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Salary Cap Chronicles: Riding the Texas Schedule

Scott Jenstad

Scott Jenstad

Scott Jenstad writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Well, that was ugly. After a nice Week 2 win at Head2Head.com, I decided to play the sweet Arizona schedule and use the red hot Chris Young. He then crashed into a wall and went on the DL just as the Head2Head week started. In a points game like this, you just can't take zeroes and expect to compete in the overall points. To add insult to injury, Adrian Beltre pulled up lame with a hammy on Saturday, which led to more zeroes. On the bright side, our seven-game home plays of Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher have gone crazy so far, Ian Kinsler keeps hitting no matter where he is playing and the risk of playing the most expensive pitching staff is paying off quite nicely. I did lose a start coming up from Cliff Lee, but Philly has been large and still has two games left.

Fantasy baseball got wacky again as a rash of injuries hit this weekend out of nowhere. Usually we know guys are banged up or struggling a bit before they go on the DL, but highly drafted players Cliff Lee, Daniel Hudson and Sergio Santos all hit the DL this weekend. The joy of Head2Head is that with a new roster each week, we can just swap out the injured guys. It is very nice that a long-term injury does not cripple us like it can in some draft leagues.

All right, time to move forward to Week 4. There are a number of teams with seven games and only the Cardinals have five games during this period. Among the seven-game teams, the ones that look best for offense are Detroit, Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay. The Orioles get five home games and then two in Yankee Stadium, while the Tigers also visit Yankee Stadium for a three-game series to go with four homes games. The Rays get to visit Arlington in their seven-game week, while the Blue Jays have six homes games, plus one in Baltimore. Among the six-game teams in nice parks, the Yankees and Rockies play five of their games at home and the Rangers get four at home and two in Toronto. What a fantastic week for offense!

Catcher: It looks like I will go back to Matt Wieters this week. Miguel Montero has been a disappointment for his all home week while Wieters has continued his hot start. Among other options, Alex Avila looks like an excellent play this week with his seven-game schedule. If you wanted to save a little bit cap (but not enough in my opinion), J.P. Arencibia could be an interesting option. He has a nice schedule and seems to finally be hitting after a very slow start.

First Base: Eric Hosmer was a letdown for the second straight week, but with a seven-game schedule and a nice cap number, I think I will save the move and leave him in. He seems to be coming around a little bit, but I sure don't like three of the games in Target Field. If I were to swap Hosmer out for someone more expensive, Mark Teixeira is a nice option again this week as are Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder with seven games. Albert Pujols also has seven games, but it is tough to pay his price tag right now while he scuffles, but if you want to try and time him, he is very likely to return to normal soon. If one were looking for a cheaper option, Ike Davis does get three games in Coors Field, but he has been struggling too. I think I will stick with Hosmer for one more try.

Second Base: This one seems easy this week. I have Ian Kinsler in and he continues to hit and has a nice schedule. I think he is easily the strongest play this week and I will leave him in. If for some reason, you wanted to fade Kinsler this week at home and at Toronto (you shouldn't), then either Kelly Johnson or Ben Zobrist seem like excellent choices.

Third Base: With Adrian Beltre nursing his wore hamstring and his status up in the air, I have to swap him out this week even though Texas has a nice schedule. The obvious call is to go Miguel Cabrera for his seven games and I would love to, but his price tag is very high. He will be tough for me to fit in this week. Hanley Ramirez is another option with seven and he seems to be the Hanley of old lately. I think I am going to look to Toronto this week for my third baseman though. They have two great options this week in Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion. I like them both, so will play the cheap guy and go with Ency, who is an absolutely fantastic value at $6.8.

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki has five games in Coors, which is always appealing even though he only plays six games this week. Derek Jeter has been absolutely fantastic this year and with five home games plus a game in Texas, I think I will save the move and leave him in. He does face Justin Verlander, but aside from that, I like his matchups. If I were to swap out Jeter, it would likely be for Tulo, but if you are looking for someone cheaper, I suppose Jhonny Peralta could be a play for his seven at much less money than Jeter, but I think Tulo and Jeter are clearly the calls at SS this week.

Outfield: There are a ton of good options in the OF this week with so many good teams either having seven games or nice six-game weeks. I am not in love with Cameron Maybin right now, but he has seven games and the cap savings are just too good to pass up. In one of the other spots, I have to jump at the chance to play Adam Jones for his seven games. He is not only hitting well, but seems to be adding value with some stolen bases also. If you have the cap for Jose Bautista, I get the feeling he is about to break out large this week. Some other great pricier plays this week with their schedule are Austin Jackson, Curtis Granderson, Desmond Jennings or B.J. Upton. If one is looking to save cap in the OF, Matt Joyce is an excellent option this week with three games in Texas and five of his seven games against right-handers. I am going to go with the Texas schedule over the Rockies schedule this week and play Nelson Cruz in my last OF spot over Carlos Gonzalez. I would love to play Josh Hamilton while he is this white hot, but the cap just did not work out there for me this week. There really is an abundance of great OF plays this week.

Flex: After the week Nick Swisher has had, I am certainly going to leave him in for his five home games plus one at Texas this week. Swish is on fire and I see no reason to use a move to take him out.

Pitching Staff: The Phillies have been a very nice boost this week playing in Petco, but clearly I will be swapping them out this week at their tag with only six games. The Angels look like a great option this week with seven games and two C.J. Wilson starts. The Angels pitching staff is stacked with studs and they are due to get hot, but I just wish Jerome Williams wasn't the other starter with two starts. Tampa is also an interesting choice with seven games, including two vs. Seattle, but they also get three @ Texas, which is always scary. I don't love any of the other options with seven games and I strongly believe you want to max games form your pitching staff, so I am going to go with the Angels for this week. I know they are expensive and it keeps me from playing Miggy or Bautista or Hamilton, but I really think they are the best of the options this week so I will ride with them.

In summary, this is where I am going barring any late injuries like last week:

C: Matt Wieters ($8.2)
1B: Eric Hosmer ($9.0)
2B: Ian Kinsler ($9.0)
3B: Edwin Encarnacion ($6.8)
SS: Derek Jeter ($9.0)
OF: Adam Jones ($9.5)
OF: Nelson Cruz ($10.1)
OF: Cameron Maybin ($5.0)
Flex: Nick Swisher ($8.8)
SP: Los Angeles Angels ($24.5)

Good luck to everyone in Week 4!