NL Notes: Helton's helpers

Each week, we take a look at some of the top stories and trends in the National League and how such topics will affect your fantasy baseball strategy in 2006.

Fantasy owners of Todd Helton are hoping he can return to the 30-homer mark after delivering his worst season as a full-time player last year. It took 39 at-bats for Helton to hit his first home run of the spring. But Helton's batting average and approach during exhibition play should quell any major concerns about him.

There is no apparent need to be worried about Helton's back. The numbers clearly indicate he's in good shape, and so is his swing. Through Monday's games Helton was hitting .400 in Cactus League play. While he has homered just once, Helton has been driving the ball with regularity. Helton has seven doubles in 16 exhibition games. He started slowly last year, hitting five homers through the end of May. He hit only .253 during the season's second month. Yet Helton is coming into 2006 with much more confidence and his swing looks as sweet as ever. Even if fantasy players don't get the 30 homers they want, he should still produce better than he did last year.