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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Grady Sizemore update

The easy thing to say after Grady Sizemore's sensational debut on Sunday is to start him and not think twice.

There are two dilemmas with Sizemore from a fantasy perspective, however.

1. Because of how far he fell on draft day, a decent amount of owners might have selected Sizemore as their fourth outfielder.

An example: In The News-Herald league, which includes at least a handful of Indians fans, I selected Sizemore as my No. 4 outfielder at the end of Round 13 (No. 156 overall). If that seems way too low, it probably was, but Sizemore went even later in a 14-team league in which I compete (another league dominated by Tribe fans).

Thus, my N-H team has Ryan Braun, Shin-Soo Choo and the Diamondbacks' Chris Young in the outfield. Sizemore isn't cracking that group. I could play him in the utility spot, but I also have David Ortiz, leaving me to play the matchup game each week between the two.

2. The Indians likely will give the three-time All-Star at least a day off per week to rest his surgically repaired left knee. If the Tribe plays six games in a week and you have, say, Ortiz or a pretty good third outfielder who is scheduled to play seven, you probably will be tempted to bench Sizemore.

All good feelings from Sunday aside, what should we expect from Sizemore?

In 2009 and '10, he batted a combined .239. In 564 at-bats in that span (roughly one full season), he had 88 runs, 18 homers, 77 RBI and 17 steals.

From 2005 to '08, he batted a combined .281 and averaged 116 runs, 27 homers, 81 RBI and 29 steals.

Sizemore seems to be healthy now, but we shouldn't anticipate a return to 2008, when he had 33 homers, 90 RBI, 38 steals and 101 runs. We also shouldn't expect him to hit .248, as he did in 2009, or .211, as he did in 128 at-bats last season.

The logical answer: Play the matchup game with Sizemore. If he's playing six games in a week and you have three quality outfielders and a productive DH, it's OK to sit him.

If he's playing seven games, as he is in Week 3, start him.

(Unless you are like me and you're deciding between Sizemore and Ortiz, whose Red Sox are also scheduled to play seven games. I think I'll flip a coin.)

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