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 22.
While Prince Fielder's decision to have season-ending neck surgery is obviously a devastating blow for his Fantasy owners, at least they know exactly what to do with him this week. Fielder's former teammate, Ryan Braun, is another story. He left Thursday's game with tightness in the same side that forced him to the DL in late April, which he said wasn't quite 100 percent from the get-go. A return to the DL is plausible enough for you to bench him unless he returns to the lineup over the weekend.
Carlos Gonzalez is also less than a lock this week, but for several smaller injuries as opposed to one big one. Most recently, he's been bothered by inflammation in his left index finger (not the same one that cost him most of the second half last year), but he's also had to contend with tendinitis in his left knee for several weeks now. How the Rockies use him this weekend should give you some idea of his availability for Fantasy Week 9 (May 26-June 1). As of now, they don't expect him to go on the DL.
As for the good news, Josh Hamilton is set to return from a torn ligament in his thumb Monday, and Jason Kipnis should return from an abdominal injury either Monday or Tuesday. Both are so high-end that you'll want to activate them right away, barring any sort of setback over the weekend.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
|1.||Curtis Granderson, OF, NYM||87/68|
|2.||Adam LaRoche, 1B, WAS||79/11|
|3.||Jimmy Rollins, SS, PHI||91/73|
|4.||Dexter Fowler, OF, HOU||59/48|
|5.||Trevor Plouffe, 3B, MIN||63/41|
|6.||Marlon Byrd, OF, PHI||65/52|
|7.||Xander Bogaerts, 3B/SS, BOS||82/56|
|8.||Domonic Brown, OF, PHI||89/59|
|9.||Matt Dominguez, 3B, HOU||55/41|
|10.||Denard Span, OF, WAS||41/28|
Start: Jason Castro, Astros
Castro was a must-start catcher for most of his breakthrough 2013, so he was due for this hot stretch that has him batting .346 (9 for 26) with three doubles and one home run over his last seven games. He's still striking out too much, but if the matchups are any indication, he'll continue to overcome it this week against pitchers like Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen.
Instead of: Yan Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Zunino
Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Just a week ago, Norris was the hottest catcher in baseball, producing with such consistency that the Athletics finally gave in and began playing him every day instead of just against left-handers. So wouldn't you know he's slumping now, batting .182 (4 for 22) in his last eight games. The Athletics haven't backed off him yet, but that's a more likely scenario than him bouncing back in a week he's scheduled to face Drew Smyly, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs and Jered Weaver.
Instead of: Castro, Gomes, Kurt Suzuki
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer, Michael Morse, Joe Mauer, Mark Teixeira, Allen Craig
Start: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
Like Josh Hamilton and Jason Kipnis, LaRoche is expected back from the DL at the start of this week, but unlike those two, he's not the type of player you'd for sure activate right away. Remember what he was doing before the injury, though? Typically a slow starter, he was batting .319 with an exceptionally high walk rate, granting him, if only briefly, "too obvious" status at first base. And as you might expect for a left-handed hitter, he was doing most of his damage against righties, batting .326 with all five of his home runs. The Nationals face all righties this week -- and most of them hittable types in the Marlins and Rangers rotations.
Instead of: Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn
Sit: Garrett Jones, Marlins
Jones has been hot recently, batting .452 (14 for 31) with a home run over his last nine games, and faces nothing but right-handers this week, which always works to his benefit. Unfortunately, they're pitchers like Tanner Roark, Jordan Zimmermann, Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang. At a deep position, you can probably do better than him if you need a one-week sleeper.
Instead of: LaRoche, Matt Adams, Nick Swisher
Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Carpenter, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier, Anthony Rendon, Jose Altuve, Dee Gordon, Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy, Howie Kendrick, Yangervis Solarte, Neil Walker
Start: Gordon Beckham, White Sox
Though my unabashed Marcus Semien fandom has prohibited me from saying anything positive about Beckham up to this point, I can't deny he's swinging a hot bat, hitting .343 (23 for 67) with three home runs and a .909 OPS over his last six games. Second base has become so deep that you probably have no use for him in the 66 percent of leagues where he's still available, but just in case, he's an advisable sleeper against Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, T.J. House and Eric Stults this week.
Instead of: Aaron Hill, Martin Prado, Gordon Beckham
Sit: Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs
If you own Emilio Bonifacio for steals (and why else would you own him?), you probably won't want to hear this: He has only two in his last 26 games, or more than half the season so far. He's also batting just .240 (25 for 104) during that stretch. In other words, after an impossibly hot start, he has come crashing back down to earth even though his overall numbers look satisfactory still. You shouldn't expect a turnaround in a week he's scheduled to face Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Wily Peralta, Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Beckham, Kolten Wong
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon, Pedro Alvarez, Nolan Arenado, Yangervis Solarte, Todd Frazier, Carlos Santana, Kyle Seager
Start: Trevor Plouffe, Twins
After a cold stretch to begin May, Plouffe has gotten back on track, batting .333 (11 for 33) with two home runs in his last eight games. Even though he's batting just .257 overall, he has been a relevant Fantasy contributor all season and should benefit from especially favorable matchups this week, going against pitchers like Nick Tepesch, Scott Baker, Nick Martinez, Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley.
Instead of: Pablo Sandoval, Juan Francisco, Casey McGehee
Sit: Kyle Seager, Mariners
Seager has made regular appearances in the "too obvious" section at this position even though most of his production so far this season was confined to a four-game stretch in late April when he hit five home runs, accounting for a 42-point week in standard CBSSports.com leagues. He certainly hasn't done much in his last eight games, batting .179 (5 for 28), and against pitchers like Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Justin Verlander, Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer, that doesn't figure to change this week. Plus, check out the sleepers table above. Third base is well represented.
Instead of: Plouffe, Matt Dominguez, Chase Headley
Start: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Thanks in part to a dramatically improved walk rate, Rollins is having what appears to be a resurgent season after falling off the map in 2013. Though not the power hitter he once was, he's showing plenty of pop now, batting .311 (14 for 45) with three doubles and three home runs over his last 12 games. With a full seven games at hitter friendly Citizens Bank Park against the suspect Rockies and Mets rotations this week, he's a good bet to keep it going.
Instead of: Jed Lowrie, Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Villar
Sit: Erick Aybar, Angels
Aybar looked unsittable in late April when he went 17 for 33 (.515) during an eight-game stretch, but he could be in for a bumpy finish here in May, batting just .184 (7 for 38) over his last 10 games. Three of the seven pitchers on tap for the Angels this week throw left-handed, and he's batting just .208 (10 for 48) against lefties this year.
Instead of: Asdrubal Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Everth Cabrera
Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Shin-Soo Choo, 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, Mike Morse, Starling Marte, Christian Yelich, Yangervis Solarte, Allen Craig, Wil Myers, Jason Heyward
Start: Curtis Granderson, Mets
Though his overall numbers are still in need of correction after a dreadful first month with the Mets, Granderson has clearly found his stroke in May, batting .310 (22 for 71) with five home runs in 19 games. Facing six righties and playing four games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park should help his cause this week, as should his matchups against bottom feeders like Brandon Cumpton, Edinson Volquez, Charlie Morton, David Buchanan and Kyle Kendrick.
Instead of: Coco Crisp, A.J. Pollock, David Murphy
Sit: Seth Smith, Padres
The Padres have favorable matchups against the Diamondbacks and White Sox this week, and Smith has been a monster since about the beginning of May, batting .464 with four home runs and an absurd 1.487 OPS in 17 games. But the Padres faced only three left-handers during that stretch. Smith sat against all of them and has yet to start against one this season. So you can understand why I recommend sitting him, regardless of the matchups or how productive he's been, in a week the Padres are scheduled to face three.
Instead of: Dexter Fowler, Marlon Byrd, Denard Span