Well, that is a little more like it. Week 5 has been excellent so far in Head2Head. Aside from the Josh Johnson blowup, the Marlins pitching staff has been great for the price and on the offensive side, Freddie Freeman, Derek Jeter, Adam Jones and Carlos Beltran are all over 20 points for the week already with two days remaining. Freeman has been an absolute monster with 32 points through his first five games. Albert Pujols has been a letdown and Ian Kinsler and Edwin Encarnacion have cooled off, but overall it has been a great week. After squeaking out a win last week, it has been nice to have a big week and I am currently leading my league in points through Sunday's games. Hopefully some of the picks for Week 5 helped the readers out.
The season keeps getting crazier with injuries as we lost Pablo Sandoval, Mariano Rivera, Cory Luebke and Jayson Werth to long-term injuries this week. In wonderfully bright news, Cory Luebke is the only guy I have on every NFBC team, good times. It sounds like it will be Tommy John surgery for him, but I am hoping for a miraculous MRI this week. Closers continue to be wacky as the Mariano Rivera injury coupled with Huston Street's injury as well as the horrible pitching by Heath Bell and Carlos Marmol created four open closer spots in one week, crazy!
As we move to Week 6 of Head2Head, our first look as always is at the schedule grid to see what teams jump out. The Orioles have been a pleasant surprise this year and get seven homes games this week. They do get James Shields and CC Sabathia, but the rest of the guys they face do not seem too tough. This should be a good week for the O's hitters. I would say the Red Sox have a nice schedule with six of their seven games at home, but boy have they been struggling in Fenway. They really face some weak pitching this week though, so it might be time for them to get healthy and score some runs in bunches. The Yankees have a very nice Week 6 schedule with five homes games and two in Baltimore. They do face Felix Hernandez and David Price, but you have to love the Yankees lineup when they are at home. For a team with all road games, the Rays schedule lines up nicely this week as their seven games are all in nice places to hit: Baltimore, New York and Toronto. Finally, our favorite offensive team, the Rangers, get five games at home as well as two in Baltimore. I imagine we are going to stack a lot of our roster with these teams we just listed.
Catcher: Carlos Santana has been ok this week and still has three games left thanks to his eight-game week. He is still a good option with seven more games in Week 6, but with the seven-home-game week, I think this is a week to go back to Matt Wieters. He is in the midst of a breakout season everyone was hoping for and I see no reason not to ride that for seven home games. Alex Avila has seven games also, but I don't like the games in Seattle or Oakland, tough places to hit. Joe Mauer also has seven games, but he has never shown any power at all in Target Field and they are home for all seven games. The other really good option I see is Mike Napoli with the Rangers mostly home week. I wouldn't argue with you on Napoli over Wieters, but I prefer Wieters ever so slightly this week.
First Base: After the week so far, how do I take Freddie Freeman out? At the price, I likely will ride him even though it is only for six games. He is too cheap and too hot to mess with. If you wanted to save some cap, Chris Davis could be a play with seven home games. He is streaky and still strikes out too much, but he has been good this season and is very cheap at $6.1. On the high end, Adrian Gonzalez could be a great play this week. He has been struggling so far, especially in the power department, but he gets five righties this week and none of his seven games are against any sort of ace. He would be my choice among the expensive guys, over Teixeira and Fielder with their seven game weeks, but I am going to stick with Freddie and his cheap price.
Second Base: Ian Kinsler finally made me think about this position with his less than exciting Week 5. However, with the Texas schedule looking very nice, Kinsler stays in the lineup for me. I thought about going cheaper here and if I did, it would have been for Jason Kipnis who has been great and gets seven games this week. If Kinsler had a road week, I probably would have swapped for Dustin Pedroia as I think the Red Sox really get it going on offense this week. On the high end, betting on a Robinson Cano breakout is probably a good bet this week with the Yankees schedule. Cano, Kinsler and Pedroia with seven games and at home for a majority of the week really makes 2B harder than usual. I am just going to stick with Kinsler.
Third Base: This is a tough spot this week. Ency has cooled a little bit and gets four games in Minnesota, but he has been such a great value at the price. Since half the third basemen seem to be injured, let's take a look at who else may be playable this week. If you trust Mark Reynolds, I tend to think he is hard to time; this would be the week to play him with seven home games. Miguel Cabrera has seven this week; if you can fit in his price tag that is never a bad idea with seven games. Alex Rodriguez homered Sunday and saves a full $3 million over Miggy and has most of his games at home. Usually, I would consider Adrian Beltre here, but the hamstring worries me a bit as he has been DH'ing or pinch-hitting recently so not sure I trust him to play all seven this week. I actually think if I go away from Ency, it will be towards A-Rod, but the salary cap dictated I stick with Ency.
Shortstop: This is an easy call for me this week since I already have Derek Jeter in. He had another great week, seems to not be cooling off and has a great schedule. Jeter stays in for me. If anyone is looking to cut costs at SS, I think Mike Aviles is the play this week. He is leading off for Boston and they have a great schedule this week. I suppose one could look at Elvis Andrus, but there is no way I would pay more for him than Jeter right now. I think this week is Jeter or Aviles if you want to save cap and move on to the next position.
Outfield: One spot this week is easy, as I will be leaving Adam Jones in. He has had a solid week so far and with seven home games, so I see no reason to mess with him. Carlos Beltran has been great for the price and Jay Bruce has been fine, but with so many good options this week, I will likely swipe both of them out since they have six games. In one of those spots, I have to play Curtis Granderson with his seven games. He crushes Yankee Stadium and hits second in an elite lineup. At the third spot, I am going to ride the Yankees and go with Nick Swisher. He has been great this year and after his HR yesterday, I feel better about his hamstring tweak. I really like B.J. Upton with the Rays schedule this week, but just couldn't get him in. Desmond Jennings is a great call too, but his status is up in the air with his knee injury. Some other OF's I like this week are Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Joyce, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista. If you need an extreme cap saver if you are going with an expensive pitching staff, Emilio Bonifacio is running wild and Alejandro De Aza may work too. If you want to have some fun with the hype machine, you could also call on 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper at $7.0 with a full seven game week.
Flex: I wanted someone from the Red Sox here, as I love their schedule. Adrian Gonzalez just missed it for me cap wise or he would have been the guy. Instead, I went with David Ortiz who looks great at the plate so far and should benefit from a great schedule this week. It is going to be a big week for the Sox to break out on offense this week.
Pitching: Taking the risk with the Marlins this week has worked out really well. I saved cap for my offense and they have put up over 50 points already on the week. With only six games this week, it is an easy call to swap them back out. The Red Sox could be an interesting call with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester getting two starts and facing KC, Cleveland and Seattle, but man have they been all over the place. Detroit is also interesting since five of their games are against Seattle and Oakland. I wish Justin Verlander twice was an option, but he pitches Tuesday. Two starts from Drew Smyly and Mix Scherzer could work though I guess and facing my A's is always a nice thing for pitchers. The Tigers are not cheap though so you have to commit to them if you want to use them. The Yankees could be an option too as they get a three game series vs. Seattle and you do get two starts from Sabathia. The Rays have seven, but I think I will pass on them due to the schedule, which is great for hitters, but not so much for pitchers. I decided to save some money here again and go with the upstart Nationals rotation at $19.2. They get two against Pittsburgh and San Diego while the other three are in Cincinnati. At Cincy is not great, but the Reds have a lot of guys who strike out a lot and the Nationals are just dealing right now. Not only that, but you get two starts from Stephen Strasburg, and if nothing else, that is just downright fun to root for. The Nats it is for Week 6.
In summary, he is my roster for Week 6:
C: Matt Wieters ($8.2)
1B: Freddie Freeman ($8.6)
2B: Ian Kinsler ($9.0)
3B: Edwin Encarnacion ($6.8)
SS: Derek Jeter ($9.0)
OF: Curtis Granderson ($10.7)
OF: Adam Jones ($9.5)
OF: Nick Swisher ($8.8)
Flex: David Ortiz ($10.0)
P: Washington Nationals ($19.2)
Best of luck to everyone in Week 6!