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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on CBS Sports Fantasy and was written by Chris Towers.
Week 7 (May 15-21) is on us. Here's what you need to know.
Cardinals only play five games
The Cardinals are a strange team for Fantasy purposes, with plenty of their bigger name hitters struggling. Even in a normal week, it's hard to trust the likes of Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler, or Aledmys Diaz, all of whom have been disappointments to various degrees in the early going. Matt Carpenter is an obvious must-start option, but beyond that, this hasn't been the team we expected to see this season.
In Week 7, it's going to be tough to trust anyone but Carpenter here. Jedd Gyorko has been hot enough that he might be worth starting, but he might be the only other player you definitely need to keep active at this point. There are too many talented players under-performing here for them not to turn it around, but it's hard to trust that happening in a week with just five games on the schedule.
5 games: STL
6 games: ARI, BAL, BOS, CHC, CIN, CLE, COL, DET, HOU, KC, LAA, MIN, NYM, NYY, PHI, PIT, SF, TB, TEX, WAS
7 games: ATL, CHW, LAD, MIA, MIL, OAK, SD, SEA, TOR
Rockies on the road
If you were hoping Carlos Gonzalez was about to turn it around, you may have to wait another week to see it. The Rockies play six games this week, three in Chicago and three in Cincinnati. Those aren't bad places to hit -- especially Cincinnati! -- but neither is Coors Field. Here's how Rockies regulars have fared at home and on the road:
|Name||Home OPS||Away OPS|
This isn't to say you should just bench all of your Rockies. Arenado and Blackmon are going to be must-start players anywhere, and it would be foolish to sit them. However, with LeMahieu and Gonzalez struggling, it makes sense to sit them down and hope their breakouts come when the team is back at home. And, while Reynolds has held his own on the road so far, there's a lot of smoke and mirrors involved in his success, and you probably have a first baseman worth starting ahead of him. This might be the week it all starts to catch up to him.
AL teams in NL Parks
The Angels don't have enough useful players for this to matter for Fantasy, but you should be aware of the impact this could have for the rest of these teams. Hanley Ramirez might sit out both games in St. Louis, especially after he had to leave his first game in an NL park Wednesday due to a back injury. We could also see the Astros give Carlos Beltran a few days off in NL parks, although that hardly makes much of a difference given how much he has struggled.
What will be interesting to watch is what happens with the Blue Jays in Atlanta. Kendrys Morales has been getting time at first base in NL parks, but he is dealing with a hamstring injury, so the team may opt to avoid playing him in the field while he recovers.
Dee Gordon playing SS
It remains to be seen if this will end up being more than a one-day thing, but it's worth monitoring. Gordon played the six spot Wednesday, his first appearance there in four years. With Adeiny Hechavarria and Miguel Rojas on the DL, the Marlins' only other option these days is J.T. Riddle, who was scratched Wednesday. It might be easier for the Marlins to justify playing Gordon at short if Martin Prado were healthy, but if they decide Steve Lombardozzi is a better option at second than Riddle is at short, Gordon could be on his way to a surprise secondary eligibility.
We know Clayton Kershaw is going to take the ball every fifth day, and Julio Urias' spot in the rotation seems pretty secure at this point. Beyond that, anything could happen with the Dodgers, who worked Hyun-Jin Ryu back into the rotation Thursday, with Rich Hill expected back from the DL Tuesday against the Giants. Alex Wood's spot in the rotation seems secure for now, with Kenta Maeda going on the DL, because Hill's spot in the rotation lines up with Maeda's. However, Brandon McCarthy is expected to return to the rotation Monday as well.
There's no such thing as too much pitching, and these sorts of issues tend to sort themselves out when dealing with injury-prone hurlers like McCarthy, Ryu or Hill. However, the Dodgers may end up going with a six-man rotation for a while, or they may move one of these pitchers to the bullpen. Seeing as all mentioned are Fantasy relevant to some degree, there's a lot up in the air here this week, so I might only feel comfortable starting Kershaw and Urias at this point.
The 10-day DL is changing everything
Increases in the number of players on the DL happen from time to time -- here's a story from 2008 on the topic, and another from 2012 -- and though there are often attempts to find explanations, more often than not, it can just be chalked up to randomness. We have a real explanation in 2017, however, as the reduction from the 15- to the 10-day DL has seemed to have a direct relationship with the increase in DL trips.
This was a totally predictable outcome of this rule, as teams are more willing to put guys on the DL with minor nagging injuries they might have tried to play through in the past. That is a good thing for player safety and health, but it does feel like we're seeing too many teams gaming the system, with the Dodgers especially putting a pitcher on the DL every other day, it seems. Maeda is just the latest example, as he was placed on the DL just hours after going 8 1/3 innings in his best start of the season, with what is expected to be a minor hamstring ailment. That it coincided with Hyun-Jin Ryu's return from the DL -- and the team's need for a roster spot -- seems a bit too neat to be explained solely by coincidence.
You should have a discussion with your leaguemates about the potential for expanding DL slots in wake of this new trend, though rule changes midseason are always a tricky topic. I'm in favor of it, to an extent. You don't need unlimited DL spots, but if you have two, move it up to four. There are just too many players on the DL these days.