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Daily notes: Fantasy rankings for Wednesday

Corey Dickerson isn't a speedster, but his role at the top of the Rays' lineup still provides fantasy value. Getty Images

After a weekend stuffed with candy-induced sugar highs and the lows of paying taxes, we look forward to another 15-game fantasy baseball Wednesday packed with four afternoon contests.

In visits to American League parks, the Marlins and Giants will add a designated hitter. The Orioles, on the other hand, will lose theirs while visiting the Reds, though that might not stop one high-flying bird from starting.

Plus, a popular preseason sleeper pitcher returns, and other arms who've been dealing out of the gate will face significant tests.


Pitching

Looking for a spot starter Wednesday? Here's a list of potential options still available in more than 50 percent of ESPN.com leagues.

Starters

Joe Ross (Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves, 26.2 percent): To welcome him back to the big league rotation, the Nats send Ross to duel with Julio Teheran. Still, Teheran's run support remains spotty, and the Nationals have plenty of punch. Ross, who'll be the subject of workload monitoring throughout the year, owns stellar skills to deploy whenever he does take the mound.

Martin Perez (Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics, 10 percent): There's a lot to like about Perez on a slate where available streamers are sparse. The lefty is facing a team that relies on platoons, but is still among the worst clubs facing a lefty so far this season. In addition, the Coliseum is one of the friendliest pitching venues in the game. Finally, Perez should receive run support with Jesse Hahn on the hill for the home team.

Jason Vargas (Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants, 49 percent): Vargas is one of the biggest early-season surprises. His two-seamer/sinker is dancing and helping him collect plenty of whiffs. But with Buster Posey likely back, the momentum could painfully stop.

Starting pitcher bust

Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners vs. Miami Marlins, 94 percent): For the second straight year, the King is off to a hot start, with a 2.95 ERA, 15 strikeouts and zero walks through his first three starts. But he has also allowed a trio of home runs, which continues to be one of his biggest problems from last season. A quietly stellar Marlins lineup should bring him back to earth.

Bullpen

Perhaps in what will amount to a merciful demotion, Sam Dyson (27.00 ERA in 4.3 innings this year) was placed on the disabled list Monday with a contusion on his right hand. The club's Opening Day closer has left many of his owners' stats bruised. Now that he's on the shelf, relief ace Matt Bush (3.86 ERA, eight strikeouts, one walk in 4 2/3 frames) looks like the replacement closer. Picking up Jeremy Jeffress is a fine Plan B, though, considering his past closer experience and Bush's recent bouts with shoulder issues.


Projected game scores

GS is the projected game score for the pitcher. A "*" means that the pitcher lacks requisite career major league data to produce an accurate rating; these are the author's ratings.


Hitting

Here's a position-by-position look at hitters in favorable spots with less than 50 percent ownership.

Catcher

Sandy Leon (Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays, 42 percent): Rick Porcello's backstop has just two hits in his past 15 at-bats but always owns a better outlook against left-handers. Leon boasts a .289/.344/.451 slash against them for his career, with a fine chance to add to that against Francisco Liriano, who is off to a rough start for an ice-cold squad.

First base

Trey Mancini (Baltimore Orioles at Cincinnati Reds, 16 percent): Well, he isn't technically eligible anywhere yet, but just as Baltimore might do in a lineup without a DH on Wednesday, I'm squeezing him into this article. Mancini has a pair of two-homer games this year, most recently Sunday, and the rookie would carry the platoon advantage against left-handed Amir Garrett, who's ripe for a setback to his hot start.

Second base

Derek Dietrich (Miami Marlins at Seattle Mariners, 2 percent): Do you save at least one roster spot for rotating matchup plays in head-to-head leagues? (1) You should and (2) here's a fine rental for Wednesday, as he'll likely occupy a spot in Miami's DH-enhanced lineup. Sure, he faces Felix Hernandez, but as ESPN Fantasy stat guru Kyle Soppe notes, the King has looked jester-ish in giving up a .400 slugging percentage to lefty bats the past two seasons. Dietrich's top-end platoon favoritism plays well here, even in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

Third base

Chase Headley (New York Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox, 37 percent): He has cooled since his torrid start to the year but has at least one hit in six of his past seven games, over which he has scored seven runs, stolen two bags and smacked a solo home run with an additional RBI. Headley should keep it going against potential pitching machine Dylan Covey.

Shortstop

J.J. Hardy (Baltimore Orioles at Cincinnati Reds, 2 percent): Here's another attempt to pick on Garrett and go against the grain a bit. Hardy has shown some sparks in his past four games, going 7-for-16, including his first home run of the season and four RBIs.

Corner infielder

Ryon Healy (Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers, 32 percent): Those wanting to play the "he's due" game have plenty of evidence, as Healy hasn't plated a run or left the yard since April 6 (33 at-bats). Healy typically bats higher in the order against a southpaw, though, and despite the pitcher-friendly ambience and the opposing hurler's hot start, it's OK to throw a dart on a righty bat facing Martin Perez.

Middle infielder

Taylor Motter (Seattle Mariners vs. Miami Marlins, 4 percent): During Jean Segura's absence, Motter has both mashed and crept closer to the top of the lineup. Hitting sixth Monday, he smashed a second-deck home run at Safeco Field -- his third big fly in his past five outings. He'll stare down Edinson Volquez, who has allowed three home runs in his first three starts and is due to start giving up more runs to go with his wild approach. Perhaps this continued success will help Motter squeeze out more playing time in the outfield upon Segura's return.

Outfield

Corey Dickerson (Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers, 37 percent): Tampa Bay is taking the Cubs' plan of having a masher lead off, at least against righties. Dickerson prefers facing that handedness, considering his career OPS is .884 against them compared to .687 against southpaws. Jordan Zimmermann has had trouble avoiding hard contact around the plate for seemingly the past two years. Expect Dickerson to deliver at least one extra-base knock.

Scott Schebler (Cincinnati Reds vs. Baltimore Orioles, 3 percent): Normally, Orioles pitchers are glad to be working on the road, unless the road is an equally homer-friendly venue such as the great American Ballpark. Schebler, whose three-homer, seven-RBI start to the year is keeping prospect Jesse Winker on the farm, holds the platoon advantage.

Albert Almora Jr. (Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 3 percent): The Cubs and their fantasy owners will stack right-handed batters against Milwaukee lefty Tommy Milone. All other Cubs starters sit on other rosters, so start here. Still, manager Joe Maddon has expressed a desire to deploy Almora against some right-handers, considering the 23-year-old's formerly lauded pedigree.

Hitter Ratings

Notes: Hitter ratings account for the opposing starting pitcher's past history (three years' worth, as well as past 21 days) and ballpark factors. "LH" and "RH" ratings account only for left- and right-handed batters, respectively. Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. So, for example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.