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Here are responses to some of the e-mails/comments I've received over the past week or so.

From Brooksflow:

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Hey Fantasy Guys (I'm gonna refer to you as Fantasy Folks from now on for alliterative purposes and since I'm from NC),

Could y'all shed some light on the catcher situation in KC?

They've got John Buck and Jason LaRue who have appeared to split games 50-50 so far (about 8 apiece I think). Buck is ripping it up while LaRue is trash. Why isn't Buck in the lineup everyday at catcher or DH (at least until he cools down)?

KC players are no hot commodity -- no one in our league has a single one of their pitchers, but batters on any team can still be valuable. I've been in a pinch at catcher with Ramon Hernandez out, and my No. 2 catcher is expendable upon his return. I could use Buck's numbers, but it doesn't look like he's getting enough ABs to justify a roster spot.

Thanks, and I'll understand if anything KC (other than BBQ sauce) isn't worthy of a response.

A question about the Royals catchers! At least we know you're a serious fantasy player. You're right. Buck has been on a tear so far this season, batting .429 with three homers. However, keep in mind that he's only played in nine games. In 114 games in '06, he hit .245 and in 118 games in '05, he hit .242. He's shown OK power, hitting at least 11 home runs in three straight seasons. If Buck continues to play this well, Buddy Bell will have no choice but to make him the everyday catcher.

Meanwhile, LaRue has been terrible, batting .154. However, like Bell said last week, some pitchers prefer LaRue behind the plate. My advice would be to follow your league's trend and ditch Buck.

From Josh:

Has anybody else noticed -- whether they are in a fantasy league or not -- that the hitters are terrible so far this year? I know that many get off to a slow start, but for every Manny Ramirez there is usually someone like a Ty Wigginton killing the ball -- which makes everyone in the league go crazy because the guy who picked him up in the draft is sitting in first. I'm hitting .255 as a team and in first place! My team ERA is a reasonable 4.20 and I am in next to last. My WHIP is 1.3 -- still reasonable but it gets me a last place point. This is insane!

I and many others feel your pain Josh. A quick look at studs struggling so far: Albert Pujols (.197), Alfonso Soriano (.245, 0 HR), Ryan Howard (.213, 1 HR), Chase Utley (.213), Lance Berkman (.212, 1 HR), Manny Ramirez (.189, 1 HR), Mark Teixeira (.214, 0 HR).

And that's just to name a few. However, as Karl Ravech reminds us every night -- trust the back of the baseball card -- if your player has a proven track record, don't panic and give him away. It's a long season.

By the way -- to all readers -- if you want to go on a rant and rip a player who's killing your team, feel free to send it in. I'd love to publish some of these.

From reader Nicholas:

I'm currently playing in a 10 team head to head league (5x5 scoring).

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I was wondering if you could critique my lineup, point out some flaws and/or gaps, and propose a few hypothetical trades/waiver pickups.

No problem. What better way to gauge a random sample of players throughout the league? Here is Nicholas' roster with comments

C - Jorge Pasada: Always a solid option; off to a hot start, batting .358 with 11 RBIs

1B - Justin Morneau: Can't go wrong with the reigning American League MVP; four homers and 12 RBIs so far in '07

2B - Rickie Weeks: Stole 19 bases in 95 games last season; four HRs, three SBs and 17 runs scored already this season

3B - Alex Rodriguez: A historic start -- 12 HRs, 30 RBIs through 15 games

SS - Felipe Lopez: Showed great speed last year with 44 SBs; added value because of eligibility at shortstop and second base

OF - Jermaine Dye: Batting just .204 so far; unlikely to match last year's numbers

OF - Adam Dunn: One of the top players so far; .302 with four homers and four SBs

OF - Magglio Ordonez: Probably on the downside of his career, but still a decent contributor, especially in the RBIs category

Utility - Frank Thomas: Unlikely to match last year's numbers; off to a slow start, batting .207

The lineup is solid Nicholas. Morneau, A-Rod and Dunn are absolute studs. Ordonez and Dye are not going to match last year's numbers, but you can still win with them, and they can be decent options as long as they stay healthy. Weeks has the potential to be a top-five second baseman. Lopez might be a player to keep your eye on. This is just his third full season as a starter, and while he stole 44 bases last season, he'll have to prove that wasn't a fluke this year.

On to starting pitching: Carlos Zambrano, Ben Sheets, Noah Lowry, Chuck James, Freddy Garcia, Justin Verlander

Zambrano, Sheets and Verlander all have the talent to be studs. However, owners are likely concerned about Zambrano's start. He's 1-2 with a 7.77 ERA and has walked as many as he's struck out (16). It's probably too early to panic, but not too early to worry. Does that make sense? I don't really know.

As for Sheets, he's had two good starts and two poor starts. As long as he's healthy, he should get more consistent and have a big year.

Verlander, meanwhile, has been very good, going 1-0 in three starts with a 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.

You're rolling the dice with the other guys. Lowry hasn't received the run support so far, but has looked good with a 2.70 ERA. James was very good last year, but this is his first full season as a starter. He's been solid so far, going 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. And finally, Garcia has been injured for the Phillies and struggled in his only start. I wouldn't panic though. Don't expect a low ERA, but he should help you out with wins when/if the Philly offense gets going.

And finally your bullpen: B.J. Ryan, Bob Wickman, Mike Gonzalez, Scot Shields, David Weathers

Weathers has been decent so far with five saves. He blew an opportunity Thursday but should still get the bulk of Cincinnati's save chances. The Ryan injury hurts without a doubt. But on the bright side, Wickman has been outstanding. He's yet to allow a run and has five saves for Atlanta.

Overall, I like your lineup. You will definitely need some starting pitching help if Zambrano continues to struggle, and another closer wouldn't hurt because of the injury to Ryan. Hope this helps!

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