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 8.
Rougned Odor got the call to the majors Thursday, sending Fantasy owners flocking to the waiver wire. He's a big-time prospect for sure -- one who offers a similar all-around skill set to Jurickson Profar -- but like Profar, he may not be quite ready for the big stage. Profar actually looked more polished at Triple-A at the time of his call-up than Odor looked at Double-A, where he compiled a .314 on-base percentage. Granted, every prospect develops differently, but at a deep position like second base, no need to force Odor into your lineup.
A couple big boppers are on the verge of returning from oblique injuries. Chris Davis will begin a rehab assignment Saturday and should return in time to play most of the Orioles' seven games this week. Ryan Braun is expected back Tuesday, which would put him on track to play all six of the Brewers' games. Both are so high-end that they're probably worth the risk this week, though I excluded them from the "too obvious" section at their respective positions just in case they suffer a setback.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
|1.||Jonathan Villar, SS, HOU||62/50|
|2.||Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, OAK||87/70|
|3.||Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN||86/70|
|4.||George Springer, OF, HOU||84/38|
|5.||Wilson Ramos, C, WAS||60/24|
|6.||Yasmani Grandal, C, SD||22/14|
|7.||Corey Hart, 1B, SEA||53/28|
|8.||Alcides Escobar, SS, KC||55/42|
|9.||Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, MIA||40/31|
|10.||Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B, NYY||64/51|
Start: Yasmani Grandal, Padres
With him coming back from knee surgery, the Padres made a point not to start Grandal two games in a row earlier this season. But now that he's had a chance to get his legs under him, they're having a harder time justifying it, especially given their lack of offense so far. He's started five of the team's last six games, including one at first base, and has homered in three of his last seven. With a career .800 OPS in the majors, he deserves a look as a second catcher, especially with him traveling to Cincinnati and Colorado, two of the more favorable hitting environments in the NL, this week.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, A.J. Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro
Sit: Welington Castillo, Cubs
Castillo was the hot hand at catcher just a week ago and looked like he might be having a breakout season, particularly in terms of power. But he's gone 1 for 20 over his last six games, and his matchups this week don't figure to help him out of this rut. Some of the pitchers on tap for the Cubs include Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Kyle Lohse and Marco Estrada.
Instead of: Grandal, Josmil Pinto, Mike Zunino
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Abreu, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Hosmer, Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, Justin Morneau, Mark Teixeira
Start: Brandon Moss, Athletics
Though he's played more often against left-handed pitchers recently -- and has performed better than expected, hitting .333 (7 for 21) -- Moss still sits against them too often for you to trust him during those weeks when the Athletics face several. Not only do they face only one in their six games this week, but they have some of the most favorable matchups of any team, facing John Danks, Scott Carroll, Andre Rienzo, Zach McAllister, Josh Tomlin and Justin Masterson.
Instead of: Matt Adams, Chris Colabello
Sit: James Loney, Rays
Though he reminded everyone how good of a contact hitter he is with his 10 multi-hit games during a 15-game stretch in late April and early May, Loney is reminding everyone now that even those types struggle, going 1 for 13 in his last four games. His upside isn't high enough from week to week for you to bother with him in a week he's facing Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.
Instead of: Moss, Corey Hart, Garrett Jones
Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Brian Dozier, Anthony Rendon, Jose Altuve, Dee Gordon, Chase Utley, Aaron Hill, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, Jed Lowrie
|4.||Yankees||NYM2, @NYM2, PIT3|
Start: Derek Dietrich, Marlins
I should preface this selection with a quick reminder that not all starts apply equally. Second base has become so deep that most anyone who plays in a mixed league is pretty well covered there. So I went a little deeper with this pick, skipping over the Neil Walker and Brandon Phillips types for someone who might still be available in the leagues that don't have enough second basemen to go around. Dietrich showed good pop during his time in the majors last year and has a .375 on-base percentage this year. The Marlins have noticed, starting him against 10 of the last 11 righties they've faced. They face six righties in their seven games this week.
Instead of: Marcus Semien, Dustin Ackley, Scooter Gennett
Sit: Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
Not only did I remove Prado from the "too obvious" section for the first time, but I made him a sit this week, my resolve for one of my go-to players weakened for the moment. Prado got off to a similarly unimpressive start last season and rebounded to hit .324 in the second half, so don't mistake this recommendation as a surrender of some kind. It's just that the Diamondbacks have far and away the worst matchups of any team -- going against Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Dan Haren -- and second base is deep. Sitting Prado at third base, meanwhile, might be easier said than done.
Instead of: Brandon Phillips, Neil Walker, Omar Infante
Start: Todd Frazier, Reds
After a downer 2013, Frazier is back to the form he showed as a rookie in 2012, hitting for enough power to separate him from the pack at a position of need in most Fantasy leagues. He ranks fourth among third baseman in Head-to-Head points leagues to date and has hit safely in his last eight games, batting .323 (10 for 31). His start percentage suggests he's not "too obvious" just yet, but he probably should be.
Instead of: Brett Lawrie, Trevor Plouffe, Casey McGehee
Sit: Manny Machado, Orioles
Though he homered Friday, Machado has looked pretty rusty since returning from offseason knee surgery, batting under .200. With third base being as shallow as it is, you may not have any choice but to stick with him and hope for the best, but his matchups this week won't do him any favors. Some of the pitchers he's facing include Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly, Justin Verlander, Yordano Ventura and James Shields.
Instead of: Frazier, Yangervis Solarte
|2.||Mets||@NYY2, NYY2, @WAS3|
Start: Jonathan Villar, Astros
The best part about Villar's performance to date, which ranks him 13th at shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues and fourth in Rotisserie, is that it doesn't hinge on a batting average he can't sustain. As often as he strikes out, he might not hit much better than .240, but again, he's been productive regardless. He's been especially productive at home, batting .327, and against left-handers, batting .273. The Astros are at home for all six of their games this week, and they're facing three left-handers. Plus, they have favorable matchups against the Rangers and White Sox.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, Everth Cabrera, J.J. Hardy
Sit: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Thanks in part to the availability of the DH for the Phillies' recent series at Toronto, Rollins has been able to play through a groin injury so far, but of course, that's the type of injury that could linger. He hasn't hit especially well with it either, going 2 for 10 over his last four games. Rollins is already looking at a short week with the Phillies scheduled to play only five games. If the injury costs him one or two of those, you've wasted a lineup spot on him.
Instead of: Villar, Brad Miller, Alcides Escobar
Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Gomez, Matt Holliday, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Yasiel Puig, Shin-Soo Choo, Melky Cabrera, Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Yoenis Cespedes, Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, Michael Morse, Michael Brantley, Matt Kemp, Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran
Start: George Springer, Astros
After doing nothing in his first two weeks on the job, Springer is finally showing signs of life, batting .313 (10 for 32) during an eight-game hitting streak. It's not the most impressive streak ever, but it has included a three-hit game and his first career home run. If it's a sign of him getting comfortable, he's picked the right time to do so. The Astros have some of the best matchups of any team this week, facing pitchers like Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Hector Noesi and John Danks.
Instead of: Emilio Bonifacio, Nick Markakis, Dayan Viciedo
Sit: Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays
Rasmus has no doubt earned a place on mixed-league rosters with his performance so far in May. In only eight games, he has hit .355 (11 for 31) with five home runs. But as often as he strikes out -- about every third at-bat so far this season -- he figures to run hot and cold, as he has throughout his career. By now, you may be too late to capitalize, especially with three lefties on tap this week. Rasmus' matchups against C.J. Wilson, Danny Salazar, Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Martin Perez aren't particularly favorable either.
Instead of: Brandon Moss, Shane Victorino, Angel Pagan