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Position Players to Start
Martin Prado hasn’t been spectacular lately, but he has been steady getting on base for the Atlanta Braves. With a strong string of favorable matchups this week Prado should be in position to continue to get on base in addition to register some runs and runs batted in. Plug him in to your lineup this week.
You didn’t draft Adam Dunn with the hopes of him chasing down a batting title this season, so to criticize him based on an anemic batting average would be knit-picking. You drafted Dunn counting on a turnaround and production in power and driving in runs. Dunn has come through big with nineteen homeruns already to go with forty-five runs batted in. Trying to evaluate a feast or famine slugger like Dunn is difficult, but with long balls off of three of the pitchers he will face this week you should expect some successes.
After missing the first several weeks of the season while recovering from a knee injury Carlos Quentin has come back swinging a hot bat. Quentin has hit nearly .500 and smacked five homeruns in his short time back. This week he faces off with a couple of pitchers that he has had a great deal of success against and a few others he has never faced. Given his strong start expect the veteran hitter to add a couple of those pitchers he has never faced to his list of victims as he has a strong week of production for your fantasy squad.
Josh Willingham has compiled a nice hitting streak entering the week and has a set of matchups that should allow him to continue to register good stats. Willingham has a solid, though unspectacular, career average of .287 against the starters that he should face this week and he also has clubbed four home runs. If your team is thin due to injuries or a slumping player, plug Willingham in this week.
Position Players to Avoid
Chris Young stormed out of the gate this season, but has struggled mightily since his return from the disabled list. The Diamondbacks outfielder has never registered an at bat against any of the starting pitchers he will face this week. Given the recent cold streak and lack of a track record, reserve Young until he can get back on track.
Carlos Pena is stuck in a slump that includes only one home run in the last two weeks. When your one trick pony, struggles with his trick it is time to look elsewhere. Pena may hit a few home runs, but overall you will be happier with him on your bench this week.
Jeff Francoeur has turned things around lately and seems to be hitting the ball better on the surface. Dig a little deeper and you will see that while Francoeur has been gathering hits, he is not filling up the stats in other columns. In his last eight games he has only one run batted in, with no home runs and no runs scored. Keep him on your bench until he starts producing across the board.
Two Start Pitchers
With only a 5-9 career record and an earned run average flirting with five against the Blue Jays and Yankees Edwin Jackson has no place in your lineup this week despite being the beneficiary of two starts.
Ian Kennedy has pitched really well in the last two weeks and gets starts against the Rangers and Angels this week. Kennedy has never faced the high powered Rangers and was roughed up in his only start against the Angels. Even though the historical numbers aren’t the best for Kennedy he is pitching too well of late for me to tell you to sit him this week.
Johnny Cueto has a perfect 2-0 record against the Cleveland Indians and has an equally unimpressive 0-3 record against the NY Mets, making his place in your lineup a coin toss this week. In a points league I would give him a try, but in a roto league I would be more likely to sit him.
You might be tempted to kick the tires on Bud Norris this week as he gets two starts, but I am here to warn you against it. Norris has been touched up in his last two starts and his earned run average has ballooned to 4.65. Now might be the time to dump Norris and give another starter a shot in your lineup.
Colby Lewis was strong in his last start against the A’s and he will look to follow it up with an early week matchup with the Diamondbacks. Though Lewis has never faced the Diamondbacks, he has had good success against the Astros, who he will face later in the week. Use Lewis this week and look for two solid outings.
Josh Johnson seems to be finding his grove after getting some starts under his belt in the early going. Johnson has had good success against the Rays and has been respectable against the Red Sox. Plug him in to your lineup this week and hope the progress continues.
Adam Wainwright has a limited track record against his opponents this week, but the track record is good enough to warrant starting him.
Madison Bumgarner has earned the status as an every start starter and belongs in your lineup this week as he faces off with the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
Zack Greinke gets a start against his former Royals team and then another against the Twins later in the week. The start will be his first against the Royals and he has not been successful when facing the Twins. With an impressive 7-2 record this season, Greinke is a must start in all formats despite the struggles.
Josh Beckett has pitched well and quieted critics lately and gets two starts this week. Beckett faces off with the Marlins, who he has never faced, and the White Sox who have given him trouble in his career. The last time I warned against Beckett, he proved me wrong, so I have to err on the side of his recent success and say plug him in your lineup this week.
One Start Wonders
Even though these guys get only one start this week, all signs point to them having the opportunity to register good numbers. Make sure to have them active.
Wait til Next Week
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