All stats are updated through Thursday, June 5.
Frustrated by his continued lack of production, the Yankees have decided to sit Alfonso Soriano against right-handers for the time being, turning over the majority of his at-bats to Ichiro Suzuki. As streaky as he's been known to be, he could end that arrangement in a week's time, but at least for right now, you don't want to have to count on him in mixed leagues.
|1.||Josh Willingham, OF, MIN||55/45|
|2.||Adam Lind, 1B, TOR||50/42|
|3.||Nick Markakis, OF, BAL||79/65|
|4.||Lonnie Chisenhall, 1B/3B, CLE||69/55|
|5.||Torii Hunter, OF, DET||82/62|
|6.||Brett Lawrie, 2B/3B, TOR||84/67|
|7.||Aramis Ramirez, 3B, MIL||80/33|
|8.||Corey Dickerson, OF, COL||40/27|
|9.||Michael Bourn, OF, CLE||57/42|
|10.||Juan Francisco, 1B/3B, TOR||60/45|
Mike Napoli is set to return Sunday after missing about two weeks with a sprained finger. He was slumping just before the injury but remained "too obvious" at first base because of his high walk rate. At a deep position, you can afford to play it safe and wait another week to activate him, but there's no shame in starting him either.
With Carlos Gonzalez sidelined by a finger injury that could potentially require surgery, Corey Dickerson is in line for more at-bats in Colorado. Judging by his minor-league track record and the fact he has hit .340 with seven home runs and a 1.028 OPS in 97 at-bats this year, that's potentially a big deal in Fantasy, but of course, if manager Walt Weiss doesn't see fit to start Charlie Blackmon against lefties, the same figures to be true for Dickerson. He's a sleeper this week regardless.
And with that, on to the position-by-position breakdown ...
Start: A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox
Pierzynski was a "sit" in Fantasy Week 10 (June 9-15) and has fittingly slowed down a little over the last few days, but he's still batting .370 (20 for 54) over his last 13 games. The matchups should work more to his benefit this week. He'll be facing Bud Norris, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson and T.J. House in a seven-game week.
Instead of: Wilson Ramos, Carlos Ruiz, Kurt Suzuki
Sit: Derek Norris, Athletics
Not only do the Athletics have the worst matchups of any team this week, facing pitchers like Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka in their six games, but Norris figures to sit half of them, having slumped his way out of regular playing time with a .145 (8 for 5) batting average and one home run in his last 19 games. He has started four of the team's last nine.
Instead of: Pierzynski, Yan Gomes, Dioner Navarro
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Jose Abreu, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Anthony Rizzo, Allen Craig, Michael Morse, Buster Posey, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, Jonathan Lucroy
Start: Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Lind has obviously been hot since returning from a back injury May 8, batting .360 (27 for 75) with nine doubles and two homers in 22 games. But because he sits against left-handed pitchers, he's been lacking in point production during that time. That won't be an issue this week with nothing but righties on tap for the Blue Jays. And against the Twins and Orioles, about the toughest they'll face is Phil Hughes.
Instead of: Ryan Howard, Jon Singleton, Lucas Duda
Sit: Garrett Jones, Marlins
Jones collected three hits Thursday to snap out of a 5-for-33 (.152) spell, but he'll have to get much hotter than that to make any real impact with only five games on the schedule for the Marlins this week. And considering one of those games is against Yu Darvish, it's really more like four. Or three when you factor in the lefty. Jones is batting .200 with a .488 OPS against left-handed pitchers this season.
Instead of: Lind, Mark Teixeira, Juan Francisco
Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Jose Altuve, Matt Carpenter, Brian Dozier, Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, Jason Kipnis, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, Neil Walker
|3.||Blue Jays||MIN3, @BAL4|
|5.||Red Sox||@BAL3, CLE4|
Start: Tommy La Stella, Braves
Second base is deep enough that relatively high-end options like Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips and Yangervis Solarte don't exactly qualify as "too obvious" but are nevertheless more advisable than someone like La Stella, so consider this recommendation for deeper leagues only. For what La Stella lacks in power and speed, he makes up for in on-base ability. It was plainly evident in the minors and has so far translated to the majors, which puts him in line to bunches of runs in the Braves' four-game series at Colorado this week. He may not directly benefit from the hitter-friendly venue, but the rest of the lineup will.
Instead of: Gordon Beckham, Kolten Wong, Rougned Odor
Sit: Jed Lowrie, Athletics
This Lowrie pick is kind of like last week's Dee Gordon pick in that it applies more for second base than shortstop, where you won't find nearly as many alternatives. Lowrie has actually begun to turn things around after a mostly disastrous May, batting .333 (5 for 15) with a homer in his last four games, but the position is so deep and the matchups so tough (Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka) that you have no reason to clear an opening for him.
Instead of: Aaron Hill, Yangervis Solarte, Brandon Phillips
Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Todd Frazier, Martin Prado, Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval, Kyle Seager, Pedro Alvarez
Start: Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians
Once again, the Indians face almost exclusively right-handers this week -- six in seven games -- which means Chisenhall should play just about every day even with Carlos Santana back. His year-to-date batting average of .361 pretty much says it all, and it's not like he's slowed down recently, batting .321 (9 for 28) with a home run and a double in his last eight games. Plus, some of the righties he's facing this week -- like Nick Marktinez, Jeremy Guthrie, Jake Peavy and Brandon Workman -- are especially hittable.
Instead of: Yangervis Solarte, Trevor Plouffe, Aramis Ramirez
Sit: Josh Harrison, Pirates
Having earned more at-bats with his high-energy play, Harrison's numbers are beginning to attract attention as well. A third base-eligible player with a .317 batting average and .869 OPS typically doesn't last long on waivers, but in this particular case, you may want to show some restraint. Though top prospect Gregory Polanco didn't arrive Friday as rumored, he's likely just days away and figures to bump Harrison to the bench whenever he does arrive. No reason to risk it for a player who has probably performed over his head anyway.
Instead of: Ramirez, Juan Francisco, Chase Headley
|3.||White Sox||DET4, KC3|
Start: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Now that he's back to being one of the game's top base-stealers after slumping in every capacity last season, anytime Escobar is hitting is noteworthy in Fantasy. He's 8 for 17 (.471) with a stolen base so far in June and will get to face hittable lefties Vidal Nuno, Jose Quintana and John Danks (as well as hittable righty Hector Noesi) in his six games this week. Escobar has hit .340 with an .880 OPS against lefties this season compared to .255 and .650 against righties.
Instead of: Everth Cabrera, Andrelton Simmons, Asdrubal Cabrera
Sit; Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
Among the group of fallback shortstops that includes Escobar, Erick Aybar, Andrelton Simmons, Everth Cabrera, J.J. Hardy and Asdrubal Cabrera, Peralta gets the short straw with the Cardinals' short schedule this week. They play only five games, including three against the Nationals' top three (at least with Gio Gonzalez down) of Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister. Plus, Peralta hasn't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball lately, batting .118 (6 for 51) in his last 14 games.
Instead of: Escobar, J.J. Hardy, Erick Aybar
OutfieldToo obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adam Jones, Ryan Braun, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Upton, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Alex Rios, Michael Brantley, Brandon Moss, Melky Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, Jason Heyward, Josh Hamilton, George Springer, Alex Gordon, Jay Bruce, Martin Prado, Ben Zobrist, Charlie Blackmon, Christian Yelich, Michael Cuddyer
Start: Josh Willingham, Twins
Willingham has been a notoriously streaky player over his career, looking like Rafael Belliard one month and Rafael Palmeiro the next. Even when he appeared to stray from that pattern in 2013, he still hit .311 with 16 home runs in April and July and .237 with 19 home runs the other four months. So now that he's hot, batting .333 (11 for 33) with four homers and an insane .522 on-base percentage in 11 games off the DL, no need to complicate things by bringing matchups into the picture.
Instead of: Desmond Jennings, Adam Eaton, Denard Span
Sit: Oscar Taveras, Cardinals
Taveras homered in his first game as a major-leaguer May 31 but has gone 4 for 19 with one extra-base hit in five games since. You've already waited this long for him to arrive, so in shallower leagues with ample alternatives, you can wait until he gets hot to activate him. With only five games on tap for the Cardinals this week -- and three of them against Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister -- the odds are against him anyway.
Instead of: Willingham, Nick Markakis, Torii Hunter
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.