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Start and sit hitters for Week 16

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Sunday, July 13.

A doubleheader between the Indians and Tigers throws off the equilibrium that should be inherent when every team begins the second half on Friday instead of some beginning it on Thursday as used to be the case. Both of those teams could have better matchups -- of the two, only the Tigers crack the top five -- but it goes without saying that an extra game during a three-day week is more impactful than an extra game during a seven-day week.

Every hitter of Fantasy significance who was sidelined by a day-to-day injury before the break -- which includes Victor Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Gordon and Coco Crisp -- is expected back Friday, so you can use them as you normally would, which probably means starting them in every case. Martinez, Ramirez and Gordon are "too obvious" at their respective positions, and Crisp is one of the top 10 sleepers for this week.

Scott's sleepers for Week 16
Player Own/Start %
1. Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals 90/71
2. Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers 77/62
3. Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics 91/56
4. Stephen Vogt, C/1B/OF, Athletics 54/48
5. Arismendy Alcantara, SS, Cubs 63/41
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants 88/63
7. Martin Prado, 2B/3B/OF, Diamondbacks 91/65
8. Josh Harrison, 2B/3B/OF, Pirates 65/46
9. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies 92/59
10. Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS, Athletics 72/50

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

Catcher

Too obvious: Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Salvador Perez, Devin Mesoraco, Miguel Montero, Brian McCann

Start: Stephen Vogt, Athletics
Whether it's because he's only now getting his first extended look in the big leagues at age 29 or because Fantasy owners perceive the Athletics don't have an opening for him, Vogt hasn't gotten much attention since his arrival June 1. But that needs to end. Since then, he's the seventh-best catcher-eligible player in both Rotisserie and Head-to-Head points leagues. The Athletics have found at-bats for him in the outfield and at first base, and that doesn't figure to change even with Josh Reddick on the verge of returning. Vogt's three games against the not-so-fearsome Orioles rotation make him an especially advisable play this week.
Instead of: Wilin Rosario, Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki

Sit: Mike Zunino, Mariners
Zunino was a pretty hot pickup when he homered four times in the span of five games back in late June, but he hasn't been able to keep it going in 13 games since. Well, OK, he's homered twice during that stretch, but he has four hits total for a .087 (4 for 46) batting average. With Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards on tap for the Mariners this week, you'll want to steer clear of him.
Instead of: Vogt, Russell Martin, Travis d'Arnaud

First base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Bautista, Jose Abreu, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez, Brandon Moss, Jonathan Lucroy, Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Adams, Eric Hosmer

Start: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
Just as soon as LaRoche gains "too obvious" status at first base, as he did last week, he loses it because of an ill-timed cold streak. I still say his overall production merits the distinction, but his ownership percentage says otherwise. Even though he's batting just .122 (5 for 41) so far in June, I'd be looking to start him this week with the Nationals scheduled to face three right-handers. LaRoche has a .914 OPS vs. righties, hitting all 12 of his homers against him. He's also batting .303 at home, which is where the Nationals will be.
Instead of: Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Mike Napoli

Sit: C.J. Cron, Angels
Cron's power potential is not only well documented, but well demonstrated by his six home runs in 18 games since Raul Ibanez made his last start for the Angels. But he showed in Week 15 (7-13) just how ugly it can get for a free-swinger like him when he doesn't hit home runs. With nothing else to fall back on, he scored all of three Head-to-Head points -- and that was in a seven-game week for the Angels. In a three-game week, with two of those games against Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, you may not want to chance it.
Instead of: LaRoche, Mark Teixeira, Michael Morse

Second base

Too obvious: Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Dee Gordon, Anthony Rendon, Matt Carpenter, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy, Ben Zobrist, Howie Kendrick, Neil Walker

Five Best Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Pirates COL3
2. Cubs @ARI3
3. Tigers CLE4
4. Reds @NYY3
5. White Sox HOU3

Start: Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
Prado overcame a slow start last year to hit .324 in the second half, bringing him back to more or less his usual numbers, and he was showing signs of a similar turnaround just before the All-Star break this year, batting .353 (12 for 34) in his last 10 games. He has a tough matchup Sunday against Jake Arrieta, but his other two against Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood are favorable enough for you to take a flier on him if you need help at any of the three positions he plays.
Instead of: Scooter Gennett, Aaron Hill, Tommy La Stella

Sit: Kolten Wong, Cardinals
Wong has played out of his mind in eight games since returning from a DL stint for a bruised shoulder, batting .321 (9 for 28) with three stolen bases and five home runs. He had only one home run before then. It may be the start of a legitimate breakout for the 23-year-old rookie, but it's worth noting the Cardinals didn't face a single left-handed pitcher during that stretch. Wong will probably sit against Clayton Kershaw Sunday, and he might struggle against Zack Greinke Saturday. In a deeper leaguer where you have few alternatives, you may not want to sit him because of it, but don't feel like you have to force him into your lineup in a standard 12-team league.
Instead of: Prado, Jed Lowrie

Third base

Too obvious: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Anthony Rendon, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Kyle Seager, Matt Carpenter, Ryan Zimmerman, Manny Machado, Carlos Santana, Pedro Alvarez

Start: Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Sandoval has generally been an advisable start during an up-and-down season, and after a strong finish to the first half, this week is no exception. Sandoval hit .450 (9 for 20) with a homer in five games just before the All-Star break, and he gets to face a struggling Nathan Eovaldi and a perpetually struggling Brad Hand in two of the Giants' three games this week. Might as well stick with him.
Instead of: Lonnie Chisenhall, Trevor Plouffe, Conor Gillaspie

Sit: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Ramirez may have started the All-Star game, but he hasn't performed like an All-Star in 12 July games, batting .267 (12 for 45) with just one extra-base hit for a .581 OPS. Like Sandoval, he's the sort of player you'll want to start more weeks than not, but when he's already struggling going into a three-game week against Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister, you may want to weigh your alternatives.
Instead of: Sandoval, Nolan Arenado, Martin Prado

Shortstop

Too obvious: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, Jimmy Rollins

Five Worst Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Brewers @WAS3
2. Angels SEA3
3. Cardinals LAD3
4. Orioles @OAK3
5. Twins TB3

Start: Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs
It's worth mentioning for anyone who might have gone camping just before the All-Star break and missed it all: In five games since joining the Cubs, Alcantara has gone 9 for 23 (.391) with three doubles, a triple, a home run and a stolen base. He was the second highest-scoring shortstop-eligible player in Fantasy Week 15 (July 7-13), and he didn't even play the full week. He's obviously not quite this good, but why predict regression in a week he's scheduled to face Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Josh Collmenter?
Instead of: Asdrubal Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Andrelton Simmons

Sit: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
Given how streaky his power can be and how far behind pace he is in terms of home runs, Hardy could be in for a big second half. But he's having a rough July so far, batting .196 (9 for 46) in 12 games, and he's scheduled to face Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and Sonny Gray this week. Those games are in Oakland, too, not hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
Instead of: Alcantara, Jed Lowrie, Eugenio Suarez

Outfield

Too obvious: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, Billy Hamilton, George Springer, Ryan Zimmerman, Gregory Polanco, J.D. Martinez, Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, Shin-Soo Choo, Charlie Blackmon, Khris Davis, Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist

Start: Torii Hunter, Tigers
Though Hunter hasn't been quite as reliable this season as he was the last two, he's at least shown that when he's hot, he's too valuable to take out of the lineup. And he's indisputably hot right now, batting .400 (18 for 45) with three home runs in his last 11 games. The Tigers are one of the two teams playing four games this week (because of a doubleheader Saturday), and they have the better matchups of the two, facing only one top-of-the-rotation type (Corey Kluber).
Instead of: Michael Morse, Corey Dickerson, Lucas Duda

Sit: Steve Pearce, Orioles
It's never fun to pick against Pearce, who has been a huge find for those who remain diligent on the waiver wire into the summer months, but for the second straight week, the deck is stacked against him. Not only are his matchups against Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and Sonny Gray tough, but all three of them throw right-handed. He's done most of his damage against lefties this season, batting .351 with six of his 11 home runs and a 1.185 OPS. Those games are also in Oakland instead of Baltimore. Pearce is just a .268 hitter on the road.
Instead of: Coco Crisp, Christian Yelich, 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.

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Player News
Edwin Encarncion has mild back inflammation, starts Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:52 pm ET) A precautionary MRI on the injured back of Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion revealed that he is dealing with minor inflammation, Sportsnet reports.

Encarnacion slugged his 33rd home run of the season Friday and is back in the starting lineup Saturday, so the minor injury hasn't cost him playing time. He has hit .262/.350/.552 with 33 home runs and 89 RBI in 446 at-bats.


Adam Lind out of lineup Saturday with back issue
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind is out of the starting lineup Saturday due to a back issue, Sportsnet reports.

Lind's back locked up, leaving him likely unavailable for Saturday's matchup with the Yankees, but he should be fine in a day or two. He has hit .321/.384/.489 with six home runs and 38 RBI in 274 at-bats.


Jacoby Ellsbury out of lineup Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays.

Ellsbury is expected to undergo an MRI Saturday after being removed from action the previous day with a hamstring injury. He has hit .271/.328/.419 with 16 home runs, 70 RBI and 39 stolen bases in 575 at-bats.


Domonic Brown out of lineup Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:07 pm ET) Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown is not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the A's.

Brown was scratched from Friday's lineup due to a right hand sprain, and he appears set to miss a second straight game with the issue. He has hit .237/.288/.356 with 10 home runs, 61 RBI and seven stolen bases in 452 at-bats.


David Peralta returns to lineup Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 pm ET) Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta is back in the starting lineup Saturday.

Peralta hasn't started since Sept. 5 due to a back injury, but he was able to pinch hit Friday. He has hit .292/.325/.459 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and six stolen bases in 305 at-bats during his rookie campaign.


Josh Hamilton day-to-day with inflammation
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:37 pm ET) Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton underwent a CT scan on the front and back of his ribcage, and the diagnosis is that he's dealing with inflammation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hamilton is day-to-day while recovering from the injury. He has hit .263/.331/.414 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 338 at-bats.


Hyun-Jin Ryu begins throwing Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu began a throwing program Saturday by playing catch before his team's game against the Cubs, the Orange County Register reports.

Ryu will likely miss the remainder of the regular season, but he's hoping his shoulder injury will recover enough to allow him to pitch in the playoffs. He owns a 3.38 ERA and 139:29 K:BB ratio in 152 innings.


Danny Duffy throws bullpen session Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Royals pitcher Danny Duffy threw a bullpen session late Friday and will be held out of action Saturday and Sunday, the Kansas City Star reports.

Duffy hasn't pitched since Sept. 6 due to a shoulder issue, but he's listed as the team's probable starter for Monday's game in Cleveland. As long as he doesn't suffer a setback over the weekend, he should return to action Monday. Duffy owns a 2.42 ERA and 108:50 K:BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.


Robinson Cano delivers three-hit performance Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano went 3 for 5 with an RBI in his team's 10-5 win over the Astros Friday.

While his power is down from his recent seasons in New York, Cano continues to get it done at the plate. If he can finish the season with his current .321 batting average or better, it'll represent his best mark since his second major-league season in 2006. Cano has hit .321/.387/.465 with 14 home runs, 78 RBI and a career-high 10 stolen bases in 564 at-bats.


Juan Uribe out Saturday with tightness in side
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:29 am ET) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe is not in the starting lineup due to tightness in his side, MLB.com reports.

The injury is minor, and Uribe is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday. He has hit .309/.336/.440 nine home runs and 48 RBI in 366 at-bats.


 
 
 
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