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 15.
A bunch of those players you've had stashed in your DL slots the last few weeks are set to return in the days ahead. Devin Mesoraco (hamstring) was back in the lineup Friday, putting him immediately in the "too obvious" category at catcher. Wilin Rosario (illness) still needs a rehab assignment but, but assuming it goes as planned, is high-end enough to start this week in anticipation of a Tuesday return.
In the outfield, Michael Cuddyer, who has been out since mid-April with a hamstring injury, is on about the same timetable as Rosario, but Adam Eaton (hamstring), who has been out with a hamstring injury of his own, could return as soon as Sunday. Kole Calhoun (ankle) is expected back Tuesday, but he's returning from a more serious injury and wasn't as established as Cuddyer or Eaton at the time he went down. In standard leagues, you might want to give him a week to shake off the rust.
Starling Marte's back injury is more of the day-to-day variety, but because he has yet to start a game in Fantasy Week 7 (May 12-18), he's hardly automatic heading into this week. In five-outfielder leagues, you should probably give him the benefit of the doubt (unless he winds up on the DL, of course), but if you have any concerns about his playing time in a three-outfielder league, you don't risk losing all that much by benching him, given his performance to date.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
|1.||Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B/SS/OF, NYY||84/72|
|2.||Seth Smith, OF, SD||37/31|
|3.||Brett Gardner, OF, NYY||70/58|
|4.||Yan Gomes, C, CLE||71/59|
|5.||Torii Hunter, OF, DET||84/69|
|6.||Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF||72/44|
|7.||Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE||68/52|
|8.||Chase Headley, 3B, SD||68/42|
|9.||Dustin Ackley, 2B/OF, SEA||49/34|
|10.||Everth Cabrera, SS, SD||76/52|
Start: Yan Gomes, Indians
Gomes has had his ups and downs this season, but so far in May, he's batting .308 (12 for 39) with three homers in 10 games, looking more like the player who broke out with a .294 batting average and 11 home runs in only 293 at-bats last year. While he faces the Tigers rotation at the beginning of this week, he should do enough damage against the Orioles' projected foursome of Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen to remain the hot-hand play.
Instead of: Jason Castro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Carlos Ruiz
Sit: Josmil Pinto, Twins
Pinto's ownership rate peaked at only 38 percent, but for a few weeks there, he was performing like a high-end catcher, reaching base nearly 40 percent of the time with plus power. But alas, that ride appears to be over. The Twins have started him in just two of six games since bringing Chris Parmelee back to the majors, adding to their options at DH. And they won't even have the DH spot available to do them this week with all five of their games (yes, only five games) in NL parks.
Instead of: Mike Zunino, Yasmani Grandal, John Jaso
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Brandon Moss, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli
Start: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Teixeira's power surge in his return from the DL probably isn't lost on anyone, but what may be is how often he's getting on base. He's back to walking at the rate he did in his first few years with the Yankees, which helped keep him an elite Fantasy option even as his batting average tanked. If it continues, he's not necessarily just a hot-hand play, but of course, he's hot now and should be able to keep it going against Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Hector Noesi, John Danks, Scott Carroll and Andre Rienzo.
Instead of: Matt Adams, Ryan Howard, James Loney
Sit: Juan Francisco, Blue Jays
Excited to take advantage of all the home runs Francisco's been hitting in May? Pardon me while I dampen your enthusiasm. Francisco sat against a left-hander Monday and will likely continue to do so with Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie back from injuries. The Blue Jays face four lefties this week, including high-end types like Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz. Striking out more than every third at-bat, Francisco is due for a downturn anyway.
Instead of: Loney, Corey Hart, Garrett Jones
Start: Yangervis Solarte, Yankees
He's listed here at second base, but in standard CBSSports.com leagues, you can start Solarte at third base, shortstop or even the outfield. Wherever he best meets your needs, you want him active this week and potentially long after that. He's shown excellent bat control and plate discipline in first big-league season, boasting a 1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio that makes his high batting average not so far-fetched. He'll get to beat up on the Cubs and White Sox rotations this week and is plenty hot to begin with, batting .429 (15 for 39) with three home runs in his last 10 games.
Instead of: Martin Prado, Neil Walker, Jedd Gyorko
Sit: Brandon Phillips, Reds
A non-factor for much of the season, Phillips has actually been swinging a hot bat in May, batting .349 (15 for 43) with two home runs in 11 games, but because of his putrid plate discipline and lackluster supporting cast, he's been only the 13th-best second baseman in Head-to-Head point leagues during that stretch. That's more disappointing than bad, but against Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark and Adam Wainwright this week, he figures to take a step back from there.
Instead of: Solarte, Walker, Dustin Ackley
Start: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Though still not hitting for his usual power, Sandoval has piled up singles in his last five games, batting .400 (8 for 20) with only two strikeouts. If it's a sign of him breaking out of his early-season funk, he's picked the right week. The Giants are in Colorado for three games and then host Minnesota for three, making Ricky Nolasco the best pitcher they'll face all week. He's not as promising as Solarte, of course, but at a thin position, he's usable.
Instead of: Brett Lawrie, Trevor Plouffe, Casey McGehee
Sit: Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
Though he's been getting more hits in recent days, Prado still hasn't made much of an impact this season, and while his track record says it's only a matter of time (it certainly was last year, when he hit .324 in the second half), his matchups this week won't help his cause. He's facing six righties, including Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Rafael Montero, and what little he's done this year has come against lefties, against whom he's 10 for 30.
Instead of: Solarte, Sandoval, Chase Headley
|3.||Blue Jays||@BOS3, OAK3|
Start: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
A forgotten man this season after a disappointing 2013 campaign, Cabrera has started to perform more like the player who made the All-Star team in 2011 and 2012, batting .471 (16 for 34) with two homers, five doubles and a steal in his last eight games. Granted, he had his share of hot streaks last year as well, but once you get past the "too obvious" options at a weak position, you'll cling to whatever you can. His matchups against Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Ubaldo Jimenez and Wei-Yin Chen should at least give him a chance to keep it going.
Instead of: Andrelton Simmons, J.J. Hardy, Xander Bogaerts
Sit: Jonathan Villar, Astros
Fittingly, as soon as I got on the Villar bandwagon, making him my "start" at this position last week, he began doing what he probably should have been doing all along: making out after out after out. He's 3 for 30 over his last nine games, his batting average falling to where you'd expect it to be for a player who strikes out every third at-bat. Expect no letup against Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma this week.
Instead of: Asdrubal Cabrera, Everth Cabrera, Alcides Escobar
Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig, Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence, Alex Rios, Jayson Werth, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Kemp, Michael Brantley, Brandon Moss, Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, Michael Morse, Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward
Start: Seth Smith, Padres
Particularly with Carlos Quentin back, Smith probably isn't the safest long-term bet in Fantasy. A big reason why he's on everyone's radar now is because the Padres have faced only two left-handed pitchers in their last 14 games. He sat against both and figures to continue sitting against lefties going forward, but once again, the Padres face only one this week. With a .513 batting average and 1.526 OPS over his last 11 games, Smith is as hot as it gets right now and could keep it going against pitchers like Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta.
Instead of: George Springer, Nick Markakis, Marcell Ozuna
Sit: Chris Colabello, Twins
You know how Chris Parmelee's promotion has impacted Josmil Pinto's playing time? With the DH unavailable to the Twins for their five games in NL parks this week, it could impact Colabello's as well. Clearly encouraged by his .305 batting average and .920 OPS at Triple-Rochester, the Twins have started Parmelee against both lefties and righties so far, and he's justified it with his performance. Colabello, meanwhile, is 0 for 18 in his last six games and 8 for 69 (.116) in his last 18, so sending him to the bench isn't much of a stretch. Even if he plays, he'll face Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Madison Bumgarner in three of those five games.
Instead of: Smith, Brett Gardner, Torii Hunter