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The schedule makers must have a sick sense of humor, because they gave a couple of teams an absolutely dreadful stretch this week. Conversely, a couple of teams have a few cakewalks lined up. That makes for a feast or famine type fantasy week, and it's up to you to decide on which side you want to be. So if you want to join the big dogs at the head table, join me and my musical guest 311, as we set you up for a bountiful Week 12.
Feels so good
Johnny Cueto @ OAK: I like my old friend Cueto to get the job done in one of the best pitchers' parks in the American League. Cueto doesn't have a history with the A's, but Oakland is near the bottom of the league in home runs and runs scored, and near the top of the league in strikeouts. Look for the 6-1 Cueto, one of the pleasant surprises of the 2010 season, to get back on track thanks to this favorable matchup.
Livan Hernandez vs. KC; @ BAL: The crafty veteran get the call as my two-start pitcher of the week based on the very favorable matchups he's got on the horizon. Although Kansas City has the highest team batting average in the American League, they're in the middle of the pack in slugging percentage and near the bottom of the league in home runs. The Orioles, well, they're the Orioles, which means Hernandez will have a great chance to get off his recent road schnide. I expect the Nats to pound two of the worst pitching staffs in the league, and Hernandez to be in position to grab not only two quality starts, but two wins as well.
Nate Robertson @ BAL: What more can a pitcher ask for than to toe the rubber against the worst team in baseball? I guess for that team to be the lowest-scoring team in its league. Throw in a free crab cake and Robertson will be all set. In nine career starts against Baltimore, Robertson is 4-2 with a 4.36 ERA, which isn't great, but those numbers are skewed by two bad outings. Robertson doesn't have a great strikeout-to-walk ratio, but the Orioles don't exactly set the world on fire in that category either. Expect Robertson to have a nice night in Charm City and walk away with a victory.
Kris Medlen vs. DET: Get it while the getting's good, because this might be your last chance to use Medlen as a starter once Jair Jurrjens comes off the DL. Medlen is 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA and an impressive 44Ks vs. 10 BBs splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen.
Ricky Nolasco @ BAL: You gotta take advantage when an NL pitcher faces the O's. In two starts vs. Baltimore, Nolasco has allowed three earned runs in 14.1 IP (1.93 ERA) with a 9:1 K/BB ratio.
Mike Pelfrey vs. MIN: All he's done in eight home starts this year is go 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA while only allowing one HR. Pelfrey's strikeouts per nine innings improves by 1.3 at Citi Field, while his batting average against plummets by .70 points.
Carlos Silva @ SEA: Despite facing off against Cliff Lee (who's been solid vs. the Cubs), Silva's 5-2, 2.65 ERA, 28K/five BB stat line against Seattle is enough for me to give him the nod against his old club.
Barry Zito @ HOU: Zito has already beaten Houston twice in 2010 (2-0), while allowing only three ERs (2.08 ERA) on nine hits and two walks (0.846 WHIP) over 13 IP, while striking out nine.
Edwin Jackson vs. NYY: The Yankees have knocked Jackson around pretty good throughout his career. In 11 starts against the Bronx Bombers, Jackson is 2-5 with a 4.83 ERA, and a 1.696 WHIP. Jackson will be facing the resurgent Javier Vazquez, who's found his groove as of late and has had good success against the Diamondbacks (5-3, 3.74 ERA, 90 Ks/27 BBs).
Rodrigo Lopez vs. NYY; @ TB: Just like my must-start double dip, I'm making this call based on the matchup. The Yankees and Rays are two of the top offenses in the American League, and frankly, Lopez isn't all that great to begin with. Sure, he can be useful in spots, but this isn't one of them. I just hope the post-game clubhouse spread is good when Lopez starts, because his 4.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and .286 BAA indicate that he'll be making an early exit and get first crack at the buffet table.
Chris Narveson vs. MIN: I'm not suggesting that you sit Narveson because of his disastrous 1.1 innings against Minnesota (two hits, two ERs, one BB), although that certainly doesn't help his cause. The main reason I urge you to keep him out of your lineup is that he's facing Francisco Liriano, who's been solid all season and absolutely owns Milwaukee (3-0, 2.00 ERA, 23 Ks/nine BBs). Narveson doesn't bring enough other things to the table to give him a start in a likely no-win situation.
Jason Hammel vs. BOS: Hammel's solid run ends against the Red Sox, against whom he's 0-2 in two starts with a 5.50 ERA (11 ERs in 18 IP) with only 14 Ks against 11 BBs.
Brett Myers vs. SF: In seven career starts against the Giants, Myers is 1-4 with a 6.30 ERA. In 2010 he's 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA (eight ERs in 14 IP) in two starts vs. San Francisco. Myers' loss will be Zito's gain.
Vicente Padilla vs. NYY: If the prospect of Padilla facing the dominant Phil Hughes isn't enough, please note that in 20 IP against New York, Padilla has allowed 17 ERs (7.65 ERA) and 24 hits/13 BBs (1.85 WHIP).
Wandy Rodriguez vs. SF: Rodriguez has allowed nine ERs in 9.2 career IP (8.38 ERA) vs. San Francisco with a putrid 7:9 K:BB ratio. He's got a tough draw against Matt Cain and his 2.05 ERA.
Jeff Suppan @ KC: Thinking about picking up a cheap win when Suppan visits his old stomping grounds? Think again. In seven career games (six starts) vs. the Royals, Suppan is 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA and an atrocious .343 Batting Average Against. The Royals should muster enough offense to get poor Zack Greinke a win in this one.
There isn't much in the way of great two-start options this week; but there are plenty of guys who are good for at least one go around.
Jaime Garcia 06.22 @ TOR; 06.27 @ KCLivan Hernandez 06.21 vs. KC; 06.27 @ BALJonathon Niese 06.22 vs. DET; 06.27 vs. MINRoy Oswalt 06.22 vs. SF; 06.27 @ TEX
Jhoulys Chacin 06.22 vs. BOS; 06.27 @ LAARyan Dempster 06.22 @ SEA; 06.27 @ CWSZach Duke 06.22 @ TEX; 06.27 @ OAKTommy Hanson 06.22 @ CWS; 06.27 vs. DETClayton Kershaw 06.22 @ LAA; 06.27 vs. NYYMike Leake 06.21 @ OAK; 06.27 vs. CLEJamie Moyer 06.22 vs. CLE; 06.27 @ TORAnibal Sanchez 06.22 @ BAL; 06.27 vs. SD
Same mistake twice
Dave Bush 06.22 vs. MIN; 06.27 vs. SEAMat Latos 06.22 @ TB; 06.27 @ FLARodrigo Lopez 06.21 vs. NYY; 06.27 @ TBJoe Martinez 06.22 @ HOU; 06.27 vs. BOS
Strong all along
Adam Dunn, 1B: I'm normally quick to put Dunn on my "sit" list, but this week, against two of the worst pitching staffs in the AL (Kansas City and Baltimore), Dunn becomes one of my chosen few. Dunn is 4-for-10 with one HR, three RBIs, and an amazing (for him) 3:4 K:BB ratio. It certainly doesn't hurt that he won't be seeing Mr. Greinke when he visits KC either. Dunn hasn't been as successful against Baltimore, but I'm a firm believer in kick 'em while they're down, so the surging Dunn gets the nod here as well.
David Wright, 3B:What's not to like? Wright has been on fire lately, he does great in interleague play, and June is historically his best offensive month. In limited action (six games) against Detroit and Minnesota, Wright is 9-for-22 (.409 AVG) with three HRs, seven RBIs, four BBs, and only one K. Look for Wright to keep it going on the road this week.
Jose Reyes, SS: Seems like a good week to meet the Mets. Reyes is a good play this week, especially since his batting average and stolen base numbers improve at home. Reyes has always gotten better as the weather warms up, and now it seems like he's rounding back into form after his early injury troubles. Reyes' 4-for-13 (.308 AVG) line against Detroit gives me hope, and although he's struggled in limited at-bats against Minnesota, all the other stars are aligning for the speedster this week.
Corey Hart, OF: Home-cooking suits Hart, especially this year, as he has three more home runs at home than on the road (in eight less games), and his batting average improves by 0.54 points.
Andrew McCutchen, OF: One of the few bright spots for the Buccos is on a 10-for-22 tear. Although his batting average is better at home, he has six more home runs and eight more RBIs on the road (in four more games). Has tough matchups this week (Texas and Oakland), but he's too good and too hot to sit.
Brandon Phillips, 2B: Phillips hasn't been great against his first opponent, Oakland, but he has destroyed Cleveland in 26 games: .347 AVG, .382 on base percentage, .936 on base plus slugging, 6-for-7 SBs, six HRs, six doubles, 19 RBIs. Expect that run to continue against the Tribe's sub-par staff.
Ivan Rodriguez, C: The ageless wonder is on an 8-for-20 (.400 AVG) run, with five RBIs in his last four games. Expect him to join the aforementioned Adam Dunn in knocking around the Royals and O's.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B: Another guy on a roll, Sanchez has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats (.409 AVG), and he showed just how dangerous he can be with a monster two HR, six RBI performance against the Rays last week. Just think what he'll do to the Orioles (although he does have to face the Padres too ... but at least that's at home).
Stephen Drew, SS: Drew has been OK lately, but he's struggled against lefties all season (.167 in 35 at-bats), and I wouldn't be surprised if he was glued to the bench when Arizona faces Andy Pettitte and David Price. Considering the strength of both New York and Tampa Bay's staffs, you would do well to keep him out of your lineup all together.
Chase Headley, 3B/OF: When I first saw the Padres were on the road all week, I though Headley might be in the previous section. However, Tampa Bay's formidable staff won't let Headley break out of his 3-for-31 (.097 AVG) funk, and don't expect too much when he visits Florida (2-for-13, six Ks this year).
Chris Young, OF: Another Diamondback to sit thanks to the schedule maker. I know that Young has been raking lately, but his pace will slow against the Yankees and Rays. In six total games against the beasts of the AL East, Young is 5-for-25 (.200 AVG) with three Ks and zero BBs.
Lance Berkman, 1B: Berkman has one hit in his last 18 at-bats, and hasn't knocked in a run in his last six games.
Michael Bourn, OF: I hate to sit speed guys, but a 2-for-24 skid makes it tough to recommend Bourn this week; his 7-for-57 (.123 AVG), 16 Ks/five BBs career number against San Francisco make it even tougher. Bourn does mash Texas pitching, so if you can make daily lineup changes, he does make sense later this week.
Ryan Doumit, C: Although I recommended McCutchen against Oakland and Texas, I can't do the same for Doumit, who's mired in a 4-for-23 slump. Doumit's 2010 splits do favor the road, but his career numbers indicate things will even out and that he's due for a quiet road trip.
Brad Hawpe, OF: Can I interest you in a guy who's on an 0-for-16 slide? How about one who's 15 for his last 78 (.192 AVG)? Didn't think so.
Rickie Weeks, 2B: Weeks burned me a few weeks back, but I won't be fooled again. Weeks faces one excellent staff (Minnesota) and another pretty good one (Seattle), and although he's at home all week, his '10 splits slightly favor the road.
In my neverending quest to bring you, the loyal reader, some options for those deep, deep leagues, here are three new faces to this space whose recent performance can help those in need.
Melky Cabrera, OF: With eight hits in his last 25 at-bats (.320 AVG) he's delivering more than the currently DL'd Nate McLouth has all season. Cabrera is owned in three percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Michael Morse, 1B: Talk about making the most of your opportunities. Morse is 14-for-33 with two HRs, five RBIs, and 1.136 OPS. Not bad for a guy with a zero ownership percentage in Yahoo leagues.
Ryan Spilborghs, OF: Batting .419 (13-for-31) in his last 10 games with three HRs, four doubles, a triple, and three RBIs; only owned in two percent of Yahoo leagues.
* All stats through 6/16/10.
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