By Chris Cwik, CBSSports.com
The post-hype sleeper can sometimes single-handedly win a Fantasy league. Not all players succeed in their first go in the majors. For some, it takes multiple trips to the majors before they finally figure it out. Based on his performance last week, Trevor Bauer could finally fulfill his lofty prospect status.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians (34 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: At Twins, home against Astros
It’s been a long road for Bauer. The one-time ninth-best prospect in the game, Bauer found himself at the back of top-100 lists entering 2014. Just as things were starting to look bleak, Bauer has emerged as a Fantasy asset. Walks continue to be a slight concern with Bauer, but it’s clear he’s trusting his stuff more this season. Bauer is coming off a tremendous game against his former club, and will take on the Twins and Astros Week 21. He’s a must-start.
Players I would start him over: Chris Archer, Alfredo Simon, Jake Odorizzi (one start)
Bartolo Colon, SP, Mets (53 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: Home against Cubs, at Dodgers
Colon has shown last season wasn’t a complete fluke. He’s mostly a one-pitch guy at this point, but is able to create movement and change speeds enough to be effective. On top of that, he rarely puts guys on base via the free pass. The matchup against the Cubs should have Fantasy owners salivating. While the Dodgers present more issues, Colon’s opponent is currently slated to be an injured Hyun-Jin Ryu. If Ryu struggles to get healthy, Colon could be going up against a last-resort starter.
Players I would start him over: Jered Weaver, Ian Kennedy, Tanner Roark (one start)
Chase Headley, 3B, Yankees (43 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: Home against Astros, White Sox
A trade to the Yankees hasn’t completely rejuvenated his bat, but Headley has been better lately. In 20 games with New York, he’s hit .250/.349/.375. That’s a far cry from his elite numbers, but an improvement over life as a Padre. Headley gets a chance to really take advantage of his new digs this week, as the Yankees play all their games at home. Yankees Stadium plays extremely friendly to power, so Headley might be able to add to his home run total this week.
Players I would start him over: Casey McGehee, Lonnie Chisenhall, Yangervis Solarte
J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles (44 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: At White Sox, Cubs
Things were starting to look up for Hardy before a thumb injury threw him out of action in Week 20. While thumb issues are always concerning, this doesn’t seem serious, and Hardy should return before the start of next week. That’s a good sign, as Hardy has started to show some rebound during the second half. His home run total is still poor, but he’s been able to hit for more power lately. While he won’t hit 20+ this season, he could go on a binge before the end of the year. He’s worth a shot at a weak position.
Players I would start him over: Andrelton Simmons, Jean Segura, Adeiny Hechavarria
Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs (76 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: At Mets, home against Giants, Orioles
Despite his limited track record in the majors, Baez has the highest start percentage of any players in the start section. While his early power binge is likely to fade, there’s too much potential here to simply cast Baez aside. The Cubs want to get a good look at the future of the club, so Baez’s role seems pretty safe. He’ll play the majority of his games at the Friendly Confines this week, and that could bode well for a player currently on a power binge.
Players I would start him over: Dustin Ackley, Omar Infante, Asdrubal Cabrera
Chris Archer, SP, Rays (61 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: Home against Tigers, at Blue Jays
It’s tough to complain about Archer’s performance lately. He’s tossed a quality start in his last five starts, and has generally been a strong breakout pitcher the entire season. The reason he’s a sit Week 21 is his opponents. Both the Tigers and Blue Jays have been near the top of the league in every offensive category. While the Blue Jays have been without slugger Edwin Encarnacion lately, he’s expected back in time to face Archer. Archer’s not a bad player, it’s just not a great week to use him.
Players I would start instead: Trevor Bauer, Jason Vargas, Wily Peralta (one start)
Jered Weaver, SP, Angels (77 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: At Red Sox, Athletics
Weaver continues to defy expectations despite declining velocity and strikeout numbers over the past few seasons. While he hasn’t dramatically fallen off the table yet, it’s clear he’s no longer an elite option. This week, the matchups won’t help him. Boston isn’t the strongest offensive club, but they play in a hitter-friendly ballpark. The A’s, on the other hand, have been menacing offensively. Starting Weaver this week comes with more risk than it would normally warrant.
Players I would start instead: Bartolo Colon, Yordano Ventura (one start), Alex Wood (one start)
Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers (66 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: At Rays, Twins
After two straight seasons with ridiculously high BABIPs, Hunter’s fallen back to earth. While he’s still showed enough pop to be viable in mixed leagues, the fact that he’s not hitting .300 makes him an average option at a deep position. Playing in Tropicana Field and Target Field won’t help him add to that home run total, so he might as well see some time on the bench in your league.
Players I would start instead: Christian Yelich, Corey Dickerson, Curtis Granderson
Kurt Suzuki, C, Twins (52 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: Home against Indians, Tigers
Fantasy owners have waited for the shoe to drop for Suzuki all season. While it hasn’t happened yet, it’s still tough to buy the performance. After posting a BABIP around .245 in three of the past four seasons, Suzuki is up to .322 in 2014. That’s not sustainable. Even if he continues to hit for a decent average, Suzuki provides nothing in the power department. There are higher-upside players at his position.
Players I would start instead: Brian McCann, Russell Martin, John Jaso
Kyle Lohse, SP, Brewers (54 percent started Week 20)
Week 21 schedule: Home against Blue Jays
Lohse has actually had a really nice year after settling in as a low-upside option the past few seasons. His strikeouts are slightly up, and he’s been able to keep his minuscule walk rate. Even though he’s been a strong pitcher this season, he’s not a recommended start Week 21. Lohse will take on a Blue Jays club that has ranked near the top of the league in most offensive stat categories. On top of that, Toronto is expected to get Edwin Encarnacion back Friday. Fantasy owners can find pitchers with better matchups this week.
Players I would start instead: Dallas Keuchel, Drew Hutchison, Yovani Gallardo
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