As we discussed last week, Week 17 was a great one, but I didn't know how great until the week actually ended. I finished on top of the whole challenge overall for Week 17 which was a lot of fun; thanks Rays pitchers! Week 18 has not been quite that elite, but still a nice week that has me leading my league in Points. The Nationals pitching staff has been solid so far this week and Buster Posey and Albert Pujols have been complete beasts with 33 and 41 points respectively. Jose Reyes, Matt Holliday and Mike Trout have also been very solid in helping to put together a nice week.
Moving on to week 19, make sure to note that the A's are the only team with five games this week, so make sure to avoid Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick this week. Looking at the teams with seven games, the Yankees look like a strong option. I wish they had more than two home games this week, but they do get three games in Toronto, which is also a nice place to hit. The Nationals schedule also looks nice with games in Houston and in Arizona.
Catcher: The two best options this week appear to be the two top catchers over the last three weeks. Buster Posey is absolutely on fire right now hitting .450 in the last three weeks with 22 RBI, which is just ridiculous. Carlos Santana has finally hit his groove and has more bombs the last three weeks that he had all season before this run. On the cheaper side, Jesus Montero and Ryan Doumit have been strong lately, but with six games each this week, I would strongly recommend spending the cap on Santana or Posey.
First Base: It is tough to take Pujols out right now when he insanely hot, but with six games, let's see whom the other options are. Sitting right behind Pujols the last three weeks is Adam LaRoche. He is hitting .370 with eight home runs the last three weeks and has a very nice schedule. If you want to save a little cap over the top end guys, LaRoche is a great play this week. On the expensive end, Prince Fielder is probably the best seven game player this week with a visit to Texas over the weekend. Fielder has been hitting well recently, but the homers have not been plentiful. Prince can always get hot though and he is a nice option this week. Finally, Mark Teixeira has seven this week and is always a consideration now that it is the second half of the season, also known as Teix Time.
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia has been my weakest link this week and I look forward to getting him out of my lineup. Second base has been very weak lately with Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler and Pedroia all kind of quiet lately in points leagues and no one else has really been going off. Chase Utley is finally coming around after returning from injury, but with six games this week, he doesn't jump out to me as a must use. Danny Espinosa is a nice schedule play this week and while his BA is always a question mark, he has been pretty solid across the board the last three weeks. Robinson Cano is always a strong choice with seven games. His counting cats have been a bit down the last three weeks, but in the middle of that lineup, one has to think that will change. I like Cano or Espinosa this week at 2B.
Third Base: This looks like another week of Ryan Zimmerman when you combine his play recently with the Nationals schedule, but we always check other options of course. Miguel Cabrera with seven games is always someone we consider strongly, especially with a weekend series in Texas. I think it could be a nice week to play one of them at 3B and the other at flex. Of course, when the Jays have seven games, we have to mention Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie is a bit banged up right now, so I would definitely have Encarnacion as the Jay to play this week. If you need some cap this week, Encarnacion is an excellent option at 3B this week.
Shortstop: We have finally found the Jose Reyes all of us fantasy players have missed. He has been great as of late and with seven games this week, it is very likely that I will just leave Reyes in this week. I really do not see much else that can even come close to Reyes with 7, but if you wanted to save cap, Josh Rutledge remains a solid play, even with six games. The only other seven gamer I would consider strongly is Starlin Castro, but he is not hitting recently and has hasn't stolen a base in 45 games or so. There is no way I could choose him over Reyes right now.
Outfield: Mike Trout has only six games this week. At his price, I do not care and will leave him in until he gives me any reason whatsoever to take him out. Drew Stubbs has been red hot lately, but he only has six games with most of them on the road and he is crazy streaky. Somehow, Melky Cabrera just keeps hitting this year. The Melkman is at .350 over the last three weeks with an extremely impressive 22 runs scored in his last 18 games. Andrew McCutchen is hitting over .350 the last three weeks, but has been struggling in points league due to his meager 3 RBI over that time span. However, with seven home games this week, he remains very high on my list. If looking for some cheap options this week in the OF with seven games, there are not really a lot that jump out, but one could consider Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson or Desmond Jennings. On the more expensive side, some nice schedule plays this week include Curtis Granderson, Mike Morse and Shin Soo Choo.
Pitching Staff: The Nationals have seven games this week so they immediately become a strong play. Add to that two starts from Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman coupled with games at Houston and at San Francisco and it is going to be very difficult to find a better option this week. The Pirates have surprised all of MLB with their pitching this year and they get seven games at home. The two start pitchers are Kevin Correia and Wandy Rodriguez, which does not excite me nearly enough to play them over the Nats. The Giants could also be a play this week with seven games, five of which are in the friendly confines of AT&T Park. It has to be noted that they do get two games in St Louis, which is a very nasty place to pitch. In addition, two starts from Madison Bumgarner is a very good thing. Looking at the AL, the Rays pop out as a possible play. They were very good to us last week and they get to travel to Minnesota and Seattle to face bad offenses in pitchers' parks. They are a strong option with two starts from Matt Moore, but the other two-start pitcher is Alex Cobb. I sure wish it was anyone else. I think the Rays and Nats are the two clear-cut choices to decide between this week.
Here is where I ended up:
C: Buster Posey ($9.5)
1B: Prince Fielder ($11.0)
2B: Danny Espinosa ($7.4)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman ($7.1)
SS: Jose Reyes ($7.9)
OF: Andrew McCutchen ($10.3)
OF: Michael Morse ($7.6)
OF: Mike Trout ($7.0)
Flex: Miguel Cabrera ($12.0)
P: Washington Nationals ($19.2)