Fantasy baseball Weekly Planner: How to manage the DL deluge
Your fantasy team might be limping into mid-May, but there's help on the way. Some of the biggest players who landed on the disabled list early are candidates to return this week. If you are hurting in the standings, you will want these healing players in your lineups ASAP.
• OF Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees -- With three hits in Triple-A on Sunday, he raised his four-game rehab totals to 7-for-17 (.412) with one homer, three RBI and two runs. The Yankees are going to evaluate his broken forearm Monday, but it's highly likely that he will be activated Tuesday.
• OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves -- He was off to a slow start and needed an emergency appendectomy, but he went 2-for-4 on Sunday, snapping an 0-for-8 streak during his rehab assignment. The Braves are expected to activate him for the opener of a three-game series Monday night in Arizona. His numbers are not good to date, but he is too intriguing to sit in most leagues.
• SP Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers -- He says he's ready to return to the rotation Wednesday, and while it's not his decision to make, it would be wise for the Dodgers to let their big-ticket player return when he says he can, given their current state. Coming off a broken collarbone, he will face the Nationals, so you might want him to pitch once before you trust him in mixed fantasy leagues with fewer than 12 teams.
• SP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds -- He is slated to make one last rehab start Tuesday, which would put him in line to start next Sunday at Philadelphia. He may face a setback with his lat strain that could come after your lineup deadline, so keep him reserved for one more week if you have viable alternatives.
• RP Andrew Bailey, Boston Red Sox -- Everyone jumped on Junichi Tazawa in fantasy this week, but his days as the Red Sox's closer might be numbered. Bailey (biceps) is hoping to return without a rehab stint after he throws a bullpen session Tuesday. The uncertainty makes him difficult to trust in mixed leagues, but watch this closely if you were hoping for saves out of Tazawa. Bailey could be closing games by the weekend.
• SP Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs -- Garza's going to make one more rehab start Thursday before being re-evaluated for his lat strain and elbow issues this spring. He could have two starts for the next fantasy scoring period.
• OF Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks -- He was supposed to be the starting center fielder and leadoff man, but an elbow injury derailed him in Spring Training. Now, a .091 batting average through 33 at-bats on his rehab assignment is holding him there. He might get optioned to Triple-A before he's back in the D-Backs lineup at this point. His potential for steal warrants watching him for rotisserie formats, though.
• SP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- He is trying to rebuild his arm strength after being idle for a broken (non-throwing) elbow. He got on the mound one month after the injury, so he might just require another 10 days before he is a candidate to return to the Angels and fantasy lineups.
• OF Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics -- He is still more of an AL-only option, but he will run the bases early this week for potential mid-week activation. Keep him stashed in mixed leagues until the following scoring period. Hamstring issues for a player like Crisp, who relies on his legs, can be tricky.
• RP Ryan Madson, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- Madson is going to start a rehab assignment Monday and might return very shortly thereafter. However keep him on the DL for at least another week, because he won't serve as the closer right away.
• 1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks -- If there were lingering questions about whether this burly slugger was worthy of being a top-10 fantasy first baseman, he has answered them with a resounding yes. He is on pace to hit .306 with 39 homers, 131 RBI and 17 steals -- a rare contributor in that last category at the first base position. If he keeps this pace up through the season, he could be a first-round fantasy draft pick next March.
• SP Jonathon Niese, New York Mets -- A decent start (3.31 ERA in six April starts) has given way to an awful May (16.20). Niese has given up 15 earned runs in his past two starts and allowed more than a batter per inning this month. A matinee start at St. Louis and against Adam Wainwright on getaway day is a very dangerous time to have Niese in your fantasy lineup. Reserve him this week.
• SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals -- The rookie right-hander is making his pedestrian minor-league numbers look fluky. He retired 27 consecutive batters after allowing a leadoff single Friday night, pitching arguably the best game of the year. He struck out 13 and improved to 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA. He is the type of rookie who can dominate fantasy for three months before eventually hitting the rookie wall. He is just too good to deal right now, but start fielding offers, because you won't want to rely on him in fantasy crunch time. Rookie shoulders do funny things when you test them deep into the season.
• SP Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Remember this guy? He came off the DL with nine strikeouts against the Mets on Saturday, and draws the Brewers and opposing pitcher Hiram Burgos in his next start. Clearly, Liriano is worth a flier in mixed leagues, even if he is a shell of his former Twins self.
1. SP Scott Kazmir, Cleveland Indians -- His 10-strikeout performance shows he still has plenty of juice at age 29. Pick him up if he's still available.
2. RP Heath Bell, Arizona Diamondbacks -- He was probably in the right place at the right time when J.J. Putz walked off the mound with an elbow injury early this week. He saved three straight games and can hold that job from David Hernandez or Matt Reynolds until Putz is healthy again.
3. SP Hector Santiago, Chicago White Sox -- He has earned himself a rotation spot and some consideration in fantasy lineups in deeper leagues.
4. RP Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox -- With Joel Hanrahan (elbow surgery) now out for the season and Andrew Bailey easily the biggest injury-risk closer in baseball, Tazawa stands a good chance to hold the closer's role for a good portion of the remainder of the season.
5. 2B Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays -- He's on the right side of streaky right now and is a viable middle-infield starter in mixed leagues when he is on one of his tears.
1. RP Joel Hanrahan, Boston Red Sox -- Surgery officially ends his season. Cut him in all leagues and try to get Tazawa as the saves heir.
2. SP Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies -- Shoulder surgery might not end his season, but it should end any fantasy value. Cut him in any league without DL spots.
3. RP J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks -- He has had injury-plagued seasons related to his elbow in the past, so the news he won't need surgery isn't entirely soothing news. He might not be right all year.
4. J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays -- Happ suffered a scary injury -- he was diagnosed with a skull fracture after being hit by a line drive. It will keep him out as many as six weeks, but he did say he's eager to get back out there.
5. SP Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox -- He isn't hurt or pitching badly enough to warrant being dropped in mixed leagues. Perhaps fantasy owners are just realizing he is a mere streaming option.
Most viewed (Rotoworld):
1. RP Andrew Bailey, Boston Red Sox -- He's hoping to return without a rehab assignment. You shouldn't start him next week, but he could make Tazawa's closer job a short-lived role.
2. 1B Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers -- His numbers are good, but a neck issue has had him bouncing in and out of the lineup this week. He's still fine to start in all leagues.
3. OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves -- He is returning to the Braves' lineup from the DL and a rehab assignment Monday night. Put him in your lineup, because he's going to make up for his slow start.
4. OF Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees -- He could make his season debut on Tuesday, so owners will want to take a chance on him in deeper leagues, especially if your alternatives aren't great.
5. SP Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles -- He left his start early Sunday with a side issue. Reserve him for the coming week, just in case.
Most traded (CBSSports.com):
1. OF Josh Hamilton, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- The homers in back-to-back games this week were encouraging. He is going to get hot for an extended period eventually. BUY
2. SP Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants -- So much for his slow start. He has looked every bit an ace in his past two starts. HOLD
3. SP David Price, Tampa Bay Rays -- People shouldn't be selling low on this healthy, young talent. Take advantage. BUY
4. OF B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves -- He continues to spiral downward, but he will bounce back -- he's not a sub-.200 hitter. Consider this a good time to get in on the ground floor on a speed-and-power combo. BUY
5. OF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins -- A disappointing start had to have you thinking he was going to be a bust for that talent-devoid team. The hamstring injury gives you a scapegoat. Deal him while he still has elite value. Even once he returns in late May or June, he won't produce up to his future owner's expectations. SELL
• Trading for a catcher -- If you have been following along, it has been a revolving door at the catcher position for me. Instead of picking up a flavor of the week off the waiver wire, it was time to make a trade, buying low on Wilson Ramos. It took just $2 FAAB to get him.
• Trading an extra infielder -- Because this is an on-base percentage rotisserie league, it made sense to deal Zack Cozart away. He was merely bought in the auction to fill in until Jedd Gyorko was middle-infield eligible. MLB.com's Cory Schwartz had made offers for Cozart earlier this season and we finally completed a deal for $4 FAAB.
• Making a bid for a closer fill-in -- With just Rafael Soriano and the duo of Kevin Gregg/Kyuji Fujikawa as options for saves, I have been constantly hunting and bidding for new closers. Heath Bell is this week's top option, because Tazawa was already owned. Koji Uehara was available, too, but the news Bailey might come back this week makes Bell the one to load up on with an aggressive bid.
• Taking a flier on Julio Teheran -- The talented young arm was cut and has pitched better of late. With Cozart being dealt and catcher Martin Maldonaldo getting dropped after the acquisition of Ramos, there was space on the roster.
If you play in those daily fantasy leagues, here are the players by position that yours truly will be going with for Monday's games. If you want to challenge me, hit me up on Twitter @EricMackFantasy:
SP -- Lance Lynn
SP -- Jordan Zimmermann
C -- Salvador Perez
1B -- Anthony Rizzo
2B -- Matt Carpenter
3B -- Mike Moustakas
SS -- Starlin Castro
OF -- Andrew McCutchen (7-for-19, .368 with two homers versus Marco Estrada)
OF -- Cody Ross (4-for-6 with two homers versus Mike Minor)
OF -- Carlos Beltran
DH -- Victor Martinez