Weekly Rundown

Known as the Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides head-to-head owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups in an attempt to help solve lineup conundrums. While reading, keep in mind matchups are subject to change due to managerial moves, unforeseen injuries and Mother Nature's influences.

Leading Off
As we head into this week's action, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:

Twenty-year-old fantasy heartthrob Justin Upton (81.5 percent owned) smacked his league-leading third homer of the young season off Rockies ace Jeff Francis in Arizona's 7-2 victory on April 5. The D-Back's No. 7 hitter has collected eight hits in his first 20 at-bats, despite posting a hideous 26.4 K%. The green youngster is a strong 20-20 candidate this season but, due to his free-swinging ways, a .275 BA seems more realistic. Upton, who was recently traded straight up for Rafael Soriano, Lastings Milledge and Rick Ankiel in Y! Plus league solo deals, is someone you might want to advertise if his torrid streak continues.

According to Reds talent destroyer Dusty Baker, utility man Jeff Keppinger is "seizing the opportunity" with Alex Gonzalez shelved. Baker spoke highly of his starting shortstop in theCincinnati Enquirer on April 4, boasting that he is "an ideal No. 2 hitter." It's apparent that the 2.3 percent owned Keppinger will likely remain the everyday Reds shortstop if he continues to sear at the dish. So far 7-for-20 with a homer and three runs scored, the 27-year-old infielder could be in store for a breakout year. Last season, in 241 at-bats, he slapped a .332 BA and posted a lowly 5.0 K%. Ignoring RBIs and SBs, he could accumulate similar numbers in a full-time role as Michael Young did last season (.315 BA, 9 HR, 80 R).

Overlooked by many, Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano was shifted from left field to second base late in Friday's tango with Houston. Although he's a frigid 1-for-22 to start the season, Soriano's added eligibility in several leagues is a major value boost. Consider him the second-best two-bagger behind Chase Utley if he qualifies at the four in your league. Oh, and don't be overly concerned about Soriano's slow start. Last season, he had a similar stumble out of the gates, compiling a .205 BA during the first half of April.

Seattle libido-driver Erik Bedard was scratched from his Sunday start due to a mild hip injury he suffered in pre-game workouts on Saturday. If Bedard is unable to take the ball on Tuesday in Tampa, the Mariners will likely promote R.A. Dickey from Triple-A or move Cha Seung Baek into the rotation. As a precautionary move, owners in weekly leagues may want to bench Bedard for the upcoming week.

Milwaukee's El Chupacabra, Yovani Gallardo, tossed 75 pitches without restriction for the Nashville Sound on April 4, allowing three runs on six hits in four innings. He also walked one and punched out five. Ned Yost commented that his stuff "was OK," but noted that he may only need two more minor-league starts before rejoining the Brew-Ha-Has rotation in Cincinnati April 18. Gallardo, who was swapped for Joe Borowski, Delmon Young and Jeff Francis in recent Y! plus league one-for-one trades, is someone to pitch an offer for immediately before his injury discount expires.

Rays howitzer Scott Kazmir threw 60 pain-free pitches in a bullpen session on April 4. After the workout, Kazmir commented that his elbow "feels great … I'm letting it go pretty nice, I wasn't really held back at all." The AL's reigning strikeout champ is scheduled to throw a live bullpen session on Tuesday and another one a couple of days after that. If everything goes smoothly, he could return to the rotation April 29 versus Baltimore. Like Gallardo, Kazmir is someone to bargain hunt for now.

The Rich Harden of fantasy outfielders, Jeremy Hermida, will not be activated from the DL on April 5 and is expected to rehab his hamstring in the minors for another week. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez commented that Hermida is "not confident enough yet to turn it loose," adding that it's not wise at this point in the season to "push" the former top prospect. Hermida was red-hot after the All-Star break last year, notching a .340 BA with 10 dingers and 36 RBI. Obviously, due to his hamstring woes, a maximum of five steals is his likely theft ceiling, but 23-28 homers are still a realistic possibility. The much maligned outfielder has commanded the likes of Ivan Rodriguez, Troy Percival and Casey Kotchman in recent one-for-one Plus league transactions. Those deals will look like highway robbery by July.

Houston's "Fat Elvis," Lance Berkman, was pulled in the bottom of the fourth inning in Chicago because of neck spasms. Usually, spasm injuries are fickle setbacks which can sideline a player from one day to 10. Houston officials believe Berkman will return to the lineup no later than Monday, unless the injury re-intensifies. For now, keep him active in all leagues for the upcoming scoring period.

Hidden lumberjacks (past 7 days): Xavier Nady, Pit, OF (8-21, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4.3% owned), Ben Broussard, Tex, 1B (3-18, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0.26%), Scott Hairston, SD, OF (7-22, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0.11%), Cliff Floyd, TB, OF (4-11, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0.24%), Brandon Inge, Det, 3B/OF (6-16, 2 HR, 4 RBI. 3.4%)

Whiffers o' the weak (past 7 days): Alfonso Soriano, ChC, OF/2B (1-22, 4 K, 99.9% owned), Willy Taveras, Col, OF (2-17, 6 K, 94.8%), Matt Kemp, LAD, OF (2-15, 6 K, 99.1%), Johnny Damon, NYY, OF (2-18, 4 K, 99.2%), Eric Byrnes, Ari, OF (3-21, 4 K, 99.8%)

Inconspicuous thieves (past 7 days): Carlos Gomez, Min, OF (9-24, 4 SB, 6.1%), Marco Scutaro, Tor, SS (3-13, 3 SB, 1.0%), Nate McLouth, Pit, OF (9-23, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 9.2%), Joey Gathright, KC, OF (4-20, 2 SB, 0.7%),

This Week's Two-Start Pitchers
For those steadfast, stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope, this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and weather influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Erik Bedard

at TB

LAA

Hip makes him a ? mark, but 5 IP, 5 K Mar. 31

2

Fausto Carmona

at LAA

Oak

Sultan of Sink induced 16 grounders in '08 debut

3

Phil Hughes

at KC

at Bos

First step in breakout year vs Tor – 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K

4

Javier Vazquez

Min

Det

Vanquished by CLE Apr 2 – 5 IP, 4 ER, 6:4 K:BB

5

A.J. Burnett

Oak

at Tex

A.J. an ace vs. Oak in '07 – 1.29 ERA in 2 GS

6

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Det

NYY

Cutting opponents with Samurai sword – 11.57 K/9

7

Rich Harden

at Tor

at Cle

A's tosser has many owners Harden – 15 K in 11 IP

8

Brian Bannister

NYY

Min

Saber sleuth dynamite in 1st start – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H

9

Joe Saunders

Cle

at Sea

Sip this cup of Joe in deep leagues – 8 IP, 0 ER

10

Mike Mussina

TB

at Bos

Moose a rotation caboose – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 K Apr 2

11

Matt Garza

Sea

Bal

Green Garza 5.91 ERA in 12 home starts

12

Kenny Rogers

at Bos

at ChW

Ancient Gambler still dealing – 6 IP, 2 ER in opener

13

Nick Blackburn

at ChW

at KC

Unproven but tallied sparkling 6:1 K:BB in 7 IP Apr 2

14

Carlos Silva

at TB

LAA

50.0 FB% could be ugly vs. Rays/Angels bombers

15

Daniel Cabrera

at Tex

at TB

Horrific 5 BBs in 4.0 IP vs Tampa in '08 debut

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Cole Hamels

at Cin

ChC

Camel spectacular vs. Cincy in career – 0.64 ERA

2

Tim Lincecum

SD

StL

4 BB in 4 IP at LAD; 4.14 ERA in 12 home starts

3

Johnny Cueto

at Mil

at Pit

Baby bull untouchable debut – 7 IP, 10 K, 1 H, 0 BB

4

Dan Haren

LAD

Col

Dan in fantasy life rock solid – 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 K Apr 2

5

Matt Cain

SD

StL

Same tired story – 5.2 IP, 0 ER vs. LAD, but no RS

6

Oliver Perez

Phi

Mil

Electric in '08 debut – 6 IP, 0 ER, 8:1 K:BB, W

7

Ted Lilly

at Pit

at Phi

Lilly a launching pad in first start – 4 ER in 4.2 IP

8

Chad Billingsley

at Ari

SD

Dolla Bills money vs. Ari/SD in '07 – 1.96 ERA

9

Tom Gorzelanny

ChC

Cin

Churns out plenty of QS – 3.74 home ERA in '07

10

Greg Maddux

at SF

at LAD

Mad Dog vulnerable on the road – 4.65 ERA in '07

11

Jair Jurrjens

at Col

at Was

Jair terrific in debut – 5.1 IP, 5:1 K:BB, W

12

Wandy Rodriguez

StL

Fla

Magic Wandy at home – 2.94 ERA, 1.11 WHIP ('07)

13

Tom Glavine

at Col

at Was

Not so crafty on road in '07 – 4.54 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

14

Ubaldo Jimenez

Atl

at Ari

Punished in first start at StL – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB

15

Todd Wellemeyer

at Hou

at SF

Deep league stream o' the week – 5 IP, ER, 6 K

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Erik Bedard

at TB

LAA

Hip makes him a ? mark, but 5 IP, 5 K Mar. 31

2

Fausto Carmona

at LAA

Oak

Sultan of Sink induced 16 grounders in '08 debut

3

Phil Hughes

at KC

at Bos

First step in breakout year vs Tor – 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K

4

Javier Vazquez

Min

Det

Vanquished by CLE Apr 2 – 5 IP, 4 ER, 6:4 K:BB

5

A.J. Burnett

Oak

at Tex

A.J. an ace vs. Oak in '07 – 1.29 ERA in 2 GS

6

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Det

NYY

Cutting opponents with Samurai sword – 11.57 K/9

7

Rich Harden

at Tor

at Cle

A's tosser has many owners Harden – 15 K in 11 IP

8

Brian Bannister

NYY

Min

Saber sleuth dynamite in 1st start – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H

9

Joe Saunders

Cle

at Sea

Sip this cup of Joe in deep leagues – 8 IP, 0 ER

10

Mike Mussina

TB

at Bos

Moose a rotation caboose – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 K Apr 2

11

Matt Garza

Sea

Bal

Green Garza 5.91 ERA in 12 home starts

12

Kenny Rogers

at Bos

at ChW

Ancient Gambler still dealing – 6 IP, 2 ER in opener

13

Nick Blackburn

at ChW

at KC

Unproven but tallied sparkling 6:1 K:BB in 7 IP Apr 2

14

Carlos Silva

at TB

LAA

50.0 FB% could be ugly vs. Rays/Angels bombers

15

Daniel Cabrera

at Tex

at TB

Horrific 5 BBs in 4.0 IP vs Tampa in '08 debut

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Cole Hamels

at Cin

ChC

Camel spectacular vs. Cincy in career – 0.64 ERA

2

Tim Lincecum

SD

StL

4 BB in 4 IP at LAD; 4.14 ERA in 12 home starts

3

Johnny Cueto

at Mil

at Pit

Baby bull untouchable debut – 7 IP, 10 K, 1 H, 0 BB

4

Dan Haren

LAD

Col

Dan in fantasy life rock solid – 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 K Apr 2

5

Matt Cain

SD

StL

Same tired story – 5.2 IP, 0 ER vs. LAD, but no RS

6

Oliver Perez

Phi

Mil

Electric in '08 debut – 6 IP, 0 ER, 8:1 K:BB, W

7

Ted Lilly

at Pit

at Phi

Lilly a launching pad in first start – 4 ER in 4.2 IP

8

Chad Billingsley

at Ari

SD

Dolla Bills money vs. Ari/SD in '07 – 1.96 ERA

9

Tom Gorzelanny

ChC

Cin

Churns out plenty of QS – 3.74 home ERA in '07

10

Greg Maddux

at SF

at LAD

Mad Dog vulnerable on the road – 4.65 ERA in '07

11

Jair Jurrjens

at Col

at Was

Jair terrific in debut – 5.1 IP, 5:1 K:BB, W

12

Wandy Rodriguez

StL

Fla

Magic Wandy at home – 2.94 ERA, 1.11 WHIP ('07)

13

Tom Glavine

at Col

at Was

Not so crafty on road in '07 – 4.54 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

14

Ubaldo Jimenez

Atl

at Ari

Punished in first start at StL – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB

15

Todd Wellemeyer

at Hou

at SF

Deep league stream o' the week – 5 IP, ER, 6 K

To Catch a Thief
The best and worst base burglar matchups for the upcoming week. Stats reflect numbers through April 5:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)

BOTTOM 5 (Worst)

CS

ATT

CS%

Geovany Soto, ChC – (at Pittsburgh, at Philadelphia)

0

7

0.000

Josh Bard, SD – (at San Francisco, at L.A. Dodgers)

0

5

0.000

Mike Napoli, LAA – (Cleveland, at Seattle)

0

5

0.000

Jason Kendall, Mil – (Cincinnati, at N.Y. Mets)

1

6

0.167

Paul Bako, Cin – (at Milwaukee, at Pittsburgh)

1

5

0.200

TOP 5 (Best)

CS

ATT

CS%

Gerald Laird, Tex – (Baltimore, Toronto)

2

4

0.500

Kenji Johjima, Sea – (at NY Yankees, at Detroit)

2

5

0.400

Russell Martin, LAD – (at Arizona, San Diego)

2

5

0.400

Ramon Hernandez, Bal – (at Texas, Tampa Bay)

2

6

0.333

Matt Treanor, Fla – (at Washington, at Houston)

3

10

0.300


AL Steals Shopping:Jose Lopez, Sea, 2B (0.85% owned)

NL Steals Shopping: Nate McLouth, Pit, OF (9.2% owned), Nyjer Morgan, Pit, OF (0.10%), Eugenio Velez, SF, 2B (3.3%), Rajai Davis, SF, OF (0.77%), Angel Pagan, NYM, OF (0.28%), Tony Gwynn, Mil, OF (0.58%)

Feast or Famine?
Torn between two stat-similar corner infielders this week? Use the pitching and hitting staff sorters below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche or Scott Olsen is a fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through April 5.

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Chi White Sox

5.23

Min

Det

N.Y. Yankees

5.00

at KC

at Bos

Detroit

4.79

at Bos

at ChW

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Toronto

2.72

Oak

at Tex

Oakland

2.95

at Tor

at Cle

Kansas City

3.00

NYY

Min

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Pittsburgh

6.65

ChC

Cin

San Francisco

5.83

SD

StL

Florida

5.48

at Was

at Hou

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

L.A. Dodgers

1.84

at Ari

SD

St. Louis

2.20

at Hou

at SF

Arizona

2.51

LAD

Col

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – AL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Chi White Sox

5.23

Min

Det

N.Y. Yankees

5.00

at KC

at Bos

Detroit

4.79

at Bos

at ChW

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Toronto

2.72

Oak

at Tex

Oakland

2.95

at Tor

at Cle

Kansas City

3.00

NYY

Min

BEST/WORST PITCHING STAFFS – NL

BOTTOM 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

Pittsburgh

6.65

ChC

Cin

San Francisco

5.83

SD

StL

Florida

5.48

at Was

at Hou

TOP 3

ERA

OPP1

OPP2

L.A. Dodgers

1.84

at Ari

SD

St. Louis

2.20

at Hou

at SF

Arizona

2.51

LAD

Col

BEST/WORST OFFENSES – AL

BOTTOM 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

Texas

.223

Bal

Tor

Cleveland

.230

at LAA

Oak

Oakland

.231

at Tor

at Cle

TOP 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

L.A. Angels

.308

Cle

at Sea

Tampa Bay

.283

Sea

Bal

Toronto

.273

Oak

at Tex

BEST/WORST OFFENSES – NL

BOTTOM 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

Colorado

.198

Atl

at Ari

Houston

.218

Stl

Fla

Cincinnati

.220

at Mil

at Pit

TOP 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

N.Y. Mets

.319

Phi

Mil

San Diego

.299

at SF

at LAD

Atlanta

.296

at Col

at Was

BEST/WORST OFFENSES – AL

BOTTOM 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

Texas

.223

Bal

Tor

Cleveland

.230

at LAA

Oak

Oakland

.231

at Tor

at Cle

TOP 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

L.A. Angels

.308

Cle

at Sea

Tampa Bay

.283

Sea

Bal

Toronto

.273

Oak

at Tex

BEST/WORST OFFENSES – NL

BOTTOM 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

Colorado

.198

Atl

at Ari

Houston

.218

Stl

Fla

Cincinnati

.220

at Mil

at Pit

TOP 3

BA

OPP1

OPP2

N.Y. Mets

.319

Phi

Mil

San Diego

.299

at SF

at LAD

Atlanta

.296

at Col

at Was

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