red Sox CIN2, @TEX3
3. Dodgers @WAS3, SF4
4. Pirates SF3, STL3
5. Cardinals @ATL3, @PIT3

Start: Erick Aybar, Angels
Though never a high-end option, Aybar has had his stretches of mixed-league relevance and seems to be in the midst of one now, batting .459 (17 for 37) with five doubles, a home run and a stolen base in nine games. The streak coincides with an adjustment from the left side of the plate, where he now stands more upright. You hate to chase the streaks, but against pitchers like David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Dustin McGowan and J.A. Happ, Aybar is a good bet to keep this one going.
Instead of: Xander Bogaerts, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta

Sit: Everth Cabrera, Padres
Though he has hit pretty well since the start of the season, everyone has wondered where the stolen bases have gone for Cabrera. And now, everyone has an answer: He still hasn't fully recovered from the knee injury he suffered April 14, according to manager Bud Black. Cabrera had a couple steals more recently, so he may be on the road to recovery, but against pitchers like Yordano Ventura, James Shields, Jose Fernandez and Nate Eovaldi, you might want to play it safe with him. Also, the Padres aren't facing a single left-handed pitcher this week. Cabrera, a switch-hitter, hit .365 with a .934 OPS against them compared to .248 and .651 against righties last year.
Instead of: Aybar, Jimmy Rollins, Brad Miller

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Yoenis Cespedes, Wil Myers, Shin-Soo Choo, Allen Craig, Starling Marte, Domonic Brown, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Matt Kemp, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran, Coco Crisp, Austin Jackson, Michael Brantley, Michael Morse

Start: Dayan Viciedo, White Sox
Batting .432 (19 for 44) with seven doubles, one triple and one home run in his last 12 games, Viciedo has been the hot hand for a while now -- long enough for you to wonder how much longer this streak could possibly last. But with six walks to just four strikeouts during that stretch, he's seeing the ball exceptionally well still and doesn't face the stiffest competition this week in Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta, Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley and Mike Bolsinger.
Instead of: Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Khris Davis

Sit: Brett Gardner, Yankees
Though his five steals in his last five games make him seem like a hot-hand play, Gardner is another potential victim of this week's interleague-heavy schedule. He doesn't play DH himself, but the Yankees may see Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano, who alternate between DH and the outfield, as more integral to the lineup and bump Gardner to the bench, with Beltran in right field and Soriano in left, for their three games at Milwaukee. It's no certainty, of course, but with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza on tap, Gardner would be an inadvisable start anyway.
Instead of: Torii Hunter, Norichika Aoki, Matt Joyce

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
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allows one run in 5 1/3 for victory
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(7:34 pm ET) Orioles starter Chris Tillman (2-1) allowed one earned run on six hits and stuck out five in 5 1/3 innings Saturday to earn the win against the Red Sox.

The one run allowed came via Tillman's fielding error in the sixth inning.

Tillman's next start is set for Thursday in Toronto.

Nationals outfielder Denard Span may be activated Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:26 pm ET) Nationals outfielder Denard Span is back with the team after undergoing surgery on a right core muscle in March and may be activated Sunday, reports the Washington Post.

Manager Matt Williams said it's a possibility Span is activated Sunday, but it depends on how he feels. 

"I mean, physically like I said I'm fine," Span said. "I played two games in a row, a little fatigued, but the only way that's gonna get better is by playing games and getting back there every day. Early in season, I think everybody's got a little bit of fatigue, it takes time to get in the swing of the season, but I feel fine."

Span played in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday for Washington's minor league team in Hagerstown.


Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen throws off the mound Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:20 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen was able to throw off the mound Saturday for the first time since foot surgery, reports MLB.com.

Jansen, who is currently on the 15-day DL with the foot injury, is pain free and still targeting a return to the big leagues some time in May. Jansen posted a 2-3 record with 44 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 65 1/3 innings of work in 2014.


Tigers relievers see action Saturday in blowout loss
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:16 pm ET) Tigers relief pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny were able to get some extra work in Saturday against the White Sox in the 12-3 loss.

Both worked a scoreless inning, with Gorzelanny recording two strikeouts in his appearance.

"The thing is we've had one guy pitch however many days, which is great," said Gorzelanny to MLive.com. "I'm happy with that -- it means our starters are going deep and we're winning ballgames. I think everyone would like to get in there just to not only get work in, but save the rest of the guys.

"You want to get guys throw a few innings and save the rest of the bullpen. When they call and say we need to get you in there, I just try to do my job and get out of there as quick as possible."

Manager Brad Ausmus chalked it up to the ebbs and flows of how the starting pitchers do.

"It's tough to stay sharp when you've got starters going eight innings," Ausmus said. "As a reliever, you don't get a chance to get into a game situation. I don't read too much into what happened today."


Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton throws 55 pitches in simulated game
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton was able to throw 55 pitches in a simulated game Friday against minor league hitters, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune.

"It went well. It was a step forward," Hurdle said. "(Pirates special assistant Jim Benedict) said it was a good day for him and the delivery is syncing up to what we saw '13 and '14 in good stretches."

Morton is currently on the 15-day DL with a hip injury and is yet to step on the mound in 2015 for Pittsburgh.


Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond struggling with his defense
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:06 pm ET) Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond couldn't get things figured out on defense in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Phillies. Desmond was charged with an error after mishandling a throw from Dan Uggla in the third inning, allowing a run to score.

"Both times Desmond didn't get a grip on the baseball. It's one of those things," manager Matt Williams said to MLB.com. "He is going to be back out there tomorrow playing short for us and helping us win a game."

Desmond now has eight errors on the year.

"Brutal," Desmond said. "But I've done it before and I'm going to work my way out of it. … If this is the biggest problem in my life, I guess I'm doing all right. At the end of the year, I will look back at this and know that I made my way through it."


Cubs closer Hector Rondon opens door instead for Padres
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7:01 pm ET) Cubs closer Hector Rondon had been a picture-perfect pitcher early in 2015, but was far from perfect on Saturday.

Entering having not yielded a run in six outings, he sought his third save with his team leading 6-2 and two Padres on base in the ninth inning. He allowed a double and two singles, the second of which, by Yangervis Solarte, tied the game.

Rondon did induce a Wil Myers groundout with the go-ahead run on second to escape further damage.


Pirates not considering sending Jung Ho Kang to the minors
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:01 pm ET) Pirates utility infielder Jung Ho Kang is still working to find his way in the majors. A path that can prove difficult for players coming from overseas, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune.

With the tough transition, manager Clint Hurdle is looking to find something that works for Kang.

"We have conversations on how we're going to use him. Where we're going to use him," Hurdle said. "We've given (sending Kang to the minors) hardly any thought right now."

Kang is hitting just 1 for 9 to start the season with no RBI.

"It's up to Clint, it's up to the team," Kang said. "I'm open to anything the team wants me to do."


Rare defeat befalls Padres closer Kimbrel on Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:54 pm ET) Every so often super closer Craig Kimbrel proves he's mortal. It's rare, but it happens.

It happened Saturday in Chicago when he entered in a 6-6 tie and exited with a defeat, courtesy of two walks and two singles, the last of which was stroked by Starlin Castro and gave the Cubs a victory over the Padres.

Kimbrel had yet to allow a run this season.


Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia to get the day off Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:50 pm ET) Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia will be given the day off for Saturday's matchup against the Marlins after pitching in five straight games, manager Terry Collins said per ESPN.com.

"We have a game Sunday and then another off day," Collins said. "This will get them refreshed a little."

If the team needs a closer for Saturday, Jerry Blevins will fill in, Collins said.

Familia has picked up five saves this season in 6 2/3 innings of work with nine strikeouts and one walk.

"We didn't see any of the sink [in spring training] that Familia has now," Collins said. "Now the games count, and we're seeing the same stuff we saw last season. When his ball sinks, you see guys swing over the top of it. If it's sinking, it's hard to hit."


 
 
 
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