By Chris Cwik, CBSSports.com
It’s always tough to start a platoon bat in Fantasy baseball. While some players can absolutely mash depending on the handedness of the pitcher, there’s always concern about their lack of playing time hurting their value. In many situations, this is the case. But, occasionally, a player will perform well enough in a platoon role to warrant attention in shallow leagues. Guys like Matt Joyce and Brandon Moss have both had their moments in recent seasons. Corey Dickerson could be this year’s breakout platoon player.
Start ‘Em: Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies (48 percent started Week 12) Week 13 schedule: Home against Cardinals, at Brewers The main reason for Dickerson’s low start percentage seems to be the fact that he tends to sit against left-handers. Well, it looks like he’ll only face one lefty Week 13. Not only that, but he’s playing in two parks that should aid his power numbers. It’s often tough to work these platoon bats into your Fantasy lineups, but Dickerson offers enough upside to take the plunge. As long as Carlos Gonzalez remains sidelined, Dickerson will be a sneaky start.
Players I would start him over: George Springer, Domonic Brown, Austin Jackson
Alfredo Simon, SP, Reds (69 percent started Week 12) Week 13 schedule: At Cubs, Giants There are actually a fair share of reasons to think Simon’s success thus far has been fluky. His strikeout rate is much lower than desired, and he’s giving up home runs at a high rate. The main reason for his success has been a .243 BABIP. Simon has typically posted lower BABIP figures than normal, but his career-norm is .282. While that should regress, it probably won’t be this week. The Cubs have been terrible on offense, and while the Giants are better, Simon has the comfort of pitching in spacious AT&T Park.
Players I would start him over: Mark Buehrle, Lance Lynn, (one start) Phil Hughes
Matt Cain, SP, Giants (47 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: Home against Padres, Reds
Two excellent matchups make Cain a must-start Week 13. Yes, there are plenty of reasons to worry about his underlying struggles, but he’s also taking on two teams that rate near the bottom of the league in every offensive metric. Cain’s big issue this year has been the long ball. He’s typically been able to limit them much better in his home park. He’s far from a sure thing, but his opponents make him look pretty intriguing.
Players I would start him over: Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Garza, (one start) Jason Vargas
Adam Eaton, OF, White Sox (50 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: At Orioles, Blue Jays
Eaton finally appears to be fully recovered from his hamstring injury. During the month of June, he’s hit a solid .305/.388/.441 over 67 plate appearances. It’s a small sample, admittedly, but he flashed the same skills in April. Being on base more hasn’t led to a bevy of stolen bases, which could indicate he’s still playing it cautious. At the same time, the more he’s on base for Jose Abreu, the better. Eaton’s upside may be low, but he’s got a hot hand right now.
Players I would start him over: Rajai Davis, Starling Marte, Dayan Viciedo
Jhonny Peralta, SS, Cardinals (49 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: At Rockies, Dodgers
Boy, shortstop is weak this year. If you’re one of those league members who doesn’t have a clear-cut starter at the position, trusting Peralta may not be a bad option this week. While most of Peralta’s numbers are down, likely due to a poor .259 BABIP, his power has remained. Both Coors Field and Dodgers Stadium play pretty friendly to home run hitters, so this could be an opportunity for Peralta to add a few dingers. He’s also a sneaky pickup for the rest of the season if he can find a way to tame his lower-than-average BABIP.
Players I would start him over: Yangervis Solarte, Brandon Crawford, Andrelton Simmons
Sit ‘Em: Shelby Miller, SP, Cardinals (75 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: At Rockies, Dodgers
Miller is exhibit-A when it comes to ERA being a misleading stat. He just hasn’t been that good this season, but his 3.56 ERA keeps Fantasy owners interested. A look at his peripherals reveals a significantly lowered strikeout rate, and a large jump in walk rate. In fact, among qualified pitchers, Miller’s 10.7 percent walk rate ranks sixth worst. Those base-runners will eventually start scoring, which should lead to an uptick in Miller’s numbers. Facing both the Rockies and Dodgers would be a nightmare for most pitchers, so Miller should definitely be sat.
Players I would start instead: Alfredo Simon, Chris Archer, (one start) Jonathon Niese
Mark Buehrle, SP, Blue Jays (71 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: Home against Yankees, White Sox
It’s all about home runs this year for Buehrle. While most of his peripherals have remained the same, Buehrle has allowed just five home runs in 100 2/3 innings. That’s more than half his career home run rate. These things tend to regress over the course of the season, which means Buehrle should see a rise in his ERA as the year wears on. It doesn’t help that he pitches in a homer-friendly park and has to play the White Sox, who have a competent offense this year.
Players I would start instead: Matt Cain, Aaron Harang, (one start) Ervin Santana
Curtis Granderson, OF, Mets (71 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: Home against the Athletics, at Pirates
It’s time to wonder whether Granderson will get his power back. His average fly ball distance has declined for at least the third straight year, and he went from one of the best home run parks to a pitcher’s park during the offseason. It’s tough to know what you’ll get from him at this point. He’s definitely better than he was last season, but won’t live up to 2012. That season, he hit .231 with 43 home runs. The average won’t jump much higher than that, and he’s not going to return to that level of power again. That makes him pretty questionable as a Fantasy starter in shallow leagues.
Players I would start instead: Marlon Byrd, Billy Hamilton, Seth Smith
Michael Morse, 1B, Giants (76 percent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: Home against the Padres, Reds
Morse’s approach at the plate wouldn’t work for many players, but it seems to work for him, and that’s fine. It’s not the approach we’re worried about here, it’s whether he can hit for power at home. He can, as his slugging percentage is over .500 both at home and on the road. So, why should you sit him this week? Well, though he hits better at home, his home run power hasn’t translated as well there. Of his 13 home runs, four have come at AT&T. That’s nothing to worry about, really, but if you feel you have power wrapped up Week 13, you can find help elsewhere.
Players I would start instead: Eric Hosmer, Allen Craig, Adam LaRoche
Kyle Lohse, SP, Brewers (74 perent started Week 12)
Week 13 schedule: At Rockies
There’s an argument to be made that Fantasy owners shouldn’t start any pitcher at Coors Field this season. The Rockies are a decent offensive club on the road, but jump into an elite category at home. For a guy like Lohse, who relies on contact to succeed, this could be a disaster matchup. There are other pitchers out there who carry significantly less risk this week. Start them instead.
Players I would start instead: Tanner Roark, Tyson Ross, Henderson Alvarez
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