Navigating injuries will always be near the top of importance in terms of winning a fantasy championship. The teams that do stay healthy are usually the ones that have the best chance, but we must continue to fight through and overcome when a big injury occurs.

There were two this past weekend. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts suffered a cracked rib and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado sprained his ankle. These are two tough injuries, especially to Machado, as he was in the midst of an MVP-type season.

Three Up:

1. Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Mike Trout — The worst slump of Trout’s career is fully in the rearview mirror, as the star has had two big weeks for fantasy owners. This isn’t surprising, but it’s great to see. Trout hit five home runs this past week to go along with nine RBIs. For the season, Trout is batting .290 with 21 home runs, 43 RBIs and 47 runs scored. Even more important, Trout has already played in more games this year than either of the past two seasons. He is now back in the MVP conversation.

2. St. Louis Cardinals First Baseman Paul Goldschmidt — The loss of Machado for an extended period of time could help Goldschmidt in his quest to win National League MVP. It was another big week for the veteran, as he hit four home runs with 11 RBIs. For the season, Goldschmidt is batting .344 with 16 home runs, 58 RBIs, 48 runs scored and three stolen bases.

3. Miami Marlins Starting Pitcher Sandy Alcantara — In an era when we see pitchers barely throw six innings, Alcantara has gone old school. The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings in his last eight starts, which includes two nine-inning performances. This past week, Alcantara struck out 13 while allowing only four earned runs. For the season, Alcantara is pitching to a 1.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and has seven wins. Alcantara is helping fantasy owners in a big way while pitching in a tough division.

Three Down:

1. Toronto Blue Jays Shortstop Bo Bichette — The young infielder collected only five hits while driving in just one run this past week. The numbers are down across the board for Bichette, as he’s hitting .260 with 10 home runs. Bichette’s .425 slugging percentage would be a career low. This team and lineup is too good so I’m not worried about Bichette yet, but it would be nice to see him go on an extended hot streak.

2. Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher Yusei Kikuchi — Two Blue Jays crack this list, which is never good. It’s been a struggle for Kikuchi, as he has failed to throw five innings in five of his last six starts. The left-hander’s ERA has gone from 3.47 to 4.94 during this span, and it’s hard for fantasy owners to use him in any format at this point.

3. Seattle Mariners Infielder Eugenio Suarez — The Mariners are one of the more disappointing teams, as they seemed poised to take a huge step in 2022. Instead, they have fewer wins than the Orioles. The acquisitions of Jesse Winker and Suarez have not panned out. Both were acquired to help get them over the hump, but Suarez is batting .227 with 12 home runs this season and has struck out 92 times already. Suarez still provides power, but the batting average is a killer and there are better options for fantasy owners who need home runs.

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Phil Backert

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