Well, it looks like the quest for the perfect season is about to die. Barring a miraculous comeback, I will be falling this week after a brutal scoring week. Four injuries in one week will do that to a team. 1-2 injuries in a week can be overcome, but Kelly Johnson, Freddie Freeman, Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana have all missed chunks of time this week and it appears all four will probably be out the rest of the week. Even though Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Hamilton and Giancarlo Stanton have been fantastic, it is just too tough to overcome that many missed games. The joy of Head2Head is that it only hurts me this one week and we can replace them and move on. Of course, I also made some mistakes this week; the Marlins pitching staff has not been a good call and Freeman should have been benched with the eye issue. I can't fault my Mike Trout pick, but he has fallen back to Earth a bit too.
This feels like a good time to just move on to Week 9. This is a very light week for games played with only the Rockies and Dodgers playing seven games. The Rockies have an excellent schedule with five games in Coors and two games in Arizona; combine that with the dearth of seven games weeks and I imagine we will have a lot of Rockies in the lineup this week. In addition, there are 11 teams that only play five games this week, so make sure to look very closely at the schedule this week before making your decisions. With the schedule varying so wildly, this will be definitely be a week where we use a lot of our moves. We have been able to play a lot of guys multiple weeks as of late, so we knew a week like this had to arrive.
Catcher: Carlos Santana hit the DL with a concussion so it is an easy call to get him out of the lineup. With seven games and a trip to Coors, I think AJ Ellis makes a very intriguing play this week at a very low price. He will allow some cap savings and also has been one of the better values at catcher this year. Jonathan Lucroy has also been very good for his price this year and gets five of his six games at home. If you don't trust Ellis, Lucroy makes a lot of sense this week. (Late Ed Note: Lucroy was scratched Monday with a bruised hand, so check his status before adjusting your lineup Tuesday.) If you want to spend some cash, Joe Mauer looks like a nice option with six games and he has been hitting very well the last three weeks.
First Base: With Freddie Freeman experiencing lingering issues with his eye, it is time to play a different first baseman this week. Michael Cuddyer is listed at first base in Head2Head and with that Rockies schedule this week, he looks like a very nice play. He had a tweaked neck earlier this weekend, but played and homered on Sunday so he appears to be ready to go. It certainly looks like Albert Pujols is back to normal and with six games this week; he presents an excellent play to ride the current hot streak. On the same team, Mark Trumbo is a very solid play this week for teams needing to save cap at 1B.
Second Base: Second is yet another position where I will be replacing an injured player, Kelly Johnson. Second base is a tough position this week without a lot of strong plays. A lot of guys who have been hot at 2B (Robinson Cano, Dan Uggla and Brandon Phillips) get five games this week. I think the best play looks like Dustin Pedroia with six games comprised of three at home and three in Toronto. I don't see a lot of solid plays among the other six game teams, but if I had to pick a couple possibilities, I would go with Ian Kinsler on the road among the pricier options and Jose Altuve on the cheaper side.
Third Base: Finally we get to a spot where I had some production this week. Encarnacion continues to be a top value in the game, but with five games this week, I will look elsewhere. The obvious top end choice this week is David Wright. He has been over the top on fire and the Mets get six games this week. Miguel Cabrera also looks like a solid play this week with six games, but he is very expensive. I would also consider Will Middlebrooks this week with six games, but I worry too much about him possibly missing playing time with the lineup issues in Boston. Third base is another tough spot this week without a lot of good and cheap options, but I suppose if desperate for cap, a team could go with World Series hero David Freese or really even lower with Kyle Seager of the Mariners.
Shortstop: Oh hey, another injured guy to replace, fantastic! This spot feels very much like a week to play Troy Tulowitzki. He looks to be healthy, has been on fire and has an excellent schedule. I see no reason to fade Tulo this week and think he is the easy play here, but if you wanted to go elsewhere, I would save cap and go with Mike Aviles or Rafael Furcal.
Outfield: The outfield has actually been very solid this week for me with a monster week from Giancarlo Stanton and a very solid week from Josh Hamilton. Mike Trout cooled off a little bit, but I am going to leave him in with a six game week and he is also a nice cap saver. I think the other two spots are easy, but do come with a bit of a complication. I am going to use Carlos Gonzalez for sure with seven games and the other slot will be Matt Kemp with seven games and a three game weekend series to Coors. Of course, Kemp is on the DL currently and scheduled to return to the Dodgers on Tuesday. If he has any kind of setback or looks like he will not be ready for next week, I will certainly swap him out before the deadline. Andre Ethier is also a nice option this week with seven games for the Dodgers. I also would not begrudge anyone using Josh Hamilton again this week with six games even though they are on the road; he is just that good. Another guy who has been on fire is Melky Cabrera. He has six games this week and has been hitting about .450 the last three weeks. Ryan Braun also has six games, but I prefer the other guys already named on the high end this week. If you are looking to save cap, Josh Reddick has six games and just keeping hitting home runs and Carlos Beltran also has six games and has been an excellent value all year. With all the big bats, I have in, I decided to forego one game this week and play Alejandro De Aza as me fourth outfielder in the flex spot with only five games due to his very low price. I hate going with a five gamer, but at least he is cheap, solid and lets me get all my stars in.
Pitching Staff: The Dodgers looked like an easy call from a first glance with seven games, until I realized three of the games were at Coors. Still, with two games from Clayton Kershaw and the lack of other teams with seven games this week, I am going to stick with playing them. If you want to avoid the Coors games and play of one the teams with six games, I would recommend the Rangers, Phillies, Brewers or Giants. The Rangers are on the road for their games and get two starts from Derek Holland, which should be pretty solid. The Giants get two Lincecum starts, but I am pretty sure I finally realize that is not a good thing. With seven games and two Kershaw starts, I am going to try and not over think it and play the Dodgers.
In summary, this is where I will be assuming Kemp looks good to go after Tuesday.
Catcher: A.J. Ellis ($5.5)
1B: Michael Cuddyer ($9.5)
2B: Dustin Pedroia ($9.2)
3B: David Wright ($9.3)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki ($11.0)
OF: Mike Trout ($7.0)
OF: Matt Kemp ($12.0)
OF: Carlos Gonzalez (11.5)
Flex: Alejandro De Aza ($4.9)
Pitcher: Los Angeles Dodgers ($20.0)