'Reds v Astros 9.21.11' photo (c) 2011, Shawna Pairan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Monday’s I will be taking a look at the fantasy baseball game by breaking down players who have produced noteworthy performances. This week it’s all about hot starting batters and pitchers – can they keep it up? To get your daily fantasy baseball fix make sure you head over to DailyJoust.com to set your salary cap club.

GAINERS OF THE WEEK

Johnny Cueto (+96, $379K in DailyJoust salary) Through nine starts Cueto has a 1.97 ERA, 1.13 WHIP an a 5-1 record. He's also allowed more than two earned runs just once this season. Moreover, six times this year he's left the game having allowed one or zero earned runs. Injuries limited him last year to 24 starts, but if we add in his nine starts this year we get 33 starts covering 215.1 innings, a full season of work for an “ace-like” arm. In those 33 starts he has gone 14-6 with a 2.22 ERA an a 1.10 WHIP so maybe talk of him being an “ace” is warranted. Still, he's struck out an average of 5.93 batters per nine innings, more than a batter below the big league average, and his 2.41 K/BB ratio is pretty average. The grounders have led to am immense level of success and there is no end in sight.

Felipe Paulino (+60, $426K) Through three starts for the Royals Paulino has a 1.93 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 21 Ks in 18.2 innings. A long time power arm, Paulino has 344 Ks in 366.1 innings in his career. He's struggled with two things in his career – health and consistency. Well he's already been hurt this year, so let's hope that is out of the way. If he can just throw strikes, currently he's sporting a 2.41 walk per nine mark which is more than a batter below his career rate, then he's bound to have a lot of success even though few have seemed to have taken note (check out his owned percentage over at Fleaflicker).

CC Sabathia (+85, $425K) A rock, CC has 65 Ks in 64.1 innings, and in each of his nine start he has gone at least six innings. The results haven't been spectacular, he has a 3.78 ERA, but he gives you innings, Ks, pitches for the Yankees (leading to a 5-2 record), and never hurts you in the WHIP column (1.21). Expect the ERA to come down a bit as we move forward an expect him to continue to be one of the safest elite level arms in the game.

Max Scherzer (+46, $270K) And that is why I kept telling everyone to keep the faith in Scherzer. The last time Mad Max took the hill he held the Pirates to two runs over seven innings as he allowed only five base runners. All of that is great news but it was the 15 punchouts that made it an elite effort. Fourth in baseball with 63 punchouts, Scherzer leads baseball with an 11.65 K/9 mark. You just don't give up on an arm like that, even when it's struggling to produce consistent results.

Ryan Zimmerman (+24, $90K) Over his last three games Zimmerman has pushed his average up .025 points thank to seven hits. Struggling to find his way after injury, Zimmerman is still hitting just .257 with two homers and 12 RBI through 28 games. The lack of pop is what has really dragged him down so far as his .367 SLG is literally more than a hundred points low (career .476). Frequently injured, it seems like Ryan takes a while to find his groove once he returns. Seems like he just may have found that groove over the past few days.

LOSERS OF THE WEEK

Anthony Bass (-55, $185K) He will be counted on heavily moving forward as it appears Cory Luebke will undergo Tommy John surgery. Bass has made eight starts and only once time has he allowed more than three earned runs resulting in a 2.89 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He's also whiffed 51 batters in 53 innings showing a rather powerful right arm. Impressively, he's actually been more effective on the road (2.57 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 22 Ks in 21 IP) than at home (3.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 29 Ks in 32 IP), and that means something when your home games are at Petco Park.

Hiroki Kuroda (-52, $178K) Through eight starts he has been awful twice and solid ever other time he's taken the hill. I've gotten so many questions about the guy after his last outing, but just remember this – before his last outing against the Blue Jays his ERA was 3.56 and his WHIP was in the 1.30's. If you were expecting more from him hit season in New York you likely had set your sights too high.

Madison Bumgarner (-46, $276) From April 10th through May 10th MadBum went 5-0 while allowing a total of six earned runs. Yeah, he was dominating. The last two times he's taken the bump have been far from impressive – he's allowed eight earned runs over 13.1 innings leading to two loses – but on the year the guy has a 3.10 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and has looked every bit like the guy who might be ready to elevate his game even further this season.

Josh Beckett (-37, $279K) I don't know how his value has dropped the past week given that he's worked 14.2 innings while striking out 14 batters an allowing one earned run in two victories. Putting behind him the seven runs he allowed to the Indians, Beckett is back to being a strong option on the hill for the Red Sox, and fantasy squads. In his eight starts he has six quality starts an overall his 40 Ks in 49.1 innings and 1.28 WHIP are solid enough to offset a somewhat elevated 4.28 ERA.

Denard Span (-19, $61K) Span went hitless his last two games of the week but he still has six hits in his last five games. Hitting .291 on the year with four steals, Span is the type of player who is more valuable in real life than in fantasy. He will be an average booster (career .285) and he has the speed to be a 20+ steal guy, but he has no power and with the Twins struggling to consistency put up runs he's scored just 17 times in 37 games despite a solid .359 OBP.

DAILY CONTEST

You can sign up for the King Arthur's $50 Free Roll on DailyJoust. No entry free is required to get a chance to play the game and earn your free chance to take home part of the $50 prize pool. All games that start at 7:05 PM EDT or later are open to add players to your daily fantasy baseball squad. So get over to DailyJoust, put together your one day lineup, and get ready to win some free $.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

yes. lol RT @maury_morris: I have a better shot of being with Shakira for the night than Espinosa does hitting .300 for the year correct?

RT @shidavidi: Neil Wanger on for Drew Hutchison, who goes: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, to match career high #bluejays

RT @washingnats: Danny Espinosa is now hitting .323 this season. He is 3-for-4 against the Padres today. #Nats

Thanks to @JeffFletcherOCR for talking to us about #Angels bullpen. He's a big fan of Joe Smith at the moment...