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Selling low on slow starters often not a path to fantasy fortune

Raise your hand if you thought Albert Pujols wasn't going to hit his first homer until Adam Dunn already had nine on the board. Put your hands down, you smattering of liars.

No one liked Dunn coming into the year, well, not this much. We should be believers now that last year's first season in Chicago was an aberration. Often it's Year 2 when a player shows his comfort in a new home. It can sometimes take that long for a player to adjust and feel himself. Right, Mr. Pujols?

Dunn is a .240-hitting, 40-homer, 100-RBI man-child. Assuming you can deal with the low batting average and the record strikeout pace, you have yourself a gem of a late-round pick or a waiver-wire addition. Things can turn around for players who start slow after a change of scenery.

No one is complaining about Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, Jonathan Papelbon or Mark Buehrle -- at least they shouldn't be, but the question is, what do we do with the likes of Pujols (.196 with just one homer and seven RBI), Jose Reyes (.234), Heath Bell (11.42 ERA and removed from the closer's role) and Mat Latos (4.93 ERA)?

Sit tight, if you own them. Buy low now, if you don't.

It doesn't have to take a year, like it did Dunn with the White Sox.

Pujols is ready to erupt. Reyes is getting hot right now, Latos was great in his last start and Bell still has some hope to redeem himself. He has to; the Marlins have $27 million reasons to hope he does.

Slow starters on other teams can be gold to a stalking fantasy owner willing to make a deal. It is an opportunity.

A warning if you own one of these slow starters and cannot wait on them to come around: It is not caveat emptor (buyer beware); it is caveat vendit (seller beware). You could have absorbed the worst and handing the best of them to someone else, double jeopardy.

Now on to the rest of Monday's look at fantasy baseball's trends of the week ...

SP Jered Weaver, Angels -- The recent history of pitchers coming off no-hitters is unfavorable, but few pitchers are as good as Weaver. The 29-year old is smack dab in the middle of his prime and just might prove to be the No. 1 pitcher in fantasy this season, overtaking Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay. Weaver is in line for career bests across the rotisserie board, which means more than 18 wins, a sub-2.41 ERA, a WHIP around 1.00 or less and over 233 strikeouts.

SP A.J. Burnett, Pirates -- That 12-earned-run outing was a killer for many fantasy teams. It was no treat for those in standard head-to-head points league (-22 points), but think about how many points rotisserie teams dropped with that one. It is enough to consider Burnett poison in all mixed leagues going forward, if he wasn't already. Those first two quality starts sucked you in, perhaps.

Most added

1. RP David Robertson, Yankees -- Manager Joe Girardi is hedging his call on a replacement closer by naming Robertson a co-closer with Rafael Soriano, who has the edge in experience. Robertson is striking out almost every batter he is facing right now. He has to be the top choice on most, if not all, days.

2. 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pirates -- He popped off last week and is even drawing walks now. This could be a big-time talent turning the corner on his career, Jose Bautista/Edwin Encarnacion-like.

3. RP Steve Cishek, Marlins -- His rubber arm gives him a chance to save games over Edward Mujica, who picked up the first save in Heath Bell's wake. The masses like Cishek more than Mujica, justifiably so.

4. RP Rafael Soriano, Yankees -- Even though he should be a distant second to Robertson in the co-closer's role for the Yankees, his experience gives him a chance. He might need Robertson to slip some, though.

5. 3B Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox -- OK, he is proving he belongs. What do the Red Sox do with him when Kevin Youkilis comes off the DL? There is no thought of him playing left field, but Middlebrooks might have to until Youk is dealt, or bought out to be a free agent this offseason.

Most dropped

1. RP Mariano Rivera, Yankees -- He vows to return next season, so he can only be held in keeper formats.

2. 1B Mat Gamel, Brewers -- His loss for the season was a huge disappointment for a promising sleeper. Remember him late in drafts next spring.

3. SP Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies -- Cut him in mixed leagues, but in deeper formats, he is worth stashing. He is better than most prospect arms, because he can impact all leagues well when he gets right.

4. RP Hector Santiago, White Sox -- A sore elbow has bumped Chris Sale to the closer's role over Santiago. It was a bad choice, a desperate one, from the start of the season. Why isn't Addison Reed being given the role? Let's get Reed's career as a dominant closer going already!

5. RP Carlos Marmol, Cubs -- Yet another victim of a devastating first week of May after an awful month of April for closers. Eventually the dust will settle around the league at that position -- as it always does -- and Marmol will be a solid closer to use in deeper mixed formats.

1. 1B Albert Pujols, Angels -- Finally, a home run! It is about to get nasty for AL pitchers. I would hate to be a starting pitcher with Pujols up soon on the schedule. BUY

2. RP Heath Bell, Marlins -- His next few appearances are very important. The Marlins need him right and he should be able to get there, assuming there is nothing injury-related. Assume he will find himself, so stash him. BUY

3. OF Bryce Harper, Nationals -- It seems he does something amazing every night. The hype is huge, but the results might only get better. BUY

4. 1B Ryan Howard, Phillies -- He is ready to get started, it appears. It might take him only three weeks to get activated. BUY

5. SP Corey Luebke, Padres -- Signs are pointing to Tommy John surgery. He was grossly overrated in drafts this spring, regardless of the injury. SELL

Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. If you miss his Monday baseball trends, Wednesday prospect report or Friday pitching review, you can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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